Berkeley Bagels Are Spreading the News

Boichik Bagels has taken over the original Noah's New York Bagels shop on College Avenue.

What makes a New York bagel a New York bagel? That’s what Emily Winston, the owner of Berkeley’s Boichik Bagels, was determined to find out after her beloved H&H Bagels on Manhattan’s Upper West Side closed in 2011. The East Coast native launched a five-year quest to re-create the bagels of her childhood—evenly browned with crunchy crusts, chewy interiors, and just the right amount of malt sweetness—and bring them to California.

A former mechanical engineer with no prior baking experience, Winston took classes, did intensive research, and made batches and batches of bagels until she perfected her recipe. "What I wanted was the bagel that I love to eat," she explains. "When I started to do this, there was no plan to have a business."

That changed, however, once she began selling her bagels at pop-ups in the East Bay. In late November, Winston's brick-and-mortar shop on College Avenue had its soft opening.

At Boichik, Winston follows a very traditional boil-and-bake method, using a Dutch oven and 45-gallon boiling kettle. "It’s a very physical process," she says. "It [creates] more flavor because it’s so much more work."

The menu is old-school, too. Made with local and organic ingredients, bagel options include plain, sesame, poppy seed, onion, salt, everything, and salt and pepper. The shop also sells cream cheeses, batch-brew coffee, bagel chips, and smoked fish. Stay tuned for bialys, sandwiches, and more.

As Winston puts it: "I’d like this to be the next best thing to buying a plane ticket and going to New York."