Wolfe's Bagels offers the bagel people a place to call home, and the dry-witted manager, Dave, will welcome you with open arms and a dollop of homemade schmear.
I stopped in at lunchtime on a Wednesday, and was happy to see a huge menu of fresh-baked bagels, handmade schmears and a full espresso bar.
The interior of the shop is quite spacious, and there is room for 12 tables, a window bar and plenty of leg room all around. The décor is bagel-shop chic with yam-colored walls, loud, shape-shifting art and an ample bagel case for that I-got-yer-bagel-right-'ere look.
I was not down with the chilly concrete floors, but I imagine that if I owned a bakery, carpet would not be high on my priority list, either.
The menu begins with the cute catch-all “Bagels … and things that go on them.” The bagel flavor selection is as enormous as the store, and they sell them for $6.50 per baker's dozen (13), a half-dozen for $3.50 or 65 pennies each.
They offer the classics, such as plain, blueberry, strawberry, green chile and the works (or an “everything” bagel, if you will) and some yummity house specials like super onion, cranberry walnut, spinach pesto and double chocolate chip. I also noticed they spelled cinnamon raisin “cinnamon raison,” which I suspect may be the subtle humor of Manager Dave.
Manager Dave is a cool cat, sporting a retro crew cut and thick, black-framed Ray-Bans. When asked what's the deal with the Drew Carey look, he replied with a wry smile, “Drew Carey has round glasses, these are square.”
I was also totally pumped to see the mile-long list of schmears, all of which are available for $3.25 to $3.85 per eight-ounce container. Once again, all of the familiar favorites are present: plain, green chile, veggie, garlic herb, chive, strawberry and honey cinnamon. The premium spreads cost a few cents more, but who can really put a price on handmade lox or smoked whitefish schmear, anyway?
I ordered a combo plate of lox and smoked whitefish ($7.50), which came with a fat pickle and a bag of chips. I got to choose my bagel, and the super onion definitely delivers a spicy punch of flavor. The bagel was perfect—crunchy on the outside with crisp, toasted onion edges, and moist and chewy on the inside. The lox was sliced just the way I like it, and was rich, salty and melt-in-your-mouth. The smoky whitefish spread was mythically sea-licious, and both bagels were generously topped with sliced tomatoes, red onion and capers.
The lunch menu includes some other stellar choices like a club on a bagel, a hot pastrami, a southwest turkey melt and a pizza bagel with or without pepperoni.
And no casa de carbohydrates would be complete without an espresso bar. They have all the usual suspects, courtesy of our friends at Red Rock Roasters. The “depth charge,” or coffee with an espresso shot, comes highly recommended.
So, now that the bagel people have a new home, what about the stragglers out there that can't decide between donuts and bagels? The way I see it, you'll come around eventually. And when you do, Wolfe's will be waiting for you.
Lox and bagel
Cinnamon raison bagel with honey-whipped peanut butter
A depth charge
Wolfe's Bagels: 6241 Montgomery NE, 342-9828. Hours: Mon. thru Fri. 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sun. 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Price range: Inexpensive. No smoking, credit cards accepted.