Friday, Jan. 20, may be listed as Inauguration Day on the calendar, but within the heart of Del Ray there’s another inauguration on the horizon that will hit closer to home: The grand opening of Salt | Bagel, a pop-up blending two Alexandria favorites in one spot.
The forces behind No. 1 Sons, mainstays selling their pickle-and-kraut wares at the Old Town Farmer’s Market, and Bagel Uprising, a bagel purveyor that has developed a legion of fans through its years at the Four-Mile Run market, have linked arms to launch into a six-week run at a Del Ray pop-up, which will live in the Dairy Godmother space on Mount Vernon Avenue.
(And speaking of the Godmother, there’s no need to worry about its continued existence — the shop shuts its doors annually for the winter months and will be back in business in the spring.)
“We face many challenges (as a nation), but the greatest among them I think is the junky bagels you get at the grocery store,” Bagel Uprising’s Chad Breckinridge joked. He intends to combat this problem with sandwiches and fermented foods — and the community is ready.
The feedback has been “pretty enthusiastic,” Breckinridge said. “There’s been a lot of excitement about it.”
The union of No. 1 Sons and Bagel Uprising was an organic one, Breckinridge said. After all: What goes better with sandwiches than pickles and kraut?
“To all involved, this seemed like a good, symbiotic relationship,” he said.
And for No. 1 Sons, as well, the timing was fortuitous.
“Being a farmer’s market business, we deal with quite a bit of seasonality,” said No. 1 Sons’ Caitlin Roberts, with wintertime being a slow season.
The pickle purveyors have cultivated a wealth of longtime customers “at Old Town Farmer’s Market or Del Ray Farmer’s Market who are really excited to come buy our ferments, not in a winter farmer’s market but in a place with a roof and heating.”
Bagel- and pickle-lovers will find all of their favorites present and accounted for at the pop-up: Plain, everything, sesame, poppy seed, and, yes, salt bagels will be on the menu, as will a host of No. 1 Sons’ fermented foods. And look for some new additions to the repertoire as well, Roberts says. While the final sandwich menu is being recipe-tested in advance of launch, “One fun thing that we’re playing with is a sweet potato cream cheese schmear with walnuts,” she said.
For Breckinridge, who also has a full-time day job, the pop-up provides an opportunity to expand his reach to a daily business. It’s “a chance to see how a bagel shop would actually do when there’s actual overhead,” he said, rather than in a week-to-week market situation.
And while No. 1 Sons will continue its standard winter schedule of alternating weekends at the region’s farmer’s markets, the inclusion of a daily pop-up space will bring with it a new opportunity — and potentially a new audience.
“We’re really excited to see how many bagels the people of Alexandria would like to eat in the winter months,” Roberts said. (Salt | Bagel will open with about 1,500 bagels to start and will adjust its count to meet demand.)
“People seem to be excited about carbs and sour vegetables,” she said.
Hope Nelson owns and operates the Kitchen Recessionista blog, located at www.kitchenrecessionista.com. Email her any time at email@example.com.
If You Go
Salt | Bagel, 2310 Mount Vernon Ave.
Opening Day: Friday, Jan. 20, through the end of February.
Hours: 8 a.m.-3 p.m. (or while supplies last) daily.
What to expect: “We will be selling single bagels … but we will offer a few more things that you can eat-in,” says No. 1 Sons’ Caitlin Roberts. “So if you want a single bagel with a schmear you can get it to go, or you can get it to eat in the Dairy Godmother space. We’ll have a few sandwiches, too.”