Emily Winston of Boichik Bagels outside her new expansion space.
Emily Winston of Boichik Bagels outside her new expansion space.

Boichik Bagels secures warehouse for major expansion

Food coverage is supported by a generous donation from Susan and Moses Libitzky.

This week Emily Winston, founder and owner of Boichik Bagels, picked up the keys to an 18,000-square-foot industrial building in North Berkeley. When the renovation is complete, she’ll have room to make a whole lotta bagels.

“We’re bursting at the seams at our current place,” Winston said about her small storefront in Berkeley’s Elmwood district.

The new location is on Sixth Street, one block from Urban Adamah and Covenant Winery, which are across the street from each other.

The plan is for this facility to be where the dough gets made and shaped, before being driven to the current location to be baked onsite. Customers will be able to buy fresh bagels and schmears at the new location as well, and will be able to see how the bagels get made; a patio will allow for sitting and enjoying a bagel, which can’t happen at the current location because of its size. Winston says the new facility will also allow her to take on many new wholesale accounts, another thing she can’t do now.

The hope is also to open more retail stores around the Bay Area.

When the significance of the number 18 (as in 18,000 square feet) was pointed out to her, as the Hebrew for “chai,” representing “life,” she said, “That’s beautifully fitting and really cool. Hopefully that bodes well for a long life for our awesome company and a lot of bagels.”

two masked bakers handle a large wooden pallet of sesame bagels
Bagel makers hard at work at Boichik Bagels’ storefront location. (Photo/Lydia Daniller)

Winston founded Boichik Bagels out of her home in 2017, and then opened her brick and mortar store in the original Noah’s Bagels location on College Avenue at Alcatraz in November 2019.

A former engineer who grew up in New Jersey, she was tired of being unable to get an authentic New York-style bagel in her adopted Bay Area home.

From the beginning, folks lined up outside the door to pick up their orders during Boichik’s limited hours. Fame spread, and In March of this year, New York Times restaurant critic Tejal Rao wrote that Boichik’s had the best New York bagel she had ever tasted, except that it was made in Berkeley.

People have offered to invest to help her expand, but Winston has turned them all down. She’s able to finance the venture on her own, she said. 

“I have a business that has money coming in every day, so it’s way less scary than opening the first time,” she said. “I’ve proven I’m able to make the bagel, and I have an awesome team, so this feels way less daunting. Not that it’s not somewhat terrifying, just less terrifying.”

She added, “I’m honored and thrilled to be part of the great West Coast bagel renaissance.”

Alix Wall
Alix Wall

Alix Wall is a contributing editor to J. She is also the founder of the Illuminoshi: The Not-So-Secret Society of Bay Area Jewish Food Professionals and is writer/producer of a documentary-in-progress called "The Lonely Child."