People waiting outside Midnite Bagel during the bakery's opening weekend, June 2022. (Photo/Courtesy Midnite Bagel)
People waiting outside Midnite Bagel during the bakery's opening weekend, June 2022. (Photo/Courtesy Midnite Bagel)

Midnite Bagel open in Sunset; Wise Sons reopens on Fillmore; Retired caterer heads abroad

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

Midnite Bagel’s first storefront café opened on June 1 in San Francisco’s Inner Sunset, where people lined up along Irving Street to try out the new neighborhood bagelry.

Midnite’s Nick Beitcher started making bagels as a pop-up project while he was the head bread baker at Tartine. We wrote about the opening of his wholesale factory in the Dogpatch neighborhood at the end of last year, and how he was waiting for the right space to open a retail business.

Beitcher told J. the café at 646 Irving St. is seeing “steady business, with lines on the weekends.”

In addition to offering whole-grain sourdough bagels and schmears, the shop carries passion fruit/coconut macaroons, sourdough deli rye bread and sourdough pumpernickel by the loaf, plus hot-pressed sandwiches including pastrami or corned beef and Swiss. Babka will be available in the not-too-distant future, Beitcher says.

Midnite was among the Bay Area bagels that the New York Times last year proclaimed were better than New York’s.

While the Bay Area certainly has gone from famine to feast in the way of great bagels in recent years, the intense competition doesn’t seem to be causing any suffering among the newcomers. Quite the contrary, in fact.

Since retiring from Mangia Nosh — the catering company he founded that was a favorite for many Jewish organizations — Robert Meyer is trying out a new part-time gig, leading culinary tours around the world. The first will be to Morocco in October.

“Since my retirement from catering I have been traveling throughout Europe and domestically,” he said. “I love to explore the history and the food of the places I visit. Moroccan history is so alive with a blended society of cultures and religions that have coexisted forever. The Jews, Christians and Muslims have lived pretty much in harmony for centuries. The melding of the foods, spices and traditions is something that I hope to share and enjoy with others.”

Robert Meyer
Robert Meyer, formerly of Mangia Nosh, was a mainstay caterer in the Jewish community.

With a mix of cooking classes, sites of Jewish interest and other tourist stops on the itinerary, including Casablanca, Fes and Marrakesh, Meyer said, “My passion is to share this great land of so many hidden secrets with my friends and others who may join me.”

The group is limited to 15 guests, and if all goes well, Meyer hopes to lead future tours to other places, too. For information, call Michal Luxury Travel at (415) 302-4031 or email [email protected].

Wise Sons Delicatessen has reopened its San Francisco restaurant at 1520 Fillmore St. after switching to takeout-only during the pandemic. There have also been some renovations, according to owner Evan Bloom, who says a lot has changed in the previous months, and not only with the one store. (Wise Sons has four outlets in San Francisco, two in Oakland, one in Los Angeles and one in Tokyo.)

“Over the last two years, our wholesale business grew and production just kind of took over most of the building,” Bloom said in an email. “Our plan with acquiring Beauty’s Bagels was always to move all bagel production to Oakland and we were able to do that recently.” He added, “I’m excited to say bagel quality and consistency is better than it’s ever been.”

Wise Sons took over both Oakland locations of Beauty’s Bagels in August 2020. The two stores now carry Wise Sons food, and the bagels are no longer wood-fired, which was a Beauty’s trademark. Wise Sons bagels are prefermented, boiled in malt and then baked in a convection-style rack oven.

With bagel production now at the Temescal location in Oakland, Bloom said they were able to open up expanded cooking space to offer a larger menu.

“We now have a fried chicken schnitzel, a burger, challah french toast and more egg options,” he said about Fillmore. “It’s also a big operational change that will not only improve speed of service and quality, but provide a better work experience for our team. We changed up the flow for customers and added a few nice tables where those dining in can now eat on real ceramic plates as opposed to a few years back when everything was to-go and the space got backed up real fast.”

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."