Kaz Bagels (Photo/Courtesy)
Kaz Bagels (Photo/Courtesy)

‘Drewish’ deli coming to Healdsburg; more bagels on the Bay Area scene

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

The Jewish delis keep on coming.

This summer, Healdsburg will take its place alongside other Bay Area communities with their own Jewish deli. Sonoma Magazine broke the news in the May issue.

Owner Drew Ross is calling it Drewish Deli, a play on his name.

The idea of opening a deli started germinating several years ago when Ross went in search of a good bagel. Like other like-minded entrepreneurs in the area, he decided to make his own bagels “because I needed a good one and couldn’t find one,” he said.

Ross grew up in Los Angeles and moved to the Bay Area in 2005. His family origins are in Brooklyn, and his ex-wife is from Connecticut, so he said he knows from good bagels.

His operation began as a cottage food business in 2018 with wholesale accounts. But once the pandemic hit, those accounts dwindled. He had already been selling the bagels at a few farmers markets, so he went that route, applying to get into more locations. “Farmers markets saved my business,” he said.

Over time, his offerings expanded to include bagel dogs, knishes, lox, pastrami and more.

Last year, he took a leap and negotiated a deal to open a brick-and-mortar deli at the space formerly occupied by Wildflower Saloon. “I worked in restaurants as a struggling musician, but I don’t have any formal culinary training,” Ross told Sonoma Magazine. “I just love food.”

He hopes to open in July. I travel for deli, Jewish or Drewish, and I will bring you a full report once it’s open.

A recent feature on Berkeleyside’s Nosh about the East Bay bagel boom included one that somehow escaped my notice. The Kaz Bagels pop-up has been around since last summer.

Mark Bowen says his bagels are an approximation of a New York bagel in the 1970s. “They’re crunchier on the surface than the two that I consider the best in the East Bay,” he said. “They’re a little bit chewier, and malty but not too sweet.”

He credits his Polish great-grandmother for the recipe, though he had to create it from memory. “As a boy in the 1960s and ‘70s, I would eagerly await her fresh, crusty, chewy bagels on the weekends,” he recalls on his website.

“While the flavor was good,” Bowen told J., “ultimately, it was the texture that made them so good.”

Bowen makes plain, white sesame, black sesame, everything, poppy, caraway, salt, salt and pepper, and nigella seed bagels. His schmears include garlic/onion confit, smoked salmon, scallion, and tikka masala and avocado to go with the nigella seed bagels.

Kaz Bagels are sold Sunday mornings starting at 9 a.m. at Gioia Pizzeria, 1586 Hopkins St., Berkeley, and are available until they run out. For information, visit the Kaz website at kazbagels.com.

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."