a tray full of everything bagels
Hella Bagels! (Photo/Instagram @hellabagels)

Hella Bagels will fill a hole in Albany, while Shakshuka Saturdays shake up S.F.

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

Hella Bagels is the latest pandemic pop-up that will become a brick-and-mortar shop.

Blake Hunter of Oakland started Hella Bagels as a side hustle, J. wrote in June 2020. Hunter had no food experience at the time but had grown up hearing about the mystical New York bagel and set out to make his own.

“At this point, it’s been about two years where I really just told myself that ‘this is it’ and started learning about baking, the science and all the nuances,” he said back in 2020. “I went all-in on bagel culture and the education, and I’ve grown and learned so much.”

The J. story about Hella Bagels mentioned another pandemic-created gig: Ethel’s Bagels in Petaluma, which has recently been transformed into Ethel’s Delicatessen.  

Hunter’s shop is projected to open in December in Albany, the San Francisco Chronicle reported last week. The Chronicle noted that Hella Bagels quickly became known for selling out as soon as weekly orders went live on Instagram. Later, Berkeley’s Hidden Café began to sell them.


In other Bay Area food news, Saturday brunch has been renamed Shakshuka Saturday at Charmaine’s Rooftop Bar, part of San Francisco’s Proper Hotel, with all-you-can-eat shakshuka, the savory dish that includes eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes. 

The $30 brunch will run from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the summer. Chef Jason Fox is behind the shakeup. J. featured Fox in a 2021 story about tapas. He is also executive chef of La Bande and Villon, both of which are part of Proper Hotel.

Finally, she had left the Bay Area years ago, but Marlena Spieler was a beloved local food writer who had worked for the San Francisco Chronicle and wrote numerous cookbooks. She died July 7 at age 74.

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."