After a series of much-hyped pop-ups, Bullfrog Bagels has finally found a permanent home at Jewish-Irish tavern and deli Star and Shamrock on H Street NE. Bagel guru Jeremiah Cohen expects it to open sometime next week. (Stay tuned for the exact date.)
"Had we known Jeremiah four years ago, this would have been Star and Shamrock right from the get-go," says the tavern's co-owner Mark Menard. "We couldn't find anybody with his skill set to make these amazing bagels in D.C. at that time. I think we all know D.C. is barren of good bagels."
Menard and co-owner Mike Schuster had never met Cohen before Bullfrog Bagels launched. "I saw the Cork pop-up and I was like, 'I've got to get there. I've got to get there,'" Menard says. He called up Cork, and they told him they were sold out for the next day. He called the next day; they were sold out again. Menard finally connected with Cohen through local bar owner Joe Englert and eventually was able to try the bagels when Bullfrog popped up at CakeLove on U Street NW. "It's all tremendous, and it kind of makes us step up a notch," Menard says.
Now, a corner of Star and Shamrock's bar has been converted into a bagel counter, which will be open from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. everyday except Sunday. A ledge along the window will have bar stools where you can sit with your Zeke's coffee and a paper while they chow down on New York-style bagels and bialys.
The new venue and a new large professional mixer will allow Cohen to greatly ramp up production. "During the pop-up, we were maybe able to do 800 bagels a day," he says. "I think our goal is to get up to 1,500." Cohen promises he will still continue to hand-roll all the bagels, which will come in everything, onion, plain, sesame, poppy, and salt flavors. A cinnamon raisin bagel is also in the works. (And don't forget bialys.) Guests will also be able to preorder in advance online.
The morning menu will include bagel sandwiches, including one with whitefish salad and another with liverwurst, mayo, and onion. (You also won't want to miss Cohen's pastrami-style smoked salmon and other schmears.) You can even accompany breakfast with some early morning drinking. Star and Shamrock will sell bloody marys with smoked-salmon vodka as early as 8 a.m. on weekdays and Saturday and 10 a.m. on Sundays. Star and Shamrock's lunch and dinner hours will continue to be the same.
But Bullfrog Bagels isn't just a restaurant within a restaurant; it's a collaboration. Star and Shamrock's menu will incorporate many of Cohen's creations in its lunch, dinner, and late-night menus. Expect to find bagel sandwiches—like a Reuben on everything—and three types of bialy pizzas, including one with a big meatball in the center and probably another with egg. "I have this theory about bialy dough," Cohen says: While some claim that the bialy is similar to an English muffin, he thinks the dough is more similar to that of pizza. (After all, he worked at 2Amys.) Cohen is still playing with the size of the bialy pizzas, but the personal-sized pies will be bigger than the average bialy. He also plans to introduce his "Baltimore brisket" based on a recipe from his great aunts. And to go with it all, Star and Shamrock has been building up its Irish whiskey collection and plans to do more cocktails with Jameson.
If H Street NE is a little out of your way, you will also be able to find Bullfrog Bagels in Northwest D.C. Cohen is looking to sell his doughy rounds at Little Red Fox. The Connecticut Avenue NW market and cafe will be the only place carrying the bagels outside the H Street NE shop. For now.
Photo of Jeremiah Cohen, Mike Schuster, and Mark Menard by Jessica Sidman