Recently, much to the dismay of local bagel lovers, Artz Bagels suddenly shuttered. So where else can mourning bagel fans get their fix? Don’t worry, we have a solution.
This week NolaVie and My House NOLA sat down with Laura Sugerman, the creator and owner of Sugerman’s Bagels — a small-batch traditional NY-style bagel business operated out of a community commercial business in the Bywater.
Sugerman is a self-taught chef and entrepreneur who discovered her love of baking at a young age. Her love affair with baking turned from a personal hobby into a business venture when Sugerman attended college in Minnesota, where she found herself missing the NY-style bagels from home that she was used to. As a solution, she decided to make them herself. Soon enough, friends wanted to buy them, word of Sugerman’s superior product spread around campus, and Sugerman’s Bagels was born.
After graduating college, Sugerman collected her savings and moved to New Orleans, where she serendipitously stumbled upon the perfect community kitchen space in the Bywater, where rent was cheap and the space came furnished with all of the equipment she needed. The young entrepreneurial baker has been providing golden, perfectly crusty, yet chewy bagels ever since.
“How does Sugerman’s Bagels function as a cultural entity within the city?” we asked the baking entrepreneur.
“It is clear that bagels are not a traditional New Orleanian food; in fact, they are very distinctly a food from the Northeast,” she said. “However, as New Orleans is a continuously changing place — as people move here from all over the country — there is a need for comfort food from all over the country. When I started, most of the bagels were being shipped in frozen from NYC, but there was no reason why someone could not make them locally. So, I did! The more culturally diverse food options, the better, in my opinion. I also once sold banh mi bagels at the farmers’ market with Anne Churchill, and those were really delicious.”
As for the core of her success, Sugerman says it’s in her deep personal passion for bagels. Focus on producing a quality product that you, yourself would want to eat, and the people around you are bound to agree, Sugerman advises budding food-oriented entrepreneurs out there.
When she’s not noshing on bagels, Sugerman’s favorite places to eat in New Orleans are Pizza Delicious, Boucherie, and Dante’s Kitchen, but she wishes the city had a wider variety of brunch and lunch options — a personal observation she hopes to change. And in her home kitchen, the bagel goddess enjoys baking layered cakes.
As for future plans, Sugerman hopes to build and rezone her own deli and bakery.
Check back Thursday for a recipe for Sugerman’s ultimate bagel-topper: home-cured lox.
Take a bite out of Sugerman’s:
Bagels are available online: $13/dozen, $7/half-dozen. Flavors include: plain, poppy, salt, sesame, everything, garlic, onion whole wheat, cinnamon-sugar.
And coming up on April 17, Sugerman’s Bagels will be joined by My House NOLA and Good Eggs NOLA for a special Passover-themed pop-up dinner at the Good Eggs Warehouse (1746 A Tchoupitoulas) at 6:30 PM. Tickets ($35) include a 7-plate meal (matzo ball soup, brisket, deviled quail eggs, and more) and open bar.