Next-Generation Bagel Wars

A new crop of Portland bagelmeisters enters the fray.

By Benjamin Tepler February 27, 2013

The Bagel Wars are far from over. As we continue our search for Portland’s Holey Grail, Eat Beat has discovered two new contenders boiling bagels under the radar. Both sling hand-rolled, small batch rings cast under the New York School of Bagelry. 

(Left) Blackheart Bagels, (Right) Rescue Bagels

Blackheart Bagels

These chewy wonders debuted at the Buckman Farmer’s Market in 2012, then disappeared for a time. Like many bagel-creatives in this town, owner Bethany Venooker draws her inspiration from a New York childhood punctuated by bagel nostalgia. She recently set up shop in a run-down 8’ x 8’ kiosk on NE Sandy and 23rd Avenue, just a block from The Ocean micro-restaurant complex.

Venooker pounds her doughy rounds with unusual toppings, from the “Spicy” variety coated with a heavy hand of roasted red pepper flakes, black sesame seeds, and garlic to a za’atar-capped version with herbaceous aromas of oregano and thyme. Boiled and baked with local Shepherd’s Grain flour, these rings are chewier than most with a crunchy, pale exterior for a serious incisor workout.

Blackheart Bagels
2240 NE Sandy Blvd

Thurs-Mon, 6am-until sold out, 8am on weekends
Also available at Aliviar Coffeehouse (4128 NE Sandy Blvd), Rain City Coffee (2035 NE 41st Ave), Whole Foods Market (Hollywood Location Only)

Rescue Bagels
Perched on the street corner of SW Columbia and 6th Avenue, Rescue Bagels is the newest food cart entry in the hard-boiled arena. Another ex-New Yorker, owner Kevin Lawler bases his bagels on the archetypal blueprint, and hopes to “rescue” Portland from its dearth of reliable carb-bombs. On Monday March 4th, Lawler will expand his growing business into a second location, taking over the Cool Harry’s Yogurt cart on SW 10th and Alder and giving Rescue Bagels total downtown bagel domination.

Rescue’s is a puffed, elastic bagel with a chewy, crunch-less crust. You’ll find the standard sesame-everything-poppy at Rescue’s cart, with some bold cream cheese statements, from bacon-scallion to a sweet, pink-tinged strawberry spread. Expect bagel-driven lunches of pastrami, corned beef, and smoked salmon in addition to Rescue’s eggy breakfast offerings.

Rescue Bagels
SW 6th and Columbia and starting Monday, SW 10th and Alder

Mon-Fri, 7am-1:30pm; Sat, 9am-12pm

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