Pigeon Bagels is ready for takeoff. The machinery is in, construction is complete and the sweet smell of savory bagels is noticeable.
The small-scale kosher-certified bakery opened this week, and owner Gab Taube said they’re ready for the bagel rush.
“On day 1, we’ll be pushing 1,800 bagels, with hopes,” said the Regent Square resident (whose last name means “pigeon” in German) prior to the opening.
There will be plain, sesame, everything, garlic and poppy seed bagels, along with various schmears and homemade cream cheese to choose from. Most days, customers will be able to select from about five offerings on the menu as well as other à la carte items. If choices seem limited, it is because they are.
“We may have less options than other places. It’s very purposeful,” she said. “We are being reasonable with our abilities.”
Taube previously rented space and equipment from A’Pizza Badam in Mt. Lebanon to cook the bagels. Now she’s moved the business to a permanent storefront at 5613 Hobart St. in Squirrel Hill, at a site that previously housed Nu-Life Cleaners & Shirt Laundry. Parking is scant and the venue is small, but customers who flocked to farmers markets and local cafes to get Pigeon Bagels in the past will find similar contentment inside the brick-and-mortar space.
“We went from being a table in a tent to a little bigger,” said Taube. “It’s actually not so different from our farmers market size, but indoors and much classier.”
Given the layout and takeout nature of the enterprise, customers get a chance to observe the artisanal operation up-close. Opening the door to Pigeon Bagels basically places customers right in the mix, watching as Taube’s eight employees prep, bake and serve.
Freshly baked bagels dotted with seeds and seasoning rest on racks, while dough mixes nearby. Menu options include dairy and vegan selections, such as herb schmear, Nova and smoked carrot lox. They’re all choices that will be familiar to Pigeon Bagels fans, as will be the locally sourced java and veggies: Redhawk Coffee from Oakland and produce from Tiny Seed Farm in Allison Park.
Pigeon Bagels’ relationship with Redhawk has been symbiotic. “I’ve been selling them bagels. Now I have an opportunity to buy their coffee.”
As for the microgreens, herbs, radishes and beets, Taube said, Tiny Seed Farm is “a small local farm that has the best vegetables,” said Taube. “We were neighbors at Bloomfield Market.”
Eventually, cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers will come from Tiny Seed Farm as well, she added.
Although those with a penchant for planting know the time for tomatoes is ripe, Taube is not forcing her shop to be “strictly seasonal” with its offerings.
“Since I can get good stuff from a farmer, I do base the menu off of that,” she said, but it won’t be entirely dependent on their availability.
Taube is excited to allow a larger demographic to enjoy her work, especially now that Pigeon Bagels is certified by the Vaad Harabanim of Greater Pittsburgh.
“It was really important to me to have a restaurant to serve the community,” she said, explaining the decision to get certified, adding, “and [I have ] my own interest in being able to provide food for my family that keeps kosher.”
Pigeon Bagels is open Wednesday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. PJC
Adam Reinherz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.