An assortment of bagels wait to be purchased in this undated photo at The Bagel Shop in Homer, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Mikela Aramburu)

An assortment of bagels wait to be purchased in this undated photo at The Bagel Shop in Homer, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Mikela Aramburu)

Let them eat schmear

The Bagel Shop aims to reopen this week

Homerites who have been missing their customary morning bagel and schmear from The Bagel Shop have only a few more days to wait — the restaurant is reopening this week in a limited capacity.

The Bagel Shop had been among a handful of Homer businesses waiting to reopen, or reopen fully, in the wake of the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic. K-Bay Caffe on Pioneer Avenue remains closed, and Two Sisters Bakery in Old Town has kept their doors closed but offers options for bakery orders, and now sells baked goods through the Alaska Food Hub.

Opened in its current location at the intersection of East End Road and Kachemak Drive, The Bagel Shop was started in 2013 by co-owners Mikela Aramburu and Gabe Chapin. Aramburu said reopening during the summer tourist season felt overwhelming, and that getting back into the kitchen when the focus can be on serving locals feels more ideal.

“I guess it feels like we are kind of … prepared with more information about how to be a business during this time,” she said of choosing to reopen now.

The Bagel Shop is set to open for orders this Friday for Saturday pickup, Aramburu said, barring any unforeseen delays. The plan is to have two days a week — Tuesdays and Fridays — for customers to place their orders of food, for pickup on the following days — Wednesdays and Saturdays.

The shop will open from around noon to 3 p.m. on the pickup days for customers to come collect their orders. Aramburu said The Bagel Shop is currently re-working its website to offer an online ordering system where customers pay ahead of time. She said customers can also make food orders by email and pay in the shop when they are picking the order up.

At first, Aramburu said she and Chapin will offer just the basics: bagels by the dozen or half dozen, a selection of schmear by the tub, and rotating soups by the quart. There will also be a lox platter option. As time goes on, Aramburu said The Bagel Shop will expand and begin offering more food options.

“We would love to get most of our staff back in there and be able to do a to-go business that’s more spontaneous,” she said.

That could look something like having customers come up to a window to get their to-go order. Expanding to meals and sandwiches as part of to-go food service will be the next phase of reopening for the shop, Aramburu said.

She and Chapin have looked to the likes of Two Sisters and the Alibi Bar & Cafe for examples on how to reopen and offer to-go service. Eventually, Aramburu said they’d also like to re-start the coffee bar at The Bagel Shop as well.

“Gabe and I, you know, really, really are committed to the locals … in this town, and they’re the bread and butter for us and are really why we love doing business here year-round,” she said.

The Bagel Shop Facebook page will be updated biweekly with new menu items available for ordering. Aramburu said customers can check the Facebook page for information on when the online ordering system goes live.

She and Chapin were scheduled to head back into their kitchen on Wednesday to get cooking for the first time since closing early on in the pandemic.

“This is just a way for us to really kind of get back in there so we can figure out how we can be more fully operational in the near future,” Aramburu said.

The Bagel Shop will not be taking food orders over the phone, but Aramburu said people are welcome to call with questions and she will do her best to get to them, at 907-299-3228.

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

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