Attention GW students: a new bagel shop is in town.
D.C.-chain Bullfrog Bagels opened in Western Market on Monday, bringing Foggy Bottom its freshly handmade bagels and 18 “bagelwiches” made of egg-and-cheese breakfast classics and hearty lunch sandwiches including a house-smoked salmon, reuben and BLT menu items. The on-campus opening marks the establishment’s fourth location in the city alongside Eastern Market, H Street Corridor and a food truck in Tenleytown, joining GW Deli and Call Your Mother Deli as one of the premiere bagel destinations in the neighborhood.
Jeremiah Cohen, who founded Bullfrog Bagels in 2014, prioritizes high-quality ingredients – curing, brining, smoking, braising and slow-roasting all meat and fish products served on the menu. Bullfrog Bagels fills a gap in the Western Market breakfast scene where most vendors cater to the lunch and dinner crowd, aside from the relatively small sandwiches and pastries at PAUL.
Upon entering the shop, the carefully drawn, rainbow-colored menu on the classic blackboard hanging above the register captivates your attention. The wooden features adorning the store and the welcoming service from the staff seamlessly blend Bullfrog Bagels with the rest of the vendors in the market. The inviting aroma of everything seasoning that wafts from the counter and through Western Market is irresistible alone, but the artisan bagels – which D.C.-based staff ship to Foggy Bottom after hand-rolling and boiling them every morning – are even more enticing.
The menu is split into two sections: the bagels and the “bagelwiches.” The classic bagels ($2 for one, $24 for a baker’s dozen) range from savory – sesame, everything, poppy, salt, onion, asiago, multigrain, plain and a vegan onion-poppy – to sweet – cinnamon raisin, blueberry, pumpernickel and everything pumpernickel. The sandwiches ($5.70-$10) combine proteins, veggies and spreads for an impressive array of choices.
Customers can also choose from a hefty selection of add-ons, divided into four categories – spreads, proteins, veggies and cheese. Bullfrog Bagels features a tempting selection of six delectable cream cheese flavors from jalapeno to honey-walnut and spreads such as jam, hummus and sriracha mayo.
It didn’t take me long to settle on the Oriole – a mouth-watering combination of Baltimore braised brisket, muenster and au jus nestled between a soft yet crispy everything bagel. The friendly recommendation of the cashier was all the extra incentive I needed, making me feel like a cherished guest in this haven of sandwich delights.
From the moment I took my first bite, I knew that I had made the right choice. The bagel was perfectly baked to a crispy golden hue on the outside but was soft, fluffy and airy on the inside. The flavor explosion from the tender and juicy brisket paired with the melted muenster cheese truly sent my taste buds into overdrive. The nutty, buttery flavor of the cheese was a mild contrast to the strong smokey notes of the braised brisket. The bagel absorbed the au jus – gravy made of meat juices – taking me back to those gravy-dunked rolls on Thanksgiving. The everything bagel elevated the dish as a whole, adding notes of garlic, salt and nuttiness to the flavor profile.
Every bite was pure bliss, and I couldn’t help but savor every last morsel. It’s not surprising that this bagel shop has cultivated a devoted following in the D.C. area with establishments like Foxtrot, Emissary, Dacha Beer Garden and Politics and Prose all selling their bagels. As they turn a new page with their new location, Bullfrog Bagels is poised to win over a legion of new fans who will soon discover the magic that has made the business such a standout in the D.C. food scene.
While some people spend their entire lives chasing the elusive notion of a perfect romantic partner, isn’t it refreshing to know that when it comes to bagels we know we can find the perfect one just blocks away? Bullfrog Bagels may just be the missing piece you’ve been looking for all along.
This article appeared in the March 9, 2023 issue of the Hatchet.