First Look: With a line up E Madison, Westman’s Bagels and Coffee opens

A long line at Westman’s. The good news? Lines for “Seattle-style” doughnuts were shorter than usual Friday.

Molly Westman

Just down the Hill from Temple De Hirsch Sinai and 2,800 miles from Brooklyn, Westman’s Bagels and Coffee opened for business Friday to a long line on a dark and drizzly morning in Seattle.

CHS wrote here about the project and quest to create a Capitol Hill “morning culture” from small-space food and drink entrepreneur Monica Dimas and baker Molly Westman. The duo spent the past year researching and perfecting recipes. “We now can tell a good bagel by just looking at the crumb,” Dimas said. The bagel arts, apparently, are closely guarded. “There are lots of secrets in the bagel industry,” Dimas told CHS in December, “and lots of disinformation from other bakers.”

Westman said her “secrets” include high quality ingredients and local sources including Willapa cream cheese. Westman’s also is planning to feature the best in alternative schmears including tofu cream cheese and a vegan schmear. You’ll pay $2.00 for a bagel. Add $2 for the cream cheese, etc. Expect seasonal options of lox and other types of fish Dimas has been exploring. Fridays should see challah bread available for purchase. The coffee is made with Caffe Vita beans with plans for beans for sale from New York’s Sey Coffee. Caffe Vita is also signed up to be Westman’s first — and for a time, only — commercial account.

The E Madison the 300 square foot shop was previously home to Manu’s Bodegita and neighbors the ultra-green Bullitt Center.

For its Friday morning debut, a line 20 or 30 people deep waited to be the first to try the new, slightly delayed bagel shop. By 9:15 AM, all that was left for sale were cinnamon currant bagels. New batches would be ready in about an hour, staff said. You can expect demand to regularly outstrip supply in the nearterm given Westman’s limited baking space. Good news is Dimas and Westman are already on the hunt for a larger shop to augment the E Madison counter.

Westman’s joins 12th Ave’s Eltana as Capitol Hill’s only dedicated bagel shops. Eltana opened in late 2010 and sold more than 2,000 bagels per day in its first year before expansion. Bagel chain Einstein Bros. shuttered on Broadway in 2016 while the much loved Bagel Deli closed its doors on 15th Ave E in late 2013. More bagels — plus pastrami sandwiches, knishes, and more — are coming. Dingfelder’s Delicatessen is planned to open at 14th and Pine by this summer.

Westman’s Bagels and Coffee is now open Mondays through Thursdays 7 AM to 4 PM and Fridays 11 AM to 6 PM at 1509 E Madison. You can learn more at westmansbagel.com.


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8 thoughts on “First Look: With a line up E Madison, Westman’s Bagels and Coffee opens

  1. Looks really stupid. Who has time to wait in line for a half an hour for a bagel? They don’t appear to be open on the weekends. Call me crazy but I really want my bagel on a weekend.

  2. Clearly more money in bagels than journalism.

    Can we get a pic of price list etc. how long before we reach peak bagel and hit $4

    If around portage bay, Little Lago does their own bagels although $1.50 each. But no line and you can sit in.

    • A sesame bagel with plain cream cheese is $4.95 with tax. Prices are not listed on the menu, even at Westman’s itself. As with all bagel places in Seattle, service is incredibly slow — they couldn’t even handle three customers this morning, so the hour-and-a-half waits were due to poor planning rather than high demand.

      I really wonder how Monica Dimas is a successful restaurateur. There’s a pattern of high prices, undue hype, and lack of service. Her fried chicken sandwiches at Sunset are expensive, slow, and so loaded with Stuff that they’re a chore to eat. Her tacos at Neon Taco are expensive and so oily that they fall apart in your hand. Her tortas at Condesa might be good, but the last time I tried to order one, I waited 45 minutes before it became apparent that they’d simply lost my order. After they failed to refund my money, I walked away and filed a dispute with my credit card company.

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