After two years of slinging breakfast sandwiches from rickety trucks, Matteson Koche's El Bagel has secured a permanent location at 6910 Biscayne Blvd. with plans to open later this year.
The new space will join Phuc Yea, Blue Collar, and Jose Mendin's recently opened La Placita in the MiMo District. Koche's six-ingredient bagels, free of the conditioners and preservatives found in many modern renditions, burst onto the scene two years ago while he was still working a day job as an engineer.
And like his unfussy bagels, expect simplicity from his permanent spot. It will consist of little more than an L-shaped counter with a few tables inside, joined by a few more on a patio. The menu will hold true to the 27-year-old's focus on bagel sandwiches, which have garnered a cult-like following via classics such as bacon, egg, and cheese ($10) and lox supreme ($12), alongside funkier creations like the King Guava ($9), with its namesake marmalade, potato sticks, cream cheese, and fried egg; and the Que Fancy, a collaboration with Itamae that features an everything bagel with wasabi cream cheese, salmon rose, cucumber, microgreens, shaved red onion, and dill. Bagels can be ordered open-faced, which in truth is far superior to the unwieldy sandwich.
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"We'll be able to expand the menu a little bit to do catering and dozens, and we'll be open five or six days a week," Koche says. "I want to do more seasonal stuff, mix around with some cream cheeses, add some new bagels to the menu. I want to do an onion bagel. I want to do an egg bagel. And we'll be able to obviously make a lot more bagels than we make now."
At the moment, Koche and a motley crew bake around 500 bagels a weekend, mostly for sandwiches, when his truck — which will remain active — is stationed outside Boxelder Craft Beer Market Saturday mornings and Vice City Bean Sundays.
If you follow El Bagel on Instagram, you know the ominous SOLD OUT sign emerges after only a couple of hours. People have driven from Broward County for Koche's creations. Two weekends ago, customers waited out in the rain for them. Some patrons have even become friends. It's bagel magic, baby.
El Bagel. Various locations; elbagel.miami.