By Becky Raspe
Cleveland Heights bagel lovers are set to get a new option – and one that happens to be kosher – when Nubeigel opens this summer.
Headed up by chef and baker Josh Admon, Nubeigel’s entire concept and vibe are encapsulated in its name, he told Jstyle. With the old, European spelling of bagel and the Jewish word “nu,” Admon says as a proud Jew, he was keen to incorporate both the cultural aspect of his business as well as the theme he wants to carry through it.
“The name itself really says a lot about what I’m trying to do in general,” says Admon, 41. “It came about because people were asking what I was doing and when I would open (a business here). And when I realized I wanted to open a bagel shop, I felt some internal resistance to say that. People have this notion and idea of what a bagel shop is. And while it’s not going to be this radical, new idea, I want to treat (Nubeigel) a little differently.”
After growing up in Los Angeles, Admon lived and worked throughout Europe and settled in Israel for 15 years. While living in Jerusalem, he created, owned and ran a coffee and pastry shop at the Shuk. He moved to University Heights with his wife, Raquel, and their five children less than two years ago with the plan to come back to America and settle in a family-oriented city.
He says similar to his shop in Jerusalem, he’s going for a “very authentic, raw, noncommercial – real type of feel,” for Nubeigel.
“It’s this idea of the traditional quality, paired with a fun, new approach,” says Admon, who attends services with his wife and children at a congregation that meets at Beatrice J. Stone Yavne High School in Beachwood. “People look at bagels as this mass-produced and bulk product, banging out as many bagels as we can get. This is more like a craft product, doing smaller batches.”
He’s aiming for the feel of a coffee shop, with an open kitchen so patrons can see the action. It will serve bagels, schmears and sandwiches, with a focus on quality. Coffee will also be emphasized and Admon is now looking at local roasters.
“I will have a little bit more fun – I’m not going to stick to the rules,” he says, adding he also will feel out what customers want.
Implementing his experience with baking, he’s using, “natural fermentation and yeast, a cold-proofing fermentation process that has a lot of benefits physically and adds a lot of taste and texture to the product,” to create his bagels.
As someone who keeps strictly kosher, Admon says one of the reasons he decided to open a bagel shop is because the product is inherently kosher itself. He is already exploring local kosher certification, but wants the customers to understand that being a kosher shop isn’t the focus for him.
“I didn’t want to get into this business as a kosher restaurant,” he explains. “The idea is that I am building a business and opening my doors to as many people as I can. I really respect and gain a lot of diversity from different people. Nubeigel is a bagel shop that happens to be kosher, not a kosher bagel shop.”
The diversity aspect of the business was one of the reasons he chose Cleveland Heights. The bagel shop will be at 2254 Lee Road.
“I wanted something that has a lot of life,” he says. “I feel like things here are missing a little bit of beat. You’d never go into a bagel shop and get a playlist you’d hear at a bar. I want people to come – whether they’re here for two minutes or 20 – and enjoy the warmth. And I chose Cleveland Heights because of that – I love funky, authentic places. I like soul. I am a very uncommon person by nature, and I felt like (Lee Road) had a lot of character. You don’t find that a lot.”
While there is a lot of work ahead for Nubeigel to be ready for its projected early summer opening, Admon says it all boils down to the sheer excitement he’s feeling.
“I am most excited about just being out there again, creating and meeting and connecting with people,” he says. “I always found that with my work and career, that is where I can really be myself. Let my hair down and just be me. It’s been a year and a half since we left Israel and since my last job, and I’ve really been missing that. I love to cook and create, and overall building communities and connecting people.”
– Editor Amanda Koehn contributed to this story.