Exodus Bagels Coming to Jamaica Plain
Adam Hirsh is like a modern day Johnny Appleseed, but with bagels.
If you’ve been following Hirsh’s Instagram or Facebook accounts for his Exodus Bagels project, you know this all too well. For over a year, the longtime Jamaica Plain resident has been dedicating his spare time to mastering the art of making authentic New York-style bagels. Even better than the rotating selection (sea salt, sesame, everything, and poppy seed) or the hand-kneaded quality of his rounds though? The price.
Until this point, Hirsh has given away every single bagel he’s made, going as far as delivering them right to the door of interested parties.
“Before this, I had never baked before,” Hirsh says. “I’ve done a lot of cooking, but never baked. Some of my first batches were just embarrassing. But that’s why I’ve numbered every batch: just to monitor my progress. I haven’t charged for one bagel. On social media I’ll post whenever a new batch is coming up and whoever claims them first can either pick them up from my house, or I’ll do deliveries. I’ve delivered as far as Needham, and not accepted money. People pay me with their feedback.”
The days of gratis bagels are coming to an end though. Hirsh recently left his day job as a bartender and manager at Pomodoro in Brookline Village, a position he held for over a decade, to dedicate himself full-time to his bagel mission. He’s sought help from more experienced bakers like Mary Ting Hyatt and even staged in her kitchen at Bagelsaurus. Finally, 58 batches later, Hirsh is happy enough with his large-batch consistency and quality to not only charge for his product, but to seek out a permanent storefront in his Jamaica Plain neighborhood.
“I’ve been living in the area for 12 years and have always wanted to open an all-day breakfast restaurant,” Hirsh says. “But I’m very finite about the geography of it; I want to open a place in my neighborhood. Before opening anything though, I wanted to make sure it was something people were willing to go say an extra mile for. Aside from being, a sentimental food, which most people have a story about, it’s also underrepresented in our city. We’re all very selective about the gluten we’re putting in our bodies nowadays, so if it’s not a good one, why waste your time.”
Currently, Hirsh is in negotiations to lease space in a Jamaica Plain pizza shop, where he’d make his hand-shaped bagels overnight, then sell them in the morning prior to the restaurant’s normal business hours. He says a Kickstarter campaign is in his future and he’s also been in talks to host a series of pop-up dinners at area restaurants like Mei Mei Street Kitchen.