Acclaimed Providence Bagel Shop Rebelle Is Coming to Cambridge
Plus, restaurateur Ken Oringer and pastry chef Monica Glass have a Central Square bakery and café in the works.
Bad news for Providence but great news for carb lovers in Cambridge: Acclaimed Rhode Island bagel shop Rebelle is moving to Kendall Square later this year, the company announced today. It’s a homecoming of sorts for founder Milena Pagán, a James Beard Award semifinalist, who was born in Puerto Rico, but came to Cambridge at 17 to earn a chemical engineering degree at MIT.
Pagán has put those science skills to use as a self-taught baker, experimenting with bagels and perfecting her two-day process, which includes a 24-hour cold-proofing stage to let flavors develop via slow fermentation. The result? A pop-up-turned-bagel-shop that can’t stop getting attention for its crunchy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside bagels; creative spreads (beet, dill, and horseradish cream cheese, anyone?); and other fun treats, like pop tarts. “Every child’s and big kid’s dream come true,” says Rhode Island Monthly of the latter, which come in flavors like apple pie, brown sugar and cinnamon, and seasonal specials. Also in Pagán’s repertoire: brownies (“a little girl cried over these,” per the Rebelle menu); “junk cookies” stuffed with corn flakes, marshmallows, and chocolate; deli staples like house-cured lox (try the pastrami spice version!) and smoked bluefish pâté; and a handful of sandwiches. Fans will find a similar menu when Rebelle relocates to Cambridge, and it’ll include vegan, dairy-free, and nut-free options, as well as a full range of espresso offerings. Lighthouse Kosher will supervise kosher certification of the bagels, spreads, and lox.
“I’m excited to go back to Cambridge and be a part of the food scene in Kendall Square,” says Pagán, via press release. “I’m forever grateful to the Providence community for supporting my dream of becoming a food entrepreneur for the last six years. Cambridge was my playground in my college years and I have a lot of love for the city … it feels like the logical next step to continue experimenting and innovating with our bagels in that market.”
Pagán also owns a Puerto Rican café, restaurant, and bakery called Little Sister in Providence; it will remain in operation there.
Meanwhile, Rebelle isn’t the only bakery coming soon to Cambridge. In case you missed the news earlier this year, restaurateur Ken Oringer (Toro, Coppa, etc.) is reuniting with the award-winning pastry chef Monica Glass, who worked at Oringer’s late, great Clio. (Her resume also includes a stint at New York’s three-Michelin-starred Le Bernardin.) Together, they’ll open Verveine Cafe & Bakery at 298 Massachusetts Ave. in Central Square, just a few blocks from Oringer’s restaurant Little Donkey, later this fall.
The forthcoming café is named for Oringer’s daughter Verveine, with whom he recently published an America’s Test Kitchen cookbook, Cooking with My Dad, the Chef. Verveine Oringer was diagnosed with celiac disease a few years back, and the book is entirely gluten-free. Oringer’s newest restaurant, Faccia a Faccia (previously called Faccia Brutta), even has a dedicated gluten-free kitchen for making pasta. Chef Glass, too, has celiac disease and bakes under the tagline “free of gluten, full of life.” While the duo hasn’t shared many details about the forthcoming spot, it’s a fair assumption that there will be some incredible gluten-free options on the menu. It’s unclear if these particular items will be gluten-free, but the Globe’s prior coverage mentions potential dishes such as kimchi egg Danishes, fried strawberry chamomile doughnuts, and cream biscuits with maple pepper bacon and scrambled eggs, while Eater Boston mentions ube brownies, and we are here for it all.