Matthew Segal seems a little in disbelief that his self-taught bagel biz has turned into the pop-up of the summer. Though Loxsmith has been a passion project since 2016, it didn’t really blow up until August, when Segal launched a month-long Saturday-only bagel pop-up at Montana in Capitol Hill—the first one sold out in well under an hour, while Seattle mag staffers were still eagerly waiting in line.
Segal’s bagels—48-hour fermented and lye-boiled, in an old-school method he researched the hell out of—will have a more permanent home come spring (permits and build-out pending, of course) when he moves into a new Ballard location near the intersection of NW Ballard Way and NW Dock Place. It’ll be mostly production kitchen, where he’ll be able to fill the wholesale requests that have been pouring in, but there will be a walk-up window to order bagels and a few sidewalk tables (when weather permits) to enjoy them at.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that folks went bananas over his bagels—not only are bagels (and Jewish deli food in general) having a pretty major moment here right now, but Segal’s are no ordinary bagels. He describes Seattle’s bagel scene as “mediocre at best. It’s all about the lifestyle of the place, not the bagel itself.” His, he says, are meant to be enjoyed on their own or in their more traditional role as a vehicle for cream cheese and the house-cured lox he built his name around. His flavors, he says, were developed on the fly, largely improvised and improved upon over the last month of pop-ups. But he says he’s dialed in these six that customers can expect: seaweed sesame; Szechuan peppercorns, black pepper and salt; everything (punched up with fennel and caraway); roasted beet with nigella seeds; charcoal poppyseed; and onion (“You need an onion bagel or you’re not a bagel shop.”) He’s been playing around with pumpernickel, adding cocoa powder and espresso and molasses. And he says he developed an egg bagel that folks have most closely compared to that quintessential New York bagel experience.
This last part isn’t at all what Segal is going for, by the way, but it’s a natural comparison. He moved to Seattle in 2001, not from New York but from Miami. And he’s aiming to improve on the bagels he loved there as a child; if it also gives New Yorkers a bit of a taste of home, that’s a bonus, “but not what I’m trying to do,” he says.