Rosenberg's Bagels and Delicatessen, the creation of finance-manager-turned-bagel-man Josh Pollack, got rolling in Five Points this week. The grand opening won't be celebrated until Saturday, July 26, but the place is already drawing a crowd -- and with good reason.
Pollack got his start in the bagel business at Gather, but has had his eye on Five Points for nearly two years. "I've always seen Five Points as just sitting here waiting for someone to come in and do something like this," he says, adding that he dreamed of opening his own spot on the northern edge of the neighborhood's namesake five-point intersection. "That corner kind of stuck out like a sore thumb."
But connecting with a landlord on Welton Street took months, even though buildings sit empty there. "I never thought it could be so hard," he admits. He finally connected with his landlord, pediatrician Renee Cousins King, after months of daily calls, and signed the lease after six months of courting.
Most of the Welton Street property owners he contacted had inherited the buildings and weren't particularly interested in real estate management. King's father, Charles Cousins, had owned the building, and she lost him and her husband, who'd worked in real estate, within months of each other; then got burned by a big developer. She just didn't have time to deal with the property, Pollack says, until he finally badgered her into meeting.
Pollack hopes that his business might further push the revitalization slowly happening on Welton Street. In the meantime, he appreciates the neighborly feel of the area. Five Points seems safer than Colfax or LoDo, which is important when you have early-arriving employees, he points out: "At 3 a.m., it's so quiet here, you can hear a pin drop. It's really cool having the family vibe. I don't think you get that on Colfax or in LoDo."
The vibe at Rosenberg's is cool, too. It has two entrances, one on Welton and another on 26th Avenue -- both of which are currently unmarked as Pollack waits for the city to approve exterior signage. And there is plenty of seating at the deli's long counter and fourteen tables, sided by bright orange and muted gray vinyl booths.
Pollack's bagels are truly New York-style. He created his version after working in New York bagel shops and getting water samples from New York and New Jersey water- treatment centers to re-create the correct molecular water structure. The trick is using the right water and baking method, he explains: The perfect bagel is a "roll with a hole," when patrons can't tell the bottom from the top.
Pollack started with four flavors and now has twelve, but says he's still perfecting his bagel. "We're the only one doing it now, but we know we won't be forever. When competition comes in, what will set us aside will be what we put on our bagels," he says.
That's why the Rosenberg's menu not only includes a standard breakfast bagel sandwich with egg, cheese and meat, but also multiple cream cheese flavors and other spreads -- he'll be adding a caviar cream cheese soon, Pollack says. Four types of fish are smoked in-house. And then there's the Frenchie, a "gourmet McGriddle," Pollack says, with day-old bagels French-toasted and served with egg, meat, cheese and maple syrup.
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Breakfast is served all day, and at 11 a.m. Rosenberg's starts rolling out deli sandwiches and true kosher deli pickles. Rosenberg's is open from 6 a.m. through 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and closed Monday.