A Hole New World

Nate’s Bagels offers online ordering and subscription service in Richmond.  

“I’m not trying to make a New York bagel,” says 33-year-old Nate Matthews. “This is a Richmond bagel.”  

So what makes it a Richmond bagel, you ask?

The recipe features unbleached flour, seeds, sea salt and malt instead of white sugar or corn syrup, and no artificial preservatives. Matthews and his crew ferment the dough (which gives the bagels that chewy texture), roll them by hand and then kettle-boil them (resulting in a crust that you don’t get with steamed bagels). The final step is baking in the oven on stone rather than metal pans.

“Every city’s different, the water has different minerals. Plus it’s crazy humid here in Virginia, so my recipe is a lot different than someone who makes bagels in New York,” says Matthews. “And tastes are different. There’s a lot of depth of flavor there, and I think Richmond appreciates that.”

Matthews, an Old Dominion University grad who worked as a civil engineer, launched his business, Introducing Nate’s Bagels, earlier this year. It is Richmond’s first bagel subscription service.

There’s no storefront yet, but you can place orders online for pickup at either Blanchard’s Coffee Roasting Company at 1903 Westwood Ave. (Wednesdays 8:00-10:00 a.m.), JM Stock Provisions at 1531 W. Main St. (Fridays 4:30-6:30 p.m.), Union Market at 2306 Jefferson Ave. (Thursdays 4:00-6:00 p.m.) and Outpost at 4813 Forest Hill Ave. (Fridays 5:00-7:00 p.m.). Matthews keeps extras on hand to sell individually at Stock (though he recommends getting there early if you didn’t order ahead of time), and he sets up a booth at the Birdhouse Farmers’ Market (Tuesdays 3:00-6:30 p.m.) at 1507 Grayland Ave., behind the Randolph Community Center.  

“It’s efficient,” Matthews says of the business model. “I’m able to connect with customers and develop relationships.”

Right now bagel varieties include plain, salt, sesame and everything, while cream cheese is available in four flavors: plain, olive, scallion and blueberry. Matthews has also served up specialty bagels in the rainbow and sourdough variety, plus black and gold pretzel bagels in honor of VCU events, so keep an eye on the Facebook page for updates about limited-time options. NatesBagelsRVA.com, Facebook.com/NatesBagelsRVA 

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