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Call Your Mother Tweaks Menu After Getting Slammed on Its First Weekend

No more latke production for now

A bagel sandwich at Call Your Mother. Rey Lopez

The lines of people snaking around the block simply shocked Andrew Dana. Call Your Mother, the bagel shop that Dana and his partners describe as a “Jew-ish” deli, had opened just days earlier, and Dana figured this past Saturday and Sunday would be a leisurely time for what he envisioned as a casual neighborhood hang in sleepy Park View. “Not in our wildest dreams did we think the turnout was going to be as crazy as it was this past weekend,” Dana tells Eater.

The crush of customers was so intense that Dana and chef Daniela Moreira, a 2017 Eater Young Gun, elected to close the shop yesterday and today to recuperate from two days of non-stop operations. They’ve also decided to tweak the menu to better satisfy a voracious crowd.

One major change — no more latkes, at least for now. The early surge of customers convinced the team to put a hold on fried potato pancakes until they can stock enough to make sure they never run out. “We can’t make 400 latkes in a day,” Dana says. “We don’t want to make people mad after waiting in line. We’re switching to sort of a hash brown thing for now.”

They’ve also scrapped what Dana calls “menu fillers,” like plain turkey and tuna sandwiches, due to what he calls “sky-high” expectations. Now, “everything is something that we’re super, super proud of,” he said.

Beyond typical opening week challenges, two members of the kitchen staff didn’t show up for the Saturday shift. That forced Moreira to work the line and Dana to bake bagels in the hot-pink Marra Forni oven, something he says he’s never tried before. “That’s the industry, baby,” Dana says.

Andrew Dana, shown here at Timber Pizza in Petworth, had to cover the bagel baking station on a busy Saturday at Call Your Mother.
Timber Pizza Company/Facebook

The top sellers so far at Call Your Mother have been the Shyne, a breakfast bagel sandwich featuring bacon or pastrami and touched up with spicy honey, and the Amare, a vehicle for candied salmon cream cheese, cucumber, crispy shallots and micro radishes.

Although Call Your Mother bagels first launched — and quickly sold out — at farmers markets around town this spring, Dana says that small sample size couldn’t have prepared the staff for their first full weekend of operations. He says the brick-and-mortar shop will continue to be closed Mondays for the first few months and will potentially shutter Mondays and Tuesdays for the first few weeks.

The quiet bagel shop Dana thought he’d be running hasn’t materialized, but Dana stresses that he loves the response Call Your Mother is getting. “I think we’re still sort of like pinching ourselves to see if this is real,” Dana says. “It’s pretty surreal. But it is pretty awesome to see the excitement and see people lining up before we open...It sort of makes us want to work harder.”