The latest entrant into the D.C.-area bagel wars recently brought Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood a new shop selling rounds stuffed with beet-cured salmon and blending six flavors of cream cheese, including cheddar-bacon, raspberry-ginger, and a preserved lemon with dill.
Bagel Uprising (2307A Mt. Vernon Avenue) opened about two weeks ago on the sleepy neighborhood’s main drag. Stomping Ground chef-owner and resident biscuit maven Nicole Jones partnered with self-taught bagel maker Chad Breckinridge to open the shop, giving the IT lawyer a permanent home for bagels that first blew up a few years ago at the Four Mile Run Farmers Market before fueling popular pop-ups at Dairy Godmother and (now-closed) SnackBar.
Breckinridge brings bagel expertise while Jones, a Georgia native, adds Southern, Middle Eastern, and Eastern European twists while taking an opportunity to explore the Lithuanian side of her heritage. Jones says the shop isn’t equipped to cook egg-filled breakfast sandwiches, so she developed the bacon-cheddar bagel as a suitable alternative. She blends Benton’s bacon and Hook’s cheddar with cream cheese to form a mixture that seems like a short leap from pimento cheese.
In addition to a seasonal cream cheese — Jones expects an apple cinnamon flavor to replace the raspberry-ginger — Bagel Uprising offers other spreads such as tahini, salty butter, and apple-lingonberry jam.
Six bagel sandwiches ($7 to $10) include a Classic (Ivy City smoked salmon, tomatoes, capers, onion, spread) and a Veg Out (cucumber, avocado, tomato, pickled radish, sprouts, spread). A Delish Whitefish mixes the deli staple into Jones’s special dill spread, which incorporates preserved lemon, lemon zest, red roe, and both fresh dill and dill seeds. A Fowl Mood combines smoked turkey and Muenster cheese on a poppy seed bagel.
Jones says a surprising early favorite for customers has been a cinnamon bagel that Breckinridge first developed for his kids. Breckinridge dredges boiled bagels with a 50-50 mixture of cinnamon and sugar before baking them. Customers have taken to ordering them with butter and peanut butter.
“The cinnamon and sugar kind of make a crunchy coating on the outside, with an extra toasty flavor,” Jones says. “It’s very much cinnamon, not cinnamon-raisin. Chad is not an advocate of putting any type of fruit into bagels.”
The shop is selling drip coffee from Counter Culture along with bottles of Yoo-Hoo, milk, and juices.
Jones cautions that Bagel Uprising is still easing into opening. The shop has been selling out of bagels every day and has to sort out some electrical issues before it can ramp up production through its conveyor oven. Eventually, she’ll turn to her Lithuanian grandmother’s recipes to add a couple desserts: kolache cookies made with a cream cheese dough and a yeasted honey cake.
Bagel Uprising is open six days a week (closed Tuesdays). Weekday hours are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. or whenever the shop sells out. It opens at 8 a.m. on weekends.