By T.A. Hendrickson
After years in the planning and pop-up phase, Bagel+Slice has officially opened in Highland Park, occupying the coveted corner restaurant space in the Oxy Arts building on York Boulevard.
The owner and chef is Bradford Kent – co-founder of Blaze Pizza, a nationwide chain, and owner of Olio Wood Fired Pizzeria in Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles.
Bagel+Slice builds on Kent’s reputation for culinary quality and creativity, while also setting new standards for environmental and workplace practices. These include the use of locally sourced, regenerative organic ingredients and an ozone generating system to clean the restaurant’s air and surfaces as well as commitments to hiring employees from the local community at a starting wage above the minimum wage, keeping menu prices affordable by capping profits at 15% and partnering with Occidental College on composting.
In a profile in The Occidental campus newspaper, Kent, a resident of Eagle Rock, said that his drive to combine business with environmental protection and social change began some four years ago, when he was approached by Oxy Arts about the empty corner space.
As part of the process for acquiring the space, Occidental required Kent to write essays about how his business would benefit the community. The essay requirement led him to reflect on and rethink how his business could serve others, he said. An initial impulse to donate a share of profits to local charities grew into an approach that puts social good at the center of all aspects of the business, from the choice of ingredients, to the treatment of employees, the affordability of the food and even the disposal of food-prep kitchen scraps.
“I live in this community,” Kent told The Occidental, “So it is important to me that I give back to this community.”
To make the concept work financially, Bagel+Slice needs to sell 1,000 bagels and 200 pizzas each day, Kent recently told L.A. Eater, adding that he would be willing to streamline the menu for efficiency gains if needed but that he would not be willing to increase menu prices, pay workers less or source ingredients that are below his standard.
Bagels, served all day and starting at $4.75 (with cream cheese or butter), are the closest you’ll get to New York City without getting on a plane. They’re rolled by hand (not a machine), boiled (not steamed) and baked on a burlap lined board (not parchment paper) in a hearth oven (not a convection oven.) You can also buy fresh bagels for $2.85 each or $16 for a half dozen. Pizza starts at $3.75 for a slice; a whole cheese pizza is $24 (toppings are extra).