Starting a business in the midst of a global pandemic is nerve-wracking enough, but when you’re also positioning yourself in a brand-new industry after losing your job – it’s one nail biting venture.
Bagel cafe, Beigel began back in 2020, after owner Rick lost his 20 year-long job in corporate sales. As he fell further into a hole of anxiety, depression and burnout, the pandemic was also just taking hold and Rick became extremely unwell.
“It was the worst time of my life,” he began. “I had a breakdown and it was my wife that made me realise that I couldn’t carry on this way.
“I’ve always been passionate about cooking and entertaining and I wanted to regain my life back, so creating bagels seemed like a good place to start. I just thought why not? I didn’t do much research, but knew that I wanted to create bagels that had fillings that were a little bit different to what you’d find elsewhere.”
Beigel started to take shape when Rick began experimenting in his kitchen, keeping busy by working with flavours from around the world. He was taking inspiration from social media, keeping track of a bagel restaurant in Egypt, alongside all of the famous spots in New York – and he began to regain his love again for the kitchen.
Beigel was running out of Rick’s house, and not much has really changed since then – apart from the fact that he’s now found himself a permanent site to sell his jam-packed circular bread right in the heart of Salford’s bustling Media City.
“I approached the guys at Media City early last year asking if there was a chance I could set up a pop up stall. They got back straight away and I was down there in the space of a few weeks.
“It was around the time that the Van Gogh Live exhibition started, too. I was maybe a bit naive going into it, I thought I’d be selling a few coffees and a couple of bagels, but the queues soon started to build up and I had lines of customers every single day! It was incredible.”
Rick was there from October 2021 until January this year, and after the evident success of his short stint, Media City offered him a permanent spot which opened back in May 2022.
Rick sources his bagel from Barbakan Deli, an award-winning continental bakery and delicatessen based in Chorlton. They are then filled with an assortment of knock-out flavour combos that are all locally sourced, and some homemade by Rick himself.
You’ll find a classic BLT on his menu, alongside Hot Salt Beef, Brisket, Smoked Salmon from Manchester Smokehouse and a couple of vegetarian and vegan options, too. The Mozzarella bagel comes with lashings of Rick’s homemade pesto, which, in itself, will have you coming back for more.
He also stocks a range of cakes and bakes from BB’s Kitchen, Cotarelli’s, Brownie Owl, The Flat Baker and Manuela Quesada – which can be paired with his coffee that comes from local coffee roasters Man Coco.
“The aim of the business is to create a safe space for people to come down to, one where they don’t even have to buy anything from me – if they just want to chill out or find a person to chat to they’ll feel comfortable enough to do that here.
“In the future I’d also love to host wellbeing events and yoga classes, as that’s definitely helped me during my recovery. There’s also a small unit on the side of our venue that would be a great place to host podcasts, so if that’s something we’re able to do in the future, that would be amazing!”
Beigel is a business set up to do more than just provide a delicious lunchtime alternative. With mental health at its forefront, Rick has crafted a business out of hope – proving that there’s always some, even in your darkest days.
Beigel’s Christmas / New Year opening hours are 9.30am – close, which is no earlier than 6pm. The restaurant will be back open and serving from Tuesday 27th December.