The Detroit Institute of Bagels — the beloved Corktown bagel shop that shuttered at the height of the pandemic — is making its comeback in the Motor City. Fans of the boiled-and-baked gems, gourmet schmears, and monstrous breakfast sandwiches will have a chance to be reunited as soon as January inside the former Ochre Bakery (4884 Grand River Ave #2B) and Astro Coffee outpost, both of which closed their doors in May.
Owner Ben Newman tells Eater that he’s waiting for a new bagel oven to be delivered this winter before recipe testing and service resume, but to start, customers will be able to place grab-and-go orders. Eventually, the plan is to be able to sell bagels to other businesses interested in feeding their staff, as well as provide an on-site dining experience, complete with a menu of Jewish staples Newman refers to as the Noshery, which will include classics like matzo ball soup, pastrami, and loaves of rye and challah. To drink, Newman says his team is currently developing its own blend and roast.
“We have, I think, a better business strategy now to kind of face the world as it is, then when COVID[-19] started, it felt like a lot to adjust day to day when COVID first started, to try to figure out how to operate a business that just doesn’t have that much wiggle room,” says Newman. “A lot of people have kind of concluded that it is very hard to do successfully. But I feel pretty confident that with how we’re organizing things, we’ll hopefully be set up for success there.”
The former DIB spot is now occupied by family-owned James Oliver Coffee Co., which opened its doors in October 2021.
The Detroit Institute of Bagels closed permanently in July 2020 following a series of infrastructure mishaps and a surge in COVID cases nationwide. Newman told Eater at the time that he had been working on a years-long plan to expand the shop’s footprint between its Corktown building and neighboring PJ’s Lager House (which has since been sold).