An everything bagel with chopped liver at Beauty's Bagel Shop.
An everything bagel from Beauty’s before the acquisition by Wise Sons. Photo: Sarah Han Credit: Sarah Han
An everything bagel from Beauty’s before the acquisition by Wise Sons. Photo: Sarah Han Credit: Sarah Han

Two of the biggest names in Jewish food in the Bay Area are joining forces.

Oakland’s Beauty’s Bagel Shop has been acquired by the San Francisco-based Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen, with Beauty’s owners, Blake Joffe and Amy Remsen, joining the Wise Sons team as culinary director and director of training and community engagement, respectively.

The merger will allow Wise Sons to expand to the East Bay.

According to Evan Bloom, a co-founder of Wise Sons, and Joffe, it’s a win-win for both parties, especially since they’ve been friends and helped each other along the way for nearly a decade.

“Ultimately, Wise Sons gets a chance to expand into a new market and add some incredibly talented operators in Blake and Amy, along with their long-existing team,” said Bloom. “We also get to bolster our existing recipes with what they have created over the past eight years.”

Joffe and Remsen opened the original Beauty’s on Telegraph Avenue near 38th Street in Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood in 2011, and opened a second location at 1700 Franklin St. in Oakland’s Uptown neighborhood in 2018.

Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen co-founder Evan Bloom. Photo: Maren Caruso
Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen co-founder Evan Bloom. Photo: Maren Caruso

With the coronavirus and the upheaval it has caused throughout the food industry, Beauty’s had closed both locations, though the Telegraph Avenue store was open for weekly pickups. It reopened quietly this month, selling certain Wise Sons staples, including babka and pastrami, along with the bagels.

Bagel obsessives noticed on Instagram that something was afoot before the merger news was announced, as the bagels looked different. Gone is the wood-fired oven that defined Beauty’s Bagels for the past eight years.

“The wood-fired oven was very taxing physically, and we couldn’t produce the amounts of bagels we wanted with it,” said Joffe. They have since moved over to a convection oven with multiple racks. While Beauty’s initially came on the market with a bagel influenced by Joffe’s family’s connection to Montreal, it later changed, and Joffe said with the merger, it will change further still; a new recipe is under development, that will be an integral part of the Beauty’s Wise Sons brand.

“We really want there to be a crispy crust on the outside and a chewy center, like we’ve always wanted,” said Joffe. “We’re still tweaking things a little bit, but are pretty happy with what we’re getting right now.”

Joffe said the original Beauty’s location will still be called Beauty’s Bagel Shop, but the Uptown location will become a Wise Sons operation when it reopens in September.

“Beauty’s will live on, which was not a sure thing with the pandemic, and they benefit and gain some stability from our infrastructure and systems,” said Bloom. “Selfishly, I get to work with some of my best friends in the world, and their life gets a little less stressful.”

Added Joffe: “It really seemed to make sense, as we helped them and they helped us. It’s been a very symbiotic relationship from the start.”

A version of this article first appeared in J. The Jewish News of Northern California

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Alix Wall is an Oakland-based freelance writer. She is contributing editor of J., The Jewish News of Northern California, for which she has a food column and writes other features. In addition to Berkeleyside’s...