Love + Bagels = Kismet Bagels’ Incoming Fishtown Storefront

Kismet Bagels will open at 113 E. Girard Ave. in early 2022.

There is an update to this post: From a Pop-up to a New Bagel Shop

Love + Bagels = Kismet Bagels' Incoming Fishtown Storefront - Photo 1
Photo: Official
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For husband and wife Jacob and Alexandra Cohen, everything is kismet. Well, at least important things, like their marriage and bagel business. Kismet Bagels started as a way to help people during the pandemic and, through a series of seemingly serendipitous events, has culminated in their very own Fishtown brick-and-mortar, which will open in early 2022, pending approval at a Jan. 26 local zoning board meeting.

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“It was kismet that Jacob and I even opened this business, and that’s how we feel about opening our own shop. We can’t wait to have a permanent home,” Alexandra said in a press release.

The 540 sq. ft. bagel shop at 113 E. Girard Ave. will have breakfast and lunch options. Kismet Bagels will sell a variety of homemade bagels and schmear flavors, as well as breakfast and open-face sandwiches, bialys, salads, Moonraker Coffee Roasters drip coffee, fresh-squeezed juice, homemade iced tea, and their Damn Near Everything seasoning mix. Customers will be able to add a latke to any sandwich for $2 or enjoy fresh-baked bread loaves from Sam McNamara, as well as fresh pastries by Pastry Chef Erica Pais.

At Kismet Bagel, you’ll find unique gourmet creations like a Jalapeño Cheese and Cacio e Pepe bagel, a Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Bialy, or their French Onion Soup Bialy, which they sometimes partner with other locals businesses to craft. Kismet Bagels also hosts bagel-making workshops and sells their bagels and schmears in various Pennsylvania stores like Di Brunos Bros., Rally, and Steep and Grind.

“The thing we love so much about this is that the options for being creative are endless,” Jacob told What Now Philadelphia.

Fate seems to have its hand in both the Cohens’ personal love story and the building of their business. Their grandmothers were Philly friends from back in the 60s or 70s, and their parents became friendly as well.

“I had a big crush on her as a kid. We spent a couple of summers hanging out down at the shore in Margate when she was 5 or 6, and I was 7 or 8,” Jacob said.

Twenty years went by where the two lost touch, though they still had fond memories and would mention each other to family members from time to time. Jacob moved back to Philly in 2017 and ran into Alexandra’s grandmother, who more than gently encouraged him to call her granddaughter, who was living in L.A. at the time. Coincidently, Jacob was flying to L.A. the following week. The two began talking pretty much non-stop every day. About three weeks after their first reunion, Alexandra left L.A. to move in with Jacob in Philly. The rest is beautiful history.

“We started making bagels last year mid-April because, like everyone else, we were bored,” Alexandra explains. “One day, I was like ‘Let’s make bagels,’ and they were the best bagels we’ve ever eaten.”

The couple, who live in Northern Liberties, wanted to do something to help others during the difficult lockdown period and posted on a local Facebook page that they were looking to donate their bagels to healthcare workers. Someone asked to buy their bagels so that the Cohens could instead donate the money, and from there, they had their first 30 orders with people making pick-ups outside their row house home. They later got a call from the Northern Liberties Business Improvement District offering a kitchen space and a place to host their first pop-up shop. They decided that the first pop-up event would benefit Project HOME, which provides housings for homeless individuals and families in Philly.

“We were literally sitting there trying to think of a name [for the business], and all of a sudden ‘kismet’ just popped into my head, and I was just like ‘This makes sense.’ We were getting all this traction out of nowhere, and everyone was always saying how we got together was kismet, so it stuck,” said Alexandra.

Since then, Kismet Bagels went on to host pop-ups all over town, partnering with various small businesses and raising money for local charities. After their 15-month-old puppy Dude passed away from a rare cancer, the Cohens joined forces with UPenn’s Ryan Veterinary Hospital to start the Dude’s Deeds project, a fund to raise money for veterinary care for those who can’t afford it. Kismet Bagels has raised about $5,000 for Dude’s Deeds so far. The Cohens say they plan to continue hosting pop-ups and charitable events, like food and toy drives, once their storefront opens and will continue donating portions of proceeds to local nonprofits that directly benefit their Philadelphian neighbors in true “City of Brotherly Love” style.

“That’s really how we started, wanting to help people at the beginning of the pandemic. That was the impetus of us starting to make bagels and wanting to bring positivity and comfort during such a crazy time. When we decided we actually have a business here, we wanted to stick with how we got started, and that’s how we want to continue to grow,” the couple says.

Learn more about Kismet Bagels at kismetbagels.com.

Love + Bagels = Kismet Bagels' Incoming Fishtown Storefront - Photo 2
Photo: Official
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D.G.

D.G. Sciortino is a journalist, digital media specialist, and founder of Westchester Woman. She has over a decade of experience and has been published on sites like Patch, Reader’s Digest, and Sweet and Savory. D.G. is a fan of comedy and rock and roll and loves crafting works of fiction that inspire love and humanity.
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