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Schlok's bagel pop-up that sold out weekly opening permanent shop

San Francisco Chronicle logo San Francisco Chronicle 4/12/2021 By Janelle Bitker

One of San Francisco’s most exciting bagel pop-ups is gearing up to open a permanent shop this summer.

Schlok’s, which debuted inside Pacific Heights bar the Snug last year, is taking over an old laundromat in the Lower Haight, just off Divisadero Street. The vision is a modern bagel shop with a tight menu of classic offerings: bagels with schmears, a few bagel sandwiches and bags of fresh bagels to-go.

“We’re very focused on the bagels themselves — we’re not trying to compete with Wise Sons to be a full-service Jewish deli,” said Zack Schwab, who owns Schlok’s with James Lok, a chef who previously worked at fine dining destinations Benu and the Restaurant at Meadowood.

Despite anticipating a hefty build-out, the owners hope to open by early September.

Fans of Schlok’s had a tough time scoring bagels by the time it wrapped up its time as a pop-up in March. The operation would put 450 bagels online for weekend pick-ups, and they’d completely sell out in as fast as three minutes.

That could have been a product of the New York Times igniting a bi-coastal bagel war — or San Francisco residents just developing a huge crush on the unusual hand-rolled bagels at Schlok’s. They’re about twice the size of many local New York-style bagels, with a delicate crust, chewy interior and strong, malty flavor.

Beyond the size, the bagels look distinct because Lok dips the bottoms in seeds instead of the tops for better adhesion. For the schmears, he places mix-ins like feathery scallions, smoked salmon belly and macerated strawberries on top of the whipped cream cheese for an artful look.

Schwab hopes to avoid the long lines that have characterized some other popular Bay Area bagel shops by instituting online pre-orders and QR codes — but it might be easier said than done, given he also doesn’t want customers to have to plan ahead for their weekend bagel outings.

Otherwise, the Schlok’s team is currently focused on sourcing equipment to create their ideal bagel bakery, capabable of producing thousands of bagels every weekend. First up is a rotary tray oven.

“It’s the classic holy grail of bagel ovens in terms of consistency and quantity,” Schwab said. “We thought our bagels were excellent toward the end of the pop-ups, but we think they can be even better with proper bagel equipment.”

Schlok’s. Opening in September. 1263 Fell St., San Francisco.

Janelle Bitker is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @janellebitker


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