Little Shop of Bagels, Wake-N-Bagel offer a hearty nosh
For anyone still in the dark about Francesca Fericano’s freshly baked specialities, it’s time to wake up and smell the bagels.
Since last summer’s debut of Wake-N-Bagel as a Medford storefront serving takeout while producing its flagship product for grocers’ freezer cases, fans don’t have to trek to Ashland’s Little Shop of Bagels — or even leave the comfort of home.
Stop into Wake-N-Bagel on Delta Waters Road for organic bagel sandwiches or toasted organic bagels with sweet and savory spreads and toppings. Or grab a 4-pack of frozen Wake-N-Bagels at locally owned grocery stores and Market of Choice for baking fresh and enjoying your way, anytime.
Fericano, who founded Little Shop of Bagels in 1994, cited the success of frozen pizzas and frozen croissants for her development of Wake-N-Bagel. When a gas leak in 2019 sparked the purchase of several toaster ovens for Little Shop of Bagels, Fericano knew her idea was solid. She proved it at the 2020 Specialty Food Association’s Fancy Food Show, where Hiker Wake-N-Bagels won “gold sofi” and “new product” awards in the breads category.
Fericano’s version of an “everything bagel,” the Hiker has been a mainstay at Little Shop of Bagels tucked into a corner of the former Ashland Street Cinema complex on Ashland Street. Employing most of Fericano’s staff, the original shop does a brisk business, including taking orders online, which picked up during pandemic restrictions on indoor dining.
Craving a breakfast sandwich and coffee on a recent weekday in Ashland, I noted Little Shop of Bagels’ early bird appeal. At 7 a.m., many of Ashland’s popular eateries are still an hour or two from opening. I drove an extra few minutes to Little Shop of Bagels for a lox sandwich and “eggel bagel.” I requested the lox open-face ($14.45) on a hiker bagel and the eggel with two organic eggs ($7.95) on a spinach-kale bagel.
At least four other customers’ orders were ahead of mine, affording time to sip a 16-ounce coffee ($3.20), brewed from locally roasted Griffin Creek Coffee Roasters beans. Lamentably, the coffee was tepid, which dramatically diminishes my enjoyment, particularly when it’s the first cup of the day. But given the kitchen’s hectic pace to fill orders, I didn’t want to complain or give up my seat at one of just a couple of tables outside the front door.
When my order did arrive, the lox sandwich actually was served closed, requiring an extra step to distribute a smaller quantity of toppings between the bagel halves, one apiece for me and my partner. The flavors were classic and fresh with tomato, red onion and capers, although the lox had more gray fat around its edges than I prefer. Lox also is available as a “schmear” mixed with chives and cream cheese on any bagel for $5.95.
The eggel was hearty and dense with a generous slab of pepper jack cheese smothering each over-hard egg. A spinach-kale bagel toasted and spread with sundried tomato cream cheese is my longtime favorite Little Shop of Bagels nosh. I could have purchased the bagel for $1.25 and the side of cream cheese for $1.90 to assemble later at home. Prepared in the shop, a bagel with flavored cream cheese costs $5.
Spreads run the gamut from organic butter and margarine to jam and peanut butter to Tofutti, hummus and cashew spread, priced from $1.60 to $3.50 as sides. Toppings can be as veggie — including avocado, sprouts and cucumber — or as meaty — natural ham, organic turkey and tuna salad — as customers like.
The turkey and tuna salad both tempted me and my partner when we stopped into Wake-N-Bagel a week or so later in between afternoon errands. Staff who aren’t mixing, blanching and packaging by hand about 2,200 bagels in a shift man the front counter, preparing menu items to go. The Medford store also accepts orders online. And Wake-N-Bagels purchased at the source are discounted by more than $1 per package, compared with buying at the supermarket.
A grassy lawn bordering an office complex beckoned us, bagels in hand. There’s nowhere to sit indoors or out at Wake-N-Bagel, but the location is handy to any number of retailers and professional buildings.
The open-face turkey melt, like the eggel, reposed under a thick mantle of cheese. Choosing Swiss this time, I wished the cheese had been slightly browned and caramelized. But pesto, organic tomato and red onion lent plenty of flavor to the poppyseed bagel.
Similar veggies composed the tuna salad bagel, although it came with lettuce instead of the locally grown sprouts that my partner requested. Wake-N-Bagel’s preparation of tuna is so subtle that it almost could be mistaken for chicken salad, augmented with some diced carrot. As with so many of its ingredients, however, Wake-N-Bagel selects the most health-conscious, eco-friendly choice, in this case line-caught tuna.
Browse the entire menu and place orders for Ashland and Medford locations at wake-n-bagel.com.
At 1644 Ashland St., No. 5, Little Shop of Bagels is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. Call 541-488-0718.
At 1590 Delta Waters Road, No. 100, Wake-N-Bagel is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays. 541-690-1221.
A Medford winery estate’s take on the traditional salmon bake fetes Memorial Day.
Salmon roasting on stakes over an in-ground fire pit is the holiday spectacle on the terrace at DANCIN Vineyards from noon to 7 p.m. Monday, May 31. Reserve at dancin.com/Salmon-Bake/
The fixed menu, priced at $49 per person, includes a choice of three salmon entrees — spinach salad, pizza or a burger — two side dishes, dessert and a curated wine pairing. Reservations are required.
With their entrees, guests will sip one of DANCIN’s 2018 pinot noirs. Side dishes are potatoes roasted in black garlic salt and grilled corn and poblano salad. Strawberry rhubarb crumble bars with whipped cream constitute the dessert course.
DANCIN is at 4477 S. Stage Road. Call 541-245-1133.
A food truck cooking up a taste of the islands is serving alongside The Oregon Cheese Cave in Phoenix.
Haas Caribbean Craft Kitchen has a spot from noon to 5 p.m. every Saturday outside the store at 310 N. Main St. Haas prepares Caribbean recipes, including Haitian, Puerto Rican and Creole. Its owners hailing from the Dominican Republic, Haas usually does business at 1211 E. Jackson St., Medford, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays.
Haas’ small rotating menu has boasted guava pork ribs, peanut chicken and Dominican-style beef meatballs in sofrito sauce, typically served with rice and green salad, priced from $12 to $15. Delivery is available through Grubhub, or order ahead by calling 541-414-4776.
Gearing up for reopening, The School House Grill in Jacksonville has jobs available for kitchen and dining room staff, including general manager.
Resumes and letters of interest can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org for cooks, servers, bussers, dishwashers, runners, host and barback. The School House is the centerpiece of the multifunctional campus, known as BK Crossing, located at Bigham Knoll and owned by Brooke and Mel Ashland.
Earlier this spring, BK Crossing solicited chefs, restaurateurs and entrepreneurs to open a new eatery alongside other food and beverage purveyors on the campus. The opportunity came with a turnkey kitchen fully stocked with equipment. Management said they would support a unique dining concept or an expansion of existing restaurant operations, including at The School House Grill.
The Rogue Grape wine bar and bottle shop recently relocated operations to BK Crossing from downtown Medford, its owner citing opportunities for growth and safely serving guests amid pandemic-related restrictions. Originally a German restaurant, The School House Grill closed in mid-November.
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Sarah Lemon has relished the Rogue Valley’s dining scene for nearly two decades as one of the original contributors to Tempo’s dining column. Her palate has helped to judge some of the region’s culinary competitions and festivals. The former editor of A la Carte, the Mail Tribune’s weekly food section, she writes a biweekly column, The Whole Dish, and blogs and podcasts under the same name. Listen at mailtribune.com/podcasts and read more at mailtribune.com/lifestyle/the-whole-dish. Follow @the.whole. dish on Instagram, @thewholedish on Twitter or see facebook.com/thewholedish.