Before Boss Bagels and Coffee debuted in August 2017, co-owner Christie Soileau admits she wasn’t sure what to expect. Preliminary interest didn’t seem to be overwhelming, but as soon as she and husband Brannon Soileau unlocked the doors on Labor Day weekend, they were greeted by a throng of customers.
“We made a lot of mistakes,” Christie told CultureMap. “There was not enough staff, but now we’re golden.”
That may be an understatement. The Alamo Heights shop is not only thriving after less than a year in business, but the Soileaus are already eyeing expansion. A wholesale business has taken off, and starting the week of May 21, San Antonians will be able to find their bagels at Local Coffee locations across the city. The couple is even eyeing locations outside of Alamo City, including plans to move into Austin and Dallas.
A bagel shop was always in the works for the pair. "Wherever we lived, we always said it would be bagels,” said Christie. When Brannon was transferred from the Culinary Institute of America’s Hyde Park, New York, campus to San Antonio, they finally got their chance.
It also allowed them to create their own style of bagel. The recipe for Boss Bagels is a hybrid-style inspired by the many cities the Soileaus called home while Brannon worked as a chef for the Four Seasons Hotel and an instructor at CIA.
The hand-rolled bagels start with a dough recipe in the New York style, but are cooked in a wood-fired oven — a hallmark of the Montreal style, known for a thinner and denser take on the pastry. Taking a cue from his South Texas home, however, Brannon first boils the bagels in agave water for a San Antonio twist.
That means that unlike bagels that are boiled in the traditional honey sweetened water, most of Boss’ offerings are vegan. The pair also accommodate plant-based diets by offering a trio of schmears made with tofu instead of dairy.
Although business is booming, Christie hinted that they are considering a brand-new concept. When asked for a teaser, she pointed to one of the things that makes Boss Bagels different — they smoke all their own gravlax, lox, and trout in house.