The Twin Cities is known for its thriving food scene, from tried-and-true hot dish iterations to Instagram-worthy outdoor brunch hotspots.
But sisters Jen and Kate Lloyd saw a hole in local dining options.
“Having grown up here in the state of Minnesota, we always wondered why we couldn’t find a bagel locally that we loved,” Kate Lloyd said.
So they set out to make one themselves. After months of in-home test cooking and farmers’ market tours, Rise Bagel Co. — an old world-style, organically-sourced bagel shop co-owned by the Lloyd sisters — now occupies a shop in the Minneapolis North Loop neighborhood, just a few blocks from the Target Field light rail stop.
“We spent six months in my kitchen on a top secret mission, trying to develop a bagel recipe that we liked to eat,” Jen Lloyd said. “We always had the end goal of having a retail shop, but we reeled that in a little and thought it would be smart to test the product first before we invested in a storefront.”
One of the other vital steps of perfecting the Rise bagel was going on a bagel road trip to answer all their burning bagel baking questions: What’s the best size for a bagel? Should both sides be topped? Is it the New York water? (The Lloyd sisters don’t think so, by the way.)
“We of course started with New York City,” Jen Lloyd said. “It was a good way for us to try a bunch of different bakeries [and] different bagel shops and hone in on the ones we like.”
The resulting bagel was somewhat of a hybrid of the New York classic and the Montreal-style, which is typically a sweeter bagel that’s topped on both sides.
“[Our bagel] is crisp, and it’s chewy,” Kate Lloyd said. “We top it on both sides. … A lot of bagels today are really big and oversized, but you’re not going to eat one of our bagels today and feel weighed down all day.”
Many bagel chains offer an extensive menu of bagel flavors, often catering to sweeter tastes with cinnamon-sugar and chocolate chip toppings. Longtime fans of the classic everything bagel, however, Jen and Kate Lloyd chose to stray from sweeter options.
“We call ourselves bagel purists. We love classic bagels. Plain, salt, sesame, poppy, everything – you’ll find [those] here every day,” Kate Lloyd said.
Sweeter cream cheeses, like lemon blueberry and buttercream frosting, can satisfy any sweet tooth stopping at Rise Bagel Co., however.
And, like the house-made bagels, Rise Bagel Co. puts their own touch on their cream cheese offerings by buying cream cheese bases and whipping fresh fruit and other toppings in-store.
The brick-and-mortar Rise Bagel Co. location opened in June, and the Lloyd sisters find the North Loop location to be a perfect home.
“We like the fact that [North Loop] is continuing to grow. We like that there are apartments and condos, and that there are sidewalks, so it’s walkable,” Kate said. “We love the old wood feel, [with] the timber beams and the exposed brick.”
Jen and Kate Lloyd find that their business is aided by their sisterhood — not only do they share a vision for Rise Bagel Co., but they also find it easier to work through issues.
“[There’s] much more honest and open communication and feedback than with a colleague,” Jen said. “There isn’t a lot of BS-ing. You know when someone isn’t happy.”
Despite the excitement of opening Rise Bagel Co.’s first retail shop, the Lloyd sisters are returning to their roots by going back to the Kingfield Farmers Market on Sept. 24.
In the more distant future, however, Jen and Kate Lloyd want to see Rise Bagel Co. spread across the Twin Cities.
“We want to elevate the bagel experience. Right now, we’re only reaching this chunk of Minneapolis, but we want to reach more, whether it’s [through] grocery, catering [or] another storefront,” Kate Lloyd said. “We see lots of potential, and we’re excited to make headway on it.”