Cambridge’s bagel scene is about to get a little bigger: Black Sheep Bagel Cafe is on the way to 56 JFK St. in Harvard Square, run by two Cantabrigians intent upon bringing bagel sandwiches, coffee, and pizza bagels to their neighborhood.
Black Sheep is the work of Shoshanah Garber and Manny Ramirez, who saw a need for a locally-run bagel shop in Harvard Square that provided a break from franchise brands (like Dunkin’ Donuts). Their aim: to serve quality bagels and provide a gathering place for the community.
“There are very limited places to get a bagel around here, and that seemed crazy,” Garber said.
Once the seed of the bagel cafe idea was planted, Ramirez saw it as an opportunity to bring together his passions for both bagels and coffee. He brings to Black Sheep his experience at Central, a gastropub in Newton, where he’s been able to test-run some potential menu items for the cafe. Black Sheep will have space for people to sit, eat, and do work if they want.
The menu will include 10 to 12 bagel varieties — from everything, poppyseed, and marble bagels to gluten-free options as well — and there will be a heavy emphasis on bagel sandwiches made with assorted spreads, veggies, and more.
“We have something for everyone,” Ramirez said.
That includes pizza bagels. While Ramirez and Garber have several options in mind, there will definitely be a pepperoni version. The duo is also working to finalize a coffee provider.
“All of our partners are going to be local vendors from the Greater Boston area,” Garber said. “It’s very important to us to stay as local as we can.”
Ramirez and Garber are currently building out the space while they await a hearing for their license on April 11. Ramirez’s carpentry skills will appear in the restaurant’s booths, tabletops, and anything else he can get his hands on. The floors will also be painted, and there will be a small patio out front with seating for four to six people. The cafe could be ready to open in May, licensing and inspections permitting.
Black Sheep will be open for breakfast and lunch, and Ramirez and Garber also plan to open the space for pop-ups and special events in the evenings. Stay tuned for further details on an opening timeline, and until then, revel in the adorable sheep logo, which Garber and Ramirez crowdsourced through 99 Designs, and prepare for an influx of “#baaagels.”
And in the meantime, satisfy any pizza bagel cravings at Katz Bagel Bakery in Chelsea — which may be the birthplace of pizza bagels — or at Levend Bagelry at the Boston Public Market downtown. And there’s also pizza at a bagel shop: Rabottini’s Pizza pops up at Bagelsaurus in Cambridge on Fridays at noon.