The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Boichik Bagels founder Emily Winston builds a minority-owned enterprise

Shiori Chen
Emily Winston, founder of Boichik Bagels, takes customers on a private factory tour. “Bagels just came out of my obsessive hobby to recreate the one I wanted to eat because it was gone from the world forever,” Winston said.

Early in the morning at the Berkeley plant of Boichik Bagels, the wafting scent of freshly baked bread brings in locals who file in line for the shop’s renowned New York-style bagels. This store is just one of Boichik Bagels’ three current locations

Emily Winston, a Jewish and LGBTQ+ woman and the owner of Boichik Bagels, is expanding her business by opening new Bay Area and Los Angeles locations. On a broader scale, her bagel six-packs are being sold wholesale across the state at over 10 establishments and online. 

“It’s fun to build an empire. I grew up playing nerdy video games like Civilization, and I’m doing that now with my own business. There’s the map of the world, and we can put our armies out there and conquer the planet with good bagels,” Winston said.

It seems unlikely that Winston’s background as a Cornell graduate with a degree in mechanical engineering would bring her to the Bay Area food scene.

However, after learning that her favorite bagel shop in Manhattan, N.Y., H&H Bagels, had been shut down, Winston embarked on an obsessive five-year-long journey to recreate their delicious bagels.

With encouragement from her friends, Winston began selling her homemade bagels. At first, she could only make nine dozen at a time due to the limitations of her home kitchen. 

“People from the East Coast told me these were amazing and that I should sell them. I started networking at events, talking to people, and learning about what it took to start a food business, which I knew nothing about beforehand,” Winston said.

Since the beginning, Winston’s bagels have been immensely popular. Following her pop-ups and launch at the 2017 Eat Real Festival in Oakland, Calif., Boichik Bagels has gained loyal fans.

“Right away, the answer was yes because people came running and said we want to buy them, and we want to buy more. I just sold out way too fast,” Winston said.

Some might see Winston’s previous lack of knowledge regarding entrepreneurship and vending food as a massive risk when starting a bagel business. Jennie Schacht, an original investor in Boichik Bagels, met Winston in a group of Jewish food professionals.

“Emily used to stop by our house to talk about various things she was thinking as she developed her business plan. She offered me and others a chance to invest. I believed in her and her idea,” Schacht said.

Noah Alper, another of Winston’s supporters, opened Noah’s Bagels in 1989 on College Ave. in Berkeley, Calif. After corporate shut down his original store, Alper insisted that Winston take his location.

“He called me and told me to take his old spot, so I did. It was a success from the day we opened it,” Winston said. 

Despite obstacles with opening up a location, media coverage has contributed to the business’s success. 

“A year later, the New York Times wrote Boichik Bagels up as being better than New York’s bagels, which was wild. Then, the lines were even longer, and so I decided it was time to plan expansion. The world wants more good bagels, and I’m an engineer, so now my job is figuring out how I can scale up this great bagel business,” Winston said.

Emily is an engineer and understands how to make a consistent product. She uses good ingredients. She develops good work processes. She works really hard. She involves people in her efforts and builds community. And she gives back.

— Jennie Schacht

According to the 2020 U.S. Census, approximately 20% of businesses are owned by minorities. 

“Minority-owned businesses are inspiring to those in their community because people can see a real-life example of someone being successful and making positive contributions,” said Julia Bissell, a junior at Carlmont High School. 

Boichik Bagels openly identifies as a woman, LGBTQ+, and Jewish-owned business. 

“I love her visibility and confidence. I am sure that Emily inspires other women and LGBTQ+ people by her example, and I’m sure she would help and mentor others wanting to chase their dreams,” Schacht said.

In addition to the local community, Boichik Bagels employees also appreciate the diverse business.

“I think staff members appreciate having a woman as a boss building all this from scratch and being successful in the world,” Winston said.

Growing up in a Jewish family, Winston ate bagels every Sunday. She delights in bringing the same source of comfort to Jewish families in the Bay Area with her traditional East Coast bagels.

“Everyone can build successful businesses. You can be in any minority group, and you, too, can build an awesome business,” Winston said.

Navigate Left
Navigate Right
About the Contributor
Shiori Chen
Shiori Chen, Staff Writer
Shiori Chen (Class of 2026) is a sophomore and a writer in the media arts program. She is interested in writing about news and cultural affairs. She enjoys making charcoal drawings, playing the saxophone, and running her club at Carlmont, Art Showcase Club. You can find her always either eating good food or watching Studio Ghibli films.  

Comments (0)

We invite comments and responses to our content. Comments that are deemed appropriate and relevant will be published.
All Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *