How The Bagel Place in South Philly became the community place during COVID-19
Owner Ringo Roseman’s only thought throughout the crisis was the wellbeing of the surrounding neighborhood.
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Ringo Roseman always wanted to open up a quaint cafe where he could show off his bagel baking skills.
“A little bit about us is that we are a bagel and sandwich shop where everything from the breakfast sausage, to the roast beef, is made in-house,” said Roseman, owner and general manager of the Bagel Place, located in Queen Village.
The Bagel Place is a fairly new restaurant that opened up in 2017 and offers over 15 different sandwiches where cooks focus on quality and freshness.
“We make sure everything was accessible for people who come in, we have free Wi-Fi, big windows, I wanted it to have that cafe feel,” he said.
Beyond the atmosphere, the most important thing that Roseman wanted to have was an eclectic menu, where customers can feel free to try something new, but always have a classic twist on sandwiches just in case.
“If you look at our menu, customers can see that we have some really fun stuff that they should try out, but of course we have to have the basics like the tuna melt, and the grilled cubano sandwich,” he said.
Roseman also has classics like Matzo ball soup, chicken salad, and a lox special that is always made with the best ingredients.
“I always had an idea for what a bagel shop can be,” Roseman said. “I feel like people have great memories of a bagel shop that they grew up with, even if they didn’t necessarily grow up in a shop like ours.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, Roseman wasn’t automatically nervous for his business. Instead, he was concerned about the locals that didn’t have jobs anymore, which meant that they didn’t have money to buy food.
“It was very important from day one to have our business be a responsible contributing member of our community, like giving back,” he said.
When the Bagel Place opened its doors, Roseman had a $15 minimum wage for his employees.
He also always made sure that food products will be given to organizations to feed the local community members.
“We focus on inclusivity, like disabled populations, and once a week before the pandemic happened, where once a week we would donate our facility once a week so that ASL students can have their meetings,” said Roseman.
He is also connected with a number of different organizations that focus on helping single mothers and people who were out of work.
Much of those connections came from his wife.
“My wife is a social worker who kind of showed me all of the resources that are available to members of the community, I’m always learning more from her,” he said.
Roseman and his employees have donated meals and partnered with Cooks Who Care, which distributed more than 100 meals to restaurant workers who are out of a job in the Philly area.
“Obviously restaurant industry workers are some of the most essential employees,” he said.
Although COVID-19 restrictions are gradually lifting, there is no slowing down for Roseman and his staff at the Bagel Place.
“Our first priority is to keep our staff and our customers safe, but also provide the best sandwiches that they can have,” he said.
If you are in the mood for a pork roll egg and cheese sandwich on a homemade bagel, or a monte cristo sandwich, which is smoked ham, turkey, and swiss cheese on a french toast bagel, please support The Bagel Place by visiting their spot on 404 Queen Street.