Dallas’ Oren Salomon has beamed bagels to this universe, first at his Starship Bagel in Lewisville and, since Jan. 20, at a Starship location in the middle of downtown Dallas with items also at Merit Coffee Co. at Preston and Forest. With Starship’s 10 kinds of bagels and nine shmears, Salomon is spreading deliciousness.
“Starship is a passion project through which I honor the Jewish experience and traditions. Lewisville has been good to us and now, downtown, we have lines down the block,” said Salomon.
Salomon’s bagels — plain, sesame, poppy, everything, cinnamon raisin, onion, garlic, za’atar, Italian and pretzel — and schmears — plain, scallion, garden veggie, jalapeño, lox spread, green olive, blueberry lavender and honey almond — are all made in-house. The bagels are vegan (except the egg bagel) and all nine shmears are available dairy or vegan (the latter made with tofu).
“Vegan and lactose-intolerant customers thank us for greatness, not just ‘okay.’ We created our own recipe, and it’s really good,” said Salomon.
Salomon uses only kosher ingredients. He hopes to someday become certified under Dallas Kosher and to also offer cholov Yisroel shmears. To do that, he needs the community’s help.
“I run my business, with intentionality, love and respecting kashrut. I truly want everyone to have access. I don’t, won’t, serve meat or treif. I respect the Vaad and their important work but I need supportive resources,” said Salomon.
Salomon, who sells his bagels and schmear wholesale, caters and can provide a pop-up of his full menu for any gathering. His model is different.
“Everything about us is not about a ‘typical’ sandwich shop. People have asked for cheese, egg and bacon on a bagel. We’re not an ‘on a bagel’ kind of place. It’s the bagel, and the cultural connection to our people. Pork is never going to happen here,” he said.
In addition to bagels and schmears, lox, pickled onions, avocado, tomato and sprouts, Starship Bagel’s fans clamor for the coffee. Crafted with an innovative vacuum extraction, the $5 large lattes can be sweetened with in-house created syrups — nothing from a bottle.
“Lavender is a big hit. If you add vanilla bean flavor from us, you’re going to see the bits of the bean. Many of our ingredients are organic,” Salomon said.
Fans of Starship Bagel include Congregation Kol Ami’s Rabbi Geoffrey Dennis and Dallas-resident Laurel Fisher.
“Oren serves anything but a roll with a hole. We’ve waited a long time for a true bagel and everyone, from all walks of life, is appreciating it. Oren is a blessing. What he’s brought to us, and now downtown, is a mechaye,” said Dennis.
Fisher made the hour-long roundtrip trek to Starship Bagel in Lewisville many times.
“They’re delicious, no question. Whatever seasoning or flavoring, it’s all around the bagel — no sprinkling the top. Za’atar is my favorite; it’s like being in Israel. I can’t say ‘it’s so good,’ enough,” she said.
Salomon hoped to open the downtown store sooner but the pandemic, and location issues, caused delays. Sadly, days before opening, Bob Davidson — a longtime Dallas bagel baker, including years at Bagelstein’s Delicatessen — passed away.
“Bob was a model of dedication to the craft of bagel-making and tradition. I believe there is such a need for that. It is at the heart of my business. He taught me so much and was — is — so much of Starship,” said Salomon.
He hopes to hire other Jewish employees and mentor them in Davidson’s way and memory.
“Bob responded to an ad, came to work at the Lewisville store and became one of my life’s greatest gifts. He is missed every day.”
A New York native, Salomon is the son of Dr. Sarita Milchgrub and David Salomon and brother of Dafna and Eli. He attended Akiba Yavneh and the Ann and Nate Levine academies and graduated from J.J. Pearce High School. Raised at Congregation Ohev Shalom, he was a member of BBYO’s Rubin Kaplan chapter.
A graduate of University of California Berkeley, Salomon co-founded Dallas Fort Work co-working space. In 2018, he started a small bagel business. Eighteen months later he apprenticed under Boichik Bagels owner Emily Winston and her mentor, Cheryl Lew.
“I grew up on H&H bagels and when they closed, I couldn’t imagine never having that again. I was a mechanical engineer who solved problems who learned to bake. My obsessive hobby, with no business plan, worked out. In Oren, I saw my own theory that it’s about the art, not just a piece of food,” said Winston, a New Jersey native whose Berkeley, California, Boichik Bagels was tagged as America’s best bagels by The New York Times.
Lew, a Chinese Catholic woman, is the daughter of former college professors who had many Jewish peers. “I grew up going to Passover Seders, brunches and bar mitzvahs, with our families sharing values of family, education and an incredible work ethic.”
Lew, the longtime owner of Montclair Baking in Oakland, California, now teaches baking, pastry and food culture at Layne College. She first mentored Winston, then Salomon. Last summer, she came to Dallas to see Starship Bagel in action.
“Oren’s struggled through the pandemic, and then with the loss of Bob, who really knew how to bake a bagel, how to work and who really supported Oren,” said Lew. “Oren is stronger than he knows, and he’s going to continue to be a success. He relies a lot on his faith. There is so much to be said for that.”
Visit StarshipBagel.com for full menu. Anyone interested in working at Starship Bagel should email firstname.lastname@example.org.