Cantabrigians Shoshanah Garber and Manny Ramirez are keeping it close to home as they get ready to open Black Sheep Bagel Cafe this May in Harvard Square, an area that can often feel overwhelmed by chain spots. Partnering with local purveyors for their ingredients, the duo is remaining true to their roots as they prepare to bring bagels to the neighborhood.
“We noticed a definite desire in Harvard Square for more local mom and pops,” Garber says. “We wanted to be different. The Black Sheep is different from the flock—this is the first of its kind.”
Black Sheep will serve breakfast and lunch seven days a week alongside a selection of grab-and-go drinks and a full espresso bar. The menu will include a dozen bagel options like sea salt, French toast and everything, along with a rotating selection of flavored cream cheeses such as lox, jalapeño and fresh berries and honey in addition to dairy-free spreads like hummus. All breakfast and lunch sandwiches will be served on bagels, with offerings ranging from the Lox 2.0, with scallion cream cheese, smoked salmon, sliced cucumber, fresh dill, micro greens and a squeeze of lemon on a plain bagel, to the caprese pizza bagel that uses an Italian herbs and cheese bagel topped with tomato sauce, olive oil, mozzarella, basil leaves, a sliced tomato medley and a balsamic reduction.
“We are both big bagel eaters and we could never find a place to get them around here,” Garber says. “The options are really limited—we wanted to be able to offer more.”
With seating for 49, the industrial-inspired space will house wooden booths, benches and communal tables Garber and Ramirez made by hand. Greenery and vines will also be a large part of the atmosphere, adorning the white brick interior, back lounge area and six-seat patio.
“Our mission of us building everything ourselves by hand was very important,” Ramirez says. “I think we’ve accomplished something amazing as far as opening a business at such a low cost that’s going to come out beautiful.”
Black Sheep Bagel Cafe 56 John F. Kennedy St., Cambridge blacksheepbagelcafe.com