Bagel + Slice, a new restaurant serving locally sourced pizza and bagels, will open next to Oxy Arts in a shared building on York Boulevard in October 2021. According to the Bagel + Slice website, the shop is a certified vendor and Occidental students will be able to use Bengal Bucks to pay for food. LA Eater named Bagel + Slice’s projected October opening as one of the 12 most anticipated restaurant openings of Fall 2021 in LA.
Brad Kent, the owner of Bagel + Slice, is the co-founder of Blaze Pizza and owner of Olio Wood Fired Pizzeria in Grand Central Market. When Kent was an undergraduate student at USC, he realized he loved to cook in his dorm and went on to study at The Culinary Institute of America. Kent said his goal is to provide affordable and high-quality familiar food at Bagel + Slice.
Kent said his inspiration to open a business like Bagel + Slice came after learning about his grandfather’s deli on the East Coast before Kent was born. He said he was unfortunately never able to inherit the deli because his grandfather — Kent’s namesake — died, and no one else in the family wanted to continue the business. For this reason, Kent said he hopes to use Bagel + Slice to continue what could have been a family tradition of owning a small food shop.
“My dad’s dad was a deli owner. My dad’s mother’s brother was very well known and very well respected caterer in Connecticut,” Kent said. “From there, my whole career has been around food and I couldn’t get away from it.”
According to Kent, he has a variety of practices he plans to implement to run his business responsibly. Kent said he is committed to purchasing regenerative organic ingredients from local farmers. He said he also aims to package all the shop’s food in biodegradable or compostable materials, and to make sure the shop’s food is affordable for Occidental students and community members.
Kent said he is excited about introducing a full ozone-generating system in the shop that will disinfect the air and water to wash all sinks, tables, surfaces and toilets. Kent said ozone is important because it will ensure the shop is cleaned thoroughly, as the pandemic made him realize the importance of sanitizing and keeping his employees and customers safe.
Kent said the process of opening Bagel + Slice began over three years ago when Director of Oxy Arts Meldia Yesayan approached him about the empty space. He said the process of acquiring it was extensive because Occidental asked him to write essays about how his business would benefit the community. Kent said this essay requirement allowed him to reflect on and rethink how he would use his business to serve others.
According to Kent, Occidental also wanted to ensure that his business would donate to charitable causes, hire from within the community and that he lived in the community as well. Kent said his family moved to Eagle Rock five years ago and he cares deeply about the well-being of the surrounding neighborhood.
“I live in this community so it is important to me that I give back to this community,” Kent said. “We have been giving back for about three years as Bagel + Slice, even though we have not been open, by donating to charitable causes.”
Although Bagel + Slice has yet to open, the restaurant has hosted pop-ups open to the community. According to an Instagram post, all proceeds from the Sept. 4 pop-up were donated to Miry’s List, an organization that helps fund refugee families’ needs.
Yesayan said it was important to Occidental to have a business that understands the college’s community values.
“We are very happy to have a business that shares our interests in community and has common values around supporting and being part of our community,” Yesayan said. “Students can benefit by working there and having a local community space where they can access affordable food throughout the day.”
Ariel Igielski (first year) said she hopes that Bagel + Slice has a positive impact on the community and collects input from people living in the neighborhood.
“I am excited to have new food options both for the school and the community,” Igielski said. “It is supposed to be for everyone.”
Kent said he is inspired by the communal attitude of the people in Eagle Rock.
“There is something really magical about the community here,” Kent said. “The people are so engaged with wanting to do good. There is so much awareness of humanity here. I think it is a really special place.”