How Courage Put LA Bagels on the Map

By Drake's

Jun 21, 2024

How Courage Put LA Bagels on the Map

Everyone knows that New York is a bagel town, but not Los Angeles. LA is a smoothie town, a sushi town, a lot of different things town, but bagels... those belong to NYC. 

For Arielle Skye and Chris Moss, the couple behind Courage Bagels, a very LA success story, it was exactly that sense of scepticism that motivated them to set out on their own. 

"New Yorkers want to tell you how a bagel should taste," says Skye, "but LA gave us the space to tell you how a bagel could taste: wild fermentation, old world techniques, lush California produce and small family farms. People were really excited. It's like we gave them something they didn't know they already wanted."

And people want it. On the afternoon we pay visit to Courage, the queue is already snaking around the squat white-washed building, people enjoying the sunshine and a few spots of shade. Since opening in the autumn of 2020, it's become a bit of an institution. Mention it to locals and you'll get a knowing nod, a raise of the eyebrows. A conversation about the fact that, yes, it does live up to the hype. 

"It's complicated," says Skye, on the subject of how it all came about. "We were two broke artists. I lost my job and Chris was writing a book, and talked pretty about food and baking."

"Riding around on a bicycle slanging bagels that I made at home, it seemed like a good idea."

The bicycle business lead to a spot at a food market in Silver Lake, which lead to this small, single-story building on a residential street, which has quickly become a place worth travelling for. 

Speaking to Eater, Moss expanded on why a home-grown project can flourish in these parts. “Even when I was very young and cheffing in LA, it was a known thing that you could come here and kind of do anything, and it would be considered. And that is not true of a lot of large food cities. [In] New York, Paris, London, San Francisco... there are a lot of rules.”

So, from a home baking pipe dream to a place where people will happily queue for an hour, all in the space of a few years. "We wouldn't do anything differently," says Skye, "and if we told you all the lessons we've learned, we'd be here forever.

"Stay the course, block out the noise!" 

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