There’s nothing this city loves more than standing in lines. We’ll do it for drinks, we’ll do it for high end restaurants and we’ll absolutely do it for bagels. If you’ve been hitting up the Dupont Circle Farmer’s Market (or just paying attention to Instagram), you’ve probably seen the insane line snaking it’s way through the market starting at 8 a.m. Those eager (and probably more than a little hungover, let’s be real) people are looking for one thing: Call Your Mother’s delicious wood fired bagels.
It’s unusual to have a cult following before you open a restaurant, but Andrew Dana and Chef Daniela Moreira are unusual people. They’re the team behind Timber Pizza Co., a casual Neopolitan-ish (heavy on the ish) pizza restaurant that is printing accolades the way some people dream of printing money, and they’re taking their love for warm carbs to the next level. As Moriera and Dana bicker like siblings about the temperature of their custom made 8 foot by 8 foot oven, I sit down to two of their bagel concoctions.
One is smeared with plain cream cheese and topped with a bright peach jam and the other is covered in their hot smoke brown sugar salmon cream cheese and topped with micro greens (“We’ve gotta keep it fancy,” says Dana). Both are flavor bombs. The peach jam immediately gets all over my fingers, but it’s fresh and juicy enough that I didn’t really care. If you had an all bagel meal, this would be a fantastic dessert. The smoked salmon, with it’s classic combination of sweet and savory, is the clear winner. It’s not overbearingly rich, but it doesn’t shy away from the smokiness of the fish or the tang of cream cheese. Their plain bagel is a solid canvas for both spreads. It’s chewy, soft and a touch of honey makes it the right amount sweet. Plus the micro greens make everything healthy. Don’t tell that isn’t how it works. I don’t care.
While bagels are Call Your Mother’s bread and butter, Dana is ambitious when it comes to the menu of his Jew-ish (heavy on the ish) deli. While they were constructing the menu, Dana and his team solicited family recipes from folks all over the city. They cooked almost all of the 50 they received, and chose one to join their Jewish with a twist menu. Other recipe research included flying out to New York and Montreal to eat all of the bagels they possibly could, drawing on Dana’s Boca Raton roots and making bagels for nine months straight at farmer’s markets all over D.C.
That mix of Brooklyn, Montreal and Miami isn’t just in the batter, you can see it on the walls of Call Your Mother. There’s the cool exposed brick that comes in every 2018 restaurant starter pack, the bright green and pink colors scream South Beach and the pictures of Drake that cover every wall are a fun nod to Drake’s second home (as well as his and Dana’s shared half-Jewish heritage).
The day before I visited Call Your Mother, they put out a notice on Instagram saying they had 40 test bagels to give away. Dana had to turn down 100 people who showed up for the free bagels. They don’t plan to churn out any more freebies, but Call Your Mother is getting closer and closer to opening. A few more stress tests, and they’ll be ready to flood D.C.’s streets with their special brand of bagels. Carbs forever.
Also, get the babka. It’s so good I’m dreaming about it.
Call Your Mother is located at 3301 Georgia Ave NW and is slated to open this October.