You have probably heard of Asa’s Bakery by now, but just in case you haven’t, it’s time to tell you about a little shop located on 5011 S 34th Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55417.
When first walking into the shop, you’ll see everyone hustling and bustling. These bagels are made fresh—they even mill their own malt—an ingredient that gives bagels the distinctive ‘bagel’ flavor. Asa is very proud that he and his team buy whole ingredients and buy local as much as possible.
When looking in the back, you will see a person wearing special glasses with a light connected to them. This is so the person may pick the bones out of the fresh fish to serve Asa’s bakery’s amazing salmon or whitefish bagel. Asa gets salmon from coastal seafood distributors and their white fish from lake superior and smoked in Wisconsin. He noted that this is the gold standard of white fish– even New Yorkers look for lake superior white fish.
Asa has been a food nerd since he was five years old. He always loved baking and has fond memories of going to the bakery with his family every week when growing up. “A bakery fills a lot of emotional needs for people and I’d like to help build that space,” Asa said, looking around his shop. He started by bringing baked goods to the midtown farmer’s market. In 2019, he shared a kitchen with Kabomelette food truck, and in 2021, he moved into his own space where you can find his five varieties of bagels (plain, poppy, salt, sesame and everything), five kinds of bread (sourdough, kasha, seed, pumpernickel, and cheddar scallion), and bialys now.
This begs the question: What is a bialy? It’s a relative of a bagel. It’s a flat bread roll with an indent topped with onions. It’s not as dense as a bagel, but serves the same purposes. Bagels are also boiled before baked, whereas a bialy is baked.
Asa noted that bialys are something that is hard to find out of the northeast and because he grew up eating it, it’s something he missed in the Twin Cities. He notes that many customers lit up when they saw them on the menu exclaiming that these are a delicious treat that someone just can’t get here. He has had some regular customers since the farmer’s market. “It’s food that’s meaningful and holds lots of memories for lots of people, so it’s nice to make that possible,” Asa says.
As he is growing into his new space he hopes to continue making his classics, while adding to his menu. “I’m a better baker than I was a year ago, and I am appreciative of our customers,” he said, mulling on his years of experience being a baker “I’m excited to see what we can continue to grow and do.”