When Call Your Mother opens next year in the former Alfie's space in Park View, the deli will specialize in bagels. Not Montreal bagels. Not New York bagels. But something of a hybrid developed by the team behind Timber Pizza, the Petworth shop that was recently named Pizzeria of the Year by Bon Appétit.
The wood-fired bagels will feature the sweetness of Montreal bagels and the chew of boiled-and-baked New York bagels, said Andrew Dana, co-founder of Timber and a partner in Call Your Mother. Dana has helped Timber chef Daniela Moreira develop the recipe after a lot of testing as well as a two-day bagel workshop at the experimental Smoke Signals bakery in North Carolina.
“We sort of take the best of both worlds,” Dana said. “We're pulling the elements that we like out of both” New York and Montreal bagels. As such, the owners are considering the name “New Montreal bagels.”
The bagels, of course, will be used for sandwiches at Call Your Mother, whether they're packed with egg, smoked whitefish or smoked salmon (some slathered with homemade cream cheese, too). Moreira and her team will also bake rye and wheat breads as well as a challah sub roll, any of which can use used for sandwiches. Doughnuts, pastries and croissants will be available as specials, but not daily, Dana said.
What's more, the deli is expected to offer a few Jewish deli classics, “but with a twist,” Dana said. Think latke fries or a matzoh ball soup in which the matzoh balls are seared on a flat-top before being dropped in the liquid.
At dinner, Call Your Mother will transform into a supper club with a 20-seat communal table four nights a week. The team is planning menus around such themes as fried chicken night, Peking roast duck, New York-style dinner (with deck-oven pizza, fried calamari and garlic knots) and a Salvadoran feast.
If this doesn't sound like a classic Jewish deli, well, it isn't. Which is why Call Your Mother will have its own tagline, Dana said. “A Jew-ish Deli.”
“We didn’t want to pigeonhole ourselves as a Jewish deli,” he said.
Before anything happens, however, the owners will need to renovate their corner location, which has bounced from one concept to another in recent years, each struggling with the same oddball building in which the wholesale kitchen occupies much of the space.
To help guide the project, Dana is working with not just Moreira and Chris Brady — the dream team behind Timber — but also with a new partner: Jeff Zients, president of the Cranemere Group and the former director of the National Economic Council under President Barack Obama. Zients, like Dana, has long had a dream to open a deli.
Call Your Mother is expected to debut in April, but Dana cautions that he and his partners are at the mercy of the permitting process.
In the meantime, Call Your Mother will hawk its New Montreal bagels at the FreshFarm Markets on Dupont Circle and in Silver Spring. Look for them starting the first week of February.