Humboldt County is home to more than just pristine rivers and ancient redwood forests. Nestled in the idyllic town of Arcata, Los Bagels is perhaps the first Jewish/ Mexican bakery in the world. On March 1st 1984, Dennis Rael, Peter Jermyn and Paul Hebb opened Los Bagels. Offering traditional boiled then baked bagels, made with crisp clean water from high in the redwood covered hills; Los Bagels brought world class bagels to Humboldt County long before the bagel craze of the 1990’s.
Dennis Rael grew up in a multicultural household. His mother, Paula was of Jewish descent from the east coast, and his father Izzy was from Mexican ancestry. This couple started their family in southern California. Both traditions were respected and honored in their home; Dennis grew up celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas, both Easter and Passover, as well as,Dia de los Muertos or “Day of the Dead” a pre-colonial Mexican holiday. Dennis’ earliest restaurant endeavor was starting the first Mexican restaurant in Amsterdam, Holland in the mid-70s. After meeting up with Peter and Paul, and falling in love with the rugged redwood coast of northern California, Dennis and his friends saw that what Humboldt County was missing was a realboiled then baked bagel.
Los Bagels was established as a multicultural bakery and café, offering food in the Jewish tradition with the flavors and tastes of Mexico. Celebrating an eclectic mix of holidays and cultural events, Los Bagels has set a positive example for community support and encouraging diversity. Did they invent the “Jalapeno Bagel”? …maybe, who else was making such an odd thing in 1984? Today, Los Bagels is known to its’ devoted fans, as not only a Humboldt County institution, but a as a unique, truly one of a kind establishment in this ever more homogenized world. They have a location in the historic Old Town section of Eureka right on Humboldt Bay, a small location on the Humboldt State University campus, and their original location on I Street in Arcata.
Everything is made from scratch at Los Bagels, including Corn Rye Bread, Challah, Croissant, Knish and Empanadas. The demand for their food has stretched far beyond Humboldt County, as people can order most of their incredible products through their website, www.losbagels.com . In the last year, their website has been visited by over half of the world’s countries, 104 countries of a possible 196. This illustrates what a truly multicultural phenomenon Los Bagels has become in their 27 years of creating not only incredible bagels, but an incredible community.