A former Highlands bakery space is getting a little more specialized.
Odell’s Bagel is slated to open in 1,900 square feet at 3200 Irving St., formerly home to the Denver Bread Co., which closed over the summer.
Owner Miles Odell, 32, said he’s targeting a May opening. The plan is to serve bagels by day and to run a 12-seat chef’s table by night.
“I’ve always loved bagels … I grew up in New Jersey,” Odell said. “I’ve been perfecting my bagel recipe for 10 years.”
Still, the focus is something of a twist for Odell, who said he’s been cooking since age 15. Up until now, his specialty has been Japanese cuisine.
He received his culinary education in New York City, working in Michelin Star restaurants in the city after graduating. Eventually, his culinary skills grabbed the attention of the Japanese government, which selected him and 14 other chefs from around the world to come to Japan and work in kitchens as a culinary ambassador.
After the program ended, Odell stayed in the country for another two years, traveling and working in kitchens across the archipelago.
But he said his experience there complemented his love of bagels.
“Chefs there (in Japan) pick one skill and try to master it, like ramen or tempura, completely content doing that their entire life and mastering their craft,” he said.
Returning to America, Odell said he worked as a private chef in San Francisco before coming to Aspen in 2021. Over the summer, Odell made his first splash in Denver, running a pop-up shop at the Highlands Square Farmers Market called Keepsake, mainly serving Japanese and Japanese-fusion food.
Eventually, the space that will soon become Odell’s hit the market, and the chef couldn’t pass up the opportunity to lease it. Jonathan Power represented Odell in the transaction, while Solomon Stark represented the landlord. Both brokers work for NAI Shames Makovsky.
Bagels aren’t easy to make, and Denver’s altitude complicates the process, Odell said. He said he expects to stand out in the local bagel scene by hand-rolling each one. And while Call Your Mother and Leroy’s Bagels don’t operate too far away, “we’ll be the only bagel shop in this neighborhood,” he said.
Odell also plans to specialize in smoked fish, a classic bagel topping.
“It’s a very acquired skill to filet fish perfectly, ” he said. “Understand the salt content, you’re taking a certain percentage of water out of the fish. It’s not an exact science but it comes with repetition.”
As for the chef’s-table-by-night vision, “I plan to work with a lot of chefs in the area and make it a collaborative space,” he said.
“We won’t do it every night, but my goal is to do it about two-three nights a week,” he said.
Odell said he’s finalizing the space, then will go through the permitting process. He’s hoping construction takes only 60 days.
“I’m taking out a loan and going all in,” he said.
Correction: A previous version of this story gave a square footage figure for the entire building. Odell’s Bagel will open in a portion of it, about 1,900 square feet.