Bare Bones Bagels brings new small-batch bagels to town

Former Mermaid Cafe owner opens pop-up operation out of The Harmony Bar and Grill
Photo courtesy of Lisa Jacobson
Bare Bones Bagels opened in late February as a pop-up operating out of The Harmony Bar and Grill.

Lisa Jacobson is the new bagel queen in town. The former owner of Mermaid Cafe (once in the Winnebago Street building now occupied by Mint Mark) opened a pop-up operation, Bare Bones Bagels, the last week of February, and she’s offered small batches of hand-rolled, boiled and baked bagels weekly.

Jacobson works out of The Harmony Bar and Grill, taking over the large hearth oven when it’s not filled with pizzas to feed customers at the Atwood Avenue bar. “When I got antsy during COVID and missed cooking, I started bugging Brennan [Nardi, owner of Harmony Bar] about spending time in the kitchen,” Jacobson says. Opening another food business has been on Jacobson’s mind for a while. Her bagel operation allows her to get back to a passion project, and she also gets to spend time with her kids, who are helping out. “The kids both worked for me at the cafe and both have gone on to have food service experience, so this is a really, really well run operation,” she says. “Asher has picked up dough making so quickly and Hazel probably had the most baking experience going in.”

Bare Bones is expanding capabilities weekly, Jacobson says. They most recently launched ice coffee sales, and cream cheeses and sandwiches are items she hopes to offer in the future. Right now Bare Bones offers plain, sesame, poppy seed, garlic-sea salt, everything, and golden raisin bagels. “We are a very small hand rolled bagel operation, so our biggest difference is that we sell them the day we make them. Then they are gone,” Jacobson says.

The weekly bagel cap is 500. “That’s about all the bagels we can make in one morning and live to tell the tale,” she says. Preorders start Wednesdays at and pickup is 10 to 11 a.m. at Harmony on Saturdays. When bagels sell out, they’ll update the Bare Bones Bagels Instagram page.

Jacobson is happy to have something fun and challenging to master, and bagels seemed like the right fit. “There’s so much in flux right now in the world of food,” she says. “I really admire the people I know who have worked through this pandemic and put in 200% effort to keep their businesses alive.”