Exodus began as a cottage business, giving away bagels to hungry volunteers in exchange for their input and their desire to share their experience with others. We quickly grew and began batching out of CommonWealth Kitchen (CWK) in Dorchester to increase output to keep up with the demand. Nearly two years later, we are still doing just that.
While food is paramount to our success, we look much deeper than that when it comes to why we do what we do. So why bagels?
We always say that bagels are not exclusive. What we mean by that is that they are for everyone. They don't discriminate based on one's salary or station in life. This kind of food is essential for what we really want to do which is to create a space where people from all walks of life visit and feed and begin to make connections with one another. The Deli has always been this place in dining history.
We are not named after the old testament. It is concerning the displacement of people that Exodus takes its name. We are acutely aware of the precariousness of what a home is in Boston...and how it is only a matter of time before people are displaced and pushed into new places. We are trying to create a model of a business that does not push people away, but attracts them to return from their own inevitable wandering. We want to be a home away from home. So far, in a small manner, we have achieved that.
The home we are trying to build sits off of Belgrade Avenue at the edge of Roslindale, just abutting West Roxbury. Our new home is currently zoned as an Industrial Food Production Facility...a Catering kitchen. A really big catering kitchen.
With the funds from this campaign, we will outfit what once was a front office space for the previous tenant into a full service dining room with 60 seats, including a counter for the true diner fiends. Our hope is to take residence in August utilizing the kitchen per its current intended use...as a Caterer. This would give us the immediate benefit of producing our bagels on site. Until the licensing changes, we would continue to sell at Markets & Pop-Ups while taking on Corporate catering accounts to pay the rent and keep us afloat.
Our plan is to add aspects of our concept incrementally so as to grow steadily and successfully. Our initial aim is to be able to sell our food on site. A hopeful timeframe for that is December. We will open the doors and sell just as we do at markets and popups. This phase will have walk-up service with a dining room for guests to utilize as self-serve seating.
By February, we will introduce table service in the form of weekend Brunches. Soon after, this will include weekdays and eventually extend into Dinner service.
Over the last year and a half we have created another solution to the depressed bagel enthusiasts of Boston and established a "place to be" on Saturday mornings by reinvigorating the Egleston Farmers' Market in Jamaica Plain. NOW we found a home and we need your help to realize the potential of our Exodus team. Help us build a home that feeds us all and provides a safe space for community to engage.
Risks and challenges
Setbacks WILL arise and when they do what will get us on the right side of that setback is the substantial dedication many already have to this project. Many of our team are seasoned restaurant people. We do not take this "monumental" goal without insight and knowledge of the precariousness of the restaurant industry.
That said, our biggest hurdle will be the achievement of the very necessary Restaurant zoning variance. We have been informed that three months is the average fulfillment time period from the city. We have a very experienced Real Estate attorney who knows how to navigate the permit system. We have also been offered assistance from other commercial real estate attorneys who specialize in zoning and permitting.
Our mitigation of this risk is to get our customers/friends/families/partners involved by calling/emailing/writing to the City of Boston in favor of Exodus Bagels. If the permitting should take longer, we will work hard to increase our Catering accounts and Market presence until we can sell our food in house.
Our goal is to open by year's end, however construction projects are often subject to delays. Anyone who backs this project will be the first to hear updates on our renovation, including pictures and news.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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