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Duo unites to bring fresh bagels back to the Corner Cup

A Bagel Pop-Up is returning to downtown Jonesborough.


Special to the H&T

The delicious aromas of The Corner Cup will become even more enticing on Sunday, Aug. 18, when the coffee shop, known as the living room of Jonesborough, hosts a second Small Batch Bagel Pop-Up event. The event, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. is the fruit of a partnership between The Corner Cup, Lazy Lady Bakery, local artisan Will Manning and Mountain Harvest Kitchen, located in Unicoi.The success of the first Bagel Pop-Up held in April spurred the upcoming event.

“The first event sold out and there was a line out the door,” said Will Manning, who owns Heartwood Forge, where he designs and produces kitchen cutlery. Manning is also married to Mountain Harvest Director Lee Manning.

“It was great to see that support.”

The partnership started when Marin Close of Lazy Lady Bakery, who Corner Cup patrons may know through the baked goods she provides for them, and Manning met through mutual friends and farmers markets.

Manning had been indulging his passion for baking bagels by experimenting with several recipes and artisan baking techniques by baking several batches a year for friends. He found himself limited to baking them in the winter because his cooler couldn’t hold them all and he had to proof, or let them rise, in the bed of his pickup truck.

That all changed when he connected with Close, an anchor client of Mountain Harvest Kitchen, and the two began using the kitchen. Manning credits Close with bringing her professional baking skills to their finished product but Close says baking bagels is Manning’s superpower and is teaching her the ropes. When the time came to share the fruit of their labor, Manning, who lives within walking distance of downtown Jonesborough, suggested the town would be the perfect backdrop to their venture. Close proposed approaching The Corner Cup and a community event was born.

“It’s a product of love and care, quality ingredients, hand rolling, lots of effort and love and trying to share it with a really great community,” said Close. “Local food is a big reason that I wanted to do this but also being a part of such a close community and being able to share something I love to do with all of them is really great, and collaborating with a friend is also fun. We’re going to keep doing it.”

What makes their bagels unique to the area is the freshness.

“It’s rare outside of New York City that one can find bagels that were baked that morning,” said Manning. “When we bring them from the kitchen, they’re still warm from the oven.”

The baking duo use locally sourced ingredients as much as possible and have some unique flavors to offer.

“We have three or four flavor combinations but by far the best is a jalapeno-sriracha combo,” said Manning. “I’ve never seen this topping combination in a bagel shop anywhere. We put jalapenos, sriracha, and sharp cheddar cheese on them before we bake them. There’s something about that burning sensation from the jalapenos and the savoriness of the melted cheese.”

They make a garden veggie and herb cream cheese with a special twist. The concoction includes a fresh taste of cucumber.

“We take cucumbers and wring the moisture out of them so just the essence of the cucumber  remains,” explained Manning. 

Plain, everything and possibly poppy seed bagels will also be available.

The Corner Cup’s owner, Deborah Kruse, is looking forward to bringing people together and promoting local business with the event.

“It’s important to us here to support local foods, local bakers and local farmers,” Kruse said.

In addition to the regular menu of beverages, The Corner Cup will be offering specialty drinks for the occasion, including real fruit smoothies.

Manning said the event couldn’t happen without the Corner Cup and Mountain Harvest Kitchen.

“This event is really a prime example of how the Mountain Harvest Kitchen its integral to the changing food scene in the Tri-Cities area,” he said.