Pigeon Bagels

By Delaney Oakes

April 2020

Pigeon Bagels sits in the heart of Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh’s most densely Jewish neighborhood. Though the storefront opened in July 2019, Pigeon has been baking and selling bagels with several local businesses in Pittsburgh for years. Pittsburghers have seen Pigeon “pop-ups” in numerous local cafes and coffee shops all around the city. The opening of the storefront has welcomed many into their store for take-out bagels, pastries, bread, and coffee. As one of the few independent bagel stores in Pittsburgh, and the only one that is certified strictly kosher, Pigeon Bagels is a unique contribution to Squirrel Hill.

Street view of Pigeon Bagels

Because many Orthodox Jews only frequent eateries that are certified kosher, Pigeon bagels is one of the few establishments in the city of Pittsburgh that draws Orthodox and non-Orthodox customers alike. An estimated half of all clientele coming in to Pigeon are Jewish, and workers seem to be mindful and attentive to the neighborhood demographic. Every product that Pigeon offers is certified kosher, including the bagels, pastries, and coffee sold at the establishment. Broadening their appeal even further, Pigeon accommodates many groups and individuals with dietary restrictions, offering plant-based options for toppings and shmears.

Though bagels are a treat that people of all backgrounds have come to enjoy, they are a staple in Ashkenazic Jewish cuisine. Bagels originated in Poland and were brought to the United States and Canada by Eastern-European Jewish immigrants of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. While commercial bagel chains created a softer bagel as they tried to adapt to mainstream American tastes, Pigeon Bagels cultivates a shiny, crisp crust that characterizes the New York-style bagel. Pigeon also bakes traditional challah, a braided bread commonly enjoyed during Jewish Sabbath and holiday meals. But whether customers are religious or secular, this bagel shop creates a way for everyone to experience hole-y foods.

Further Reading

Fiegl, Amanda. “A Brief History of the Bagel.” Smithsonian.com, Smithsonian Institution, 17 Dec. 2008, www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/a-brief-history-of-the-bagel-49555497/.

Gigler, Dan. “A Fledgling Endeavor: Pigeon Bagels Opens in Squirrel Hill.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 17 July 2019, www.post-gazette.com/life/dining/2019/07/17/Pigeon-Bagels-Gab-Taube-opens-Squirrel-Hill-Pittsburgh-kosher-bakery-Hobart/stories/201907170083.

How to Cite 

MLA: Oakes, Delaney. “Pigeon Bagels.” ReligYinz: Mapping Religious Pittsburgh. University of Pittsburgh, 11 May 2020, https://religyinz.pitt.edu/pigeon-bagels/.

APA: Oakes, Delaney. (2020, May 11). Pigeon Bagels. ReligYinz: Mapping Religious Pittsburgh. University of Pittsburgh. https://religyinz.pitt.edu/pigeon-bagels/.

Chicago: Oakes, Delaney. “Pigeon Bagels.” ReligYinz: Mapping Religious Pittsburgh. University of Pittsburgh, 11 May 2020. https://religyinz.pitt.edu/pigeon-bagels/.