Frankly Bagels seems tailor-made for the time of social distancing. The tiny new shopfront, which opened in Prospect on April 30, is designed with takeaway front of mind. There’s just a handful of tables and chairs inside, and plenty of space outside to wait for your order (1.5 metres away from your fellow customers). There’s even a sprawling green oval across the road for diners to spill out to, weather permitting.

“That’s just luck,” says Christie Wilkinson, who owns the shop with her partner Jack Crichton (who’s currently cheffing at Sunny’s Pizza) and friend James Donnelly (who works as a pastry chef at The Caledonian Hotel). The trio picked up the keys in December and were ready to open in March, just when the government began imposing tough restrictions on hospitality venues. “It just so happened that the takeaway model worked for us,” says Wilkinson.

It was also prime timing for a bagel-shop concept, following the shuttering of popular CBD spot The Beigelry last year.

Wilkinson says she and Crichton were inspired by institutions such as Melbourne’s Mile End Bagels and Beigel Bake in London, where Wilkinson lived for a stint. “The bagel thing there is like a phenomenon,” she says. The pair also spent time running a cafe in Darwin with Crichton’s brother Danny before coming back to Adelaide to open a spot on home ground. Crichton scored a job at Sunny’s and Wilkinson worked in marketing before they eventually found a petite site at the bottom of a newly built five-level apartment building on Belford Avenue.

The sleek space – designed by the couple themselves – combines exposed concrete, timber with a lick of pink paint, deep-blue tiles and snaking greenery. Bi-fold doors keep the shop open to local foot traffic and provide a view of the neighbouring reserve.

“We kind of envisioned people using the park, which is to the advantage of this place, being so small,” says Wilkinson. “We’ve had families come and bring a picnic rug so their kids can run around. Or they bring the dogs, and there’s other people riding their bikes down and meeting their friends.” There are even plans to produce Frankly branded frisbees that customers can take across to the oval.

Eventually the team hopes to open a bigger site where it can make bagels in-house. But for now it’s sourcing the sesame and poppy seed dotted rings from Marleston’s Bagel Boys Bakery (which are steamed, rather than boiled, before baking). “They’re the only people in Adelaide that do it on the scale we need, and it just so happens their bagels are really good,” says Wilkinson. “Jack’s a baker, so he would love to do [the production] aspect as well, but we’ve decided to do this in phases. This is phase one, and phase two will be a commercial kitchen and bakery.”

In lieu of his own space, Crichton uses Sunny’s kitchen and wood oven to prep the fillings, which include pastrami with Swiss cheese, slaw and Russian dressing; roasted pumpkin with caramelised onion and rocket; and chicken with tarragon mayo, celery, walnut and greens. “We put the meat on the woodfired oven so you get that nice smoky flavour,” says Wilkinson. There are 10 bagel choices in total, all priced between $7 and $14. Broadsheet recommends the classic salt beef number with hot English mustard and pickles (“That’s straight out of London,” says Wilkinson).

The big seller is the smoked salmon, which comes with labneh instead of cream cheese, plus remoulade and capers. “It’s been an interesting balance trying to get enough salmon in the shop to be able meet the demand for it,” says Wilkinson. “We sold 50 of those alone on Saturday.” The salmon comes from PFD Seafood, the pastrami from Truck’n’Roll and cheese from Marino Meat & Food Store.

Doughnuts and coffee round out the menu; the former come adorned with toppings such as salted caramel popcorn; peanut and jelly; white chocolate and strawberry; blueberry and lemon; and pistachio and raspberry. The La Marzocco is Donnelly’s domain, pulling shots of Elementary Coffee’s smooth Young Street Blend.

Frankly Bagels
60 Belford Avenue, Prospect
0478 422 435
Mon to Fri 6.30am–2pm
Sat & Sun 8am–2pm