When Lox in a Box owners Candy Berger and Gaia Lovell purchased a trailer in Marrickville, it was only to nab real estate in the inner west. There was no great desire to bag a bagel mobile. But, as they were setting up the Lox in a Box food truck, they passed the old Cornersmith digs, and the “for lease” sign caught Berger’s eye. “Everything happened at once,” she tells Broadsheet. “Like, I have to get that site, it’s my dream site.”

One inner west joint quickly became two and they got to work fitting out the often sunny space on the corner of Petersham and Illawarra Roads, while the nearby trailer held down the fort. Seven months later, the busy couple started sending burgers out the trailer doors.

“For me, having bagels at night was always weird,” Berger says. “I obviously grew up eating bagels – and we never ate them for dinner.” The switch-out of the carbs makes sense: one baked handheld carriage for the crunch of fried chicken or buffalo tofu swapped out for another. Simple. It’s bagels by day, burgers by night.

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“Our bagels came from the concept of a burger originally,” she says. “A buffalo burger and a peri peri, and we decided to make them into bagels. So we were like, ‘Okay, why don’t we swap out [again] and still use the ingredients everybody loves?’”

Now, a month after launching, Lox After Hours has moved to The Corner Deli, so you can dine on burgs inside the space (or get it delivered). Manly’s open for dinner now too, and soon all stores will be.

As the menu stands, grab a peri peri, katsu, buffalo or southern burger, with chicken, haloumi or tofu. Those first three flavours are the bagel top hits, but it’s the new one that’s reigning supreme: the southern. Joining your crispy-fried protein of choice is a zippy jalapeno slaw and crunchy whack of onion rings. Then there’s ranch, barbeque sauce and cheese to sweeten it up.

If you’re looking to go without meat, dairy or gluten, the tofu katsu is Berger’s rec. Sides are stacked with fries, chicken tenders and onion rings, while a Caesar salad and slaw doused in miso keep it fresh.

It’s been hit after hit for the lox-loving pair, who first garnered fans in 2019 with their OG Bondi spot, before opening Coogee then Manly in 2022. “In hospo at the moment, things are not great,” Berger says. “There’s a lot going on – but we felt pretty lucky that we were still being supported by the community.”

Coogee’ll be the next to join the party, so keep a lookout on socials for when. The team’s in the process of organising a liquor licence for the Marrickville corner, so a new spot for burgers and brews is likely in your future.

Lox After Hours is available at The Corner Deli and Manly store, Tuesday to Sunday, from 5pm till late.

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