GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Breakfast is getting a little more radical in Grand Rapids.
Rad Bagels officially opened its first location at the Downtown Market Friday, handing out free coffee and waffles to some of the first customers in line.
The new bakery takes over the original location of Field and Fire, but that’s not the only thing the two businesses share. Both are owned and operated by Julie and Shelby Kibler. But that’s where the similarities end.
“The concept is radically different,” Shelby Kibler said. “When we conceived of this idea…we thought, ‘How can we make this new?'”
The name of the new bakery speaks for itself. The Kiblers agreed that Field and Fire is more focused on traditional bakery items, and in the words of Shelby Kibler, “nothing too crazy.” In search of something new and exciting, Rad Bagels was born.
“One of the real appeals in starting this project was to have fun,” Shelby Kilber said.
The name of the restaurant speaks for itself. Looking at its menu, Rad Bagels is offering several creative breakfast options and a plethora of toppings and spreads. The ingredients, according to Julie Kibler, are what separate Rad Bagels from other bakeries.
“The crazier we can make flavors, the better,” she said. “I think it’s not enough right now, actually.”
Bagel flavors include curry, gochujang and a twist on the classic blueberry.
“We use whole blueberries. Michigan blueberries,” Julie Kibler said. “And we have blueberry jam inside. We really wanted a kick of blueberry in there.”
“We want to be not lame. That’s one of the things that feels most important,” Shelby Kibler said.
The opening of a new business did not come without some headaches. Staffing has been an issue for the Kiblers as there is a round-the-clock need for workers to sell, prepare and make the food items.
Another obstacle has been the desire to pay employees a liveable wage. This has led to an increase in prices for the items at Rad, but Shelby Kilber said that she hopes customers know that the higher prices are for a good reason.
“We don’t want to be expensive on purpose or to be elitist, I feel like that’s exactly the opposite of what we want,” he said. “But at the same time, if people are going to be paid well to make this delicious food that people are going to eat, then the food has to pay them.”
Rad Bagels will be open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the week and shift the hours on the weekends to 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. to coincide with Squibb Coffee’s hours. The two are located right next to each other in the Downtown Market and the Kiblers hope it gets the business going.
“We’re hoping our corner of the downtown market will generate a little morning business as the two of us are now trying to pull people in this place earlier than the Downtown Market opens itself,” Shelby Kibler said.
On top of the opening, the Kiblers are looking for a new location so they can move their food production out of the Downtown Market. However, the two said that they will continue using the space for retail now and when they find a new place to house operations.
It’s unclear how long Rad Bagels will be in the Downtown Market, according to the Kiblers, but the new space is already serving a purpose for the restaurateurs.
“Rad gives us a way of experimenting and getting playful in at least a short-term way,” Shelby Kibler said.