Looking for a kosher, gluten-free babka?


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Modern Bread and Bagel, a new brunch spot, opens on the Upper West Side


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  • Photo courtesy of Modern Bread and Bagel




  • Photo courtesy of Modern Bread and Bagel




A new brunch spot featuring chocolate chip scones, rugalach, babka, cinnamon buns, bagels and pancakes recently opened on the UWS. Oh, it also happens to be kosher and gluten-free.

Modern Bread and Bagel, located at 472 Columbus Avenue, between 82nd and 83rd Streets, is the brainchild of baker Orly Gottesman, 32. Gottesman, along with her husband Josh, 33, opened their first restaurant on Feb. 24.

“Our whole thing is we wanted to introduce [the restaurant] to not only the Jewish world, but the Upper West Side community,” Gottesman said. “It’s a time when kosher people on the UWS are dying for a place like this.”

Her husband’s work as an entrepreneur took them to other countries, which is where Gottesman discovered her interest in food. They lived in Paris from August 2010 to December 2011.

During that time, she took an apprenticeship at a pastry shop. She quickly immersed herself in baking, and from 2011 to 2012, when the couple were in Australia, she studied at the Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts Institute in Sydney.

In addition to Gottesman’s passion for baking, her husband has celiac disease, so she was intrigued by gluten-free food.

Gottesman decided to pursue an independent study on gluten-free baking and worked closely with the school’s head pastry chef to figure out how different flour blends work for different products. After several years of research, she came up with various gluten-free recipes for baked goods, breads and pastries using ancient grains, rather than traditional flour. Ultimately, this spawned the creation of Blends by Orly in 2014.

“Each blend is formulated for a specific purpose,” Gottesman said.

Food and Service

After living in Sydney until March 2017, and splitting time between Las Vegas and New Jersey, the couple finally settled down in Gottesman’s hometown of Englewood, N.J. The duo, who keep kosher, realized it was the right time to open their first restaurant.

“For us, we saw a real void in good gluten-free,” she said.

Gottesman noted that it was important for them to be known for quality food and service, not just being gluten-free.

“It [gluten-free] really scares people away,” she stressed. “It turns them off.”

According to Gottesman, not only do many people come to the restaurant not aware that it is gluten-free, but they may not be Jewish, either. She stressed they do not say it is gluten-free unless someone asks.

“We’re doing crazy things that gluten-free people can’t find anywhere,” she exclaimed. “People are excited to have an awesome brunch place on the UWS regardless of it being gluten free or kosher. We knew if we only opened as a bagel shop, we wouldn’t make it.”

In addition to serving breakfast and lunch Sunday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., the plan is to turn the location into a restaurant at night called Arba. In the evening, the seating will expand from 34 to 50 and the menu will feature Mediterranean food, changing every week and season.

However, it will not open until they obtain a beer and liquor license. Gottesman said the plan is to have the biggest selection of kosher wines in the country, with 200 by the bottle and 20 by glass.

Looking ahead, she is nervous, but sees great things for the restaurant in the UWS community.

“Everything happens for a reason,” Gottesman said. “I think this was my purpose. At the very least, I know people are really excited about us.”





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