Fresh Starts with Sakura Smith
Sakura Smith brought a whole new meaning to the New York classic when she founded Bagel Bunny. Made with a starter passed down from a Japanese monk, her hand-rolled bagels have become true cult favorites, and Sakura with them, known for her lovingly-crafted menus, her palpable warmth, and her distinct personal style. Join us for a morning in Sakura’s Soho apartment where she shared the secrets behind her process and more, self-styled in pieces from our resort collection.
On Bagel-Making as Meditation
“There is something about being alone in the early hours that is so spiritual. The dough forming process becomes a ritual with my hands and now that I have done this a million times it is a sort of meditation. Beyond the personal practice of bagel making, the starter was created by a monk in Japan in the 70s and this makes me think there is a sort of inherent spirituality passed on from him to me to all of the people who eat my bagels.”
On Getting Dressed
“Lately, I get dressed for comfort or for the simple drama of it all. I really don’t like to feel too cute and ‘girly,’ but I naturally am drawn to things like glitter — I can’t help that. Hence my obsession with the Josafina dress. And the Rey heel.
“For me it is just finding the right balance. When I wear things like baseball caps and streetwear stuff I like to imagine that those are borrowed from lovers and it makes it feel like you have a secret. ‘Oh, this flannel…whose could it be.’ meanwhile I am wearing a cherry hair clip in my hair that I bought in a children’s section of a store in Japan.”
“Honestly, I had no intention of having so much of Bagel Bunny stem from tradition, but I think things like this just work out that way. And I am happy that it did. I learned bread making from my mom and other Japanese moms and I find sharing my bagels with people a new tradition. The best things involve family and friends, bagel making has allowed me to somehow become a mother. To my starter and to the people who ingest them.”
On Bagel as Personality Type
“Oh gosh, I wish it was something with crispy bacon or a PB+J. But honestly if I were a bagel I’d be a hot steaming plain bagel with butter and honey and something spicy probably.”
“This is the best part!!! I love the people that believe in me and I am so grateful to them all for supporting me. Many of the places that sell my bagels and host my pop-ups, like Izakaya and Dimes, are places I had been a fan of or gone to for years. Somehow, my appreciation for them turned into being a part of them, which really when I think of it makes me think it is all magic.
“I used to go to Izakaya in high school with my best friend and his cool uncle and all of their friends. We would eat chicken nanban (still on their menu) and I imagined what my life in NY would look like. Then later, during my first year in NY my best friend and I had a routine of going to Dimes once a week to eat green pozole and martinis with sea water in them. That became ritual and I will never forget it.
“Beyond that, the reason I love where Bagel Bunny is now is because I meet so many wonderful people in so many places. And they come back and come back and we connect and eat and that is all I can ask to make me happy.”
On Neighborhood Spots
Ok, I will try to keep this short.
I get coffee at Gasoline Alley almost every morning — that is just routine,
The best holiday type of drink in NY is an almond milk (I know…gross but hear me out) chai from Cafe Belle on Mulberry. I make mine dirty! Of course!
Raf’s. I could go there for chicken every night.
Los Tacos No. 1 when I have a busy day and am about to throw a fit for how hungry I am. It hits every time. And they have the juiciest limes in NY. And they are run so efficiently.
Juice at Noho Juice bar (it is a deli essentially) or at home.
IXV coffee (my friend & bunny, Jake, would meet there some mornings).
Winner Butcher — I would end up buying a lot of things there… It is in Carrol Gardens, but I am a ritual Frankie’s 457 eater.