Meet Lissie Levin and her Delicious Chicago Bagels
Where are you from?
St. Louis, MO
What did you do Jewish growing up?
I was involved in NFTY (The Reform Jewish Youth Movement) I lived for the weekend Conclaves where I got to see my friends from all over. Of course, I also attended Jewish Summer Camp! Camp Goldman Union Camp Institute (GUCI)
What do you do for fun?
I play in a Bocce Ball league with my friends. Baking! I also love taking my dog Gus on walks and exploring new parks and neighborhoods around the city!
How do you stay motivated during the Pandemic?
Knowing I can bring a little joy in the form of bread to someone is what keeps me going. Baking is my love language and this is my way to bring a little brightness into the world right now.
What does Jewish food mean to you?
Jewish food to me means family and tradition. Most of my childhood memories are around food and gathering with our family. Growing up every Sunday we had family brunch. My Dad was always busy with work during the week so Sunday was his day! We would always have Bagels and Smoked Salmon. I looked forward to it every week. When I went away to school and then eventually moved to Chicago every time I come back home we still continue the tradition of Sunday Brunch.
What is your favorite Jewish spot for food in Chicago?
The Bagel in Lakeview is my favorite spot in the city. Their mushroom barley soup is the best hands down in my opinion! Also, the newly opened Jeff & Judes is on the top of my list too!
Where are the best bagels in the country?
I am a big New York Bagel fan! I think Ess-A-Bagel in NYC makes the best bagels but I do have a soft spot for my local bagel spot I grew up with, in St. Louis (The Bagel Factory). I still have my mom ship them to me and always bring some back when I’m in town visiting. Both places boil their bagels which I think makes a huge difference and gives them that chewiness that I love!
Behind the Bagels
What is the story behind your bagels?
I was furloughed and ultimately lost my job back in the Spring. To keep busy I too, jumped on the bread wagon during the height of quarantine. I, of course, couldn’t eat everything I was making so I would deliver to friends and it turned into a reason for a little social interaction.
Since moving to Chicago, which has now been well over 10 years I have always missed my Bagel Factory (STL) Bagels. I love a dense bagel that’s also slightly chewy, so when I started my bread journey I was determined to make the bagel I have been searching/ craving for!
After a bunch of tries and a lot of sampling to friends and family, Levin Bread was born! I’m currently working on a few new flavors to add to the assortment as well as a Brunch Bundles.
What baking did you do growing up?
How did you get into the baking game?! My earliest memory of baking was with my Grandma. She used to let me help in the kitchen. We would make mandel bread, chocolate chip cookies, and all sorts of delicious treats. I got into baking after I started making desserts for my family’s Thanksgiving.
Each year I would challenge myself to find a new pumpkin-flavored treat and I would start sampling recipes early in October and I would bring them into my office for everyone to try. Seeing how much everyone enjoyed what I was baking and having fun making them grew my love of baked goods!
How do we order from Levin Bread?
Every Monday, Lissie posts on Instagram and you can DM the account to place your orders. She offers Free Delivery to the Chicagoland area Thursday- Saturday.
Flavors: Bagels Flavors: Plain, Everything, Sesame, Tzitzel, Cinnamon Raisin, Blueberry
Prices: $12 half dozen and $20- Dozen
You can mix and match your assortment- Everything, Sesame, Plain, and Cinnamon Raisin.