OAKLAND -- The popularity of Authentic Bagel Co. is rising and the "bagel brothers" are working hard to keep up with demand. Mark and Jason Scott say they're averaging about five hours of sleep a night.
"We bake from 6 p.m. to 4 a.m. and our shop is open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., five days a week," said Jason Scott, 28. "We joke that we're Superman by night and Clark Kent by day."
They've already outgrown the 650-square-foot retail space on 2nd Street, near Jack London Square, where they moved in 2012 -- and where they bake up to 1,800 bagels daily.
"We call the shop our 'lemonade stand,' which becomes our 'pop-up kitchen' at night," said Mark Scott, 35. "There is no room for indoor seating, but customers can sit at tables outside on the sidewalk."
With business booming, the brothers -- along with business partner Ryan Gozinsky-Irwin -- are taking over the vacant 1,100-square-foot space next door. Construction is already under way with indoor seating, a deli counter and espresso bar. The current space will be used exclusively as a kitchen and bakery.
There are also plans to expand the menu, which currently offers breakfast bagels with a variety of toppings, lunch specials with home-baked corned beef and roast turkey, as well as lots of cream cheese options and homemade scones and cookies.
"We'll be able to make enough bagels -- we won't sell out as we do at the moment -- and offer more food options such as salads, soups and sandwiches," Jason Scott said.
The brothers are asking for support through www.kickstarter.com. Their goal is to raise $35,000 by March 1.
The siblings, who describe themselves as "brothers, best friends and business partners," grew up in Rhode Island and moved to California about six years ago. One Mother's Day, while both were working at Monaghan's on the Hill restaurant in the Oakland hills, they decided to create a special homemade bagel for the menu.
"It sold very well," Mark Scott. "We used our Polish grandmother's recipe from the 1800s and tweaked it into our own product."
With Monaghan's blessing, the brothers started making bagels in the restaurant's kitchen -- getting up in the middle of the night to experiment with different textures and flavors -- and began selling to local cafes and coffee shops. Wholesale still makes up 70 percent of their business.
"The Coffee Mill on Grand Avenue was our first customer," Jason Scott said. "We now sell through 40 outlets, mostly in the East Bay, with 10 cafes on the waiting list."
As word spread and demand grew, the brothers had to decide whether to stay at Monaghan's -- or strike out on their own.
"We decided to take a leap of faith, so we quit our jobs and rented a kitchen in Emeryville in 2011," Jason Scott said.
A few months later, the kitchen's owners gave them 30 days' notice -- because they were doing too much volume.
"After looking around, we found this space. It was affordable, so we took it," Jason Scott said. "It's been awesome, the response from the community has been insane."
On a recent Saturday morning, the line to the little shop snaked out the door. Brian and Jane Wrightson -- and their black Labrador mix Abraham -- were waiting at a table outside to pick up their bagel order.
"We used to live in New York, so we're always looking for good bagels," said Jane Wrightson. "Then Authentic Bagels opened right around the corner."
She said Abraham doesn't get to eat bagels but, like his Jack London neighbors, he loves to hang out at the shop.
So, what's the secret to the bagel brothers' recipe?
Mark Scott said what makes their bagels unique -- and delicious -- is the sourdough starter, which they make from scratch.
"We wanted to make a traditional East Coast-style bagel but adapt it to the West Coast," he said. "We took the texture and consistency of East Coast bagels and combined that with the sourdough flavor of San Francisco breads to produce our own hybrid bagel."
Customer Ashley Hugus, described the bagels as "amazing and delicious."
"They have great flavor, and the people are super-nice," said Hugus, who lives nearby.
Neighbors Cristina Gaitan and Nick Allen are also bagel boosters.
"We come here at least twice a week," said Gaitan. "We're from the East Coast and eating these bagels makes us feel like we're at home."
Jason Scott said the neighborhood is hungry for local businesses to open within walking distance.
"Right now, Jack London is a bit lackluster, but it's getting so much better," Jason Scott said. "The loyalty here has been awesome. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else."
In turn, the brothers support other local businesses. Loakal a clothing retailer just down the street, produces the Authentic Bagel T-shirts; Santi Papa's salsa is roasted and served right in the shop kitchen; Backyard Preserves makes jalapeño, onion and fruit jams there, too; and Roast Co. Coffee out of West Oakland is the shop's brew of choice.
"There's a lot of Oakland love coming in and out of our shop," Jason Scott said.
What: Authentic Bagel Co.
Where: 463 2nd St., Oakland
Hours: Thursday - Monday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Phone: (510) 459-1201
Kickstarter donations: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1750929765/bagel-brothers-expand?ref=live