Where to Bagelsaurus, a minimalist storefront on the Porter Square outskirts.
What for Artisan bagels ($2.50 apiece) hand-shaped, boiled, and baked by Mary Ting Hyatt, who earned a cult following at her pop-up bagel shop at Brookline’s Cutty’s.
The scene A mellow, coffee-sippin’ groove. Chill folks with effervescent smiles tend the register, praising customers’ orders. Curious neighborhood denizens — from construction workers to nannies pushing strollers — duck in to inquire about the menu. A young family, two tots outfitted in matching raincoats and Wellingtons, spread out and chow down. And soon enough, there are lines. Get here early, because seating is limited and Bagelsaurus’s bagels are sometimes extinct by noontime.
What you’re eating Bagels, of course, made with a sourdough starter, rendering them pleasantly chewy. Their unusual flavors are printed on a chalkboard menu: pretzel (a signature), black olive (scrumptious), sea salt, sesame, poppy, and so forth. There are several spreads, butters, and jam, plus three sandwiches: egg, hot smoked salmon from Matt’s Amazing Smokehouse in Sudbury, and the T-Rex, a shameless tango of almond butter, honey, bananas, and optional bacon. Or DIY with a la carte toppings like oven-roasted tomatoes and avocados. Such creativity doesn’t come cheap, though, and you may find yourself staring down a $13 bagel with a mixture of self-loathing and desire.
Care for a drink? This is Cambridge, so there is $3 cold brew. There’s also local Upton tea made in Holliston (chilled or hot), San Pellegrino, soda, and fresh orange juice.
Overheard Rapturous delight and easy banter. “You just put in a crazy order. I really respect that!,” says a cute cashier when a customer orders an adventurous combination. “How much avocado do I put on these bagels?” asks a new employee. “Like, a quarter,” the cashier advises. “My children are craving bagels,” says a harried mother, shaking out her umbrella and distributing Kleen Kanteen water bottles to her hungry charges. “Where can I find a fork?” a customer wonders. “Hmm. Probably out in back,” says the cashier, ambling off. A muscular gent in a T-shirt and faded jeans wanders in and eyes the chalkboard. “You guys have printed menus? Can you get anything besides bagels?” he asks. A nymph in pastel leggings and slouchy boots settles into a wooden booth, crosses her legs, and unzips her tweed messenger bag. “I think someone just wrote about this place in the newspaper,” she informs her seatmate. 1796 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 857-285-6103, www.bagelsaurus.com.Kara Baskin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org