You may have heard of Philip Korshak through his cryptic Instagram, @korshak.bagels.poetry. If you have, you’ve probably tried to DM him to order one of his elusive bagels. If you’re one of the few who have succeeded in sinking your teeth into one of his doughy masterpieces, consider yourself very lucky.
Korshak explains, “In the past, you would DM me via Instagram, and then you would really get annoyed because I wouldn’t get back to you for a very, very, very long time. Then typically you would DM again and still be pretty upset about it. And then eventually your name would come up in the list…” The list Korshak is referencing is his waitlist for one of these coveted bagels. Once on it, he'd reach out and get your customized bagel order, ready to pick up from Angelo’s Pizzeria in the coming days. But the waitlist days are behind Korshak, who plans on opening a storefront for his bagel empire in the coming months.
Korshak’s love for bagel–making began in a storybook way. When he was living in New York with his wife Kendra, Sundays were a break from hectic schedules, and a special day dedicated to spending time together. Bagels were a part of this weekly Sunday ritual that Korshak just couldn’t live without when he moved to Texas, where, as he puts it, “there are no bagels.”
He started experimenting with bagels and working in a mom–and–pop pizza shop, where his love affair with dough began. When he finally made his way to Philly in 2018, he began working out of Angelo’s Pizzeria after connecting with owner Danny DiGiampietro over a love for dough. He would use equipment at Angelo’s to make bagels, and sell them through Instagram or occasional popups out of the shop. But eventually Korshak got too popular, and Angelo’s was hit with an influx of bagel orders. Since there wasn’t enough space for Korshak to maintain his side job, Korshak set out on his own, saying he "needed to do the thing that was my thing, and [DiGiampietro] gave me his blessing.” Enter Korshak Bagels, which he anticipates will open in early summer.
Korshak Bagels will be located at 1700 10th St and will be "an itty bitty little shop that does nothing but make fresh, hand–rolled, hard–boiled bagels, served with basic schmears of cream cheese,” he says. According to Korshak, a bagel can be served in three different ways: "It should either be a thing that is in your bag where you open it up and you go 'Oh great, I still have a bagel,' and then you eat it, or a bagel schmeared up with cream cheese, or a bagel sandwich.” His shop will serve all three varieties.
To Korshak, a bagel is much more than a hangover cure or an on–the–go breakfast. In his mind, food is language, which brings us to the poetry part of @korshak.bagels.poetry. “In one of my previous lives I was an academic person and was working on a Masters in Modern Poetry with a thesis on T.S. Elliot,” he says. "I love words, and I love language...I think that food is merely a means of communication, and I believe that all food is made to communicate with the other human being that they are important." This perspective provides insight into why he loves feeding people and helps explain why he has gained such notoriety, which he attributes to the uniqueness of the Philly community.
“In Philadelphia there is something about testifying about something that you love. Philadelphians are so beautifully community–minded that they aren’t greedy with the things that they love. If somebody loves something in this town they go out of their way to spread the word," Korshak explains.
Unfortunately, until the shop opens later this year Instagram orders are suspended, so you won’t be able to get your hands on one of his bagels until then. Already brainstorming your order? Street recommends the everything bagel with scallion cream cheese and lox!