From Bites to Bagels, South King Street Space to Transform

One popular food establishment has made way for another in downtown Leesburg.

The currently vacant building at 105 S. King St. will soon be the home of bkd bagels, following the May departure of BITES Wine and Grilled Cheese Bar.

BITES arrived onto the downtown scene in the fall of 2017, a new restaurant concept following the success of Damian Dajcz’s Senor Ramon Taqueria, just a catty corner away. BITES offered an assortment of grilled cheese creations with unique ingredients and an expansive wine list and sangria selection. The restaurant’s departure took many of its faithful followers by surprise, but Dajcz attributed that to landlord Don Devine’s choice not to renew their lease. He said he was already looking at new spaces in Leesburg to bring back the concept to the county seat. Dajcz acknowledged that it will be too late to bring BITES back in time for restaurants’ summer season, but hopes to begin work on a new space later this year in time for a spring 2022 reopening. 

In addition to Senor Ramon’s Leesburg location, Dajcz has other Senor Ramon’s locations in Sterling, Chantilly, Reston and Great Falls. For those looking to get their BITES fix sooner, Dajcz said he is planning to create a shared space for both restaurant concepts in the Great Falls location. 

With BITES departing, bkd bagels’ owners Tony and Brittany Davis are excitedly preparing for their first brick and mortar location, for a restaurant concept that started out merely as a hobby. After moving to the area from Florida, the Davises started fixating on making the perfect bagel on weekends, after their day jobs. Tony Davis said they probably changed the bagel recipe at least a dozen times, experimenting with everything from cooking temperatures to different kinds of flour. 

Along with using high-quality ingredients, the cooking process is just as important, Davis said. After making the dough, they do a slow, cold rise, so all the dough is refrigerated for at least 12 hours.

“All the stuff I’ve studied when making bagels, cold ferment affects the taste. It just takes a little more time. Then all the bagels are hand rolled,” he said.

The Davises received a cottage license late in 2020 to begin selling their bagels. After their first online giveaway only attracted a handful of followers, the business grew by leaps and bounds thereafter. They would open up a limited number of slots per week for bagel deliveries or local pick-ups, with Sidebar Coffee an early partner, to fit around their work schedules. It wasn’t long before the slots would be filled 100% of the time, and Sidebar owners Nils and Olivia Schnibbe encouraged them to look for a location to call their own. Schnibbe and Sidebar general manager Sam Athanas would go on to become bkd business partners.

“It was more just dumb luck,” Tony Davis said of finding the South King Street spot. “As we take a step back and look at the location and building, I don’t think we could’ve hand-picked a better one.”

The restaurant will feature bkd’s popular assortment of bagels and bagel balls, along with specialty bagel charcuterie boards, bagel sandwiches, coffee, tea, mimosas, and beer and wine. Tony Davis said they are hoping for a late July or early August opening.

bkd bagels can be found on Facebook and Instagram, with a website coming soon.

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