Cambridge, MA 2023 James Beard Award semifinalist for best chef, Northeast Milena Pagán, is relocating her Providence bagel shop, Rebelle, this winter to 249 3rd St. A “Best of Rhode Island” winner by Rhode Island Monthly three years in a row, Rebelle is known for its fresh-baked, made-from-scratch bagels and creative spreads, breakfast sandwiches and indulgent sweet treats, and its deep-rooted commitment to sustainability.
Milena is the owner of two Providence businesses, Rebelle and Little Sister, has a James Beard Award nomination under her belt, was a PBN 2023 Business Women Awards Achievement Honoree and the 2020 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award recipient, and has appeared in Bon Appetit, The New York Times as well as countless local Rhode Island publications.
Rebelle’s new location will continue to feature Milena’s hand-rolled bagels accompanied by its variety of cream cheeses like smoky harissa, roasted poblano pepper, mexican street corn and beet, dill and horseradish.
Sandwich lovers can expect well-done classics like the egg and cheese as well as their signature lox sandwich. Rebelle will offer a full espresso bar along with their notorious scratch-made pastries including their signature Halvah & Chocolate Cookie covered in toasted sesame, as well as flaky pop-tarts in classic flavors and seasonal specials like raspberry lime rickey and pumpkin pie. Vegan, dairy-free and nut-free options will be available, and the bagels, spreads and lox will be certified by Lighthouse Kosher.
“I’m excited to go back to Cambridge and be a part of the food scene in Kendall Square, where I spent a lot of my undergrad years at MIT,” said Milena Pagán, owner of Rebelle Bagels. “I’m forever grateful to the Providence community for supporting my dream of becoming a food entrepreneur for the last six years. Cambridge was my playground in my college years and I have a lot of love for the city. I am drawn to the energy and vibrancy of Kendall Square, so it feels like the logical next step to continue experimenting and innovating with our bagels in that market.”
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Milena Pagán graduated with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2011 and was working in the corporate world when she made the decision to pursue baking professionally in 2017. A self-taught baker, she honed her recipe for the perfect bagel through relentless experimentation using the highest quality ingredients, a two-day fermentation and shaping process. The process starts at 3am, when the bakers make the dough using flour, water, sugar, yeast and salt. They let it proof, then cut the dough and roll each bagel by hand. The bagels are cold-proofed over 24 hours, a process that slows down the fermentation, adds more flavor and gives the crust a beautiful blistered look. The next day, the bagels are boiled in malted barley and alkaline water, seeded on both sides and then baked to perfection before they’re served fresh every day.