Yes, that's an avocado toast at the New York Deli & Coffee Shop.

For over four decades, the New York Deli & Coffee Shop (nee the New York Bagel Shop) has been crafting for Houstonians New York-style bagels whose quality rivals the best of the best in the Big Apple. Munch on bagels from its kosher bakery, or as part of a classic breakfast or lunch plate in the adjacent dining space.

A commitment to quality ingredients, attention to detail, and perhaps most importantly, an owner-cum-maitre’d in the form of Ed Gavrila, who knows every regular by name (and the names of their children and all associated birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) has made this family-owned-and-operated Meyerland institution a permanent landmark in the Houston dining scene.

But sometimes even the most successful, well-respected business can benefit from a bit of a jolt. In the case of the New York Deli & Coffee Shop, that jolt came literally and metaphorically via the installment of a new espresso machine and some tweaks from new business partner Michael Saghian.

Saghian was brought on as a co-owner in anticipation of the retirement of bagel shop founder Jay Kornhaber. From having growing up in the industry (his family owns Brisket-Bar-B-Q), and from his personal experience as the owner and creator of Houston Catering Concepts, Saghian was uniquely positioned to offer insight in terms of how to innovate the shop without sacrificing its old-school charm.

After observing (with some chagrin) multiple customers bringing in their own coffee drinks to sip with their eggs and pancakes, Saghian concluded the investment in a state-of-the-art espresso machine was a no-brainer and worked to develop an accompanying menu of elevated coffee drinks. The more sophisticated java concoctions are already popular, and even this I’ll-stick-to-tea food writer found herself swooning in particular over the mocha made with gourmet Italian chocolate.

Addition, not subtraction, was also Saghian’s strategy with the bagel bakery and the deli. Delicate stone-fruit-stuffed rugelach joined bialys and bagels in the former’s line-up of offerings, officially establishing the space as a kashrut-following carbohydrate lover’s heaven. Along with that are more modern options like its own delicious spin on avocado toast: smashed avocado, poached eggs, and thick-diced peppery bacon layered on crispy everything bagel halves. 

On a recent weekday, I had trouble tearing myself away from this avocado toast par excellence in order to save some room in my gullet for the shop’s classic chopped liver and salmon platter, which I paired with the best sesame bagel I have had in recent memory.

Saghian, Guvrilla, and crew apparently have more tricks up their sleeves, and I’m waiting with bated breath to see what other fun developments they bring to the table.

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New York Bagels and Coffee Shop

$$ Bakeries, Diner 9720 Hillcroft St.

The morning bustle of New York Bagels is constant and for good reason, serving up some of the best bagels in the city. Baked fresh daily right next door, var...