The second location for longtime Houston favorite Bagel Shop Bakery, the to-go counterpart of New York Deli and Coffee Shop, is now open today at 5422 Bellaire Blvd. And that's just the beginning. The plan is to open a second location of the sit-down New York Deli and Coffee Shop—with a 300-seat capacity and a full bar—next door as early as spring 2021.
It's another step in modernization for the longtime Houston bagel maker whose original location remains on Hillcroft Street in Meyerland. Michael Saghian, who took over management of both New York Deli and Bagel Shop Bakery nearly two years ago, says the new location will give him the opportunity to experiment and stretch the boundaries of the brand.
"We want to expand on what we're doing based on what we're doing," says Saghian. "The focus is on the bagel, but a more elevated bagel shop is what we're playing around with here."
Ultimately, Saghian wants to further develop the concept of a restaurant and bagel shop, first into other parts of Houston and then, eventually, beyond. Of course, none of this could happen without the original Hillcroft location, which has been serving up bagels to Houstonians for more than 40 years. Saghian says that isn't going anywhere.
"Hillcroft is our heart and soul," he says. "The plan is to keep Hillcroft open. Without it, our brand will suffer."
Roshni Gurnani, a Boston native who has been working at the Art Institute of Houston—and competed on television's Hell's Kitchen and won on Chopped—has been hired by Saghian as executive chef of the new location. At Bellaire, she and kitchen supervisor Adriana Soto will offer much of the same fare that's available in Meyerland, but they also plan to introduce new items, including a falafel burger and deep-fried blintzes.
"We're elevating the classic recipes to bring a professional edge to them," says Soto. "We're playing with the blintzes and the challah."
Another new item that's sure to draw interest is a bagel sandwich called Elvis Schmelvish: A cinnamon raisin bagel topped with peanut butter, banana, and honey.
Moreover, the Bellaire Bagel Shop Bakery and its neighboring restaurant are certified kosher by the demanding Mehadrin Kashrus of Texas (MKT). And they're just experimenting more at this location, offering new takes on classics like the pastrami reuben, but using pastrami smoked salmon instead of the traditional style of pastrami.
"I cannot tell the difference," says Saghian. "It's much more elevated than anything we've done."
The new Bagel Shop Bakery will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony—and challah day, yum—on Jan. 22.