Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Bagels Minus

They called it Bagel's Plus, they called it Sunnyside Sports Cafe. But now I shall just call it Creepy Deserted Restaurant.

Yes, it's true, after all the name changing and remodeling, with no warning at all, my favorite little corner bagel shop closed. Well, not so much closed as stopped opening.

For all my complaining about their bad grammar and questionable customer service, the fact is that I'm very much a creature of habit and convenience, so I was very upset by this turn of events. And also fascinated, as it happened suddenly and strangely.

It actually started a while ago, just a week or two after I last blogged about them. One day, without warning, they just didn't open. And the customers apparently weren't the only ones unprepared -- it looked as if the staff had been abducted by aliens in the middle of the day. The new owners had installed security gates on the door and the new street-service window (which I'd never seen anyone staff or use), but the picture-windows around the corner were uncovered, and through them we could see set tables, menus, lit refrigerator cases, and food. The food was what caught my attention most, and day by day I looked as I walked past at the bagels slowly molding on the shelves behind the register. There were a lot of them, as if the morning shipment has been put away just before Mt. Vesuvius erupted and swallowed the shop.

After a week or two, I noticed that the cash register, and most of the cake and beer from the fridge were gone. A few days after that, the stale bagels finally vanished (or perhaps got up and walked out on their own). Two weeks later, the TVs were gone and a For Rent sign was in the window.

In all this time, I never saw the gate up, never saw anyone come or go. I don't know much about the business of running a restaurant, but to close so quickly after the change in management, and all the money spent on "renovations" and re-branding just doesn't make sense to me. I have to wonder if it was all a front for something shady, or -- far worse -- if they were shut down by the Health Department.

The end result for me personally is that I've had to find a new bagel place. There's one nearby -- actually closer to my apartment but in the wrong direction for the train (though the right direction for Manhattan, which makes me want to keep walking that way to the next station, because I hate backtracking) -- and I was thrilled to discover that they are a thoroughly traditional and unpretentious breakfast joint, and that they make their own bagels on the premises. Yum!

More importantly, they're run by Jews. I don't mean to sound racist, and I have nothing against the former owners of Bagel's Plus, but let's face it: my people know bagels. So imagine my disappointment when I tasted the sub-par supermarket-style lox spread! But hey, I won't quibble. After all, I only found one typo on the menu: On a placard advertising "catering," there's something called an "executie breakfast." I picture my boyfriend in a tie.

Now the only problem is all these carbs!

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