One of Athens’ favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurants is expanding with a new, bigger space and expanding its menu offerings as well.
Last week, Bagel Street Deli, 27 S. Court St., announced its intent to expand into the space next door that formerly housed Mountain Laurel Gifts. The restaurant is not moving, but renovating to connect both spaces to give Bagel Street more kitchen and dining space, Megan Meyer, co-owner, said.
“The idea is to expand the dining in the front, and there will be a connection between the old side and the new side, an archway between the buildings,” Meyer said.
The charm of the old space will still be there, Meyer said, including the small details like the brick wall that customers often stick tin foil onto.
The shop will remain open via the same front window-only format it has been operating in because of the pandemic during the renovations, but Meyer said they hope to have the shop opened for indoor seating in the new larger space by August.
Meyer said that although Bagel Street had hoped to expand for quite some time, they didn’t want to move the business from its original location on Court Street. Although Meyer said she was very sad to see Mountain Laurel Gifts go out, the space was the only way they could renovate Bagel Street to expand, Meyer said.
“We had some good soul searching,” Meyer said. “We want to double down and try to make this even bigger and better. So we're grateful for the opportunity.”
The land and the building formerly occupied by Mountain Laurel Gifts were appraised together last year for $211,380 and was purchased for Bagel Street’s expansion on Jan. 20 for an undisclosed price. The last sale of the building and land took place in 2012 for $260,000, according to the Athens County Auditor’s website.
Meyer said they are currently waiting for the state to approve their expansion plans and hope to start renovations by mid-April.
With the expansion of both their dining and kitchen space, Meyer said that Bagel Street’s staff will be growing as well, with more positions opening up. The menu will also be expanding to include new and familiar items, as well as more catering options.
“We're not looking to change our menu too drastically,” Meyer said. “We're going to stay in our lane. We know what we do well, and we will continue to deliver that, just adding a little variety on the side is kind of our end goal.”
Meyer hopes to see more variety in Bagel Street salads, and the expansion will open up more space and opportunities for preparation, she said. Soups will be making a return alongside other brand-new side dishes, she said.
Although the project is a risk due to the pandemic, Meyer said she is excited to bring a wider offering to the community and make their longtime dreams come true.
“We want to commit to this, and we're taking a big risk because we care about the business,” Meyer said. “It’s pretty exciting, and our employees are excited about the opportunity. It's an exciting thing, all these ideas that we've been thinking about for years have the potential to come true.”
Bagel Street manager Delphine Gamin is also excited about the renovations and said in an email that she thinks the expansion will allow Bagel Street to catch up with the business’ growth in popularity over the years.
“It will overall be a more positive experience for the customers as well as a more efficient space for us to work in,” Gamini said in an email. “When everything operates smoothly, people are groovy.”