When hearing the word “bagel” in Athens, it is easy for one to immediately think of an Ohio University staple: Bagel Street Deli. So naturally, Jan. 15, also known as National Bagel Day, is a perfect excuse for students on campus to make their way over to their local bagel restaurant.
Megan McElligott Meyer, co-owner of Bagel Street Deli, said in celebration of the national bagel holiday, Bagel Street is holding a raffle for a $15 gift card. Participants will be asked to fill out a ticket with their name, contact information and favorite kind of bagel.
“We want to know what type of bagel people enjoy the most,” McElligott Meyer said in an email.
In time for bagel day, Bagel Street has renovated and expanded its services in the form of an expanded dining room, McElligott Meyer said. She believes the expansion has been well received with customers, who appreciate the new indoor seating area.
“Our space is much more Covid protocol friendly,” McElligott Meyer said in an email. “There is more dining space with high ceilings and a variety of table styles spread out throughout the old and new sides of the restaurant.”
McElligott Meyer said the expansion has also granted them the spacial capacity to hire new employees. Although working in a different space requires a learning curve with an increase of customers and an unfamiliar kitchen setting, she said the employees, or “bagelers” as she calls them, have taken well to the new working environment.
“It has been so fun getting to know them and integrating them into our bagel street family,” McElligott Meyer said in an email. “It has really created a great working environment and we hope that transfers to how the customers feel when they come see us.”
Aidan Kelly, a junior studying acting, was recently hired during Bagel Street’s expansion. He said that before he worked at Bagel Street, it was one of the first places he ate on campus because he had heard about its good reputation. He immediately viewed it as a fun place to work, and this rang true after he was hired two years later.
“I like the atmosphere, the music,” Kelly said. “The people that come in are great, so it’s a cool place to hang out.”
Kelly said he loves the new expansion and it has had a big impact on the environment for both employees and customers.
“If I was still coming in here as a customer, this would just make me want to come back here more,” Kelly said. “I just think it’s really cool that we have room for more people but also more workers too.”
Grace Corbin, a Bageler at Bagel Street, said she originally started working at Bagel Street in 2006 and returned in the beginning of 2020. Because of her long history with the restaurant, she has seen it change over the years, especially with the expansion.
“I love it; it’s awesome to have more space,” Corbin said. “(The dining area) is so nice and big and spacious.”
The renovation has increased their efficiency in the kitchen and improved the customer experience, Corbin added.
“We’re able to crank out bagels way faster,” Corbin said. “We don’t really have that problem anymore of people waiting in a super long line to order and then waiting a super long time for their food.”
Kelly said Bagel Street makes him feel cared about as an employee, and he believes people should show their support for the restaurant on National Bagel Day.
“I don’t think I would have had any kind of ties to bagels before working here, but now it seems like an important part of me,” Kelly said.
Ultimately, the restaurant has the responsibility as a local business to the community to serve quality food that satisfies their customers, McElligott Meyer said. Though they have post-COVID-19 plans to increase their catering service and to rent out part of their dining area for special events, their primary goal right now is to heighten their customers’ experience.
“We would love to have you stop in and experience the expanded space,” McElligott Meyer said in an email. “Try a new menu item and share your favorite bagel type in celebration of the great bagel.”