I KNEW THE BAGELS WERE GOING TO BE GREAT. After all, I had worked along side some of the best in the business. I got my start at Bake City Bagel's in Gravesend Brooklyn, home of what I believe to be the best bagels on the planet. Alumni of this tiny shop have gone on to open some of today's top bagel spots including The Bagel Hole (Park Slope), The Bagel Store (Williamsburg) and, Court Street Bagels (Cobble Hill). As a kid, I was lucky enough to work along side and learn from the owners of all of those wonderful shops while at Bake City.
A local artisan and a small batch purveyor long before either of those terms were cool or hip, owner Steve D'nafrio put extreme care into every aspect of the bagel making process. Steve paid great attention to even the most minute detail of his operation. As a worker, you only had one option when performing a task in front of Steve; do it the right way. The 15 year old me probably didn't appreciate how important those qualities are when it comes to running a successful business; especially on the days when it was my turn to clean the giant barrel dough mixer armed with nothing but some soy oil and a hand scraper. Today though, that philosophy is something that I always keep in mind. It's one of the reasons why Tompkins Square Bagels is a success. We sweat the small stuff and if we always bring our A game.
Bagels in the hole, it wasn't going to be enough for me to just provide a great product. Tompkins Square Bagel's is truly my love letter to the East Village; a place I now call home. I put extreme love, care, and that same attention to detail, into every aspect of our shop's build out. TSB is first and for most, a neighborhood shop, built by neighborhood craftsmen and artists, to be enjoyed by neighborhood folks. I wanted TSB to have a warm, homey, welcoming feel similar to the Brooklyn shops I grew up with as a kid. A place where no one could ever feel out of place. College student, actor, policeman, writer, toddler or taxi driver. TSB was built with all of you in mind.
When asked to write the 'About' for this website, I was told it might be a good idea to provide a mission statement; a clear idea of TSB's main purpose. There's a fellow named Andrew who's been coming to TSB with his young daughter Lilly since the day we opened our doors. From the start, young Lilly was crazy about our blueberry muffins. Although she couldn't string too many words together at the time Lilly knew how to make all of us understand in no uncertain terms that we better get her a blueberry muffin quick. Being adorable, we were always more than happy to oblige. These days, Lilly can easily stroll in on her own two feet and demand that muffin in a much more articulate manner. Watching that happen is the joy of owning a local shop.
In the time since we've opened I've gotten to watch lots of Lilly, along with a whole bunch of other kids, grow up a bit. Not just kids actually; I've gotten to know all sorts of wonderful people during the two years we've been operating. Many of whom I can now proudly call my friends. They all have their stories and I've gotten to watch them all grow in their own ways. With any luck I'll get to watch Lilly start grammar school, then high school. Maybe we'll even still be around to say goodbye when she goes off to college. If along the way she asks for a part time job so she can make a little spending money during the summers well, all the better. Steve did the same for me after all. So, this is what TSB is 'About' If I'm really lucky, I'll get to watch a bunch of stories like Lillie's play out before my lease is up. When the day comes to close my doors I will look back on those stories and I will say to myself 'Mission Accomplished' and consider TSB a great success.
165 Avenue A. New York, NY 10009
Hours: Mon - Fri: 7:00 am - 8:00 pm, Sat - Sun: 7:00 am - 7:00 pm
Hand rolled, kettle boiled and oven baked daily on premises!
Tompkins Square Bagels are simply the best you can get!