Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tompkins Square Bagels turns 1


This weekend, Tompkins Square Bagels celebrates its one-year anniversary at 165 Avenue A. On the eve of the occasion, we asked proprietor Christopher Pugliese to reflect on the past year.

On the local community:

"I'd really like people to know how thankful I am for their support. I've met so many amazing people at Tompkins Square Bagels this past year, you could not imagine. Every type of person. What a great great community we have. Anyone who says the spirit of the East Village is gone or done is absolutely wrong. The people are here."

On what he's most proud of:

"One of the things I'm most proud of, and maybe something that landlords should pay attention to, is that I made it without a liquor license. They were dangling that in front of me like a carrot if i agreed to pay a little more in rent. I made a decision early on — no liquor, no cigarettes, no targeting the school kids around the block by filling my place with junk food and candy. No lotto tickets. I was going to either live or die being a responsible member of the community. And I lived."

On the future:

"I'd love to put an old-fashioned Italian-style pork store/market type of place in the Diablo Royale Este space next door. [The bar temporarily closed late in August; it is not expected to return. The space is on the market.] I want to knock down a wall in TSB and connect the two. I want to have meats, fish, cheeses, coffee, bread, groceries, pre-made food, pasta, etc.

I'm interested in doing this because I live here and, personally, I'm tired of having to walk blocks and blocks for a decent piece of fish or some good pasta. Where I grew up in Brooklyn, we had places like Pastosa Ravioli. Have you ever been to one? It's like an Italian pork store, pasta shop and gourmet food place all rolled into one. There's a real neighborhood here on Avenue A. The people are here. Yet, they don't have basic needs met like a good market."

Previously.

30 comments:

John M said...

Please, Chris, open the pork store! And please have fish! It's been so damn long....

bayou said...

We are thankful that he makes damn good bagels; among the best in the city.

THE NOTORIOUS L.I.B.E.R.A.T.I.O.N. said...

Congrats!

Marty Wombacher said...

Happy Anniversary and congratulations to Christopher for putting together such a great place to meet, eat great food and enjoy the local art on the walls. TSB will be one of the first places I hit when I come back to visit. I'm just wondering if Chris discontinued "The Wombacher" after I moved back to Peoria? Christopher's a class act and he'll be a fixture on that block for years to come!

glamma said...

Bravo, Chris!

Gojira said...

Chris, I will camp out in front of the new establishment until it opens and spend money there on a daily basis if it does. An Italian pork store that sells fresh fish as well? That would be enough to ameliorate the sting of both a rancid 7-11 and the coming Gulag Complex #11-A on opposing corners.

Shawn G. Chittle said...

Best thing to happen to the neighborhood in recent memory.

Thanks Chris for your tireless efforts, great food, and most of all the respect you show each and every person.

You're a mensch!

Anonymous said...

@8:38AM, i think you're confusing authentic new york attitude for flat out rudeness. try harder.

Anonymous said...

Mazel!

EV Grieve said...

Decided to delete @8:38

nygrump said...

Mr Pugliese seems to understand true sustaniability - unfortunately the entire State apparatus is geared to rewarding insustainability: constant churn and equity profit, and most of teh cell phoney generation loves that because it requires no commitment from them.

Anonymous said...

Yes to fresh fish! I've been hoping someone would open a fresh seafood place. And pasta! There's definitely a need on A. The closest thing you'll get is a frozen piece from Key Food.

Anonymous said...

Another YES for the market idea. Union Market leaves me cold.

Anonymous said...

I love this guy and his intentions for the East Village. I am going to be eating even more bagels from Tompkins Square Bagels, and I would happily support the meat and cheese shop he'd like to open, and I know my neighbors would, too! How amazing to see Avenue A and the side streets lined with real businesses that sell products we need.

elyse said...

Congratulations on a wonderful 1st year of TSB. So happy ever since you moved in. And OMG!!! Please, please, PLEASE open up a market next door. That is exactly what's missing in the EV. I would definitely shop there, especially since I live right around the corner :)

Anonymous said...

Happy to hear TSB is doing so well. It goes to show that people in this neighborhood will support local small businesses and you can run businesses that don't serve booze and still thrive!

Anonymous said...

Hey, wait a minute. If Chris opens an artisanal, locavorian, type food shop, won't he (by definition) be a "hipster", and we'll have to pack him back off to Brooklyn? Or does he need to grow a mustache before that rule kicks in?

Anonymous said...

An EV business owner with a conscience. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

The people there are like the Westville crowd. it's not that i don't like bagels, but a communal table and accordion front doors? Not my crowd.

Goggla said...

Thanks to TSB, I've eaten more bagels in the last year than I have in my entire life. The store sounds like a great idea. Here's to many more years!

mayra diaz said...

Congrats!

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:14 PM: Westville has a communal table and accordion front doors? Now what kind of doors a place has is a reason to not eat there? I clearly can't keep up.

Anyway, Congrats to Chris for running a solid, dependable, community-minded business that does not feel the need to vajazzle up their food with whatever the flavor of the month the idiots are into (and won't be into next week). Long may it run.

Anonymous said...

best bagels. we waited so long for a great bagel shop. the people who work there are so sweet. the lines are becoming kind of crazy but lovely establishment.

Anonymous said...

a butcher !! if you get a butcher with all meats not just pork .. you will rock!

VH McKenzie said...

I will DEFINITELY patronize a market such as you describe, Chris!! Fresh meats/pasta/fish would be heaven.

ALSO -- shout out to you for supporting neighborhood artists on your walls. Looking forward to another exhibit next month!

Bobby Williams said...

Congratulations Christopher, I wish you the best. Bobby.

~evilsugar25 said...

agree with (mostly) everyone here! great bagels, best addition to the hood in a long long time. would love a market. an italian pork store would be great; can we get an amen on some organic produce? commodities is a haul when you are carrying bags back! :)

Gojira said...

Hey Marty, I went by tonight and checked, and you are still immortalized on the board, no worries.

Marty Wombacher said...

@Gojira: Thanks for checking, I'll buy you a "Wombacher" when I come back to visit!

Gojira said...

Marty - you're on!