An opening date is within sight for the Second Avenue location of Tompkins Square Bagels.
As I reported late last year, owner Christopher Pugliese's build out got bogged down, in part, by city bureaucracy. As he said in December:
"The killer is, the DOB approved all of our major alterations very quickly," he said. "They came back to us with a list of about 12 minor objections and asked us to make adjustments. Little things like 'move this staircase six inches to the right,' or 'put the skylight here instead of there.' That has been dragging on for months."
However, Pugliese told me on the phone the other day that the brunt of the work is complete. Workers installed the oven last week. Most of the equipment is in. Con Ed has turned on the gas service.
[The oven at 184 2nd Ave. last week]
"All the big stuff is done. All the plumbing is done. All the electric is done. We're bringing in coffee equipment now. We getting to the end," he said.
Considering how long the renovations have taken for the former Open Pantry space at 184 Second Ave. between 11th Street and 12th Street, does he even want to offer up a possible opening date?
"We're getting really close. I feel like it won't be any later than Sept. 10-15," Pugliese said. "At this point now I can do the fun stuff, like I'm talking to local artists. I'm thinking about where all the seats will go."
Tompkins Square Bagels opened on Avenue A between 10th Street and 11th Street in December 2011.
"I love my store. I love my customers. I've gotten to know so many great people. I was trying to create the kind of place that I grew up with," said Pugliese, a Brooklyn native.
Nine years remain on the Avenue A lease. However, he has doubts that landlord Jared Kushner will offer him a lease renewal at that time. Which is one reason he scouted for another location.
"I want to be like Veniero's, Russo's or East Village Meat Market," he said. "I want to be 70 and still in there working. I want to stay in the East Village."
And he has a good feeling about Second Avenue.
"There's something about that block and the surrounding blocks that feels good — really cozy and comfortable," he said. "And St Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery is there. We lost a church on A, so I'm back even again."
Pugliese also said that there will be fewer menu options on Second Avenue than at Avenue A. "The place is a bit smaller, so that has to be. And we want to speed things up a bit. That's hard when you have such a giant menu."
There will be a few items only available at the Second Avenue TSB, such as bialys ... as well as knishes from Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery.
"It's the biggest project that I've ever done in my life," he said. "But it will be totally worth it."
Previously on EV Grieve:
After 40-plus years, Open Pantry looks to be closing on 2nd Avenue
Rumor: Tompkins Square Bagels possibly opening a 2nd East Village location on 2nd Avenue
A 2nd Tompkins Square Bagels confirmed for former Open Pantry space on 2nd Avenue
Tompkins Square Bagels makes it official on 2nd Avenue
The new Tompkins Square Bagels will arrive before the 2nd Avenue subway