Monday, May 9, 2022

Tompkins Square Bagels is opening an outpost on Union Square West

Tompkins Square Bagels is expanding, with a location coming to 23 E. 17th St. at Broadway later this year. 

Owner Christopher Pugliese just signed the lease for the space on Union Square West for what he called a "pretty fair deal." If all goes well, he hopes to open in six months.
 
"I'm very excited and nervous too," he said during a phone call on Friday. 

Pugliese opened his first location at 165 Avenue A between 10th Street and 11th Street in December 2011. A second outpost arrived at 184 Second Ave. between 11th Street and 12th Street in November 2016.

Despite the many vacant storefronts in the area, it took him nearly two years to find a new space.

"I've been pounding the pavement since August 2020, and I've come close. I had my heart broken a few times," Pugliese said.

"I wanted to be the [the business owner] who opened in December 2020 or January 2021, when all those stories were going around that New York was dead or New York was over," said Pugliese, born and raised in Brooklyn. "I wanted to open and give the big Brooklyn middle finger. I'm opening here. You know, New York is going to be fine! But the landlords weren't really cooperating yet, and they weren't getting it. So it took this long."

Pugliese also said he didn't want to be too close to competition.

"I have this rule that I won't open within six blocks of another bagel store," he said. "There's nobody over there, so I won't be stepping on anyone's toes." 

The 17th Street storefront was previously part of the Paragon Sports footprint. The 1,500-square-foot space has exposed brick and 22-foot-high ceilings. It's in move-in shape, save for the plumbing and AC work.

Despite some challenges during the pandemic (see this post), the two TSB shops stayed open throughout 2020 and 2021. 

"We didn't get into a jam owing back rent," he said. "Because we were able to pay rent during the tougher days, I was able to negotiate a 10-year extension. So TSB will be on Avenue A for at least another 15 years. At that point, I'll be 65, and my daughter will be 22. If she's interested in picking up the torch, then who knows?"

In addition, TSB also boosted its delivery service during the pandemic throughout Manhattan, which remains in place today. "We're busy.  The crowds came back, and my delivery is still strong. We're doing pretty well," he said. 

Pugliese closed the call on a grateful note. 

"The East Village is a place I looked at with stars in my eyes back in the 1980s when I was a kid," he said. "Being accepted and supported by the community over the past 10 years has been a dream come true." 

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

A true king - thank you Chris

Anonymous said...

hooray!

Anonymous said...

Ess-A-Bagel is still the best bagel in town. They boil and bake, which is the correct and authentic way of making a bagel.

Anonymous said...

Agreed that Ess-A-Bagel is the best in the city but Tompkins Sq Bagel does boil and bake. They are a worthy adversary.

Anonymous said...

YAY, CHRIS! This is great news & we're very happy for you! You are part of the beating heart of this area, and we'd have a better world if we could clone your enthusiasm & energy!

Anonymous said...

Y'all can keep ess-a-bagel for yourselves. Not my cup of bagel, for sure.

Anonymous said...

All bagels are boiled and baked. That’s how one makes a bagel. Otherwise it’s just bread.

Anonymous said...

I miss the Native Bean on Avenue A. I thought their bagels better than TSB, Essa and DEF that Davidovich nonsense.

Anonymous said...

TSB is the best bagel in the EV and top 3 best in NYC. Definitely clears Ess-A-Bagel. Also, have some respect, this post is about TSB expansion, nothing to do with Ess-A-Bagel.

Anonymous said...

David’s Bagels on 1st and 15th is top 3

Anonymous said...

Love Tompkins square bagels the more locations the better

VH McKenzie said...

Chris is a GEM! Buy all the bagels!

Anonymous said...

Black Seed for me. But I spent much time in Montreal back in the day and so have a fondness for the Montreal-style bagel. I only wish they could get a wood-fired oven in that beautiful old De Robertis space. And kudos to Mary who bakes late in the week and on weekends!

Anonymous said...

Chris you're a ray of light in the neighborhood, more power to you!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations. Although not local, I like H& H too.