-3 Snaps! Try it. You might like it.
18 Bagels Co. opened at 111 South Dale Mabry (SW corner of Kennedy and Dale Mabry) in the former Nosh space that replaced the Original Brooklyn Water Bagel store who opened where the Red Elephant Cafe once was. I'm hoping the 4th time's a charm. It's got good DNA. The proprietors also own the popular Yogurtology fro-yo stores, with over a dozen locations in the Bay Area and beyond.
For as long as I can remember there has been a lot of chatter about what makes a good bagel. I am excited to have a re-opened local bagelry that does it all in house.
According to co-owner Jordan Levy the name 18 Bagels comes from a convergence of ideas including that the number 18 is lucky, it's 2018, and most importantly they serve over 18 types of bagels. In fact 18 bagels are listed on the menu board including six "premium" offerings. Number 19 comes in the form of the special bagel of the month. On my visit it was a French Toast bagel.
On my first visit I order the turkey avocado and bacon sandwich ($9.49) on an everything bagel. The menu lists the sandwich as having roasted turkey, mild cheddar, bacon, avocado, tomato, and mayo.
The turkey is the thin sliced deli variety and nothing special. Tomatoes and greens are fresh, and it's a nice thick bite on that fresh bagel. However, the precooked bacon is limp and with the first bite there is an odd finish in flavor. I look inside to find an orange colored sauce on top. I inquire am told that they put Chipotle aioli on the sandwich instead of the mayo listed on the menu. While a smokey aioli might work on some of their more savory sandwiches, it's argumentative on this one and takes over the flavor.
I am sympathetic to the idea that finding good restaurant help is difficult and add in the fact that they have only been open for about a week. Still, it's a flavor mistake.
On my second visit I order the Veggie Sandwich ($8.49). It is stacked mixed greens with tomato, red onion, cucumber, banana peppers, swiss cheese and hummus on whole wheat bread. The star here is the fresh bread. It is soft and spongy rendering that fresh bread texture. The rest of the sandwich is good but nothing really jumps off the plate. I would prefer some zing. A fire roasted pepper might do it or some punch in the hummus or more from the Swiss cheese...something to take it over the top!
Next is the Grilled Cheese Trio ($7.99) consisting of American, cheddar, and brie cheeses pressed in house made sourdough. There's plenty of cheese here to round out the taste. The sourdough is toasty with a healthy serving of butter helping brown the outside. My taste buds want a bowl of tomato soup to dip it in! All sandwiches are served with a large wedge of deli style pickle.
18 Bagels serves their own brand of locally roasted coffee called Brew Life. Hot drip coffee is served in large thermoses in four varieties. Brilliantly they retained the iced coffee and tea tap that were previously on-site. Both harken back to the day when bakeries and coffee shops offered free refills. Yes! Also offered is a coffee ice cube dispenser making for an undiluted iced cup of Joe. Levy says that they are considering putting their house brand coffee in their Yogurtology locations and didn't rule out other cross brand items like yogurt at the bagel store.
Open from 6:00 AM to 3:00 PM, the breakfast and lunch menus are the same. All bagels, bread, and pastries are made in house. They offer fountain Coca-Cola products and a limited number of prepackaged beverages from a deli cooler.
There's a need to massage out some of the service problems and pay attention to menu items. With a little ingredient tweaking 18 Bagels could be a stand out. If you like house made local bagels it's the place to try.
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