Glens Falls Bagels serves up a dream on South Street

GLENS FALLS, NY (NEWS10) – South Street was once known in Glens Falls as the “Street of Dreams”. Today, one block down the street, the dreams of the city have been spilled in a vacant lot, where a new mixed-events space will host farmers’ markets, concerts and more for the community, as part of an ongoing downtown revitalization initiative project.

Across the street, another dream comes to life. Next to a row of boarded up windows where bars and a taxi company once operated, something new is in the oven – and comes out fresh every day.

This is the story of Glens Falls Bagels, the new South Street business that has been one man’s dream come true for the past two weeks – and will be for at least the next five years. He shapes his bagels on a bar counter, originally used by an Irish pub that operated where he now works at 58 South St. That pub eventually closed, as did the bakery that replaced it. Now company owner Kerry Smith is banking on his own ambitions in fresh dough, sesame seeds and cream cheese.

“My dad, when he retired from firefighting, took a chance in the Williamsburg, Brooklyn, neighborhood and started a bar,” Smith recounted Thursday, cutting up dollops of dough and spreading them on the counter of the restaurant. clean bar to start. shaping them into a bagel. “I couldn’t take over this place before he sold it. So now I come to this place, and I see the mirrors, the bar, and the decor, and I feel like I’m home.

Kerry Smith, owner of Glens Falls Bagels, seasons a batch of ready-to-bake bagels.

The house is still getting together. On Thursday, tables and chairs stood around a somewhat empty dining room, where an oven was working, baking a batch of Smith’s tried-and-true bagels the night before. There’s no proper menu yet, but a sign in the front window advertises a bacon, egg, and cheese bagel for $5.99.

All the finer touches are yet to come, and Smith has plenty of ideas. He plans to display local artwork on the walls and use a raised area near the front window for live music and other events. As Glens Falls Bagels forms, it will hire a few staff and possibly host a grand opening on January 15.

Why then? It’s National Bagel Day.

For starters, Smith pulls out the classics. Every day he bakes a new batch of plain, poppy seed, sesame, onion and all bagels and almost every day he sees a few more customers come knocking on his door.

The plan is to serve breakfast sandwiches, as well as bagels with classic cream cheese; and to add new bagel flavors, like cinnamon raisins and jalapeño cheddar. Pizza bagels will also be on the menu, as will bagel pizzas — full-size pies made with the store’s own fresh bagel dough.

From bed and breakfast to bagels

Smith is originally from Brooklyn, but Glens Falls Bagels isn’t the first business he and his fiancé have started in the North Country. Previously, they were the owners of Glenmore Lodge, a bed and breakfast on Glen Lake. The lodge was never able to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic, but Smith’s time there left it primed and ready for what was to come.

“All of our guests were my guinea pigs for my bagel recipe. When we sold the lodge, we sold our house as well as our business, so we moved to South Glens Falls so I could find a fresh start for my bagels.

Glens Falls Bagels
Glens Falls Bagels on South Street in Glens Falls, NY

The vacant buildings next to Glens Falls Bagels don’t worry Smith. In fact, he’s happy to be the first new business in the neighborhood. From inside, the front windows look directly out onto the old OTB lot which is set to be the new home of the Glens Falls Farmers Market next year, once the town long-standing DRI project is finished. The project also includes the construction of a large mixed-use apartment and commercial building higher up on South Street, where the Farmer’s Market is currently held during the warmer months.

Once this project is complete, traffic is expected to be heavy on this stretch of South Street as residents of Glens Falls come to pick up their produce and other goods. When they come, Smith will be ready.

“It’s exciting,” he said. “I want to be part of it. I want to feed everybody, just give them a stable place where they can get a bacon, an egg and cheese, or a bagel and a coffee.

The business came as a turnkey operation, with a small but efficient kitchen that Smith says saved him thousands of dollars. All he had to get was the right kind of oven, with help from ABC Equipment and Restaurant Supplies in South Glens Falls.

Dreams are as big as the list of things you can put on a bagel. Smith hopes to expand what he can do, with more refrigeration and a more extensive menu, once his customer base becomes more established. But he knows that good things take time.

“I was an ironworker and did all these other things (before I opened Glens Falls bagels),” Smith said, pausing as he sprinkled dried onions on a batch of freshly boiled bagels he had shaped less than 20 minutes before. “Now I’m starting over at 49, with a business that failed and hopefully the fresh start of a successful business.”

Glens Falls Bagels is open 7 days a week at 58 South St. and can be found on GrubHub. Smith can be found there every day – boiling, cooking and planning a future for his dream street slice of Glens Falls.

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