Shug’s Bagels to expand into historic Dallas restaurant

The SMU grad who started Shug’s Bagels on Mockingbird Lane will open his second restaurant at a historic Dallas location, where the 47-year-old Great American Hero sandwich shop is set to close.

Great American Hero is scheduled to vacate the Lemmon Avenue restaurant space and relocate to northeast Dallas in August 2022. Crews are expected to begin construction of the aging building in September 2022, with the goal of opening Shug’s No. 2 d summer here. 2023.

Owner Justin Shugrue calls this second bagel shop “a release valve” for a high-demand restaurant. Lines often form in the block outside the original Shug near SMU, and weekend waits for bagels to go can be an hour and a half or longer.

“When people are trying to make a tee time or get to their kids’ football game or go to church and we tell them there’s a 100 minute wait, we don’t do enough to eliminate that itch,” says Shugrue.

After 47 years, Great American Hero will close on Lemmon Avenue in Dallas
Justin Shugrue, bagel baker and founder of Shug’s Bagels, opened his restaurant in Dallas a few months into the pandemic. He thrived during tough times.(Ben Torres / Special Contributor)

Shugrue’s original shop on Mockingbird Lane will remain open. Demand for the second store signals that it’s prime time for bagels in Dallas-Fort Worth.

When Shug’s opened in the summer of 2020 selling New York-style boiled bagels in University Park, the timing was awfully perfect. Dallas residents had been stuck at home for three months during the coronavirus pandemic. As long-established restaurants struggled to pivot to new take-out models, Shug’s thrived as a take-out place selling a carb breakfast we seemed so badly wanted in times of crisis.

Shugrue seems almost surprised at the store’s success, especially after second-hand ovens broke several times during the restaurant’s opening, which made for a frustrating start. (At the Lemmon Avenue restaurant, the ovens will be brand new, he swears.) The first restaurant was funded by Shugrue’s family and friends alongside a loan from the Small Business Administration that Shugrue secured, with big consequences. : the privilege was against his mother’s house.

The second time around, Shugrue says, he’ll fully fund the store and he’ll change a few things operationally.

This will be the first Shug’s with a pick-up window, which will help bagel addicts enjoy breakfast without meeting friends. (Details will be important there: The pickup window will be for online orders that have already been placed, to keep the line moving. It won’t operate like a traditional fast food drive-in.)

After Great American Hero closed on Lemmon Avenue in Dallas in August 2022, a new tenant...
After Great American Hero closes on Lemmon Avenue in Dallas in August 2022, new tenant Justin Shugrue will begin work on a new Shug’s Bagels. The pink, blue, and yellow on the building will likely be replaced with Shug’s signature hunter green color.(Lola Gomez / Staff Photographer)

In two years of business, Shugrue has learned that 30-35% of customers order bagels and cream cheese. No less than 50% of customers order an egg sandwich. Shugrue plans to leave more space for the griddles, which will help them make egg sandwiches faster. He thinned out the rest of the menu – breakfast sandwiches and the like – to focus more on bagels and egg sandwiches.

Shugrue knows that taking over a nearly 50-year-old restaurant space comes with significant pressure.

“There is so much sentimental value and charm,” he says. “I feel the community duty that it had to be a place like Shug’s and not a Jack in the Box.”

He plans to keep the restaurant’s footprint as it is, although the building needs improvements. He calls it a “very expensive facelift”.

Shug’s No. 2 is half the size of the original – the opposite of what most restaurateurs do when growing to a new location. The second Shug’s goal is efficiency and volume, he says. Bagels will continue to be made on site at both stores.

Shugrue signed a 20-year lease, which is a statement in itself.

“It’s not a short-term commitment,” Shugrue says.

Shug’s Bagels will open a second location at 4001 Lemmon Ave., Dallas, in mid-2023. It was the site of Great American Hero for 47 years. The original Shug’s will remain, at 3020 Mockingbird Lane, Dallas.

For more food news, follow Sarah Blaskovich on Twitter at @sblaskovich.

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