Bagel Street Deli on Court Street in Uptown Athens — a longtime favorite for students and residents alike — recently opened a newly expanded and renovated storefront.
The deli used to be little more than a thin hallway that was often packed on weekends before the pandemic, but the bagel shop has expanded into the former Mountain Laurel Gift Shop storefront, adding new dining and kitchen space.
Megan Meyer, Bagel Street's owner, said she and the employees were excited to reopen the storefront to the public after offering only window service since the beginning of the pandemic.
“We’re excited about the space, to let people see it,” Meyer said.
The newly added side is a far cry from the original, with lots of light and a more modern design. What remains constant between the two buildings, however, are the historic brick walls that were stuffed with artistic aluminum sculptures made and placed by customers.
“That was important to us, to try and keep it very similar on both sides,” Meyer said.
The expansion increased the size of the kitchen by adding a completely separate space, Meyer said. The larger and more open kitchen in the new space will help workers process customer’s orders more quickly, leaving the original kitchen available for handling takeout orders.
The dueling kitchens will help the business develop long-term projects, expanding the menu to include more salads and soups, as well as developing the catering side of the business, she said.
Although the business is open to the public now, because of the spread of the Delta variant of coronavirus, indoor seating capacity will be reduced to encourage as few people inside the store as possible.
“We’re like at 80% (capacity),” Meyer said. “We’re not at that 100% yet.”
Connor Neal, 32, Bagel Steet's chef, said the new space would be a game changer for the business.
“It’s been a long time coming and having this extra square footage is really going to be a large improvement to operations and the speed of putting out product.
Carter Frasure, 22, an employee, said he was excited to greet customers back into the space rather than having them line up on the sidewalk.
“It brings a new energy in here, for sure,” Frasure said.