Monday, July 28, 2008

David's Bagels

A tipster sent in the news that David's Bagels on 1st Avenue and 14th Street will be closing at the end of August after 21 years of business. I spoke with the owner, Vilai Wangkeo, and she told me that since the landlord opened a Hot & Crusty franchise next door, "He doesn't want the competition," so her lease will not be renewed.



"When you work somewhere for 21 years," she said, "you get good customers, and when you have to move, it's really sad. This is like my second home. I've been here every day, 6 days a week, for 21 years."

When Ms. Wangkeo's children grew up and she needed work to do, she opened David's Bagels in 1987. I asked why a former nurse and a native of Thailand would decide to open a bagel shop. "We have no bagels in Thailand," she chuckled, "but my brother had a side job at Bagel Nosh and he learned how to make them there."

"Is your brother named David?" I asked.

"Nobody is David," she laughed, "But a lot of Jewish people have that name." So David just made sense for a bagel shop.



Ms. Wangkeo has a second bagel shop further uptown and she is searching for a new location for this one, but it's hard to find a spot for a small business in Manhattan. "Nothing is empty," she said, "nothing for less than $15,000 a month."

That's a lot of bagels.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bummer!
These people are really nice.
Been going here since they opened and the place was usually busy, especially on weekend mornings.
Hot & Crusty???
FU.

Eric said...

Another fro-yo joint, perhaps? It should complement the Hot & Crusty pastries.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, this really sucks. Nice people, great bagels. Hopefully they'll find another spot, otherwise I'll make the trip to 19th St.

APOSEC72 said...

Never went there. Ess-A-Bagel is so much better.

Anonymous said...

Not sorry to see them go, decent bagels, but really mean clientele, with slightly disorganized service. Not that I'll go to the chain next door. David's also have a location further up 1st Ave, is it staying open? Everyone should know Murray's has the best bagels!

ShatteredMonocle said...

If you never went there, how do you know what's better and by how much?

Speaking of anti-logic: now's the part where some Yunnie chimes in extolling the virtues of the free market.

Jeremiah Moss said...

the location at 19th is staying open. mrs. wangkeo told me they have, i think, a year or so left on the lease there. after that, who knows.

Joshua said...

Well, the free-market has worked mighty well for the yunnie. They and their parents have made lots and lots of money over the last decade to buy gold shit-pills with, and if the only consequence that they can see is that businesses that attract "mean people" (that is, actual grown-ups whose mature behavior intimidates them) are pushed out, it just looks to them like one big steaming pile of fabulousness!

Anonymous said...

so she named it "David's" because Jews are named David? So if I open a fried chicken restaurant and name it "Shaniqua's", I suppose that'd be ok too?

CntrySigns said...

What a shame. Its amazing that places are allowed to open so close to each other when they sell the same thing. Its just mean. I'm sure there were other places Hot & Crusty could have opened.

Jill said...

It's hard to find a bad bagel in NY but it's always a pleasure when it's warm out of the oven. I hope they stay open and run Hot & Crusty out of town.

Anonymous said...

This is sad! We old-Stuy high folks used to go here for our AM bagels, back in the 80s. Another one bites the dust.

gadabout said...

Frak this tasteless moron landlord. I hope people get food poisoning at his stupid, neighborhood-culture-killing, buttcheeks-on-his-shoulderblades hot and crusty...daily.

RI 360 said...

I used to live at 16th Street and I have to say the bagels were better at that davids than the ess-a-bagel at 20th. That is only my opinion but I always saw lines at david's.

Anonymous said...

Unlike pretentious bagel places like Murray's and H&H, David's is all substance. Ms. Wangkeo's army of bagel makers are laser-focused on making a top quality product they can be proud of. Fortunately, their 19th street location is still operational. God save us all if this location is also forced to close.

Steve said...

Don't despair too much - only 2 blocks uptown (betw. 15th & 16th) is a decent bagel place, La Bagel. They bake on the premises and have good bagel fillings - cream cheeses, whitefish salad, etc. A bit more expensive than David's and closed on Saturday (they're fully kosher). Until recently, the area also had Dizzy Izzy's at 14th & 2nd. I live on 15th betw. 1st & 2nd, and one block in almost any direction had a very good bagel shop. Then there was one.

Anonymous said...

La Bagel? are you kidding.

Their bagels are cakie, no substance to the crust. And they're closed on Saturdays.

Anonymous said...

Montreal bagels are much better...
New Yorkers THINK their bagels are the schizzle..

esquared said...

Montreal bagels are much better...

because most New Yorkers have moved up and relocated to Montreal, after they have been priced out, pushed out, and been gentrified.

The "New Yorkers" who THINK their bagels are the schizzle are the ones from Ohio.

Chicopea said...

Such sad news! I have come to love and depend on David's in the last 9 years of living in the EV. And what a sweet woman

Anonymous said...

Did her brother work at the Bagel Nosh in Queens, just off the LIE in Fresh Meadows? I vaguely remember that place from my childhood. It probably closed in '85

Anonymous said...

David's bagels is the best bagel place in the city - hands down. just another reason why the EV sucks now.

Anonymous said...

David's bagel sandwich was the best in new york. thanks for this story, I will never eat at hot and crusty now that i know why David's is gone. I was depressed enough as it was since hot and crusty's bagels and service are far inferior in the first place.

AlanC9 said...

Damn. I go out of town for a couple weeks and come back to this.

Guess I'm walking to 19th street too.

StuyTownAndFriends said...

Open letter to Hot and Crusty
http://stuytownandfriends.wordpress.com/

Dan said...

Davids had the best bagels south of H&H, without a doubt.
You could count on your bagel being so fresh it was still warm. Really the perfect bagel all around.
Ess a bagel is pretty good too, but Davids was #1.

NYC taxi photo said...

oops! i didn't catch that it was already mentioned the other location "uptown" at 19th.

oh P.S. H&H SUCKS! if you want tofu spread you have to buy a whole tub of it!! they don't spread it on the bagels! and their attitude is awful, and yet the whole upper west side can't imagine life without it, they can't leave their fricken' box that they're trapped in uptown there.