Bagel Art Cafe dishes out more than 1,000 free bagels


Grace Luxton/The Daily Northwestern

A boy looks out the window of Bagel Art Cafe, 615 Dempster St. The shop reopened on Sundays this weekend.

Kristine Liao, Reporter

The only thing better than a free bagel is six free bagels.

When Bagel Art Cafe restored its Sunday hours this week after cutting them in 2015, they gave them out by the half dozen. Owner Vince Doyle said the independent cafe, 615 Dempster St., cut its Sunday hours because the staff was small and inexperienced, making it hard to maintain a business open seven days a week. Additionally, having Sunday off was important after a busy week, Doyle said. During a period in the spring of 2015, Doyle said at one point he had to work 80 consecutive days.

Doyle said customers were “very disappointed” after they cut their hours.

“Sunday’s the bagel day,” Doyle said. “When we closed on Sundays a year ago, possibly hundreds of people told us to reopen … It was almost scandalous.”

Although they felt bad customers were upset, Doyle said the reaction was “flattering.”

Now a year later, Bagel Art has more experienced workers in addition to a larger staff, making a seven-day week both feasible and desirable, Doyle said.

Medill freshman Lauren Bell was one of more than 150 Northwestern students to claim her six free bagels Sunday at the reopening of Bagel Art Cafe, where Bell said she found good bagels at a reasonable price.

“It’s a really unique place,” Bell said. “It has a vibe to it, and it feels like a place where college students would go. This is definitely a place where I could bring my homework along and just sit and eat my bagels.”

Customers could receive six free bagels as long as they pre-ordered by phone or email, but later in the day the shop began giving out free bagels to all customers, Doyle said.

The cafe on Dempster Avenue received more than 250 orders, and about 150 to 200 were from NU students, Doyle said.

Bienen junior Sarah Bowen heard about the reopening from a Facebook post and said the cafe could easily market to college students.

“It’s smart to open on Sundays because a lot of students try to get off campus on the weekends,” Bowen said. “I know a lot of students who come down to Dempster to get food and study, so it’s good for it to get in on that crowd.”

Sunday was Bowen’s first visit to Bagel Art Cafe. She said it allowed her to take a break from campus life.

“It doesn’t seem quite as student-filled, which I really like, because I can get outside the Northwestern bubble,” Bowen said.

Bagel Art Cafe has catered for Medill and McCormick events, and Doyle said the University is an “integral” part of what they do, noting the number of graduate students living in the neighborhood.

“It’s fun to see what people are doing and what they’re working on,” Doyle said. “We’re just making our small contribution with bagels and coffee.”

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Twitter: @kristine_liao