Ess-a-Bagel finally reopens

Owners plan to offer outdoor seating

Co-owner Mike Wenzelberg at the new shop in Stuyvesant Town (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Co-owner Mike Wenzelberg at the new shop in Stuyvesant Town (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Carb fiends rejoice! Ess-a-Bagel’s new shop in Stuyvesant Town opened to a soft opening on Sunday, after multiple delays following an initially planned reopening date of February.

On Tuesday, following the Labor Day weekend, by noon, the line was already snaking around the back of the shop to 10 people and one of the owners, Mike Wenzelberg, reported business had so far been good.

Wenzelberg also sat down with a Town & Village reporter to discuss the reasons behind the delays, the controversial decision to install a toaster at the new shop and the company’s rabidly loyal fan base.

On Sunday, he recalled how a young woman outside, upon seeing Ess-a-Bagel was open, was “dancing and jumping.” Already, he’s seen quite a few regulars from the original location across First Avenue, which lost its lease nearly two years ago to Tal Bagels.

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Dollar-and-up store takes over former Beehives & Buzzcuts space

 J’s 99 Cents & Up has opened up in a First Avenue Space where the owners of Tal Bagels had previously hoped to put a smoked fish shop. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

J’s 99 Cents & Up has opened up in a First Avenue Space where the owners of Tal Bagels had previously hoped to put a smoked fish shop. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Though the summer is typically a slow period for business, a dollar (and up) store has opened on First Avenue, in the location that was last occupied by kiddie hair salon Beehives & Buzzcuts. Last week, the store, J’s 99 Cents and Up, featuring houseware items and other tsotchkes, opened.

Stanley Huang, whose family owns the store, said this is the fourth store of this type the family’s opened in Manhattan. At least half of the merchandise will actually cost a dollar a piece, he added, with the store mainly offering kids’ toys and balloons, houseware like kitchen items and hardware. Huang said the shop has a 15-year lease.

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Old Ess-a-Bagel space’s neighboring storefronts are now being marketed

A sign above the former Ess-a-Bagel shop announces that the Grill 21 space and others are available. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

A sign above the former Ess-a-Bagel shop announces that the Grill 21 space and others are available. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Back in January, Town & Village reported that three neighboring restaurants, Ess-a-Bagel, Grill 21 and Rose restaurant, had lost their leases. Then a couple of weeks ago, a sign went up over the former Ess-a-Bagel space (soon to be home to Tal Bagels) saying the spaces around the corner were also now on the market. Grill 21 is still there as is the shoe repair shop next door as is a small storefront that’s vacant and had been used for storage by Ess-a-Bagel.

The real estate firm listing the spaces is Walker Malloy and according to the exclusive broker for those listings, Eric Fisher, the owner of the building is looking for anything “neighborhood service related” to fill the space.

Additionally, while all three storefronts are being listed, Fisher said that “ideally,” the shoe repair shop can remain.

“We have allegiance to the cobbler,” he said, although the owner would be willing to relocate the shop somehow. The listing notes that parcels of the property can be combined, and the now vacant storage space could be used as traditional retail. The storefronts have actually been getting marketed “very softly” for the past few months, said Fisher, but that changed earlier this month with the sign going up. The only type of retail Fisher could think of that the landlord, an LLC owned by L&M Development CEO Ron Moelis and others, doesn’t want, is a liquor store. The listing described the space, on East 21st Street west of First Avenue, as “ideal for a wine bar or a commissary kitchen.”

Prices also have been made available with the vacant space at 380 square feet going for $4,750. The 415-square-foot shoe repair shop is listed as $5,190 a month and the 715-square-foot Grill 21 is listed as being $8,940.

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