After a decade of brisk business on the north side of Williamsburg, the Bedford Avenue location of the popular Bagel Store has moved on down to the neighborhood's Southside. The smaller location opened two days ago on the corner of South 4th Street and Bedford Avenue, and owner Scott Rossillo tells us he's still "doing old fashioned handmade bagels with state of art equipment." Rossillo also says he feels like he's "free" after over a decade at the old location, which is owned by local real estate mogul Yehuda Backer, whom Rossillo calls "a liar."
"There's no love lost between me and Mr. Backer, and you can quote me on that," says Rossillo. Rumors have swirled for years that Williamsburg's first Starbucks will displace the Bagel Store—something Backer has strenuously denied to us. But Rossillo tells us, "He's a liar, who the hell knows. We don't talk. He only cares about money. Whatever goes in there will be high end, rest assured. He told me from the very beginning, 'If you don't want a Starbucks in your space, pay me more.' "
Backer has not responded to repeated requests for comment. But Rossillo tells us that by the end of his time at the North 3rd Street location, his rent had spiraled to $7,500—and on top of that Rossillo says he had to pay a monthly portion of Backer's taxes, which reached $8,000 - $9,000 a month. Backer also owns property rented by the Millennium Market and Kings Pharmacy, and Rossillo tells us, "He wants everybody out. He wants big box stores everywhere." (A Starbucks rep tells us, "We have no information to share at this time regarding a Williamsburg location.")
At the new location, which was formerly a laid back Latino eatery largely favored by the neighborhood's Puerto Rican residents, Rossillo has a 15 year lease, and brand new equipment he can't wait to experiment with. After he returns from a family vacation to Disney World, he says he plans to introduce more new specialty bagels (his famous candy corn bagel caused a stir at Gothamist HQ last year). In the meantime, the new home is open daily, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Expect lines out the door during peak weekend afternoon hangover hours.