Beloved Houston bagel shop co-owner retires, new co-owner ushering in avocado toast era

(NY Deli and Coffee Shop/Facebook)

HOUSTON – Beloved Meyerland bagel shop New York Deli & Coffee and its neighboring business, The Bagel Shop & Bakery are changing hands slightly. 

The bakery and deli, located at 9720 Hillcroft Street, are losing a retiring co-owner and gaining a new one -- with eyes on the millennial audience. 

Around since the bakery founded in 1975 and the deli in 1981, Jay Kornhaber, co-founder with Ed Gavrila, is retiring after a nearly 50-year career.

Asked what he plans to do in retirement, Kornhaber said he plans to “watch Channel 2 News.”

“I’ll have more time for that,” he said Thursday.

The new partner and co-owner is Michael Saghian, a 34-year-old native Houstonian with a catering background.

Saghian, a family friend of Gavrila’s his entire life, told KPRC he hopes to bring new healthier menu items, such as millennial favorite avocado toast, but retain the charm of the business he grew up visiting.

“I’m not here to change. I’m here to enhance,” Saghian said. 

A press release with the announcement echoes that sentiment: “Multi-generational customers and Meyerland-area residents, who have been gathering at ‘The Bagel Shop’ for decades, can expect the same menu and environment they have come to know and love, but with several enhancements.” 

The release notes that the restaurant side of the business will have a counter-style coffee bar with an espresso machine, as well as homemade smoothies within the next months, as well as premium deli meats added to the sandwiches, omelets and other menu items. 

On the bakery side, more baked goods will be offered, as well as a bigger variety of Jewish deli baked goods, such as rugelach, and black and white cookies, the release says.

Saghian said he has plans to help bagel bread scoopers with a healthier flat bagel option.

"We want to bring more millennials in," he said. "The restaurant industry is changing."

However, perhaps one of the biggest changes ahead is the plan to make the restaurant larger. 

But what does that mean? Will the ‘80s wallpaper stay? Will the tile stay? Will the mugs and glass ketchup bottles stay?

Saghian said he’s gotten a number of those questions on Facebook from fans, and that it’s all staying. 

However, the space issue is, well, an issue. Saghian, who said his own family is growing soon, said waiting at the bagel shop for a seat can be a stressful thing for families. He said in this research phase, they’re looking at all options around them, and that ideas for expansion are welcome. 

The restaurant and bakery in its Hillcroft location is sandwiched between two other businesses – a nail salon and a Kumon Math and Reading Center. 

While it's unclear where the business will spread out, Saghian said no matter where they go, “the look, the feel, we’re not changing.”

Gavrila, known for walking around the restaurant and greeting people by name, said Saghian has made him feel half his age, and that he's still in the business for the families and the neighborhood and to “make this the best part of your day.” 

Saghian said he’s a “chit-chatter in training.”

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