From the 10/13/10 CA: The Bagel Company has gotten a facelift, changed its name to City East Bagel and Grille, and is now also open for dinner 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday (and available for parties and special events on Friday and Saturday nights). Beer is being served, and you can take your own wine.
Bagel Company of Memphis
6698 Poplar Avenue
Remember when there was a bagel shop on every corner? Okay, maybe not every corner, but there was definitely a rash of bagel shops in the late nineties (?), and now there's just one--The Bagel Company of Memphis. If memory serves me right, it used to be called something else a little more Jewish sounding. Johan Sebastian Bagel? Regardless, despite growing up rather close to this place (in a Jewish household), I never set foot inside the door until last summer. I went with a couple of friends after skating at Shelby Farms and put it on my list of places to take the monkeys. A year later, we made it!
I took off a couple of Wednesdays ago to enjoy one last day of summer with the boys before sending them off to school. We planned to spend the bulk of the day swimming at the JCC, so I thought starting off with breakfast at the Bagel Company would be nice. Satchel (7) is a big fan of bagels, so I expected him to be especially excited.
When we pulled in to the parking lot, the monkeys couldn't help noticing the McDonald's next door. Jiro (5) thought I was going there and immediately started chanting "McDonald's! McDonald's!" I pointed towards the Bagel Company and informed him that was where we were eating. And surprisingly he didn't protest. (I took a moment to think of the last time we went to McDonald's and I couldn't remember. Thanks to the Sterns' we avoided fast food entirely on our 3200 mile road trip!)
The monkeys excitedly exited the car and began scaling the handicapped railing leading into the restaurant. I grabbed their collars and reminded them that we were going to a restaurant, not a playground, and to get it together. That's when Satchel spotted the Jabberblabber newsstand. "I love that magazine," he said. "Grab two," I instructed as I opened the door.
Satchel and Jiro, Jabberblabbers in hand, marched in and sat down at a table near the door. It was a little after eleven, so we had clearly missed the breakfast rush, but there were still quite a few full tables. The early lunchers, I presume. I looked around for a more secluded spot, but Satchel was insistent. We sat down and they immediately got to work on the photo search as I scanned the menu.
I tried to draw Satchel's attention to the numerous bagels behind me in the case (16, to be exact) and I listed off several food options to the both of them, but they only cared about the photo search. I managed to get Jiro to tell me he wanted eggs and Satchel muttered something about pancakes. "No bagel?" I asked, stunned. He just shook his head.
I ordered two waters for me and Satchel and an orange juice for Jiro. Then I had to figure out what I was going to order. On my initial visit I tried the Matzoh Brie thinking it was going to be something special, but found it hard to finish. (It's matzoh and scrambled eggs, served with jelly or syrup.) I was torn between an omelette (which could also be turned into a burrito) and the skillets. (I'm not a bagel and lox kinda girl, but I hear they are good.)
I decided to ask the waitress for her recommendation, and ended up going with the Farmer's Skillet with grilled sausage, veggies, and potatoes with a scrambled egg and melted cheese on top. It also came with a bagel of my choice so I went with jalepeno cheddar. I ordered Satchel's pancakes and the 2 Egg Breakfast for Jiro. "Does he usually eat two eggs?" she asked. I looked at her confused. "Do you want the kid's breakfast instead?" she clarified. Oh! I didn't even notice the kids' menu. Oops. A quick glance and I discovered that he could have a nearly identical meal (minus one egg) for $1.36 less. "Oh, okay," I said.
Once the ordering was out of the way, I was free to help the kids with their photo searches and whatnot. It was nice to have them focused on an activity that did not require batteries. In fact they were so focused it was difficult to get them to focus on their breakfast which came out amazingly fast.
Everything looked great, but Satchel immediately frowned. "Where's my bacon?" he asked. I tried to explain to him that he did not order bacon, but he could not be convinced. I kindly asked the waitress for some bacon and she returned with a giant plate of it two seconds later. "Wow, how did she do that?" Satchel asked, amazed.
"It was already cooked, I guess," I said, rather impressed myself.
I spread the cream cheese on Jiro's bagel and he tore right into his eggs. Oddly his potatoes did not interest him--they were like French fry squares--but Satchel offered (between bites of bacon) to help eat them. My skillet had the same potatoes, crumbled sausage, and onions and peppers. With the egg on top, it was quite hearty. I doused it with hot sauce and enjoyed eating it, but I think it might have been better with some sort of sauce, salsa maybe? Just a bit dry. I had no room for even one bite of my bagel! Satchel plowed through the bacon and ate one of his two pancakes, which he said were very good. Once everyone was done eating, Jiro convinced me to get a Diet Coke out of the cooler so he could have a sip. (I needed caffeine, so I agreed without much of a fight.)
In general we were all quite pleased with the food. Once they were done, the monkeys went right back to Jabberblabber. Had it not been the free lollipops for "good kids" by the register, I may never have dragged them away.
Our total was $20 plus tip. A little steep for just the three of us, but we had a decent amount of leftovers and probably could have eaten for a little less had we skipped the drinks and side of bacon. (Or had Satchel actually ordered a bagel!)