B&B Empire Bagels Reborn on Clinton

Recent commenters have noted the shuttering, after a short run, of B&B Empire Bagels’ store at 200 Clinton Street, corner of Atlantic Avenue. Now, according to Grub Street, it’s re-opening (Note: the Grub Street post says it’s a new location; actually, it’s the same place, after renovations). Montreal style bagels, it seems, are as hard to stop as Maurice “The Rocket” Richard.

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  • michael

    This piece is wrong. B&B closed for renovation but is open again in exactly the same location. 200 Clinton has always been its address. A simple Google search makes that clear.

  • http://selfabsorbedboomer.blogspot.com Claude Scales

    That’ll teach me to trust Grub Street. I’ve revised the post accordingly.

  • EHinBH

    The bagels there are awful. The place on Monty is so much better. Have u tried lately? They got good again…

  • bkheightsgal

    isn’t it a bad sign if they are renovating despite being such a new business?

  • Kenn Lowy

    Yes, odd that they renovated after a few months in a new biz. And yes, the bagels are inferior and overpriced ($1.50 each). Head up to Montague…

  • Clintonious Wow

    I haven’t been in again–I never will. I don’t have a 1/2 hour to wait for lunch-counter food. But from the outside, the “renovations” look like they’ve put up some curtains and rearranged the tables. What a disappointment this place has been.

  • Bette

    So is B&B Bagels the same as Montreal Bagels? Montreal Bagels is so unappealing it tarnishes the name “Montreal”! It seems as if it doesn’t want to attract customers, especially with those (already!) faded posters glued to its windows. They look like they were bought at a yard sale in 1977 and kept in storage until the opening of this place.

    The interior completes the charmlessness. If they simply changed the lighting from “accounting-office-in-midtown-depressing” to “cafe”, it would help.

    Tasteless, as are the bagels.

  • Andrew Porter

    “Montreal-style” bagels are not the same as “NYC-style” bagels, and you might as well complain that Chicago deep-dish pizza is not as good nor the same as NYC-type pizza.

    Bagels from Montreal are doing very well at Mile End, the Brooklyn home of smoked meat (again, not the same as pastrami) on Hoyt Street, which is doing so “poorly” it’s opening a second location in Manhattan.

  • Andrew Porter

    I suspect several of the changes are because of the overwhelming amount of sun the place gets, on the SW corner of the building. Bette mentions the faded posters, for instance.

  • Moshe Feder

    Oh, I don’t know, Andrew. There’s a difference between “not the same as” (which I agree Montreal-style bagels are not meant to be) and plain “not good,” which to a New York palate, is what Montreal bagels are and always will be. (I’ll never forget buying a bag of them in Montreal and then throwing it away after not being able to finish the first one I tasted. Yech.)

    The success of Mile End which you cite is a total non sequitur, since it’s due to their Montreal Smoked Meat, not to their bagels. (Indeed, I suspect their success is _despite_ their bagels!)

  • lulu

    B&B is pretty bad. It’s just a hospital cafeteria – nothing to do with Montreal or Montreal style. Mile End gets their bagels shipped from Montreal, and they certainly seem to withstand the trip nicely (though, I do recommend trying them in situ up North!). B&B just makes them in Brooklyn, and not well at that.

  • Bob Scott

    The bagels at B&B are tasteless and overpriced. It’s easy to make a less-than-perfect bagel. B&B’s Montreal bagels were the worst I’ve ever tasted.

    Also, the store was uninviting and generally pretty empty. They started opening late and closing at 4 pm — everything else aside, how exactly did they expect to succeed at that corner with such limited hour?

    As a starter (for mornings at least) I’d ditch the crappy bagels and provide the best and freshest coffee possible.

  • Andrew Porter

    So, Bob, you’d just write off the multi-thousand dollar investment in the oven they built? It’s easy to make casual remarks when you don’t have your own money riding on a business.

    I guess this place’d do better as a nail salon…

  • lulu

    They can spend all they want on the oven, but the bagels are terrible! I bet it would cost less to import like Mile End does…

  • David on Middagh

    It seems to me (with limited exposure) that some B&B bagel varieties omit salt, which may be fine when used as neutral bases for sandwiches or spreads. They will taste bland otherwise. You need to ask which flavors have—well, flavor, if you intend to eat them plain or with a mild spread only.

  • Bob Scott

    I’m not making light of their investment — it’s sad and tragic. They clearly don’t understand their market, how to package their product or how to promote it (plus what tastes good).

    Given their substantial investment, I hope it works out for them. But unless they try something different, add good taste, customer service and various promotions including advertising, the end result won’t be pretty.

  • BH’er

    Montague Street Bagels are the best in the city, hands down. Why do they get bad press here? I’d never go anywhere else.

  • PBL

    My favorite bagels in the area are from La Bagel Delight (in Dumbo … I have never tried the place on Court Street). My bagels are always spot-on (plus their Canadien Bacon and Lox are simply amazing).

  • Nancy

    Hot Bagels, Montague St Bagels, HoBags, whatever you call them, they have reverted back to the days of old. Their bagels are great again. La Bagel Delight is very good too

  • prin

    B&B gives montreal bagels a bad name. tried them twice (hope springs eternal) and as far as my palette can tell they are making new york bagels with a honey glaze (that should appeal to americans, you guys like everything sweet right?).
    i cannot stand new york bagels, and the b&b ones are no different.
    at least they pass the DOH tests though, that place on Montague… shudder.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    B&B’s bagels tast like they are made out of sawdust.

  • resident

    The reason for the bashing of Montague St. Bagels has never been taste (at least not for me), but rather service and changes made by the new owners. The general unappealing nature of the new owners didn’t help matters…

  • David on Middagh

    The new window treatments at B&B definitely help its appearance from the outside (couldn’t go in because they close at four).

  • Barry Kaufman

    Okay, maybe not ALL of us are quite so nasty when it comes to bashing a business? We LOVE B and B’s Montreal-style bagels, not saying instead of NY style, but in addition to! What’s special about B and B is that they are made fresh in the oven! But this place is now about a lot more than bagels. Tried a panini for lunch this week. We NEED a place like this is that neighborhood (sorry, another nail salon, as noted above, just does not cut it) so let’s get behind them!!!

  • Victor RIvera

    I gave Empire 2 chances and wasn’t pleased, bagels are overpriced and stale. The coffee was never fresh and waited 40 min for my order both times I been there on the weekend. Court st bagels on Court and Congress st is the best get my order fast the sesame bagel with cream cheese comes out better and costs cheaper as well. I would encourage bloggers and reviewers to go to this location.
    Empire is just a horrid bagel cafe that charges diner prices it cost me
    $4.00 altogether for bagel and coffee not worth commuting from sunset just to get over here.