One of NYC’s most popular bagel shops is expanding to the Upper East Side. Tompkins Square Bagels, a mainstay on many “best bagels in NYC” lists, is planning a new location at 1159 Third Avenue, between 67th and 68th Streets. It will be taking over the storefronts previously occupied by Jardino Italian Cafe and America’s Cafe & Grill, and it’s expected to open this winter.
This news comes just a few days after it was announced that BK-based Bagel Point will be joining the neighborhood too.
The UES shop will be TSB’s first uptown location and well outside the roughly one-mile radius within which its other locations can be found across Gramercy and the East Village.
Tompkins Square is well known for its bagels, bagel sandwiches and unique cream cheese flavors like chocolate chip cookie dough, peanut butter and nutella, wasabi, chipotle avocado and birthday cake. A recent “Best Bagels in NYC” guide published by The Infatuation said “If you’re a cream cheese purist, prepare to be offended by Tompkins Square Bagels’ chocolate chip cookie and chipotle avocado varieties in the refrigerator case in front of the counter. But make no mistake, the straightforward bagels are the reason this place always has a line in the mornings.”
Chris Pugliese, the shop’s owner and founder, announced the opening in a video interview with Sam Silverman (@bagelambassador on Instagram) where he also went into detail about the often lengthy process of identifying a new location. You can view the full interview here.
“When I pick a spot I try to go by spending time there and getting a feel for it,” said Pugliese, who opened the first TSB in 2011 on Avenue A. “I eat in the restaurants, I talk to the people. I look for certain things. If I get a good feeling about it, and I can say to myself ‘I’d love to come up here to work everyday,’ then that’s kind of the deciding factor.”
Pugliese, a second generation Italian-American and native of Gravesend, Brooklyn, also added that he spends a lot of time on the Upper East Side already. His daughter loves Central Park and his wife is a fan of the scones at Alice’s Tea Cup. Pugliese currently visits each store every day, a habit he hopes to continue even after the UES location opens.
“When I open a new store it’s a big production. I put in a lot of time and care. I want my stores to be a big celebration where everybody gets together.”