Big Apple Bagels is coming to the Magic City to take its first bite out of North Dakota.
Located in the IRET Corporate Plaza at the corner of Sixteenth Street and 31st Avenue Southwest, Big Apple Bagels is set to open Aug. 5 and will offer a wide assortment of bagels, muffins, smoothies, specialty coffees, soups, salads and deli sandwiches.
The store, which is part of a national franchise, is owned by two couples - Karla and Stacey Abel, and Julie and Robert Ebert. This will be the first Big Apple Bagels in North Dakota, with the next-closest stores found in Minnesota.
Karla Abel said she and Julie Ebert were originally looking for some kind of coffee shop to start in the IRET Plaza, which they thought was a great location. The old real estate axiom of "location, location, location" is what really started this whole venture.
"Mainly what we were looking at, we looked at this building and we just thought a coffee shop would be nice," Abel said. "And how we got to a franchise I don't know, because we started just coffee shop and then just started doing some research and came across this franchise and we feel it's a good one."
The franchise they came across during their research was Big Apple Bagels, which offers coffee and a whole lot more. Abel said after looking more into the brand, it seemed like a good fit for what they wanted to do, which was to have a coffee shop with a friendly atmosphere that would fit in well in Minot. Much like the Magic City, Big Apple Bagels isn't the biggest around, but it has that certain something that attracted Abel's eye.
"They're not a huge franchise, they probably have 100-some stores nationwide," Abel said.
Abel said the large menu should keep things interesting enough for people to try something new every time they step through the door.
"We hope to have that (diverse menu) just to keep people coming back," Abel said.
It was one thing in particular that sets Big Apple Bagels apart from the competition that really caught their eye.
"What we liked about it is it's all made from scratch fresh everything," Abel said. "There's nothing premade, we make everything here."
The restaurant will be geared more toward breakfast and lunch, but will be open into the evening. The hours of operation will be 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
While Karla and Julie have been spearheading the effort, their husbands haven't exactly been slacking off. They were off training in every aspect of the business while their wives held down the fort in Minot.
"Our husbands were recently gone for 12 days of training in an actual store, so they know the daily in and out of everything ," Abel said. "From the baking to the management stuff to the making of sandwiches, everything. They did everything."
There will be a company representative coming to train everyone, including all the new employees, soon. Abel said they hope to begin on July 26 so everyone is up to speed once the store opens in August.
Speaking of employees, Abel said they still have openings that need to be filled. While she said the manager and baker positions, which are both full-time, should be filled very shortly, there are still part-time positions left. She said there will be around 15 total positions to fill. Prospective employees can pick up an application at Ready Builders, 605-31st Ave. SW.
Stacey Abel said the restaurant actually carries three brands - Big Apple Bagels, My Favorite Muffin and Brewster's Coffee. Owners can pick the bagel or muffin name for their store depending on what part of the menu they want to concentrate on, with the Abels and Eberts choosing to concentrate on bagels.
"My Favorite Muffin ones kind of have more muffins rather than the bagels," Stacey Abel said. "Here, we're kind of a little more towards lunch, deli, so it's Big Apple Bagels."
Stacey Abel said they will be serving 22 different kinds of bagels, which they whittled down from a monstrously large initial list of 350. There will also be 10 different types of muffins.
"And then there's always the seasonal things. We have different recipes that they use ... and coffees, seasonal coffees," he added.
While dining in is an important part of the business, it's certainly not the only part. People can place to-go orders, and Big Apple Bagels will also offer catering, boxed lunches, bagel, muffin and sandwich platters, coffee to go in a big coffee box, and even muffin tins for special occasions.
To help get their name out before the opening, Karla Abel said they will be in the State Fair parade handing out tattoos and coupons.
As for what she thinks will set Big Apple Bagels apart from the competition, Abel returned to the original reason this particular franchise got her attention in the first place.
"Definitely the made from scratch, made fresh every day. The muffins, the bagels, everything is just made fresh every single day," Abel said. "And just the quality. We've been to a few and really enjoyed them."