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Tuesday, May 28
The Indiana Daily Student


Bloomington Bagel Company thrives on Dunn Street


Patron David Szonyi sat a table decorated with photos of slightly out-of-focus tourists posing with bagels beside monuments and famous landscapes.

Sipping his tea, he took a break from book reviewing to admire the atmosphere.

“It’s spacious and airy,” Szonyi said. “It’s worth it to be here a couple times a week."

In the last three years, the original Bloomington Bagel Company location moved twice, from Dunn Street to Kirkwood Avenue and then back to Dunn Street. The business was located on Kirkwood Avenue temporarily so the Dunn Street location could be renovated, founder and co-owner Sue Aquila said.

Aquila said she prefers Dunn Street over the temporary location because there is better parking and less traffic. She said foot traffic is generally better on Dunn Street as well.

All bagel production has been moved to a separate production facility since the move, which has made it easier to run the restaurant, Aquila said.

Despite the changes, the bagels are still the same.

Aquila said Bloomington Bagel molds their bagels in a traditional, hands-on way. Their bagel recipes use only five ingredients: water, malt, salt, yeast and flour.

“There’s an art and there’s a science to baking,” Aquila said. “You really have to love baking. And you really have to care about the product."

Aquila founded Bloomington Bagel in 1996. She dreamed of opening a business when she was in high school. She said during graduate school at IU, a dilemma inspired to pursue that dream.

"I couldn’t find a good bagel," she said.

Now 22 years later, Aquila has since opened three other Bloomington Bagel locations with co-owner and wife Katie Weismiller. Aquila said she has had a lot of offers to open a Bloomington Bagel outside of Bloomington, but she said she does not want to compromise quality by expanding too much.

Aquila talks to customers as they walk in, and some of them know her by name. She often serves bagels with the other employees.

Szonyi said Aquila deserves the success she’s earned. 

Bloomington Bagel retail manager Raven Sherman said it’s normal for the customers and employees to build relationships together at Bloomington Bagel. She said customers who don’t even live in Bloomington still recognize the workers when they visit. She said these visitors come back for the atmosphere and because they appreciate the small business. 

“Things are the same as they have always been,” Sherman said. “I think they like the familiarity.”

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