Ed Schwartzman, the owner of BuffaLouie’s in Bloomington, just opened his second business, Gables Bagels. The new bagel store is located at 421 E. Third St.
What started out as an idea to bring in extra revenue during the pandemic, is now its own Bloomington store, selling authentic New York bagels.
Schwartzman was born and raised in New York City, his very first job being a bagel baker at a shop in Queens.
“Being Jewish and from New York, bagels are in my blood,” Schwartzman said. “It’s part of my culture and it’s part of who I am.”
When COVID-19 broke out, a trend in the restaurant industry was something called ghost kitchens, where people who already had a commercial kitchen would use it to make different food from what they were already doing, to generate more revenue.
This concept inspired Schwartzman to find out if it would be possible to sell New York bagels here in Bloomington, and it was.
This process consisted of a New York company baking bagels to 95% completion and then shipping them to Schwartzman, who would bake them off.
“We didn’t make it easy for people to buy our bagels,” Schwartzman said. “You had to order them the night before and you had to order a minimum of a dozen. It was very confusing, yet people really responded. With the feedback I was getting from the community, I was able to convince my wife – because I need her blessing on everything I do – that there is merit in opening up a shop.”
Gables Bagels were sold in BuffaLouie’s beginning in January 2021. Schwartzman signed a lease for a separate shop about eight months ago, where he transformed a “vanilla box” travel agency into his New York-style bagel store that opened about three weeks ago.
They now offer 10 shmears, their own chicken, egg and tuna salads, imported New York sour pickles and even gluten-free options.
Schwartzman is especially proud of their own smoked whitefish. Schwartzman’s friend James Douglas, who owns Boneyard Barbeque, smokes salmon and pastrami for Gables Bagels. Schwartzman says they’ve now quadrupled their ordering on these items.
“We’re doing what I consider all legitimate east coast flavoring,” Schwartzman said. “We’re also doing a phenomenal business in breakfast sandwiches. Sausage, ham, or bacon egg and cheese on a bagel. We put a shmear on top to make it gooier and messier and better.”
Along with an authentic New York menu, Schwartzman puts equal effort into the atmosphere of his store.
Gables Bagels already has a crowd of regulars, and Schwartzman remembers everyone who comes in.
“To me, the more welcomed you make your guests feel, the better the experience,” Schwartzman said. “I don’t care how good your food is, if you don’t give your guests a positive, fun, upbeat experience they’re not going to come back.”
Gables Bagels has an option for delivery, and Schwartzman said the bagels will show up hot from the oven . They have a route, on which they deliver large orders on a regular basis to several fraternities, the surgery center and the hospital.
Sophomore Griffin Wright is in Fiji fraternity, a frequent delivery spot for Gables Bagels.
“Gables have a distinct bagel texture that’s hard to find outside of New York,” Wright said. “Most of the bagels I’ve had in Indiana are an imitation of a bagel, but Gables taste authentic and have become an integral part of Saturdays in Bloomington.”
Sophomore employee Aeriana Wiegand has seen Gables Bagels since its conception at BuffaLouie’s to the new store on Third Street. She works for Schwartzman at both places.
“Ed is the coolest boss I’ve ever had, and I’ve worked quite a few places for a lot of different people in the food industry,” Wiegand said. “He’s constantly upbeat and energetic and really goes above and beyond for his employees. I’ve never worked in an environment where the owners themselves have facilitated that family-oriented staff.”
Gables Bagels now joins Bloomington Bagel Company as a popular destination for bagels in Bloomington.