When it comes to the latest food trend in Dallas, bagels don't make the cut.
Think about that: We have dozens of cupcake shops. Even more doughnut shops. Lots of taco joints, sandwich shops, burger bars. Bagels? We have some. But this ain't New York.
24-year-old Justin Shugrue hopes there's room for a new bagel shop with northeastern roots.
He's a New York native who came to Dallas for a degree in finance from Southern Methodist University. He plans to open Shug's Bagels in late 2019 or early 2020 on Mockingbird Lane, in a strip center that flanks Central Expressway.
"Bagels were always a common denominator," he says of growing up in Westchester County, near Manhattan, "almost like breakfast tacos or kolaches are in Texas." He says he'd eat an onion bagel, toasted, with butter, two times a day for much of his childhood.
He sees bagels as "convenience food" — the type of thing commuters grab on their way to work or students eat before class. When his shop opens, its main mission will be selling bagels and cream cheese, though he believes a good bagel shop also needs an egg-salad sandwich, bagels and lox, and Taylor ham — a New Jersey pork sandwich beloved among some East Coasters.
Shugrue plans to kettle-boil his bagel dough, then bake it in a modular revolving-tray oven. He says this small choice, to kettle-boil, "makes all the difference" from mass production kitchens that often steam-inject their bagels instead.
And he shrugs off the superstition that the secret to making good bagels is using New York water. "I'm positive it's not the water," he says.
"If Elon Musk can put a Tesla Roadster into space, I can make bagels with Texas water."
His new shop replaces Lover's Egg Roll, a Chinese restaurant that occupied that space for some time. At 3,000 square feet, the restaurant's a little too big for a bagel shop, but Shugrue has plans to set up tables and lounge areas to give it a hangout feel, kind of like a coffee shop. With SMU students' dorms just behind the building and residents in Highland Park, the M Streets, Uptown and Lakewood a quick drive away, Shugrue hopes to cultivate a sense of community.
Shug's will also sell breakfast sandwiches, grab 'n go drinks, and coffee.
Shugrue is an early riser and a runner, and he'll use both of those to his advantage: He plans to run to the shop by 3 a.m. to start making bagels. He knows how wacky that sounds.
"I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't have a tribe of northeasterners who would be mad at me: Mad that they're not doing it," he says.