The Works Bakery Cafe replaces UNH favorite The Bagelry
Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02
Durham and the University of New Hampshire have both gone through many changes over the summer, but one change students might notice in particular is the closing of The Bagelry and the opening of The Works Bakery Cafe in its place.
Elise and Warren Daniel, the founders of The Bagelry, first opened a shop in Portsmouth in 1983, followed by two branches in Dover and UNH’s well-known Durham shop in 1998. According to their daughter, UNH senior Lia Daniel, the Jewish New Yorkers wanted to bring their style of bagel to New Hampshire.
Later, the Daniels decided to focus just on their Durham location and sold their other stores. Both parents, however, have full-time jobs outside of the shop.
“After 29 years, a good buyer came and asked and it was a good time to sell it,” Daniel said.
That buyer was Richard French, president of The Works Bakery Cafe, a New England chain since 1988, with locations in Keene, Portsmouth, Concord and Durham, as well as in Vermont and Maine.
“The Bagelry in Durham was a legacy,” French said. He indicated that he does not want to replace The Bagelry, but rather make it the next meeting and dining place for the community by using his mission of “people, profit and planet.”
This mission includes paying staff members for ideas they come up with for The Works, paid volunteer time, health insurance for all employees, recycling, and helping the community to compost. He aims to have The Works’ compost system used regularly in 2013.
“This, 20 years ago, was revolutionary. It’s not a fad for us,” French said. “From day one we’ve used flour without bleach and cream cheese from Vermont family farms.”
The Works’ Durham location has kept some of The Bagelry’s sandwich legacy with its Wildcat Classics. Eight favorite sandwiches from The Bagelry were voted on by students and staff, and The Works took these sandwiches and used their sustainable products in them.
According to Daniel, when the store switched ownership to French, the Daniels – Warren, Elise, Lia and her sister Marisa – held hands and “went in as a family.” When they left hours later, they drove a few rounds in the parking lot honking their horn as Elise Daniel cried.
As part of this sale, Warren Daniel had French keep most of the workers, including students and the baker.
“That was super important to my dad,” Lia Daniel said. “It’s been pretty hard emotionally. [The Bagelry] is all I’ve known.”
For most UNH students, The Bagelry was what they have known, too.
“It’s hard because I grew up in Durham,” said Hallie Miller, a sophomore. “It’s a place all of us knew. It’s one of those places I’ll still call The Bagelry.”
Senior Casey Hagelin was “worried Durham was going to become another chain restaurant town,” but she decided that The Works’ mission and practices would “draw a lot of UNH students because that’s what our generation cares about.”
Junior Tyler Foote said he “completely agrees” with the mission and had “studied it in business.”
“We’re hoping to bring our mission to Durham as a leader and example-setter to the university and the students of a company with a conscious,” French said.
As for Daniel, she said that she and her parents do not hold anything against French or The Works.
“[The Bagelry] was their baby, it was their idea,” Daniel said. “It’s a change, but I want to encourage people to go there.”