Cozy bagel shop comes to Long Island City

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Freshness is what drives Breadbox Cafe, a new bagel place and more at 47-11 11th Ave. in Long Island City.

Breadbox Cafe opened Jan. 3, replacing a gas service station that was at the site for more than 50 years.

“It was basically a garage. The vision was to convert it into an environmentally friendly place and a place that will improve the neighborhood and become a destination for everyone. The neighborhood is changing from industrial to residential and we wanted to be a part of that,” said Tal Shuster, a native of Israel who owns Breadbox Cafe along with her husband, Eyal, and business partner Moshe Mizrahi.

Everything, from soups to bagels and muffins to sandwiches, are made fresh at Breadbox Cafe.

“We wanted to create a place with homemade food that’s nice for the family,” Shuster said. “We do everything from scratch. We have bakers that come here at 4 in the morning. Our meat is grinded here. The bagels are made fresh here. We have amazing burgers made from scratch. It takes about 15 minutes to make, but it’s fresh.”

Breadbox Cafe features Chef Lizet Gediciyan, a native of Turkey who was trained at the French Culinary Institute.

For breakfast, Breadbox Cafe has everything from about a dozen bagels, including a french toast bagel, to egg sandwiches and organic Greek yogurt to homemade muffins. Homemade jams are also made at Breadbox Cafe.

For lunch, there is a vegetarian quiche, a variety of salads — from Asian sesame noodle to southern panko crusted chicken — and homemade sandwiches, including braised short ribs, organic turkey, chicken burgers and Shuster’s favorite: Mediterranean chicken.

Shuster said Breadbox Cafe goes beyond a typical bagel store.

“On one hand, it’s a combination of bagel place, but a more sophisticated cafe on the other hand,” she said.

Since opening last month, Shuster said the business has gotten positive responses from the community.

“Everybody is excited to see new things here,” she said, noting that an extra menu item has been added each day Breadbox Cafe has been open. “You can be proud if you live here in the neighborhood and you want to bring somebody to a nice place.”

Mizrahi, who owned the former gas service station, said he and his business partners decided to convert it into a sit-in bagel place because there was a need for one in the community.

“We want to make people comfortable in a nice place,” he said. “You always go to a bagel store and don’t feel good about sitting there. Here, it’s an experience.”

Mizrahi noted that Breadbox Cafe has what few business in Long Island City have: ample parking.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

Updated 6:05 pm, October 10, 2011
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