Tompkins Square Bagels to roll onto Second Ave.

Kids and adults alike get a kick out of Tompkins Square Bagels.   Photo by ​Angie Dykshorn
Kids and adults alike get a kick out of Tompkins Square Bagels. Photo by ​Angie Dykshorn

BY TINA BENITEZ-EVES  |  For the past year and a half, Christopher Pugliese has been looking to open another Tompkins Square Bagels.

His first shop, at 165 Avenue A, has been feeding droves of hungry East Villagers daily since opening in 2011. As customers wait in the winding line, they can get a view of the bagel-making process.

The place offers freshly baked whole wheat everything, French toast, pumpkin, spelt with flax and other hand-rolled, kettle-boiled and oven-baked bagels, creamy cream cheese — including the lightest tofu — and other spreads and made-to-order sandwiches.

Now, Pugliese is hoping to spread the love — and bagel goodness — to a second location at 184 Second Ave., between E. 11th and 12th Sts., the former location of Open Pantry, by this December. Coincidentally, Tompkins Square Bagels also had a winter opening, in December 2011.

The new 1,200-square-foot space will mirror the original 1,600-square-footer on Avenue A, from the line setup to the on-premises baking. Construction will run Pugliese $500,000, including reinforced floors and an extended backyard to increase the space, which will make it closer in size to the original location. All the work will take months to complete. The only difference will be the seating, which will all be in the front of the shop. On Avenue A, the seating is in front and back.

This was not an overnight epiphany for Pugliese or an attempt to create an East Village bagel empire. He had been thinking about moving for more than a year to ensure that Tompkins Square Bagels stays in business. For the past few years, he’s watched local stores open and close amid stiff competition and rising rents, and even felt some pressures from his own landlord. The second location is like security for Pugliese so he can remain in the neighborhood he loves.

“My goal is to plant roots in the East Village,” said Pugliese, who hopes the Second Ave. subway will also be open in time for the new opening. “I want to stay here another 20 or 30 years. There’s no ambition of having 25 stores. I’d rather have one great store.”

When he met the new space’s owners, father and son Temis and Dean Pappas, he knew it wasn’t all about the dollar signs. The Pappases wanted to bring in a small business and keep it local. They ended up hashing out the lease’s final details in Dean’s car. In addition to owning the building, the Pappases ran the Open Pantry coffee and grocery shop, which closed this January after 45 years.

Broker Conrad Bradford, from Miron Properties, worked with both sides to close the deal. He said he worked with Pugliese for the past nine months to find a new location.

“It came down to putting the right puzzle piece in the right place,” Bradford said, adding it was one of his more challenging deals because of the amount of work on the space that will be involved.

“It’s going to take an extensive amount of work to make this into a carbon copy of the Avenue A location,” he said.

A genuine East Village eatery where old and new meet is what Tompkins Square Bagels is all about — and always will be — according to Pugliese.

“There’s this tension between the old East Village and the new East Village,” he said. “I always wanted Tompkins to be accessible for the older East Village and the younger, newer crowd.”

Pugliese plans to hire an additional 15 to 20 people in the new location.

“I created 20 jobs from thin air,” he said. “It makes me happy.”