Fifteen years ago, the curtain went up on Broadway Bagel and Coffee Company in Arroyo Grande, and it’s been getting raves ever since.
Owner Sally Lauringson was looking for her next career role (post-ER nurse, post teacher, and then the mother of two young boys) when she hit upon the idea of bagels. As in real bagels, as in overnight proofing of high gluten flour dough, as in boiling the bagels before baking them, as in toppings on both top and bottom.
After two years of research and learning her way around authentic New York-style bagels came the search for the right location.
Within a couple months, Lauringson discovered a closed pizza place on Grand Avenue that had been vacant for a year. The dark interior needed a lot of TLC and upgrades, but fortunately, Lauringson had a contractor waiting in the wings, her husband, Ingmar. The interior was gutted to install windows, skylights and a hearthstone pizza oven, and Broadway Bagel opened in October 1996.
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Soon after they opened, the Lauringsons unveiled their big number — a drive-through window where you can order anything from the regular menu.
About a year later, Broadway Bagel debuted its second act—another location on Five Cities Drive in the Scolari’s Center. Though a bit smaller, it features the same menu, plus daily soups.
Never part of a franchise, The Great White Way concept came about because “I had to come with up a theme, and I really believe really have to do something you have a passion for.” Lauringson said . “I love music, and I figured I was going to be here all day, so — Broadway!”
As a result, the establishments sport dozens of theater posters on their walls and soundtrack of show-tunes throughout the day.
Obviously, bagels and cream cheese spreads star in the leading roles at both locations.
There’s an array of a dozen cream cheese spreads, including jalapeño, honey walnut and lox, and about two dozen bagel flavors. Savory choices range from salt, to sesame, to sourdough, while sweeter bagels include banana nut, cinnamon raisin and chocolate chip.
Any bagel can be used for the made-to-order deli sandwiches, or opt for the unique white or wheat bagel bread (loaves are also available for purchase).
You can make up your own sandwich from your choice of cheeses and Boar’s Head deli meats, and breakfast choices include creations like the New Yorker with lox, cream cheese and capers.
Rounding out the cast of characters at Broadway Bagel are salads such as a Chicken Caesar or a Chef, and generous fruit smoothies like a Berry Appealing and Just Peachy. And, although coffee might take second billing in the name, it often steals the show with a wide range of java jolts, from espressos and lattes, to blended drinks and chais.
Fifteen years after opening Broadway Bagel and Coffee Company, the energetic Lauringson obviously still loves to see new faces come through the door. However, she also enjoys the long-term relationships she maintains with many customers and past employees.
“It’s especially fun when my employees I hired when they were in high school return with their own kids,” she said, “so I can see how everyone turned out!”