“Here I am, 45 years later making them round and putting a hole in them,” Gavrila said. “We became a part of the community.”
During one such lunch hour, four generations of Houstonians sat together in a booth and soon Gavrila greeted them by name, and delivered a cookie to the youngest of the family.
When Gavrila’s father-in-law, Shick Kornhaber, opened the bagel bakery in 1975, his goal was to cater to Meyerland’s Jewish population.
“They chose this location where we’re at now because of its proximity to about five temples, and at that time, bagels were considered a kind of a Jewish soul food,” Gavrila said.
Kornhaber was a transplant from New York City, where there were enough bagel bakers to form an official union, Gavrila said. He brought his recipe to Houston to start a bakery and ultimately opened a full-service deli. Forty-five years later, the shop is still serving staples such as bagels with lox, mazto ball soup, and pastrami sandwiches on rye.
In March, Michael Saghian joined Ed Gavrila and Shaun Leva, as the third co-owner of the business with plans to help grow the operation while maintaining its character. Gavrila said Saghian was an obvious hire because he is a Meyerland native who grew up frequenting the shop.
“Ed has been friends with my parents for the last 45 years, and so it’s like family, you know? It’s just special, and it was so natural,” Saghian said of taking on the job.
Saghian began experimenting with new bagel specials, including a blue and orange Astros bagel during the World Series. Now, they plan to expand to a second location in Bellaire. No matter what changes come, however, Saghian said they will always listen to the customers.
“Talking to customers is more than my full-time job, but I would never change it,” he said. “I love what I did.”
New York Deli & Coffee Shop
9720 Hillcroft St., Houston
Bagel Shop Bakery: 713-723-8650
Bakery hours: Sat.-Sun. 6 a.m.-4 p.m., Mon. 6 a.m.-3 p.m., Tue.-Fri. 6 a.m.-5 p.m.
Deli hours: 6 a.m.-3 p.m. Mon., 6 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Tue-Fri.