Vickie Andrews said she knows what good bagels taste like because she is originally from Connecticut, which allows her to bring authentic northern bagels to the Kingwood area.
She said what makes bagels great at the Kingwood Bagel and Sandwich Shop is achieving the perfect crispness of the crust. To get that, they have to be boiled.
“If you go into other [places], whether it’s Panera [Bread] or even the grocery stores, I don’t believe they put the bagels in the water because it’s the water that makes the crust,” Andrews said. “I do it the northern way.”
The shop’s bakers boil bagels in 575-degree water for approximately 30 seconds before baking them in an oven that is 12 feet by 12 feet. Each bagel must be prepped for 24 hours before it is ready to be sold.
Andrews said aside from the bagels, her employees are the staple of her business. Of the shop’s eight employees, two bakers and one cashier have each worked there for more than 15 years, and many of the customers know them by name.
“I have a good group of honest, trustworthy and intelligent people,” she said. “Because we’ve remained a small store, we know 90 percent of our customers. There are not a lot of businesses that can say that.”
Kingwood Bagel serves breakfast and lunch and offers 21 types of bagels as well as sandwiches, salads, pastries and cookies. The most popular bagels are the plain and the everything, which is a bagel with salt and onion as well as sesame, poppy and garlic seeds. All sandwiches are served on a choice of bagel, croissant, focaccia, whole wheat wrap or sub roll.
Andrews and her husband Robert bought Kingwood Bagel in November 2009 from her ex in-laws because they wanted to get out of the business. She said business continues to remain strong despite the popularity of low carb and gluten-free diets.
“We try to bring them to something else like our salad,” she said. “We really [haven’t seen] a loss of business, but I do see people trying different items now on our menu.”
However, giving back to the community is what Andrews said she loves best about being a business owner.
“If I didn’t own this place, I wouldn’t be able to help [for example] the football or lacrosse teams,” she said. “And I feel an accomplishment when I’m able to help out the kids in our area. The community has really rallied around us.”
Kingwood Bagel and Sandwich Shop
2855 W. Lake Houston Parkway, Ste. 108, Kingwood
Mon.-Fri. 6 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat.-Sun. 6 a.m.-2 p.m.