Regulars and newcomers alike enjoy a little piece of the Big Apple at The Bagel Exchange in downtown Kingsport.
By Susan Kendrick Lauhoff
Keith Cunningham loved his job and had 20 years under his holster before retiring as a captain in the counter-terrorism division with the New York City Police Department. It was the almost 2.5 hours one-way commute from Long Island each work day that allowed Cunningham the time to re-evaluate his quality of life.
After an Internet search proved Kingsport to meet the criteria the Cunningham family (including teacher/wife Michele, daughters Stephanie and Victoria, and son, Travis) was seeking, several visits supported the decision to move south of the Mason-Dixon Line without looking back. Well, except for one thing...
Naturally planning to get into the security business, Cunningham found that he missed something from New York - fresh authentic bagels. That longing eventually led to the opening of The Bagel Exchange on Oct. 22, 2011. Six months later, the regulars and newcomers alike are looking for a little piece of the Big Apple.
An early riser, Cunningham enjoys his short commute to his new restaurant - where the bagels are baked fresh daily with dough shipped from New York and the cream cheeses are mixed in-house with the three most popular being vegetable, cinnamon raisin and maple walnut.
The Bagel Exchange has an extended menu. Breakfast is offered all day and includes choices of cracked eggs made to order, ham, sausage, bacon, and several flavors of mouth-watering muffins, cinnamon rolls, croissants, scones, and, of course, the yummy selection of hot-out-of-the-oven bagels. French toast, blueberry, cinnamon-raisin, and cheddar cheese are among customers' favorites. Six flavors of coffee are also available.
Lunch features a variety of fresh bagel sandwiches, green salads, soups, and a children’s menu. The best-selling bagel sandwich is the smoked salmon with cream cheese, capers and onions. Other temptations include black forest ham, regular and smoked turkey, as well as tuna, chicken and egg salads also mixed in-house. And, patrons are able to have their bagel sandwich tailor made.
The Bagel Exchange has earned a fan base. Regular visitor Teresa Estepp exclaimed, "I like to come downtown and support local businesses. Chain restaurants have their place, but unique ones like The Bagel Exchange make our town special."
First time guest Nancy Weikel agreed, then added "Well, I was not going to eat the whole thing, but it’s the best bagel I’ve ever eaten!"
"The ultimate compliment is when a person who has spent time up north, has a sandwich here and then orders a dozen bagels to go," Cunningham said. "I had a couple in here recently that told me, after enjoying their meal, that it was the first time he and his wife had agreed upon anything in 40 years."
The perfect place to meet friends or dine alone and read a book, The Bagel Exchange restaurant exudes southern charm with a New York City twist. Seating is convenient for small private groups upstairs, dining in the main area of the restaurant, or alfresco sidewalk-sitting on a pleasant day. You’ll leave grateful for the freshness of the food, friendliness of the staff and quaint ambience of the experience.
The Cunningham family is finding more quality time together and is thankful that the only long commute now is the shipment of dough from New York.
Follow the fresh baked bagel aroma to The Bagel Exchange restaurant located in 107 West Center Street. Closed on Sunday and Monday, the hours of operation are from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Saturdays. For more information, please call 423-398-5111 or visit Facebook.com/thebagelexchange or www.TheBagelExchange.biz. Free WiFi is available on-site.
ã€€comments powered by Disqus