UPPER WEST SIDE — When Zucker's Bagels & Smoked Fish opens the doors to its new Columbus Avenue outpost on Monday, the appetizing shop hopes its patrons will linger long after picking up orders of freshly sliced salmon.
The shop, at 273 Columbus Ave. at West 73rd Street, specializes in bagels made on site, homemade spreads and smoked fish, but also pastries, omelets, coffee and more than a dozen sandwiches.
"We took the old bagel shop and we made it into more of an upscale, quick-serve concept," owner Matt Pomerantz said this week.
Though Zucker's has all of the elements of a traditional appetizing shop, like local favorite Barney Greengrass, "we think of ourselves as a cafe, a place to meet," with more of a focus on sandwiches, he explained.
It's "Starbucks meets Russ & Daughters," Pomerantz noted.
However, Zucker's doesn't purport to fill the hole left by H&H Bagels, he added.
But the brand, which has locations in TriBeCa and Midtown, takes its bagels very seriously.
Bagel rollers, who all have between 10 and 25 years of experience, use unbleached flour and malt as a sweetener, boil the bagels and bake them in gas-fired ovens — the traditional method, Pomerantz said.
Photo Credit: Liz Clayman
With malt as a sweetener, "you're not going to get a sugary, cake-like flavor," prominent in other bagels, he said.
The emphasis on labor-intensive on-site work extends to the spreads, salads and smoked fish as well.
Employees use a "lab light" to carefully examine and remove all the bones from the smoked white fish, which arrives fresh and never frozen, he noted.
Along with its signature sandwiches — "The TriBeCa," "Grand Central" and "The Chelsea Club" — Zucker's has given a nod to the neighborhood with a new egg sandwich called "The Columbus," featuring egg whites, avocado, turkey bacon and double cheese.
Decor in the 1,000-square-foot space, which is open daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., includes counters and stools made from steel and white oak.
Pomerantz restored the landmarked building, which dates back to 1888, by fixing the space's original tin roof, exposing brick and removing panels that blocked the brownstone facade, he said.
Zucker's will begin offering neighborhood delivery and catering about a week after opening.