Deanna and Jackie Halcrow have already amassed a large fan base for their wholesale bagel company thanks to years of pop-ups and farmers market appearances. Finally, after what felt like an endless wait for those fans, Emerald City Bagels has opened its first brick-and-mortar shop in the former Gravity Pub space on Glenwood Avenue in East Atlanta Village. The Halcrows chose EAV because, according to Deanna, the neighborhood is where many of their customers lived. The long lines every morning are all the proof you need that EAV was more than ready for a go-to bagel spot.
The shop evokes the look and spirit of old New York delis and pharmacy counters, a trend we’ve seen more of lately. (The mom and daughter owners are also Long Island natives.) Deanna says they took a lot of inspiration from restaurants such as Russ and Daughters, a famous NYC smoked fish emporium. “We felt like our bagels were different [from others in Atlanta],” she says. “So we wanted our design element a little different as well.”
The staff wears ties, paper hats, and crisp white jackets emblazoned with the Emerald City logo. “We decided [the name] should be something near and dear to our hearts, and I love The Wizard of Oz,” Deanna explains. “Dorothy was a spirited girl looking for her heart’s desire and she found it at home. That’s kind of how we feel.”
The Halcrows make traditional long-fermented, boiled, and baked bagels in the style they grew accustomed to in New York. Peer into the kitchen and you’ll see them working away, paper hats and all. Bins behind the counter are filled with hot bagels (plain, everything, poppy seed, cinnamon sugar, onion, and jalapeno cheese, just to name a few), which can be topped with homemade cream cheese blends that include everything from dill to toasted almond and fig. And they also serve smoked fish and a variety of vegetable toppings. The bagels have a nice chew and a good depth of flavor.
The new shop is also a love letter to other classic treats such as egg creams (a misleading name—there’s no egg or cream in this NYC fountain staple, but instead milk, syrup, and seltzer) with in-house seltzer, made by an actual soda jerk. Since lines at the shop can get pretty long, employees walk around with samples of ginger-infused seltzer and chocolate egg creams in small plastic cups. With the shop still in its soft opening phase, the front deli case is a little sparse, but Emerald City will soon offer fried egg bagel sandwiches and deli-style sandwiches, along with new bagel flavors such as pumpernickel.
If you can’t make it to the store (or don’t want to wait in line), you can still find Emerald City bagels at a long list of restaurants and coffee shops around Atlanta. The shop is open 6 a.m to 3 p.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the weekends. Bagels have been selling out, so plan on getting there early to fight the crowds. An official grand opening is scheduled for February 3. 1257 Glenwood Avenue, 404-245-7446