The scene this weekend at Einstein Brothers Bagels on Lemmon Avenue -- the only grab-and-go bagel shop within easy reach of downtown and uptown, since the location in the AT&T Building keeps weekday-only hours -- was distressing. As on most Sunday mornings, people waiting to place orders clogged the vestibule, people waiting to receive orders were jammed against walls and leaning on trash cans, and everyone was grumbling about the 10-minute wait for coffee. The room looked like LaGuardia after a snowstorm.
Couldn't the area support at least one more bagel shop? Isn't this a prime opportunity for Bruegger's, the nation's second-largest bagel chain?
Well, maybe. Bruegger's announced last March it planned to concentrate its expansion plans on Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, Portland and Seattle in 2010. In a release heralding the strategy and its rightness for recession-stricken times, vice president of franchise development Chris Cheek was quoted as saying, "North Texas can support 30-35 franchises."
But it's nearly National Bagel Day 2011 (February 9), and the company hasn't yet announced any store openings in the DFW area. Breugger's had a Dallas presence more than a decade ago, but now doesn't have any Texas outlets.
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Still, spokesperson Kathryn Calley says the chain hasn't ruled out expansion in Dallas.
"That's something on our agenda to talk about," says Calley, who suggested an update could be available as soon as Thursday.
Plans for stores in Austin, Portland and Seattle have also stalled.
"They're kind of in the same boat," she says.