Brandwein's Bagels, a New York-style bagel shop, is opening up in Chapel Hill and we are dough excited. 

Julia Logan

The brains behind the bagels

Alex Brandwein, creator of Brandwein's Bagels, never expected that he would end up in the food industry. A New York native, Brandwein attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and pursued a degree in business. He began a career in investment banking in Chicago and eventually moved back to New York, where he continued to work in investment banking and real estate private equity. The lifestyle was demanding and Brandwein eventually got "New-Yorked out."

"The 80-100 hour weeks really started to pile up," said Brandwein.

Brandwein decided to come to UNC-Chapel Hill to pursue an MBA at UNC's Kenan-Flagler Business School, although he was still uncertain as to what he wanted to do. He could not believe that Chapel Hill didn't have a local bagel shop (sorry Bruegger's, it's not you, it's us). He took matters into his own hands and started to make bagels as something fun on the side. With the idea of a bagel business on the back of his mind, Brandwein began experimenting with bagel recipes and building the brand that would come to be known as Brandwein’s Bagels.

Lilly Washburn

Brandwein's Bagels has been working out of the Midway Community Kitchen, where many bagel pop-ups have been hosted. The first pop-up in August 2019 was a huge success and rapidly sold out of 625 bagels. 

What's to come?

Brandwein's Bagels recently announced that it signed a lease and will be opening a storefront on 505 W. Rosemary Street, which was formerly Midway Community Kitchen. Brandwein hopes to start hiring employees around April or May and plans to open shortly after that.

Nothing is set in stone quite yet, but Brandwein said that 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. would be ideal store hours. He is also considering a late night option, like "after hour bagels." *Cue choir of rejoicing college students.*

St Clair Morrison

Brandwein's Bagels locally sources as many of its ingredients as possible. The flour, for example, comes from Lindley Mills, which is just down the road in Graham, NC. Brandwein is aware that there are a variety of dietary needs and restrictions. The Brandwein's Bagel itself is vegan and vegan cream cheese is available. There are also many other vegan and vegetarian bagel sandwich options.

"I'm going to be really focused on the classics (Bacon Egg & Cheese, Lox, etc.), but each week I would like to put out new, different sandwiches," said Brandwein. 

Once the permanent location opens, Brandwein will expand the menu: think salads, oatmeal and fruit.

"I would love to eventually make a gluten free bagel," said Brandwein.

In the past, Brandwein's Bagels has partnered with many local and on-campus organizations and still plans to do so once the storefront opens. Brandwein emphasizes how important (and fun) it is to be close to the Chapel Hill community. 

Emily Slaba

"I just really enjoy being with people and bringing people together," said Brandwein. 

Be patient Chapel Hill-ians, your Sunday scaries have finally met their hangover match.