Bagel Basement primes for reopening as Metro

by Michelle Deloison-Baum | 10/2/12 10:00pm

With features including an expanded menu and physical renovations, Bagel Basement will reopen on Oct. 6 as the Metro Bakery and Cafe. Metro located at 6 Allen St. will reopen under the same management and plans to hold a grand opening event in mid-October.

While the shop's ownership will not change, Denise Anderson, the mother of one of the owners, was hired in February as the new general manager responsible for organizing and overseeing renovations.

The renovations embrace the cafe's underground location, implementing a New York City subway theme with a Parisian influence to appeal to Dartmouth students who are "very well-educated, sophisticated and world travelers," she said.

Updates also include menu changes that will turn Metro into a full-fledged bakery by incorporating pastry items and a full line of artisan breads, as well as soups and salads, she said. The ingredients will be natural and locally sourced, and Metro will also carry gluten-free items.

While Metro will continue to carry bagels, the menu will be scaled down to include only the six classic breakfast sandwiches. The bagel quality will also improve with the addition of pastry chef Minnie Choe, Anderson said.

"We are trying to build a dedicated group of team members who not only enjoy working together, but also are passionate about working in the food industry," she said.

Metro will continue to employ the high school students who worked at Bagel Basement and will feature three full-time chefs, including the new pastry chef and a sous chef.

Bagel Basement was opened by Bob Coyle in 1991. In 2006, five Dartmouth alumni Colin Greenspon '00, Errik Anderson '00, Dan Mahoney '01, Ryan Jones '00 and Ned Dybvig '00 purchased Bagel Basement for sentimental reasons, recognizing it as "a place for high-quality, affordable food in a friendly, low-key atmosphere," Mahoney said.

Because the new owners had little experience running a bakery or food establishment, Bagel Basement had difficulty maintaining steady business, Anderson said.

Ted Degener owner of Folk, a clothing store located above Bagel Basement said that what was once a very vibrant business went downhill after the change in ownership.

"When it first opened, it was kind of fun because the original owner got a lot of the punk rockers and really bohemian gist of characters down there," Degener said.

Michele Moore, a Folk employee, said she stopped frequenting Bagel Basement as the business declined.

"When it changed owners the first time, I noticed a decline in the cleanliness of the place, and then sometimes I'd go in and they wouldn't have the bagels," Moore said.

Employees at surrounding businesses, however, expressed optimism about the improvements.

"The current manager is doing an amazing job sprucing it up," Moore said.

Amanda DeRoy, a manager at Everything But Anchovies, also said she looks forward to the renovations.

"I think it's wonderful," DeRoy said. "I love to see business blossoming on Allen Street."

Anderson plans to reach out to the community by distributing menus, discounts and advertisements for the remodeled business as the re-opening approaches. She is also seeking approval from the Town of Hanover to display a metal sign akin to a subway marking, she said.

"There are people who live in Hanover for 30 years and don't even know that it's there," she said.

Students expressed mixed opinions about Bagel Basement ranging from cluelessness to affection for the establishment. While Lindsay Tyler '15 said she had "zero idea" about the shop's existence, Lane Zuraw '15 said she enjoys the breakfast sandwiches and Bagel Basement's quick service.

"It was very casual, and I hope they don't change that," Zuraw said.

Caitlin Ardrey '13 said she likes Bagel Basement's food and hopes that her favorite items including bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches remain on the menu.

Bagel Basement would benefit from a better atmosphere and enhanced efficiency, Erik Fagerstrom '14 said.

A menu with "fruity or healthier options" would also be a welcome addition, Hannah Williams '14 said.

Ardrey and Williams also noted that Metro's new name seems inappropriate for Hanover's rural location.

"This is the least metropolitan city town I've ever seen," Williams said.

Degener said he thinks there will be a lot of competition between Metro and surrounding cafes.

"There's going to be a cafe war now in Hanover," he said.

The renovated shop will maintain Bagel Basement's old hours of 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

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