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Bagel Country in Skokie under new ownership -

weinstein5 Jul 15, 2012 11:40 AM

Was in Bagel Country and learned they have been sold - all seems the same but they have dropped their prices -

  1. l
    lenchik Nov 5, 2012 06:55 AM

    I finally made it out to the newly redesigned former Bagel Country, now known as Emma's Bagel Cafe. We figured it would be an easy stop with the kids after a day out downtown. The sign at the door warned that this is a "soft opening, and many items are not available, etc.", which I took to mean - "ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK". Here it is in a nutshell:

    PRO's:

    -The new interior sure beats the old one. Everything is chrome and dark "wood" with stark white walls, very modern look.
    -Many of the original Bagel Country items are still on the menu, like the quesadillas, macaroni and cheese, lox lulu, etc.
    -Food service is similar to that of Corner Bakery, you receive a number that you put on your table and your food is brought staright to your table once it is ready. A nice change from the olden days of yeeling "NUMBER 67" into the microphone over everyone's noise.
    -Gourmet coffee bar. This has replaced the ice cream bar that has previously occupied a section of the restaurant. Nice touch, especially if you are visiting for breakfast and like a fancy shmansy coffee.
    -Real dishes and silverware have replaced the plastic/paper goods that were previously utilized at Bagel Country. Nice white plates with clean lines, cool black wire baskets for french fries, etc.
    -You don't have to clean up after yourself although I kind of liked the clean up after yourself part of eating out so that the kids can take some responsibility for waht they are doing.

    CON'S:

    So the cons list is a lot shorter then the pros but it may actually outweigh the good:

    -They were NOT kidding when they said they were out of many items. They were out of sweet potato fries, mozzarella sticks, baked potatoes, etc.
    -The manner of some (not all), but some of the management staff was yet another example of "we are doing you a giant favor by operating a kosher restaurant". Although I received very friendly service from a young man at the register as well as from a woman, there were two other gentlemen there who had a bit of a bad attitude. One of them, especially, completely rubbed me the wrong way after the following: after confirming that mozzarella sticks were available, i was informed by the staff that they are not available after all when the food was brought to our table. When I went up to the counter to order something else, and requested a baked potato, the lady at the register asked a man, whom I presume to be some type of a manager as he was hanging around the restaurant office door, to see if baked potatoes were still available. He kind of just stood around grimacing and not really moving, until she herself had to ask him: "are you stuck?".
    -All of this though pretty much pales in light of the fact that the food was pretty bad. We ordered a macaroni and cheese, french onion soup, fries, pizza panini and lox lulu. These items together with 3 drinks were close to $50. The soup was luke warm, the panini was served on regular white bread instead of panini bread and the lox lulu was completely dry. The macaroni and cheese was not good and not bad. The portion size overall was smaller then they used to be at Bagel Country.

    My husband who is generally not a complainer actually said that he wishes we went to Dunkin Donuts instead, and for him to say that was a big deal. Overall I was pretty disappointed with the experience, but to give them the benefit of the doubt, as that was supposedly as soft opening (although I was always under the impression that soft openings are supposed to be for your nearest and dearest), I may give them another shot at breakfast time.

    2 Replies
    1. re: lenchik
      weinstein5 Nov 11, 2012 11:43 PM

      Wnet today with my niece and nephew who were in town - I agree with all you pros - but it seems like they are moving out of their 'soft star' even though the sign is still on the door - did not find the attitude issues with staff or management nor were se stymied ordering stuff that wa sout/

      I thought the French onion soup was outstanding - the paninis were quite tasty. Overall a very positive experience - for 6 and an order of six bialys our cost was just over 60 dollars -

      1. re: weinstein5
        k
        kosherdoc Dec 3, 2012 11:08 AM

        Had a very nice experience at emmas today. I think the decor is nicely updated and clean looking. The chalkboard menu is a nice touch although I wish they would give you a chance to know what the dishes were rather than having to wait until you get up to the register. The service was up to par and one of the servers asked how everything was and if i needed anything else. got the caprese panini (mozzarella, tomato, pesto), pesto and cheese were tasty. I ordered whole wheat bread and while not the typical panini style was still very good. The chips they serve were good and overall it was a good experience. A drink, sandwhich, chips for $11 is pretty good.

    2. c
      chicago maven Oct 23, 2012 11:32 AM

      For reasons that are beyond my understanding, they have changed their name to Emma's Bagel Cafe.

      2 Replies
      1. re: chicago maven
        l
        lenchik Oct 24, 2012 07:21 AM

        Maybe it was a legal thing:)

        1. re: lenchik
          f
          ferret Oct 24, 2012 10:09 AM

          I think it was more of a re-inventing thing (to identify it more broadly as a restaurant).

      2. c
        chicago maven Jul 16, 2012 12:00 PM

        They are now owned by the same owner as Sandwich Club and they now also own Srulie's.

        4 Replies
        1. re: chicago maven
          f
          ferret Jul 16, 2012 12:16 PM

          And the Skokie Red Mango.

          1. re: ferret
            s
            shtrymel Oct 21, 2012 06:10 PM

            all the products in the red mango in skokie are certified kosher, they have a book with all the kosher certificates of each product

          2. re: chicago maven
            weinstein5 Jul 16, 2012 12:46 PM

            well I like all three of those -

            1. re: weinstein5
              l
              lenchik Jul 17, 2012 01:44 PM

              I don't know if this is true but i also saw something opening on Touhy (or looking like it was about to), which I though was the same owners as Chalavi, but I was recently told that it's the same people who own Sandwich club. Not sure how true this is.

              As far as Bagel Country - their service was way better/faster then before when we visited recently. AND they got rid of the junk vending machines and got new high chairs!

          3. r
            rachelb99 Jul 16, 2012 11:46 AM

            And speed up the service, while they're at it!

            1 Reply
            1. re: rachelb99
              weinstein5 Jul 16, 2012 12:46 PM

              well I have to say when I went in there were three cashiers working -

            2. f
              ferret Jul 16, 2012 08:48 AM

              I understand they're reworking the concept.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ferret
                weinstein5 Jul 16, 2012 10:49 AM

                It will be inetresting to see what they do - hopefully they do not drop the bagels -

              2. l
                lenchik Jul 16, 2012 07:30 AM

                And they have dropped the icky dusty fake trees:)

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