Have you ever walked by a house for years not noticing it at all, and then one day take a look and realize their front door is amazing? As is their choice of landscaping. And suddenly you realize the structure, color, and layout is lovely. Then you ask yourself how you missed this after all of this time? This is how I feel about New York Bagel Café. And let me tell you, some of the best surprises in the world happen when you look at what is in front of you with fresh eyes.
I moved to Edmonton in 2001 and have been a regular visitor to the Strathcona Farmers Market from day one. It reminded me so much of the markets in PEI. Farmers and Vendors all working together to share their products while grabbing fresh food and enjoying familiar faces is a genuine form of comfort for me. Walking to this market from the parking lot, New York Bagel Café silently and patiently sat and watched me pass by. For years it consistently remained a fixed form of the landscape I had failed to notice. Until recently.
My husband and I were headed to the market when I suddenly stopped. Looked at this quaint little building and decided we needed to go in. If for nothing else, at least a coffee. So we did and I was immediately disappointed I had not opened the door years before.
This little restaurant is absolutely delightful. It radiates a sense of old world charm. I would equate it to visiting Grandma’s house. With an array of mismatched chairs and tables, condiments of various types anchoring the table centre, and dim ambient lighting I immediately felt relaxed and welcomed in.
We tucked ourselves into the corner of the space so we could see the entire landscape before us. The restaurant filled up quickly. Although crowded, it wasn’t noisy. Although busy, the atmosphere was not hustled. Instead it was a relaxed. Our waitress brought us some fresh European pressed coffee, with freshly squeezed juices and a brunch menu longer than many novels I have read. The choices in the small place are abundant. Everything from crepes to bowls, omelettes to borscht. If you can’t find a favourite flavour profile here, your broken.
Now be warned. This is not a place to grab a quick bite. Everything’s made to order from scratch. So be prepared to enjoy conversation and lattes while you wait for breakfast to be served. We had about 45 minutes of chatter before our meals were presented, and let me tell you it is worth waiting for. I had an incredible Omelette with brie and cranberry compote while my husband had a massive two eggs any style full breakfast. With fresh fruit, hash browns, toast, and bacon we were stuffed!
When all was said and done, the cost was decent. I would not say it’s the cheapest place in town. It would be the price of dinner really. But was it worth it? Every penny. I have been back quite a few times since. Bringing my mother, my kids (all one at a time for selfish indulgences on my part) and it is now high on the list of favourites.
There is good reason this restaurant has been around since 1982. Once your in, you will be a regular. That story is true for many an Edmonton native and I am happy to say I have joined the herd. It’s a must try when in the city. Give it a go. And let me know what you think.
Enjoy your own Backyard.