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Better Bagel says goodbye

Original post made on Nov 1, 2013

The Better Bagel's last day in business was a teary one, as loyal regulars said goodbye on Oct. 31 before the doors closed for good at 1040 Grant Road, to make way a new fitness center.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, October 31, 2013, 4:46 PM

Comments (54)

Posted by Litsa
a resident of North Whisman
on Nov 1, 2013 at 9:09 am

Nice going City Council. Who cares about small businesses in Mtn. View. You got big developers to keep happy.
I hope all of you members can sleep soundly at night knowing that these people have just lost their livelihood.

This was my favorite bagel store and will miss it dearly. I hope they re-open somewhere else, so I can give them my business.

Posted by mr $Bottom Line$
a resident of Bailey Park
on Nov 1, 2013 at 9:24 am

Old buildings in Mtn View have long since served their purpose, owners are just practicing good business to max their profit potential. Your average Joe doesn't understand this and has to whine allot about change.

Posted by Litsa
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Nov 1, 2013 at 9:57 am

@ mr $Bottom Line$

What purpose will a an overpriced "City Sports Club" - a 24-hour fitness center for the "upwardly mobile", do for the city of Mtn. View and it's residents?

They already have the YMCA down the street. Two 24hr fitness clubs in the same location at San Antonio, a Golds Gym, and they are planning on building another one at Shoreline theaters location, next to Golds.

That will be 6 fitness centers in Mtn. View. Do the residents really need that many?

It's not just old buildings not serving it's purpose. It's redundancy and no infrastructure to prevent Mtn. View from becoming San Jose.

Posted by Rite Aid
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 1, 2013 at 10:59 am

It's "Rite Aid" not "Rite Aide"
Web Link

Posted by USA
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 1, 2013 at 11:52 am

"It was" Rite Aid not "It's" Rite Aid.

Posted by Political Insider
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 1, 2013 at 11:54 am

@ Litsa, "That will be 6 fitness centers in Mtn. View. Do the residents really need that many?"

For one the YMCA is overpriced. Many people will leave the Y and sign up for a lower priced gym, one that doesn't cater to social programs.

NY Pizza already located next door. Better Bagel can also relocate. It doesnt have to go out of business.

Posted by USA
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 1, 2013 at 11:56 am

Oh where, oh where can I find a bagel and a pizza place?

Oh yeah, every other shopping mall in Mountain View.

Posted by Litsa
a resident of Gemello
on Nov 1, 2013 at 12:31 pm

@ Political Insider, So having 5 overpriced (Golds is cheapest) fitness centers within 2-3 miles of each other isn't overkill?

@ USA, there will be two bagel stores (Posh & Bagel St. Cafe). Is that two too many for you? I didn't say anything about pizza.

Posted by Litsa
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Nov 1, 2013 at 12:34 pm

*Correction* 3 bagel places. I forgot House of Bagels.

Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Nov 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Nothing really to do with the city which doesn't control space in shopping centers or any kind of trends. I have read in one of newspaper that gym membership is popular and growing.

We also need bagel shops.

Checked how much it would cost to join the Y which I never did find out.

Posted by Chick-fil-haay!!!
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Nov 1, 2013 at 1:09 pm

How about a spankin new Chick-fil-a, somewhere on the El Camino? I sure could use a nice chicken sandwich right about now.

Posted by Noni Fruit
a resident of Castro City
on Nov 1, 2013 at 2:13 pm

This is sad. Better Bagel was the best bagel in Mountain View. No, the whole bay area. I loved their bagel sandwiches. They were little stacks of heaven.

Now we'll have to deal with more self-entitled, liver-spotted white women in yoga pants. Just what the world needs.

Posted by Kelly
a resident of Bailey Park
on Nov 1, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Better Bagel was delicious and reasonably priced. You can't find a better bagel sandwich. Even though there maybe a ton of bagel places. Other fancy chain bagel places charge way too much for a not as good sandwich.

Posted by Yes indeed
a resident of Monta Loma
on Nov 1, 2013 at 2:34 pm

We need a chick-fil-a shop. Long over due. And yes a drive through would be needed.

Posted by Ron
a resident of Waverly Park
on Nov 1, 2013 at 2:41 pm

I was a huge fan of this place an probably visited 3 times a week. That said, this is not a crime by the city. The landlord has been trying to fill this site for YEARS. He finally found a tenant and Better Bagel has to find someplace new (or close as it looks in this case). So we should tell the landlord "tough". That is not how it works. When you start a small business and rent space you are not in complete control of your future. That is just life. I may hate that they are gone, but it is not evil or poor efforts on anyone's part. Heck, they even offered them new space which unfortunately won't work for them, but at least they tried to offer an alternative. It works both ways. The tenant can leave and leave the landlord with nothing but bills to pay looking for a tenant (as RiteAide did).

Posted by SP Phil
a resident of Shoreline West
on Nov 1, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Why are various commentors blaming the City Council? They don't own the building in question. All they could do--and what they did--was listen to people who came to express they hope that the bagel shop would remain because they liked it.

Bottom line: "While City Council members wanted to save the Bagel Shop in its place, they couldn't legally require the building owner to do anything."

Posted by Moo
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 1, 2013 at 2:48 pm

They could have at least given them gym memberships.

Anyone else notice how the MV City Council is cutting back on carbs here? Bagels AND Pizza. I'm thinking CONSPIRACY!

Posted by nikonbob
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 1, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Last time I checked, we had a free enterprise system. Do you really want the city council cherry picking which businesses get to go into a landowners buildings?

I know a lot of people are looking for any opportunity to criticize the council, but put a little thought into your criticism...

Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Nov 1, 2013 at 3:43 pm

I have been to Chick Fil A a few times but don't understand why people like their sandwiches.

Guess a chicken joint would be needed with another bagel shop

Does Chick Fil A do southern fried chicken?

Posted by Friend of the BB
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 1, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Minor correction, I believe Annie & her husband bought the donut shop. Sadly, the truth is the Owner & Property Management are rumored to upscale the complex. In one article, they referred to it as a regional shopping center (I thought that was something like Stanford, or Valley Fair/Westfield?). With that in mind, I doubt the Better Bagel fit their vision. The again, will all of the remaining businesses fit that vision? Had they seen the amount of customers (& listened to their comments) going through, yesterday morning, they would have realized how important the shop is/was to the area.

The truth is, the area lost a non-chain/franchise local business that many people liked & frequented. The type of business that once gone, may never return. For many customers, they enjoyed an odd extended family type relationship with the the employees. Among the customers, many ended up with close friendships amongst themselves. That is what is sad. I'm fairly sure that many of the people, whom have made non-caring remarks have had somewhere they frequented shut. If it bothered them, they may be able to understand how the Better Bagel's regular customers feel.

Posted by kathy
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Nov 1, 2013 at 5:09 pm

An ideal spot for Better Bagel would be in the retail space behind Sleep Train, there is not a single place to get a coffee south of Highway 85 at the Sylvan/El Camino intersection.

It seems everyday we read about our treasured small businesses being pushed out by developers and corporate chains with deep pockets.

It is a mystery how the health club was approved, even with Rite Aid closed, the parking lot was packed at 4:30pm, it is going to be a mess.

Posted by tommygee54
a resident of Rex Manor
on Nov 1, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Wow more shops closing up shop due to other businesses wanting to take up shop. By Veteran's Day, Sizzler will close. Now that is a real SIN that they have to close. By the way, the House of Bagels on Miramonte at Cuesta is THE best bagel shop around as people do keep voting them the #1 bagel shop in Mtn. View.

As for Chick-fil-A coming to Mtn. View, we don't need them. There is a Chick-Fil-A being built in Sunnyvale on El Camino. We need Sizzler to reopen at another location in Mtn. View. How about in Phase 2 at the San Antonio Village Center.

We just do not need another Health Club. Too many are here in the city. Just like we have too many grocery stores, including Costco!!!

Mtn. View is changing soooo much. Shops and businesses are closing every week it seems. Sad to see businesses close up like this...

Posted by tommygee54
a resident of Rex Manor
on Nov 1, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Chick-fil-A does not do Southern Fried Chicken. They cook healthier versions of chicken sandwiches. But we still are going to want and need a Sizzler to open up as the one on El Camino closes before Veterans Day. We also need Boston Market to reopen an eatery in Mtn. View...

Posted by oldabelincoln
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 1, 2013 at 6:49 pm

I can't believe all the affection for Sizzler and Boston Market, both of which are among the lamest of franchises. How anyone can consistently grossly undercook meat loaf on a steam table is beyond me, but Boston Market did that so often we finally gave up on it, even though we greatly enjoy that type of food.

Boston Market's replacement by Chipotle was a great plus, as they offer consistently high quality food.

Shure would like some decent meat loaf and mashed potatoes, though...

Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Nov 1, 2013 at 6:53 pm

The area over 30 years ago was looked at as a major shopping area. Safeway, Fry's(supermarket chain), Handy Man, Walgreens, Payless and Albertsons. Fry's became Food Fair then Nob Hill. Handy Man became Circuit City then came Nob Hill. Albertson became Marshalls. Safeway closed and become Liquor Barn. Payless Drugs became Rite Aid.

I know this area has changed over years and has been home to non chains with chains.

Posted by semperfi43
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Nov 2, 2013 at 10:38 am

What we really need is Harry's Hofbrau. My mouth is watering.

Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Nov 2, 2013 at 11:49 am

I would rather see a Harry's. Hofbrau instead of Chick File A, open face chicken sandwich with gravy, mashed potatoes, corn and a biscuit. With a cold beer.

Posted by meetings, again
a resident of another community
on Nov 2, 2013 at 4:53 pm

whoa whoa whoa people. As can be seen in the San Antonio Village thread, there is never traffic over there on Grant. 99 Ranch? Nob Hill. Nevvvvverrrr do you see crazy driving or people who circle circle circle circle looking for parking spots. Nor do you see people who run the stop sign in the parking lot as they come in off Grant.

You may have read the only traffic in a parking lot is at San Antonio Village, which is why people are boycotting that new Safeway and only going to shop at Nob Hill now. Never traffic there. No RV dwellers with pit bulls who hang out behind the shopping center either.

Posted by meetings, again
a resident of another community
on Nov 2, 2013 at 4:55 pm

The Chik fil A in Sunnyvale is open now. Didn't notice when exactly. Sure is busy though.

I wonder what Sunnyvale will do with all that new tax money?

Posted by Eat it and die later
a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Nov 3, 2013 at 5:46 am

@meetings, again: Fast food is for those wanting a quick exit to this world. Not sure what they'll do with the tax money, but its just a drop in the bucket compared to the tax money cannabis shops are contributing to the cities that have them. I wonder what those cities will do with all THAT tax money.

Posted by mtten
a resident of Gemello
on Nov 3, 2013 at 11:30 pm

They were the only bagel shop in this area that offered Rye bagels and I am going to miss it for good. Anyone knows a bagel shop in Mt/View/Sunnyvale/palo Alto area offering Rye Bagels?

Posted by resident
a resident of Waverly Park
on Nov 4, 2013 at 2:35 pm

I read that the developer offered the bagel shop the space where Rite Aide's garden area was.

Was the developer offering to pay for the renovation for that space? Or would the bagel store pay for the renovation?

Can anyone explain why that did not work out? Could they not work out a way to get that new space ready before vacating the current bagel shop?

Although it may be a moot point, I'd like to understand more about why the developer's offer of another space was not feasible for the bagel shop.

Posted by bagel lover
a resident of Waverly Park
on Nov 4, 2013 at 3:18 pm

I talked some with workers over last several weeks leading to the close.

In regards to re-locating. Perhaps the property owners would do some preparation work at the new location - but it didn't sound like all expenses would be paid. E.g moving the heavy bagel making equipment. That alone can be costly. But I think the bottom line was that the new location was on the side of the shopping center - out of sight from the all the activity and traffic in the front. Fine for a laundromat and for existing customers perhaps, but not for a business that depends a lot on walk-in traffic (even given their established repeat customer base).

The place will be missed.

Posted by Bagle-T-Dog
a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2013 at 3:22 pm

So, I go into the "Regal Bagel" which is a hilarious play on the "Regal Beagle" (which was the neighborhood bar from the old TV show Three's Company)

I walk in there to congratulate them on the cleverness of the name and they act like they have no idea what I am talking about.

Posted by Ron
a resident of Waverly Park
on Nov 5, 2013 at 6:20 am

@Bagel-T-Dog: Come on. Although the owner MIGHT have intentionally picked the name for that reason (and it could easily have been a coincidence), I am sure the workers behind the counter would have no idea.

Posted by Ron
a resident of Waverly Park
on Nov 5, 2013 at 6:21 am

@resident: As to why they could not relocate, my understanding was that the primary issue was that they simply could not afford to be without an income for the months it would be until they could re-open.

Posted by Ron
a resident of Waverly Park
on Nov 5, 2013 at 6:26 am

@TommyG: It is not that we don't need a Chick-fil-A in MV because they are building one in Sunnyvale. The one in Sunnyvale was built because MV rejected it opening in MV when people protested it for political reasons (the whole flap about the CEO being opposed to gay marriage I believe). As to keeping Sizzler, I have been there a couple of times in the last year or so. It is generally empty these days. So they are making little money and about zero for the landlord aside from basic rent, so it WILL go sometime, unless they suddenly get popular again.

Posted by Are you starving?
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 5, 2013 at 11:50 am

Jeebuz! Cook a chicken sandwich and move on with your lives!

Posted by Flava Dave
a resident of Shoreline West
on Nov 5, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Flava Dave is a registered user.

Niche markets will disappear.... like Rye bagels, or peanut butter bagels or curry bagels or whatever... Sounds like Better Bagel was living hand to mouth, so anything could have shut them down, a fire, a fire in another store in the plaza, etc.

I wish there was a House of Bagels up here that was the same as the ones I went to in San Jose. But there isn't.

Ironic though that those who say there are too many gyms are saying there aren't enough bagel stores. Read any yelp review and you'll see plenty of people who love a certain gym for a certain reason, and those who hate it for another. And if you go to the gym of your choice, you know, if you did even the slightest research, every gym has times when it is packed and effectively useless.

YMCA has parking issues...and kids running around in the lobby all day. Annoying high school kids who think they are Arnold screeching and throwing weights around, which resonates through the entire building.

Golds has meatheads who think by being their they are automatically Mr Universe.

The old 24 is old. Things break often. Last night they were closed because of ???? Maybe the power line work on El Camino that shut off Chilis and others...maybe not. But the new 24 was open. The new 24 hour with much much better machines, far more TVs, far more services, and far more classes. And that costs twice as much.

Again we are besieged by people lamenting [fill in the blank] in Mt View, who don't do even the simplest of research.

Posted by AC
a resident of another community
on Nov 5, 2013 at 5:33 pm

AC is a registered user.

What bothers me the most about the closure (and the reason I have affection for the Sizzler) is the loss (or threatened loss) of places where retired and elderly go to socialize, patronize as part of their routines, etc.

I mean... if we're lucky, that'll be us one day. Making sure places for our elderly, retired, and fixed-income citizens to patronize, spend money at, and congregate at is like making sure those places will be there for us when the time comes.

What troubles me is that, in the truth of free enterprise and profitmaking, places for the elderly just doesn't bring in tons of cash. So yeah, unprofitable. And not particularly chic. But still important.

Places like that just won't survive without the people of the community *wanting* them to be there. They sure aren't going to get rich doing it; or they would have just gotten another space, which they didn't.

Posted by resident
a resident of Waverly Park
on Nov 6, 2013 at 2:10 pm

@AC, good point, places for seniors (even though yes we have a wonderful senior center)

little kids and old folks don't bring in the big bucks, so places like bowling alleys, pumpkin patch, coffee/bagel shop, etc are the first to go...

Posted by Buster Douglas
a resident of Monta Loma
on Nov 6, 2013 at 2:48 pm

@ Ron - I was at Sizzler a couple of Saturday nights ago and it was pretty busy.
Not busting out of the seams, but there was quite a bit of people.
Old, sure, but they are people too.

Posted by Sizzler
a resident of Rex Manor
on Nov 6, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Speaking of Sizzler. Who was the genius that put a stop light at Clark Avenue intersection and decided to have it a right turn only lane (Togo's side)?

Now people have to make a u-turn on Escuela to go back towards Palo Alto. Why even put a light there?

Posted by Flava Dave
a resident of Shoreline West
on Nov 6, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Flava Dave is a registered user.

chik fil a has been a madhouse so far. Wonder if it will last and how much tax money the Mountain View City Council will have sent away.

And I'd like a clarification...the CC doesn't want "that much traffic" from a fast food place....or they don't want MORE traffic. Because they certainly made a mess with the In n Out whose patrons line up all the way back into the street through another businesses parking lot.

Posted by Flava Dave
a resident of Shoreline West
on Nov 6, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Flava Dave is a registered user.

"That will be 6 fitness centers in Mtn. View. Do the residents really need that many?"

Well the old 24 hr is only $13/mo if you get your membership at Costco. Most gyms charge $150 just to join. YMCA has a fee to join and at least $50/mo.

If people want to join a fancy gym, let them. Do we need more than one kind of car? Maybe we should ban all cars but Civics and Corollas. You don't need a Tesla, BMW, Audi, Mercedes...

Posted by Friend of the Bagel
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 6, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Relocating the Better Bagel, next to the laundromat, would have several problems. Without a second thought, rent would, probably, go up. Then, there was a lack of offered square footage. If rumour be true, the Property Managers offered them a very small amount of space. Reducing indoor seating from what they had. The side walk, being narrower than the front of the building, would have eliminated any outside seating. Reduction in business? The front corner of the Garden Center, would have been a good location. However, Property Management has a desire for a "high visibility" tenant in the front/corner space (Another rumour was that Starbuck's had contacted them). with the better location goes substantially increased rate /sq. ft.. I have not heard if the "proposed gym" has ever received final zoning & planning permission. If not, my simple question is. "Why the rush to remove the Better Bagel?" Allowing them to stay on a month to month basis, would have given them more of an opportunity to secure funding & another location. If the "Sports Center" never goes in, the building face will look great with shut businesses. the result is a closed business, that was making a profit.

Yes, rebuilding expenses would have been substantial. Closed for 4-6 months (or more) means starting a new business all over again. Habits change, during the closed time, people may find another place to frequent. With plans, permits, everything needing to meet current codes, et cetera, the owner told me that he was looking at $200K+, if he could move around the corner. With not knowing when any space would be available, it would make it difficult to plan out the required funding. After all, why get the business loan, be paying on it (if he could), without the space to spend it on. Or a way to recover his expenses from.

Posted by Friend of the Bagel
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 6, 2013 at 4:43 pm

It's amazing what one finds, without really trying:

Web Link

It appears that there may be future casualties.

Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Nov 6, 2013 at 5:33 pm

From what I read while ago about Sizzler, lease was up, owner wanted more of space, owner of Sizzler didn't want to pay the increase, Sizzler gone.

Blockbuster is closing all but 50 stores, 2800 people out of work.

Gyms are selling, healthy food is selling, they are trying to tax soda which I am against. We can't decide on how, what and where people spend money. Cities can only go so far, I remember the jokes Carmel that had something to do with ice cream.

Posted by Martha
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Nov 7, 2013 at 2:19 pm

We moved here from Palo Alto three years ago, and despaired of finding a really good bagel store. We did, and now it's gone. So sorry. You all did a great job.

Posted by Linda
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 9, 2013 at 2:23 pm

This was so much more than a bagel shop. It served fresh, delicious, nutritional food, of special importance to the elderly folks, so many of whom live across the street and used to come here for breakfast daily. It was so handy to get a hot meal of eggs and orange juice when in a hurry and not ready to settle for the grease of the fast food version! The owners of this fine establishment said they were doomed outside of the city council chambers on the day city council approved the fitness center and required $10K be given to Better Bagel for their total moving costs. Only one walk in refrigeration unit can be moved for $10K and I told that to the City Council in a subsequent council meeting. No way could this family relocate for that amount of money. Nor could they be out of business for four months while a new place was built for them. They needed to stay where they were or go out of business. Period. So did city council care? If they did care, Better Bagel never should have been required to move at all! It could have perfectly served the new members of the fitness place on their way out after a workout. How handy. But the fitness place couldn't settle for a little less space? Better Bagel offered to shrink to help their situation but city council still ignored them. Ronit Byrant only cared about how the spa would look to the neighborhood from behind, not how well the neighborhood would be served for food choices once they killed Better Bagel. Disgraceful.

Posted by SAM
a resident of North Whisman
on Nov 10, 2013 at 6:01 pm

The new plan shows very little changes to the complex. Some old shops will remain while the displaces ones are still listed as available. Sounds like a lease disagreement is more of a problem. And I can tell Parking will be bad. Since it is bad already without Rite Aid. Will back lot parking be convenient in the new plan I only see ~20 spots?

Posted by DC
a resident of Shoreline West
on Nov 10, 2013 at 6:05 pm

NY pizza is moving next to Sweet Tomatoes so did the Watch shop

Posted by ???
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 10, 2015 at 4:01 pm

City Sports Club sucks. Walked by here the other day and there were many empty exercise equipment unused. What a waste of complete space. The YMCA down the street next to the hospital is a better family-oriented place to work out at.

Posted by City Sports memebr
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 11, 2015 at 4:18 am

I left the Y to join city sports as have a lot of other people. It's cheaper for individuals and a lot better facilities. The shopping center is a lot better than it used to be with the new stores and remodeling that took place. If you don't like it, then don't shop there.

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