New deli offers healthy choices, modern look

Aventura is not bereft of choice when it comes to deli-style restaurants, as can be seen with the opening of its most recent kosher-style eatery sporting a modern look.

Carlee Croy ordered a toasted Everything bagel with smoked salmon, onions and capers. Her boyfriend, Jose Arimany, was debating between ordering a ground-beef burger or a bagel with cream cheese and pastrami.

About four times a week, Croy, 21, and Arimany, 23, come to a new restaurant and deli in Aventura called BagelWorks.

“If you are going to eat a bagel, you might as well come here,” said Croy, of Fort Lauderdale.

BagelWorks, at 18729 Biscayne Blvd., opened in December 2011 with the aim of bringing an edgier feel to the traditional bagel and deli restaurant. Modern-style seating, a bar, décor that includes graffiti and health-conscious menu options are features that owners say distinguish BagelWorks from other bagel and deli restaurants.

“People want to come here. Why? Because it’s modern,” said co-owner Robert Levy.

“Everything is sort of a hipper vibe than you’ll find at other bagel stores,” said co-owner Paul Herman, adding that bagel and deli restaurants are usually “run-down,” with “surly” service. “We went to a lot of bagel stores. I felt that we could do it so much better.”

The only other BagelWorks is in Boca Raton and opened about 22 years ago. Owners expanded to Aventura with the intention of targeting a younger crowd.

“The demographics here were perfect for us,” Herman said. “We appeal to everyone. But we have a very upscale, young crowd here that frequents restaurants.”

Marcia Mizrachi, 61, of North Miami Beach, learned about BagelWorks from her daughter. Now Mizrachi comes here about two times every week with friends and her 5-month-old Australian Labradoodle, Ozzie.

“It’s more health-conscious. All the young people, they like all these options,” Mizrachi said. “You can get a chopped salad with anything you want in it. It’s very unusual to find that in a bagel place.”

BagelWorks is not a kosher restaurant, but the venue is considered kosher-style. That means some of the offerings are associated with Jewish dishes, but the food preparation does not necessarily follow kosher guidelines.

At BagelWorks, patrons can get a breakfast of matzo brei or French toast prepared with challah bread. There are also pancakes, waffles and eggs.

And for lunch?

Burgers, salads, paninis, fish platters and healthy options such as a hummus platter, a salad bar, fruit salads and yogurt with fruit are offered. There are about 16 types of bagels, said Levy. That includes honey-whole wheat, pumpernickle and cinnamon-raisin.

Aventura is a home to several other bagel and deli restaurants. BagelWorks is situated across from Mo’s Bagels & Deli and is blocks away from Bagel Cove Restaurant & Deli.

Mo Hussin, owner of Mo’s Bagels & Deli, a family business that has been in Aventura for 17 years, said he does not think BagelWorks is competition for him.

“They help us more than they hurt us,” said Hussin. “They helped out business since they opened because people go and try them, and then they come back to us.”

Mo’s Bagels & Deli also offers Jewish staples as matzo ball soup, and it, too, has a kosher-style deli section along with health-conscious choices as salads, wraps, veggie lasagna and a diet burger.

At both BagelWorks and Mo’s Bagels & Deli, the bagels and other offerings are prepared daily on the premises. The main baker comes in to BagelWorks at 4:30 a.m. to boil the bagels in an 80-gallon kettle and then bake them 20 minutes in a revolving oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit. At BagelWorks, bagels are rolled through a one-man-operated machine. But at Mo’s Bagels & Deli, bagels are hand-rolled starting at midnight daily — what Hussin said makes his bagels better quality.

“That makes us different from other places,” he said.

Croy and Arimany said bagel and deli restaurants were not their choice before BagelWorks opened. But exactly what owners hoped would attract younger customers — the modern feel and healthy-food options — brings the young couple back.

“You can taste the quality here,” Croy said. “We always like to eat healthy.”

Added Arimany: “When I saw it was opening, I was so happy. I would come here for dinner, too. But they close at 4:30 p.m.”

Miami City Social

Source: The Miami Herald