While Under Renovation, Kossar’s Plots Bialy Comeback with Makeover and UWS Expansion

Posted on: September 25th, 2015 at 9:35 am by
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Kossar’s Bialys, a staple of Lower East Side food culture for 79 years, is closing for a brief renovation period, as first reported here. The Wall Street Journal picks up the scraps to reveal the bigger plans afoot. Namely that the business will undergo a $500,000 makeover during its six-week hiatus, and (eventually) result in an expansion to the Upper West Side.

As it stands, the most maddening part (to some) about patronizing Kossar’s is buying the schmear (i.e. butter, cream cheese) separately and preparing your own sandwich. That self-serve aspect will go away. As will the walk-in nature of its baking area (keep those fingers out).

The more-than $500,000 renovation at Kossar’s will enable the store to prepare bialys with butter or cream cheese (it is now self-serve), add a sandwich counter and grill for breakfast sandwiches, and perhaps most important, overhaul equipment and plumbing and electrical systems barely touched in decades.

But that is just the beginning. Messrs Giniger and Zablocki say they are exploring a line of partially baked and frozen bagels and bialys, and have more immediate plans to expand to the Upper West Side.

And then the branding. The new ownership apparently hired a big-time PR firm to elevate Kossar’s to the mainstream. To spread awareness about the bialy while simultaneously embracing the bagel. That means bagels will probably take front-and-center in the updated name.

Kossar’s Bialys first opened on Clinton Street back in 1936, and moved to its currently location in 1960. Evan Giniger and David Zablocki are together the third set of proprietors to operate the bakery since its inception. Marc Halprin is no longer part of the team, though.

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