This past weekend, I went to Baffin Brewing Company to meet up with Shannon Parent of Eastside Bagel to drink some micro-brewed beer and talk about bagels. I savored a Heffenwolf hefeweizen while she sipped a Crossroads cream ale and told me about the origin of Eastside Bagel – a St. Clair Shores instituation for the past 21 years.
When Shannon’s mom and dad Liz and Joe Parent moved into the area in 1987, they had a tough time finding a bagel shop anywhere on the eastside. With career backgrounds in office and industrial work, these entrepreneurs took matters into their own hands to remedy the situation. Liz started working at a bagel shop to learn how to bake. From there, they opened their own business and perfected their bagel recipes. A family business, Shannon and her sister have worked at the shop most of their adult lives.
“Over the years, I fell in love with every aspect that it takes to be part of this business,” Shannon explained. “It’s a craft and a process, and it isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.”
Eastside Bagel produces thousands of bagels a week. They make the dough, kettle boil the bagels, lay them out on canvas boards, bake one side, and flip onto stone to bake the other side until shiny. And all of this usually takes place around 3 a.m.
Shannon compared the bagel process to brewing at Baffin, another small business in St. Clair Shores. Brewer Evan Feringa often brews all night and into the early morning hours, crafting a unique product from scratch. When you put that much effort into your work, you’re bound to be passionate about it.
Eastside Bagel offers an extensive variety of bagels, the most popular being Jalapeno Cheddar, Everything and Spinach Asiago. The bagels are soft and fresh. One of my favorites is the Cinnamon and Sugar bagel, but I also really enjoy their nutritious Breakfast Cookie, which is packed with dates, raisins and almonds.
While bagels are the star, Eastside Bagel also offers sandwiches, soups and salads made to order. The vinaigrette they use is Shannon’s great-aunt’s recipe. They make their own cream cheese that comes in delicious flavors like cherry almond, garlic and chive and feta. Lox sandwiches are also popular, and they sell lox by the pound at a competitive price. Beverages include coffee, chai tea, cappuccino, fresh-squeezed juice, fruit smoothies and more.
When you walk into one of their stores, you’ll order at the counter. The line moves fast, so it’s helpful to have an idea of what you want. There are a lot of interesting options to choose from though, so don’t be afraid to try something new! Pay at the counter, and if you’re dining in, just have a seat and they will bring you your food. The friendly staff may chat with you while you wait.
Eastside Bagel is a great place to enjoy a hot breakfast and a cup of coffee, to pick up a dozen bagels for the office, or to cater your next business meeting. So now that you’ve heard all about these delicious, one-of-a-kind, preservative-free bagels made locally, go try one!
21601 Harper, St. Clair Shores, MI 48080