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Bagel Club keeps loyal following

The customers of Bagel Club always come back.

Even after they move from the neighborhood, they still return to the Bayside bagel joint.

"I see people from 20 years ago," said Terri Lombardo, who owns the business, at 205-21 35th Ave., with her family and opened it 20 years ago. Her family runs another Bagel Club on Cross Island Parkway in Bay Terrace, which opened about 10 years ago.

What keeps the customers coming back?

Lombardo believes it is the bagel's vibrant flavors, the menu's wide selection and the staff's impeccable service.

"These are the best bagels in town," said Lefteris Bournias, a devoted Bagel Club customer for the past seven years. Bournias walks eight blocks to the restaurant everyday to pick up his regular order: a toasted pumpernickel bagel and iced black coffee.

In the mornings, Bournias said, the lines at Bagel Club can stretch out onto the sidewalks, but "it's worth the wait."

The menu items offered at Bagel Club range from the typical — an everything bagel with cream cheese — to the unique — a French toast bagel and banana split-flavored iced coffee. Several variations of the bagel are available as well, including bagel crisps, flat bagels or bagel holes, and come packed with nuts, seeds, raisins and other ingredients that offer distinct flavors.

Cupcakes, rugelach, Irish soda bread and pastries are fresh and available. A popular item is the Boston Creme Pie cupcake, topped with chocolate frosting and filled with creamy custard.

More than 30 spreads and salads are available. The range in flavors for spreads will satisfy those craving the salty or the sweet and include flavors such as chocolate chip, sun dried tomato, blueberry or lox. Several low calorie options are offered as well. Customers can choose to top their bagel with a scoop of fresh chicken or tuna salad.

"We have the best tuna salad from here to Long Island," Lombardo said.

And everything is made in the restaurant with only the best ingredients, she said.

Now that it is summer, the menu includes chilled gazpacho soup. Bagel Club's iced coffee is extremely popular this time of year, Lombardo said.

The coffee is freshly brewed, made just the way the customer likes it and come in a variety of flavors ranging from hazelnut to chocolate raspberry. Freshly ground beans are available for purchase, too.

The restaurant also is expanding and will soon be roughly twice the size it is today. Lombardo hopes construction will finish sometime this summer and with the expanded building, even more menu options will be added.

Still, the reason why Bournias will keep coming back for the bagels is simple.

"They're prepared with a lot of love," he said.

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