New bagel shop opens near campus

Finding a good bagel near the Portland State campus just got a whole lot easier.

Finding a good bagel near the Portland State campus just got a whole lot easier.

NW Bagel Deli, a locally owned café that specializes in bagels and bagel sandwiches, opened a second location last week on Southwest Broadway Avenue, between Southwest Market and Clay Streets. The company’s first location is in Vancouver, Wash.

Owner Kevin Lim said that a downtown location is something he’s been dreaming of for a long time. Opening this location required nearly four months of 15-hour workdays in preparation, including 2:30 a.m. wake-ups in order to bake every day’s fresh batch of bagels from scratch. To Lim, however, it was all worth it.

“My motivation was family,” Lim said of his decision to abandon his computer science career and open NW Bagel Deli. “My daughter was practically raised in my bagel shop.” According to Lim, that’s not something most jobs can offer.

“[My daughter] is four and a half,” he said. “When it’s slow, I can help her learn to read, we can go on walks. She knows the regulars, and she can visit their tables and talk to them.”

These days, customers are likely to meet Vincent, Lim, his wife and business partner Ling Meas and their nine-month-old son.

When Lim and Meas opened the Vancouver café, their original plan was to purchase the Sunrise Bagels franchise already at that location from its previous owner. According to Lim, Sunrise Bagels wanted 20 percent of the sale price of the franchise as a fee, and made the transition in ownership expensive and extremely difficult.

“We had some hard times, but we survived,” Lim said. “I literally learned how to make bagels overnight.”

He did have some background in the business, however.

“My family was in the donut business,” Lim said. “I used to be a donut baker.” Lim ran his parents’ donut shop in southeastern Washington when he was in his early 20s. He left to attend the Oregon Institute of Technology, where he majored in computer science.

According to Lim, the recipes used by NW Bagel Deli and Sunrise Bagels are not the same, but the process is: Both companies steam and then bake their dough, producing bagels that are light and soft.

Despite learning the craft of bagel-baking quickly, Lim learned well. The bagels on offer at NW Bagel Deli are easily the best available to the Portland State community. Bagel flavors range from strawberry to garlic, and the house-made cream cheese flavors range from vanilla to tomato pesto.

NW Bagel Deli also serves espresso, juice and fountain drinks, as well as sandwiches and salads.

The space is newly remodeled and still developing. Cabinets are missing their doors and the credit card machine isn’t running yet; Lim is using a credit card slider for the time being.

“We’re still working out the kinks,” he said.

Even so, NW Bagel Deli manages to provide some of the friendliest, most genuine customer service in Portland. In fact, Lim or Meas themselves will probably serve the customer.

The couple is still considering future options for the new location, such as opening on Sundays or installing a self-serve frozen yogurt bar.

Lim and Meas are also seeking ways to reach out to the Portland State community, such as their current discount offer of a free fountain drink for any PSU student or faculty member who purchases a bagel sandwich.

Anyone can stop by to pick up bags of day-old bagels for only $2.49.

So, PSU bagel fans: rejoice. Finally, Portland State students can find an inexpensive, satisfying bagel on their way to or from school. ?