Top Bagel in Bayside abruptly closed, leading to speculations on what is to come

Top Bagel on Bell Boulevard permanently closed after over a decade serving Bayside.
Photo via Google Maps

One Friday last month, Top Bagel on the corner of Bell Boulevard and 41st Avenue in Bayside abruptly closed permanently. 

Those who work in businesses in the vicinity of the former bagel shop recalled seeing staff clearing out the space on Apr. 19. Without sharing their plans to close, staff members hauled out furniture, kitchen equipment and outside signage as they gutted the space. 

In the days after, some locals heard the news through social media, where posts sharing the news received dozens of comments. Others found out as they walked by the formerly bustling space, which is centrally located on Bayside’s busiest corridor.

“People were peeking through the windows, trying to open the door. They were confused, asking ‘What’s going on?’ when they saw all the counters gone,” recalled Michael B., who manages the dental office right next door.

He was tabling to promote the dental office on the boulevard and was peppered with questions from regulars about why the shop closed.

“It wasn’t the greatest bagel shop in the world, but it’s one of the only bagel shops in the area really,” added Michael. 

Since word spread about the closure, locals took to their community Facebook groups to share their thoughts on the bagel shop that has been a staple on the busy corridor for over a decade. 

Sorry to hear. The bagel store business is brutally competitive,” wrote one Queens resident in a Bayside Facebook group before suggesting other bagel shops worth visiting in the area.

“Can’t believe they stayed in business for so long. Sadly, had a bagel there once about 20 years ago and it was the absolute worst bagel I ever had in my life!” wrote another, agreeing with commenters who didn’t mind the closure. 

With a table set up outside in warmer weather, regulars would congregate outside Top Bagel after ordering a bagel smeared with one of the dozen cream cheese options they offered. And with a close proximity to the Bayside LIRR station, the shop also saw regular foot traffic from commuters.

“It was pretty popular,” added Michael, who has since received questions from patients coming into the office asking about the closure. There were regulars who got upset.”

The popularity, despite many people offering mixed reviews on both the bagels and service, was one of the reasons the closure came as a surprise, especially with no warning to the community. 

But it appears that the community is ready to welcome a new establishment to the corner spot.

One local resident shared on Facebook that he would like to see either a Shake Shack or Sonic take the space. Another suggested a southern barbecue restaurant. 

But out of the dozens of locals that commented on posts announcing the closure, many speculated that a Starbucks was coming in its place. Some added that the coffee chain would thrive in proximity to the LIRR station

“There’s a lot of guessing going on,” said Harold Rutgers, the owner of Bell Family Jewelers directly across the street. “But it’s definitely not going to be a Starbucks. Too small.”