Inside New York Bagel’s new Highland Road location

New York Bagel is an establishment many Baton Rouge residents know by heart. The bagel shop has been a local favorite for LSU students and the lunch crowd since it first opened around 1996. In 2005, Jay Gomez took over the concept (which also has a separate Jefferson Highway location under different ownership) and now runs three NYB shops. 

And earlier this year, Gomez led the brand to another new location, closing the longtime Lee Drive shop and moving the operation to the former home of Fat Cow at 4350 Highland Road.

Frequenters of the old Lee Drive bagel spot might be surprised by NYB’s new digs. Gomez shifted away from the beige, dark vibe, opting instead for a warm atmosphere with ample outdoor seating options and loads of natural light. The interiors are a crisp white with bold, blue accent walls. Large windows and garage-style doors brighten up the modern, industrial-like space. 

Re-locating isn’t the only change for New York Bagel. The Highland location plans to start serving a few alcoholic options soon and is currently working on obtaining permits.

Gomez says that the restaurant will serve a small menu of beer, wines and two frozen cocktail options. It will also offer bagel pairings with the drinks. Currently, the Highland location is open until 8 p.m., but if all goes well with alcohol sales, Gomez plans to keep it open until 9 p.m. He hopes the drinks draw more of a nighttime crowd.

Gomez says he decided to move his business due to the planned Lee Drive expansion. He says he would’ve liked to open another location instead of relocating a pre-existing one, but the road work was his cue to go. 

“I didn’t want to be there for that. That’s a small business killer when they do road work,” he says. 

It took Gomez and his team a little over a year to complete the Highland Road project, including about six months of renovations.

“I constantly kept changing my mind. It evolved from the original concept that we had kind of designed and I kept changing it,” he says. 

Eventually, the team landed on the new look.

Gomez says the Highland location is a great fit for his business. He says the surrounding businesses have a similar clientele to NYB and he expects they will help to bring more people into the shop. The new location is also a better spot for the LSU football season, according to Gomez. On game days, the Lee location would get business in the morning, but it would die out throughout the day. Gomez says he is hopeful that this location will be more popular throughout the day during football season. 

“This is a good fit for us,” he says. “I like being next to (Rodéo Boutique) because that’s kind of our clientele, as well. A lot of people come to the nail salon. It’s a good strip for us.” 

New York Bagel is open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday from 7 a.m.-3 p.m.; and Sunday, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Find more information at nybla.com.