A little more than a year after MD Bagel Fragel closed its Plymouth Rd. location, owner Patricia Rockette is beaming as she rushes to fill orders in her new location on Washtenaw across from Arborland.
The new place is only 1,000 square feet–not even half the size of the old space–but “it’s enough,” she says, for a front counter and a 100-square-foot oven in the back. In the first weekend at the new location, Rockette says, they had to close early both days because they ran out of bagels–“and we even made a lot more on Sunday to compensate!” she laughs.
The popular home of the “Fragel” (a deep-fried raisin bagel covered in cinnamon sugar) lost its lease on short notice in December 2018–their new Ohio-based landlord was planning to put in a marijuana dispensary owned by a business partner. But customers rallied around Rockette and her son Michael, with many taking to social media to voice their support, buy T-shirts, and offer tips on possible new locations. “If it wasn’t for the community, I don’t think we would have made it to this point,” says Rockette. “It’s keeping us going.”
Though Michael found another job during the store’s yearlong hiatus, his brother Dylan finished his degree at EMU and now works at MD Bagel Fragel (“MD” comes from the brothers’ first initials) full-time, arriving at one a.m. each night to make a fresh batch of bagels for the morning.
Rockette says reopening took so long because most spots she looked at were unsuitable and others simply fell through. In late June, though, someone told her that Jennifer Meyer, the owner of Cartridge World in Washtenaw Commons, was shifting her business online and looking for a way out of her lease. They reached a deal within a week.
Rockette and her family rebuilt the space themselves. A rust-red wall separates the equipment in the back from the small storefront, where customers can select their bagels, Fragels, or sandwiches from the original menu. Because of the massive demand following their reopening, Rockette recommends customers looking for large orders of a particular kind of bagel phone ahead so that Dylan can make an extra batch. Otherwise, “nobody gets any for the rest of the day,” she says.
MD Bagel Fragel, 3500 Washtenaw (Washtenaw Commons). (734) 929-2756. Daily 6:30 a.m.-3 p.m. (or until bagels run out). facebook.com/BagelFragel