Adventures with Ashley:
Old School Bagel

Old School Bagel Café by NewInOklahoma

Bagels: 'Old School’ shop follows ‘New York way’

 By Sara Ganus Business Writer 

Sara Ganus: 475-3232,

Photo by Steve Gooch


   After eight years in
Denver, Danny Cowan returned to Oklahoma City in 2003 to get away from waking up in the middle of the night to boil bagels and manage two bagel shops.
   For nearly 20 years, he had worked in the once popular
New York Bagel shops, beginning in Stillwater as a college student, and went on to franchise two of its stores in Denver. He perfected the New York-style water boiling method but was ready for a change.
   He worked as a sales representative and a Realtor in
Oklahoma City, but he kept hearing the same thing over and over again.
   “Everybody missed the New York Bagel shop, and said I should open one up,” said Cowan, 36. “This is what I know how to do. It’s what I’ve done for 20 years, so I finally gave in and did it.”
How it all started
   That’s when he contacted Wayne Hansen, 35, and together, the two childhood friends decided to invest in an authentic New York-style bagel shop for Oklahoma City.
   Cowan and Hansen opened Old School Bagel Cafe in July at 10946 N May Ave. in
Quail Plaza, and business hasn’t slowed.
   “There’s so many people that used to go to the New York Bagels, and (now they say) ‘Thank god, they’re back,’ ” Cowan said. “We’ve been real impressed with our sales and our business, and it’s been a month and a half — no advertising.”
   Hansen added: “We’ve had people that have come in and tried us on the first and second week, and they’ve been in almost every day.”
   Although Old School Bagel Cafe is not affiliated with the old New York Bagel franchise, it certainly has been a source of inspiration. Selling some of its signature bagel sandwiches like the Reuben, various clubs and the pizza bagel, Old School is giving
Oklahoma City bagel lovers something to chew on again.
   At one time, Oklahoma had about a dozen New Yorkstyle bagel shops under New York Bagel Enterprises Inc., a company that a couple of college-age New York natives in Stillwater founded. The bagel business did so well it became a publicly traded company in 1996 and opened more than 40 corporate and 30 franchise stores.
   But by 2000, it filed for bankruptcy protection and sold. Many stores changed hands, operating under the name Manhattan Bagel, and in the process, many abandoned the painstaking bagel boiling process.
   “I just wanted (Old School) to be the same as the New York Bagel, just with a different name, same menu,” Cowan said.
   Now he and Hansen arrive at their bagel shop between 3 and
4 a.m. every day to water boil 1,500 to 2,000 bagels before baking them and opening the store.
   “That’s the way they do them in
New York,” Cowan said. “Like Panera and Einstein (Bros. Bagels), they just steam their bagels, so it’s just bread. The New Yorkers would understand and appreciate it, whereas Oklahomans, I don’t know. They’re supposed to be crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside.”
   That philosophy has not only shaped Old School’s bagels, it’s been etched in the store’s walls. Walking into the 3,500-square-foot bagel eatery it’s hard not to notice the large slogan printed across one of its walls: “No
New York in the name ... but the bagels are the same.”
   That statement also represents the meaning behind their name.
   “It’s ‘Old School’ because it’s the old, real way to make bagels,” Hansen said. “It’s really not a bagel if you don’t water boil it. ... I don’t know anyone else that’s water boiling around here.”
‘Worth all the trouble’
   Some may ask whether waking up before dawn is worth the trouble, but customers, like Susie Moock of Edmond, say it makes all the difference in the world.
   Moock, who used to frequent Edmond’s New York Bagel before it closed around 2000, was introduced to Old School Bagel Cafe by a friend in late August and has since stopped by at least five times, meeting her husband for lunch or taking her daughter after school.
   “I’m from
California, and we don’t have a good bagel place here,” she said. “The bagels are so much better, it’s unbelievable. I mean, (Panera)’s the only other place I even know that you can buy a bagel.”
   To help create the authentic
New York neighborhood bagel deli, Cowan and Hansen also handpicked their deli meats from all the different carriers instead of choosing just one.
   “We went with what we thought was the best, and it’s really paid off for us because we’ve got a lot of very picky New Yorkers around here,” Hansen said.
   “I was surprised how many New Yorkers live around here ... They’re tough to get compliments from too, but we’re happy that we’re getting some.”
What’s Next
   Within the next six months, Hansen and Cowan said they hope to expand in the vacant space next door and possibly open a second store in
   “We just don’t want to get too big, too fast,” Cowan said. “Even if it was just this store, if we’re making enough money at this store, we’ll just keep it simple.”
   Old School Bagel Cafe is open from
6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.


News OK Article
powered by The Daily Oklahoman

Sonny Yocum, Danny Cowan and Wayne Hansen own Old School Bagel Cafe in Edmond at 775 W Covell Road. PHOTO BY DAVID MCDANIEL, THE OKLAHOMAN

Businessmen boil up new Edmond Bagel Cafe

Published: August 29, 2009

EDMOND — New York-style bagels have come to Edmond.

The Old School Bagel Cafe opened Thursday at 775 W Covell Road. Owner Sonny Yocum and his partners Wayne Hansen and Danny Cowan cook up bagels that are boiled, not steamed.

These aren’t a roll with a hole in it, Hansen said. "New York style is crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. It’s not a true bagel unless it’s boiled.”

Cowan and Hansen opened the Old School Bagel Cafe in July 2007 at 10946 N May Ave. in Quail Plaza. They also own two other stores in Stillwater and Tulsa.

After looking at several Edmond locations, the owners decided the Covell location would work best.

"There are several neighborhoods around us here,” Hansen said. "With a school up the street this will be the perfect place to stop in on the way to and from school.”

Yocum studied business at University of Central Oklahoma while working at the Oklahoma City location. His day begins about 4 a.m. when he and store manager Chelsea Benton and crew begin boiling, then baking a variety of bagels.

"We’ll offer the same menu with items made the same exact way as the original store,” he said.

But Cowan said he is confident that before long the Edmond location will be outselling the May Avenue store, which sells thousands of bagels on a typical Saturday.


Oklahoma Magazine
Great Dining - The Buzz

Article by John Swails


Old School Bagel Locations

Quail Creek
10946 North May Avenue
HOURS: MON - FRI : 6 AM - 3 PM
SA : 7 AM - 3 PM
SU : 7 AM - 2 PM
Leadership Square

211 North Robinson Avenue
HOURS: MON - FRI : 6 AM - 3 PM 




North Edmond

775 W. Covell Rd
HOURS: MON - FRI : 6:30 AM - 3 PM
SA : 7 AM - 3 PM
SU : 7 AM - 2 PM
South Edmond
3209 S Broadway
HOURS: MON - FRI : 6 AM - 3 PM
SA : 7 AM - 3 PM
SU : 7 AM - 2 PM
710 W Main Street
HOURS: MON - FRI : 6 AM - 4 PM
SA : 7 AM - 3 PM
SU : 7 AM - 3 PM
502 N. Main
HOURS: MON - FRI : 6:30 AM - 8 PM
SA : 8 AM - 8 PM
SU : 8 AM - 3 PM
3723 S. Peoria Ave
Moore  2747 S I-35 Service Road 
NW Expressway

6210 NW Expressway 
HOURS: MON - FRI : 6 AM - 3 PM

SA : 7 AM - 3 PM

SU : 7 AM - 3 PM

Water-boiled bagels, 
the 'Old School' way!