Houston bagel lovers suffered a loss when Queens-transplant Bob Orzo announced the sudden closure of Spring Water Cafe effective June 30. During its brief, five-month existence, the west Houston bagel shop and deli had become a neighborhood darling and offered the promise that Houston's big three bagel shops could become a big four.
Spring Water may be gone, but Orzo's bagel making talents will live on thanks to another New York transplant. On Saturday, Orzo and B&B Butchers and Steakhouse owner Ben Berg announced on the Cleverley Show that they have joined forces. Beginning as soon as this week, diners will find Orzo behind the deli counter at the recently opened butcher shop, deli and upscale steakhouse on Washington Ave.
"Bob is going to come help us out at B&B Butchers at the butcher shop and deli," Berg told host Cleverley Stone. "We’re going to start looking for a location in that area to get him back in a store and get some bagel production going."
"I’ll be working in the front and in the butcher shop and delicatessen. Hopefully, I’ll be making some specialty salads trying to bring my Queens-Italian flavor of delicatessen to Ben’s place that could give him some more options on the steak and sandwich end," Orzo said.
"We’re going to be making a couple bagels, because I gotta have them," Berg quickly added.
Search for new location
In addition to making bagels at B&B Butchers, Orzo and Berg have begun to search for a new location in the Washington Ave. area that will serve as Orzo's new home. While both men would like the new location to include a deli component, their primary interest is in establishing a wholesale bagel business. It could be named Serious Bagels after Orzo's former business in Queens or have a new name.
"I think we really want to look at getting some larger production of bagels. Look at wholesale in the area. For me, it’s kind of the space that we can find that makes sense financially, traffic-wise, everything," Berg explained. "I’d love to have a front where there’s a deli and bagels and coffee, but it really depends on what we can find right now."
Having already established that Houstonians like his bagels, Orzo said he anticipates finding grocery stores and other venues that are receptive to selling his products. Whole Foods in New York was very interested in my products before I left New York, " Orzo said. "There are other, beautiful supermarkets down here like I’ve never seen. I love everything down here in Texas . . . it’s really a beautiful food community here."
Berg expressed similar appreciation for supermarkets in Houston. "Especially coming from New York, a supermarket in Manhattan and a supermarket here: it’s a whole different story. You can’t even walk down the aisle in a supermarket in New York without getting banged into."
Admittedly, Orzo's supporters in the Memorial area lose regular access to his products with the move, but Orzo expressed confidence that he will return to the area eventually.
"It would be nice to return to that area, because I have so much support and they did get me off the ground," he said.