Bagel Bob is Back

Veteran Houston baker heats up Memorial with New York-style bagel shop

Veteran Houston baker heats up Memorial with New York-style bagel shop

Spring Water Cafe Bob Orzo
Bagel Bob is coming back to Memorial. Spring Water Cafe/Facebook

Bagel Bob is coming back to Memorial. Robert Orzo, better known as Bagel Bob, has plans to open a new cafe called Bagel Bob’s NYTX.

Orzo tells CultureMap that he’s in the process of finalizing lease negotiations to assume control of the former Kolache Headquarter space at 1021 Dairy Ashford Rd. Since the building is mostly move-in ready, Orzo could be up and running as Bagel Bob’s NYTX within a month or two of signing.

A native New Yorker who moved to Houston in search of greater economic opportunities, Orzo earned a devoted following in 2015 for his signature bagels and cheesecakes that he sold at the Memorial Villages Farmers Market. That year, he opened the short-lived Spring Water Cafe. When it closed after five months, he joined B&B Butchers, where he’s been making breads, rolls, and bagels for the steakhouse’s dining room and deli counter.

“I have a nice job here,” Orzo says about his position at proprietor Ben Berg’s Washington Avenue restaurant. “Ben takes good care of me, but I’m 66. I’ve had stores all my life. I’ve got to run my own store.”

As its name implies, the menu at Bagel Bobs’ will be anchored by Orzo’s hand-rolled bagels that will be available either with a schmear such as cream cheese, in sandwiches, or as pizza bagels. In addition, he’ll add New York-style street food items such as knishes and hot dogs.

Orzo says he’s been testing a few dishes that blend his New York roots with his current hometown. For example, he’s working on a kolache-style sausage wrap made with bagel dough.

“I’m doing a kolache and a bagel in a different way. I don’t want to copy anyone else,” Orzo says, referencing the bagel dogs at places like the Hot Bagel Shop. “Everyone I’ve tested it on at [B&B Butchers] is freaking out.”

In order to raise the $25,000 necessary to get Bagel Bobs open, Orzo is turning to same Memorial Area Eats Facebook group that supported him at both the farmers market and at Spring Water Cafe. Working with his friend Wayne Granzin, Orzo has launched a crowd funding campaign. Potential investors may purchase $500 units with a 15-percent return to be paid 12 months after opening. Details are available on the Bagel Bob’s Facebook page.

Houston may never be Brooklyn when it comes to bagels, but the city's options have been steadily improving. Golden Bagels gave The Heights a high quality option two years ago, and Jersey Bagels has made Cypress Houston's newest bagel hotspot. If Orzo can raise the necessary capital, Memorial will soon join the movement.