Skip to Content
Nosh Pit

The Court Street Bagels Caper

The new owner didn't even need to change the lox.

(Shisma / Wikicommons)

When I walked into Court Street Bagels on Wednesday morning, the scene inside was shockingly normal: The morning rush had ended, and employees milled about behind the long counter, taking orders and making bagel sandwiches. I asked the woman next to me in line whether she'd been before. "Oh yes," she said. "We've been coming here for three years. You're going to love it." Did she know anything about the bagel shop having new owners, I asked? She just looked confused. "I don't think so. I've been seeing the same guy here all the time," she said. She was presumably referring to Peter Eulo, who had run Court Street Bagels since 2004. "I think he's the owner. Unless someone just bought it."

I ordered a "Peter," a cold-cut sandwich served on one of the crispiest, fluffiest bagels I've had in recent memory, and an iced tea, and took a seat. "I'm glad to see you're still here," one regal-looking regular, a tall woman in a purple coat, said to a man in a baseball cap behind the counter. The worker just smiled and laughed.

No one seemed to know that Eulo had departed. A customer named Ed, a tall scruffy man wearing a denim shirt and a Yankees fitted, entered, and asked if Peter was around. "No, there's a new owner," one of the workers told him. "But it's the same place, everything is the same, but Peter's gone." Ed asked how Peter was doing, and the worker replied, "He's taking time off."

I went up to the counter and asked, "So, whose stuff is this? Like, the equipment." 

"It's new," a worker named Angelica replied. I gazed at a chair with stuffing spilling out of the cushion.

On Sunday at 5 p.m., Eulo closed his popular Cobble Hill bagel shop for what he was sure was the last time. He turned over the keys to his landlord, and left the bagel shop with, as he put it, "the cable equipment in my backpack and the cash register in my arms." It seemed to be a typical, if sad, tale of a business closing due to rising rents in Brooklyn—Eulo told Curbed that during lease negotiations, the landlord had attempted to jack up his rent beyond the $180,000 he was already paying annually. Nara Garber, a neighborhood regular, posted a picture of Peter standing in Court Street Bagels's entryway, lamenting that "this is a part of fabric of my neighborhood that will no longer exist after tomorrow."

Then the weird rumors started flying online. In the Facebook group "BOERUM HILL AT LARGE," a man posting under the name Craig Richardson claimed to be the owner, and said that because of break-ins and insurance issues, the business would be moving to a place with "less crime/vandalism." Those claims then quickly made their way to Reddit, where posters said the rumor came from Eulo's cousin. Some, like an editor of the right-wing publication Tablet, started pointing to the closure of Court Street Bagels as a sign of crime making the city uninhabitable. "This is insane. Small businesses in *Cobble Hill* are apparently uninsurable now. City's got some real problems folks," Armin Rosen wrote. Then, muddying the waters even more, a Redditor claiming to be "a family member of the business" said that the bagel shop would be staying open, cheerfully posting, "I'm here to assure you we're not going anywhere. Thanks for sticking with us!" 

Eulo has posted that all of this came as a surprise to him. The rumor that break-ins had caused the closure and that he was moving to Hoboken for safety seemed to baffle him. "I've had no break-ins, No vandalism, and I couldn't find Hoboken on a map," he wrote. "My lease expired on January 31st, 2023," he shared in another post. "I managed to get another year out of the landlord." And as for the store he'd owned for 20 years continuing to operate without him, he said on Monday that "today's course of events have me so confused." I reached out to Eulo for comment, but he didn't respond.

Over the weekend, the workers at Court Street Bagels told me, they received a phone call from a "friend" they did not want to name, other than that he also worked at the shop. The friend, they said, had been in touch with the new owner, and wanted to give them all their jobs back to continue working at Court Street Bagels, which would remain just as it had been before. And so on Monday morning, the bagel shop reopened, with all the same equipment, and many of the same employees.

All of them declined to tell me who the "friend" was, nor did they know the name of the new owner. How did they know they would be paid? "We don't know what's going on," Angelica admitted. "We're supposed to find out today," but when I came back later, she said the new owner hadn't showed up, and they were still out of the loop.

Who exactly is the new owner? A tantalizing morsel was dropped earlier in the week by yet another Reddit commenter who claimed to be Eulo's cousin. "The landlord cut a deal with another local shop owner. Pete was forced out. Pete was the only owner," they wrote. "The new operator is trying to keep the name the same for fear of being known for what he has just done." 

As it turns out, that commenter appears to be (mostly) correct—and it seems a nearby competitor has swooped in, in a bit of a bagel corporate takeover. According to both Eater NY and Sam Silverman of nycbageltours.com, the new owner is Adam Alsoora, a partner at Court Street's rival Smith Street Bagels, who allegedly signed a lease for the space in May of last year. As for why Eulo didn't reup his lease? A new landlord bought the building in 2020 and jacked up the rent, Eulo fell behind, and cut a deal to forgive his debt where he would vacate his space in exchange for forgiving his outstanding rent. My attempts to reach Alsoora weren't successful, though he told Eater NY that he plans to have "better quality ingredients" and a "wider selection of bagels," and all for lower prices than Eulo charged. 

All of the drama, Silverman noted, surprised the new owner, who had "hoped to continue operating the bagel shop with minimal disruptions."

So much for that. 

Already a user?Log in

Thanks for reading!

Give us your email address to keep reading two more articles for free

See all subscription options

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Hell Gate

As Change to Broker Fees Looms, Real Estate Agents Are Suddenly Concerned That the Rent Is Too High

At a rally to oppose the FARE Act, REBNY and real estate agents expressed a newfound concern about rising rents and the lives of tenants.

New York State Lawmakers Once Again Fail to Pass Meaningful Climate Legislation

While Governor Hochul's last-minute congestion pricing "pause" had a lot to do with it, there's plenty of blame to go around.

We’re So Back: East Village Dollar Slice Joint Is Back to Selling 99 Cent Slices

Owner Sana Ullah said that cratering demand at the elevated price point motivated him to bring it back down.

We’re Not Alone in UFO Encounters Doc ‘They’re Here’

The film about UFO enthusiasts upstate premiered at Tribeca Festival and is light on aliens, heavy on community.

June 11, 2024
See all posts