Photos by Keeley Smith.
Listen up, Long Beach: there’s a new bagel place in town.
Today, 5th Avenue Bagelry celebrated the grand opening of its Long Beach location with a steady stream of customers at Pine Avenue and Third Street. The smell of fresh bagels, muffins, croissants and coffee greeted early-morning customers—many of them on their way to work—when the shop opened its doors at 5:00AM.
“I’m super pumped,” said Owner Bau Tran. “I’m on zero sleep and a lot of caffeine. I’m ready to go.”
With other locations in Buena Park and Huntington Beach, the family-owned 5th Avenue Bagelry is one of the few (if any) chains in Long Beach to make use of the “slow rise” bagel making method, a process by which most East Coast bagel shops abide.
The slow-rise process means it takes about 12 hours to prep the dough, according to Tran.
“That’s the secret,” said Tran, a former aerospace engineer. “A lot of people use oil and steam to cook the bagel. We let it rise gently... the slow-rising process makes it taste better.”
Bagel flavors range from plain to sourdough, cheese and cinnamon-sugar. Tran says his personal favorite is the spinach-parmesan.
The spot also bakes oversized, puffy muffins and whips up its own cream cheese. Current flavors including blueberry, strawberry, plain and herb, with plans to create more.
Tran said the shop’s grand opening has been six months in the making. He quit his job in Santa Ana to expand his family’s chain, decided the time was right to be his own boss while supporting his wife and two children.
Though he lives in Monterey Park, Tran said he’s spent a lot of time in Long Beach. In fact, it was when he was visiting Long Beach a few months ago that he saw that the space formerly occupied by It’s a Grind was for lease. He said he called the number on the sign and the space was his.
“The community’s been so nice to me,” said Tran. “Downtown Long Beach Associates, Adam [Carillo], they’ve been a big part of this.”
While Tran is still in the process of setting goals for the future, he said he’s happy with opening day turnout. Beyond customers, his family, including a cousin who owns the Huntington Beach location, was on hand to help out.
“I couldn’t be happier,” said Tran. “It’s been six months in the making, and I couldn’t be happier."