Thursday, May 25, 2023

New-look Bagel Time Cafe continues to grow with addition of “Bagel Yard,” other improvements

Angelo Bilios
is seemingly always on the go.

“If I stop moving, I’ll probably combust or something,” said the jovial owner of Bagel Time Cafe and Pink Cadillac Diner, with a laugh. “It’s hard for me to relax when there’s so much to do, and when all you see is potential.”

Bilios can often be seen at his establishments, bouncing from post to post - helping out in the kitchen, manning a register or engaging in conversation with his guests. During the offseason months, he plans, and plans, and plans… and, when necessary, he gets his hands dirty in the process of bringing those plans to life.

While he admits to being a “restless spirit,” Bilios takes great pride in the improvements he and his team have made over the past few years, especially at Bagel Time.

“That’s my baby,” he explained, of the quaint, ever-evolving cafe at Atlantic & Burk Avenues. “There will always be more work to be done, I think, but the vision I’ve had in my head for what I want it to be is really coming into shape.”

This year, guests will immediately notice the eatery’s newly-simplified exterior, clad in off-white metal siding to give the look of a shipping container. A series of overhead lighting fixtures completes the transformation, a much brighter contrast to the dark wooden-slatted walls and shingled overhang previously sported.

Prior to the 2022 season, Bilios reworked the counter area and eliminated waitress service in favor of a system where customers place orders at the register, seat themselves and have orders brought to them. Conceived during the pandemic summers, this method achieved its desired goal of decreasing customer wait times and improving overall efficiency.

This set the stage for more improvements this year, including the addition of a small lounge area where the entrance way meets the dining room. One row of tables and seating was removed to accommodate twin leather couches facing each other at opposite walls.

Aesthetics aside, this allows for a more open dining area and additional space for those waiting for their orders on busy mornings.

Another nice touch is the series of artificial green walls behind both of the couches in the lounge, as well as the coffee bar in the entrance/register area. Each features a playful LED script sign (“BUT FIRST, Coffee”).

The idea was implemented by Bilios’ wife, Anna, who he founded and runs both Bagel Time and Pink Cadillac alongside.

And then, there’s the Bagel Yard.

“In everything I do, I try to make it both practical and fun,” said Bilios. “This is Wildwood, right? It’s supposed to be a little wacky and fun. I’ve been wanting to do something different with our outdoor patio space for a long time, and this was a chance to be a little bit playful and creative.”

The Bagel Yard is a direct reflection of that expression, a reworked outdoor seating area with flower beds, artificial green walls (like the ones inside) and a very interesting centerpiece.

“I found an old, beat up, black Volkswagen Beetle earlier this year, thinking it would be a neat addition, something to catch the eye of people walking or driving by,” Bilios explained. “People have been taking photos with it every day, even non-customers. It’s become a really cool photo-op already, and obviously, I hope its popularity grows.

“That’s part of the atmosphere I wanted to create, a very relaxed, colorful vibe with good music. We will also have a DJ in the Bagel Yard on Saturdays all summer long.”

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