Not even a pandemic can tamp down the enthusiasm surrounding the highly anticipated opening of Amanda Daly’s boutique bagel shop. Barring more unforeseen circumstances The Daly Bagel, 130 Chicago Ave. in Oak Park, will be open by April 26.
When open, the shop will offer a limited menu of assorted “East-coast bagels with a Midwest twist,” multiple cream cheese varieties, and drip coffee between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. or until sold out. Pre-orders through The Daly Bagel website are encouraged, and the menu will be updated on the site regularly.
The coronavirus curve ball has forced Daly to adapt operations at the shop before opening for the first time. Daly was pleased, however, to discover her shop is well suited to operating with social distancing in mind.
Customers visiting the shop should expect to see Daly and her team wearing homemade masks and gloves. They will find the doors to the shop propped open and the floor marked to keep guests at a safe distance while they wait to place their order. To avoid cross traffic, patrons will enter through the front door facing Chicago Avenue and exit through the back door onto Lombard.
“We will manage the line outside as best we can,” said Daly. “The most important thing is that people, including our staff, feel comfortable. We are prepared to adjust on the fly and will listen to advice as we go.”
Daly had hired a staff of 14, but now plans to operate with a tight team of six employees. The Daly Bagel will not contract with third party delivery partners like GrubHub or DoorDash but intends to offer independent delivery with advance notice and during limited hours. The shop will offer curbside pickup by making use of three parking spots flanking the shop on Lombard Avenue.
According to Daly, the village of Oak Park “has been wonderful” despite working at diminished capacity due to the COVID-19 slow down. In fact, village hall closed its offices in response to the shelter-in-place order the day before Daly’s final inspection. Despite the closure the inspections went through, but the punch list, while relatively minor, required workmen to return to the small bagel shop. Social distancing and furloughed workers made scheduling the repairs more complicated than they would have been in simpler times.
Daly is sorting out a final issue with venting ducts—a single duct needs to be enclosed in an upstairs hallway – -but once the fixes earn village approval The Daly Bagel will be up and running.
While waiting to open, Daly has been working on new recipes to satisfy her bagel-loving customers. She has been clamoring to make a noteworthy whole wheat bagel for years and the vista of time created by COVID-19 has brought forth a sourdough sprouted wheat bagel worthy of The Daly Bagel moniker.
“I miss people and I know everyone has been waiting patiently for us to open,” said Daly. “I went down the line at my last pop up event and hugged and kissed everyone waiting for a bagel. Knowing I can’t do that now is going to be hard, but we feel the love and will make it work.”