SOUTH LOOP — The grand opening of the neighborhood’s newest delicious addition went off without a hitch last weekend.
The line of customers waiting to get their hands on a Tilly’s Bagel Shop sandwich Saturday morning wrapped around the corner and down the block, said owner Hannah Tillet, who had been prepping her storefront at 34 E. Balbo Drive for months in anticipation.
Tillet and fiancé Mike Banaszak, both South Loop residents, were overwhelmed by the support of their neighbors.
“We noticed there was a huge demand for a local bagel shop, especially on the South Side of the city. We wanted to be close to home and cater to the people down there. Also, there’s a bunch of schools nearby, and hotels and everything. It’s a really great, walkable area,” said Tillet.
The couple found success with their take on sourdough bagels in the early days of the pandemic. Tillet told Block Club in an earlier interview that what sets them apart from other local bagel shops is their focus on the bagel itself, which makes for better bagel sandwiches.
“The number one thing is our sandwiches. Before this, I was just doing bagels and cream cheese at the farmers market. And now with the shop, we introduced the breakfast sandwiches,” said Tillet. “Our number one seller is the bacon, egg and cheese, or the sausage, egg and cheese. People love our bagels, and now they’re even more excited that they get to have a sandwich on them, too.”
In addition to the traditional plain, everything, sesame seed, poppy seed and garlic rosemary bagels, Tilly’s has custom flavors, including a cheddar bagel and a pizza bagel featuring mozzarella, pepperoni and a sun-dried tomato dough.
Specialty cream cheese flavors include blueberry and “Peaches and EVOO.”
A regular bagel starts at $3.50 each and specialty bagels are $4. A half-dozen box runs $17, while a dozen will be $27.
To keep things fresh, Tilly’s will feature a different bagel each week, said Tillet. Last week, it was the pepperoni pizza bagel. This week? A dark chocolate sea salt bagel.
While Tillet and Banaszak are enjoying the success of their grand opening, they do have their eye on expansion. Tillet told Block Club she hopes Tilly’s will become the “Stan’s Donuts of bagels” with locations across the city.
“We still want it to be on a small scale — not doing like a bunch of wholesales necessarily — but we do want to have like, multiple shops,” said Tillet.
Tilly’s Bagel Shop is open 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
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