There’s a brand new bagel shop in Austin with the opening of Nervous Charlie’s in the North Loop area. It’s debuting on 5501 North Lamar Boulevard on Friday, September 21 from co-owners Chris Cunningham and Ali White.
The key to Nervous Charlie’s bagels is its dough, which is shipped frozen directly from New York and made on the premises. “It’s the New York City water magic that we’ll have in our bagels,” White explained.
“They’ve been making that dough since 1905,” Cunningham said. “They know what they’re doing. I tried to make my own dough, but this dough, you break it apart and it just smells better.”
To enhance the carbs, there is an array of cream cheeses, including fun ones like bacon-scallion and strawberry-honey-walnut, plus an emphasis on vegan ones. The lox is sourced from Acme.
“While the bagels are the core of our business,” Cunningham said, “the sandwiches are really going to define us.” The breakfast and lunchtime sandwiches will make use of eggs, roasted red potato chunks, Taylor ham (their nod to the East Coast and New Jersey), Boar’s Head sliced meats, and chicken cutlets.
Drip coffee from Texas Coffee Roasters will be served. In the future, espresso might be added, along with beer.
“I think bagels are a fantastic food,” Cunningham said, “and I think we need more of it.” He and White, who are from New York, moved to Austin for the purposes of opening their own business. They landed on bagels because they couldn’t find the exact kind of bagels they grew up with on the East Coast.
When asked about the recently growing number of bagel shops in Austin (Rosen’s Bagels, Wholy Bagel’s second location, Biderman’s Deli’s second location), Cunningham thinks there’s room for everyone. “We’re traditional, but we put our own spin on things — like sandwiches,” he said.
“We want it to be a place where we’re welcoming them into our home,” Cunningham said. “We almost want to create this place where the community helps us become who we are.”
Nervous’ space is simple: open seating with tables and counters lining the windows. The ordering counter features a deli case with meats and bagels in wire baskets, as well as the interesting bagel dowel display, fashioned by Boomtown Design. One wall, nicknamed Charlie’s Wall (the bagel shop is named after the couple’s dog, who is featured in the logo) will eventually be decorated with photographs of customers’ pets. Take a tour of the restaurant below.
For now, Nervous will only open during the daytime from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eventually, there are plans to expand into evening service with live music, and open mics.
Cunningham and White are very open to expanding Nervous Charlie’s in Austin, especially adding a second location that is more dedicated to music.