Finally, a bagel shop for Cd'A

Littles open New York Bagel Cafe and Deli

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SHAWN GUST/Press Eric Fisher, cook at New York Bagel, make a breakfast bagel sandwich Wednesday during his shift at the recently opened Coeur d'Alene shop.

COEUR d'ALENE - Brent Little has been an electrical engineer.

He has taught physics. He has been an executive for a semiconductor company, worked in manufacturing, for the defense industry, the Navy and has been a project manager.

His latest venture could be his toughest yet: Bagel shop owner and manager.

"Last week, I probably in my life clocked my first 100 hour week of work," he said Wednesday, smiling. "All my waking hours for about 14 days, I was here."

Brent and wife Laura Little on Saturday opened New York Bagel Cafe and Deli at 226 Ironwood Drive.

Brent, who is used to dealing with complex matters and subjects, said it has been extremely challenging, more than even he expected.

"I never realized in a small business like this how many moving parts there are," he said.

"Something as simple as a bagel has about as many moving parts as you can imagine," he added.

Brent handles the daily operations of the shop that employs seven. Laura, who works in professional theater and co-produced the Tony Award-winning "Peter and the Starcatcher," will take care of the marketing side.

Both are confident New York Bagel Cafe and Deli will do well.

"Between my wife and I, we have a thousand ideas of how we can continue to evolve it," Brent said.

The Littles moved to the Coeur d'Alene area about eight years ago from San Diego. It didn't take them long to notice the area was missing something they loved: a bagel shop.

"Everybody complains there's no place to get a bagel," Laura said.

The Littles discussed the idea of opening such a shop for a few years. Brent, who taught physics and math at Coeur d'Alene High School for three years before retiring last summer, began researching small business opportunities.

The Littles also wanted a family business that their three children could become involved in, too.

There were many possibilities, but one kept returning to the forefront.

"This bagel thing was in the back of my head," he said.

Finally, they decided to, as they say, go for it. New York Bagel Cafe and Deli is a franchise that should do well and fills a need in Coeur d'Alene, they said.

It's a good fit for the Littles, too, who love to visit New York and wanted a relaxing, clean place where folks could stop in for a bagel, sit down and chat with a friend, or place an order to go and be on their way.

Since opening Saturday, they've already see exactly that happen - customers coming and going, grabbing a bite for breakfast or lunch.

"It's been fun so far, but it's a lot of work," Laura said.

New York Bagel Cafe and Deli serves breakfast and lunch and is open until 4 p.m. It offers bagels, of course, and an array of sandwiches, parfaits, salads and juice drinks, water and coffee.

Average lunch price for a sandwich is $6 to $8, which includes chips or potato salad.

Their bagels come from New York, where they're boiled, flash frozen and shipped to Coeur d'Alene where they're baked daily.

"The New York water is the secret," she said.

The Littles are planning promotional events, such as cabaret and trivia nights with theater themes. Walls will continue to be decorated in a Broadway theme, and a TV on the wall will give customers a place to watch the latest baseball game this summer.

Laura, a Boston Red Sox fanatic, said they plan to have one day a month when a person wearing Red Sox attire gets a free bagel, "just because it's fun."

"We'll probably do a Mets day, too. We won't have a Yankee day," she added, smiling.

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