Pierce Street Bagel Cafe Is A Family Affair

Barbara Sabani with Mayor Phil Kramer at the grand opening of Sabani’s Pierce Street Bagel Cafe.

It’s all about family for Barbara Sabani, the owner of the new Pierce Street Bagel Cafe in the Shoppes at Pierce Street.

Family helped her decide to offer bagels, family helps her out in the cafe, and her family heritage will soon play a part in her overall menu.

“I’ve always taken care of people at my home,” said Sabani, a Montgomery resident. “I was the house that everyone went to on the weekend and never left. I wanted to bring that here, that kind of home feeling.”

Sabani’s cafe has been open since early April, but held its formal grand opening and ribbon-cutting on April 22. Mayor Phil Kramer was on hand to do the honors.

The grand opening was celebrated with food and coffee for visitors in the morning, and sandwiches, cheese and crackers, champagne and wine in the early evening.

Sabani said her original idea was to open a classic neighborhood cafe, but her brother had other thoughts.

“My brother Joe has been making bagels for 25 years” in northern New Jersey, she said. “Joe said, you know Barb, why don’t you add bagels to your menu? People love bagels, plus, you’ve got the best bagel maker around, so why not?”

Her brother came armed with a 110-year-old bagel recipe that had been handed down to him by the owner of his former restaurant.

“He said Joe, I’m going to give you my recipe, but you have to treasure it,” Sabani said.

The cafe’s staples include bagel – and other – sandwiches, breakfasts, salads and coffee.

Sabani, who is Albanian, said she will introduce some Albanian food into the menu, too.

“I’m going to be bringing in homemade soups,” she said. Sabani said she will also bring in her grandmother’s recipe stews, as well as some other Albanian staples, such as beef and lamb grilled sausage links, served with a type of sour cream sauce on a warm pita, and pulled phyllo dough stuffed with spinach and cheese, or meat, or cabbage.

It was her desire to offer Albanian dishes that drew her to Franklin Township, Sabani said.

“As I drove around looking for my place, I saw that there is Pakistani, there is Indian, there is Ethiopian, there are so many different flavors here,” she said. “I like the township, it’s so diverse.”

Besides her brother, Sabani has members of her family, including her children, helping in the cafe, as well as friends.

Sabani has another new venture in food, a continental restaurant in the Greenbriar at Whittingham development in Monroe. She said she “fell” into that once by accident – the broker who helped her find the Pierce Street location recommended her to the board to take over from a restaurateur who had left the business.

That restaurant, the Hearth Bistro, opened up about a month ago, she said.

“I tell people I gave birth to twins,” she said. “I love customer service, I love food, I love to make people happy,” she said.

Pierce Street Bagel Cafe is open 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 6 a.m. to 3 pm. Saturdays and 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays.


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