No more late night hours for Boone Bagelry


The Appalachian Online

Lovey Cooper

As of last week, Boone Bagelry on King Street is now no longer serving breakfast fare to late night insomniacs and party-goers as it has on weekends for the past three years, said owner Tony Nicastro. The restaurant now keeps to the daylight hours in order to retain staff and keep costs profitable, as they enter their 27th year in business.

Locations’ new hours are 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

“We do what we do and we try to do it well, and that’s why we had to close at night,” Nicastro said. “I couldn’t make sure we could do that at night.”

The restaurant first opened its late night hours, from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m., three years ago in hopes of filling a void created by the closing of the Huddle House, although the time slot never proved to be a primary source of business. Following about a year of declining sales, the slot no longer brings in as much as a weekend day like Nicastro originally intended, perhaps a trend that recently has do with the “800 pound gorillas” of IHOP and Waffle House, Nicastro said.

The bagelry’s busiest hours were generally from 2 to 3 a.m., Nicastro said, but it wasn’t worth opening for an entire shift just to support the hour after the bars close. The decision was a hard one for him to make, and one of the three partners didn’t want to close initially, but when Nicastro put up a printed sign on the door last week, the decision was made.

“Maybe that’s the first consequence of the franchises coming in; we had to close at night,” he said, “But hopefully that’s all we have to do.”

He said it is hard to find good staff, and he tends to keep the more well-trained workers around for the daytime shifts and busy weekend days, unintentionally leaving untrained servers around for the more volatile late shift. As a college town, Boone as a whole does not keep its food service employees for very long, and Nicastro attributes the successful three-year run to his group of talented employees.

He also said he has to admire the box franchises somewhat for trying to make it in Boone, with the limited availability of skilled cooks and servers he has experienced.

“If you don’t like what they’re doing at the IHOP here in Boone, but you love the one in Winston Salem, it’s only because they have different cooks,” Nicastro said.

President of Boone Independent Restaurants and owner of Casa Rustica Rick Pedroni considers Boone Bagelry his partner in the fight to keep diversity in town through independently owned restaurants.

“Everyone one of us knows that independent restaurants have a good thing going in this town,” he said. Pedroni’s own restaurant has spent 34 years in the family, and faces a lot of outside competition.

From a personal standpoint, Pedroni is frustrated with these recent developments and has tried to do his own part to keep the food scene alive through charity and other local efforts, especially since the first influx of the chain restaurants to Boone around 10 years ago.

“Supporting the community that supports you is very important,” he said. “Instead of seeing this as them kicking us out, we should try to see what we can do to help the people we’re serving.”

Any time another restaurant, chain or not, comes into town, he calls it the “piece of the pie factor” – any new business is essentially taking some of one’s potential clientele.

“Will chain restaurants affect us, yes, but so will all restaurants,” he said.

As for the Bagelry, Nicastro said he, his wife and his sister in law first opened the business to send his kids to college. As the restaurant has grown, the goal has always been profits, no matter any cultural loss the downtown scene may feel with the loss of the late-night eatery.

“A wise man once said – we’ll get by,” Pedrioni said.

Nicastro said he might reconsider opening for nights seasonally during football game weekends once his staff has been built up again, but there are no plans as-is. He also wants to thank the steady clientele who did come in and hopes they were pleased with their experiences over the years.

STORY: Lovey Cooper, Senior A&E Editor