One of the Wellington West neighbourhood’s cornerstone businesses for thirty-three years, the Ottawa Bagelshop, is proud to be a continuing part of the fabric of the Kitchissippi community. Liliana Piazza took over the reins from her father, Vince – the shop’s founder – several years ago and has made striking the delicate yet crucial balance of honouring the past while being mindful of the present a part of her mission.
“Like everyone on our team, on a daily basis I am cognizant of the importance of respecting the Bagelshop’s proud heritage but at the same time I know we need to innovate to keep things fresh and interesting for our customers,” explains Liliana. “That’s why we’ve recently updated our logo and refreshed the shop’s décor. All of this was done with our clientele in mind. We know our bagels speak for themselves but we’ve spent time consciously thinking about why people enjoy coming here and what we can do to improve their experience.”
Those bagels, in case you’re wondering, are hand made by the thousands each day, culminating in an annual output of approximately 1.5 million bagels. “Nothing’s better than a hot bagel, in my opinion, and ours are the only ones in the city that are made without dairy, soy or salt,” says Liliana. “We like to make our products with ingredients you can pronounce, using a time-honoured recipe first developed at Montreal’s famous St. Viateur Bagel, with whom we are still affiliated.”
Beyond bagels, the shop does a great deal of catering as well as offering unique, fully customizable gift baskets. For both, it draws from its inventory as a gourmet food emporium, home to over 8000 products including hundreds of varieties of cheese along with deli meats, oils, mustards, chocolates, high end treats and more. “We select products based on flavour and quality; we love to support small local business and other Canadian producers, but we also carry international masters like Illy coffee, Labeyrie duck confit, Walker’s Scottish shortbread and Valrhona chocolate, to name just a few,” notes Liliana.
Equally popular is the Bagelshop’s welcoming restaurant which has cemented the business’ reputation as a true community hub. “Our goal was to create a space that is accessible, comfortable and perfect for families and friends of all ages to gather,” she says. “We see three and sometimes four generations in here together and we love that they appreciate the atmosphere we have created. My family and I enjoy eating here just as much as customers do because we know our products are top quality and offer good value.”
The topic of community is one that’s very important to Liliana. A member of the board of directors of the Wellington West Business Improvement Area, she notes that she’s been working in the neighbourhood since the age of twelve and has grown up appreciating the fact that the area contains one of Ottawa’s greatest concentrations of small, independently owned businesses. “Ours was one of the original businesses on the high street and we are proud of our role as founders yet we recognize that we are but one of many,” she confirms. “There is an amazing sense of collaboration that exists among area businesses. We think our customers appreciate the spirit of this community and we are grateful to them for their continued support which is why we like to pay it forward by being generous supporters of many local charities.”
A business that was founded on the concepts of service and satisfaction, the Bagelshop’s enduring success is due in large part to its hardworking staff, many of whom have been with the shop for years. “In this business, you have to be eager to accommodate people,” says Liliana. “We love working with our customers and believe that having myself or Vince here at all times helps clients know that any special requests can be fulfilled. We’ve been doing this for a long time and really, it’s all about making people happy with products that are full of delicious flavours. The Bagelshop is a pretty happy place and that’s part of what makes it so special.”
Ottawa Bagelshop and Deli
1321 Wellington St. W.
Ph | 613-722-8753
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