Downtown Charleston recently received another hot breakfast joint — Holey City Bagels, serving hand-rolled, water-boiled bagels. Owner Greg Odachowski opened the shop June 4 at 43 Cannon St., the former space that housed Five Loaves Cafe.
And in the month of being open, he has been running into good problems — selling out of bagels.
“I’ve been in the back on Google trying to figure out how to make more bagels!” Odachowski said on June 19.
It was around noon that day, and the only bagels left were cinnamon sugar. Twenty minutes later, they were gone.
“It’s a very good problem, but my background is in fine dining, so it’s hard for me to tell everyone we’re sold out,” said Bridget Byrne, Odachowski’s fiancé. Byrne is the general manager of Holey City Bagels, with experience running Charleston establishments like Peninsula Grill and Halls Chophouse.
“She’s my savior,” Odachowski said. “Because I’m more of an idea person. I love the food, but I’m the idea man. She keeps me in check and is very organized.”
It isn’t just his fiancé who helps around the business. Odachowski’s dad can be found in the back, rolling bagels with his son.
The bagels offered at Holey City are available as a single ($3), half dozen ($18) or dozen ($36) and come in a variety of flavors, including its most popular everything bagel. Other options include cinnamon sugar and sesame. Vegan cream cheese and butter is available upon request.
And what’s a bagel shop without a good bagel sandwich? Odachowski offers a plethora of different style breakfast and brunch sandwiches, including a classic egg and cheese, a veggie delight, pastrami Reuben or a New England favorite Taylor Ham, egg and cheese. All sandwiches are available on any bagel (upon availability).
All sandwiches and bagels can be washed down with breakfast-curated beers and a coffee bar just down the hall.
“I kind of want to have the whole bottom of our cooler in the dining room with just local breakfast beers, which isn’t really a thing,” Odachowski said. But he’s going to make it one. Breakfast beer options he’d like to include are Edmund Oast’s Brewing Co.’s Honey Toasted Oats or Cereal Dinner. He’s still building that collection, so check back for new beers to pair with your breakfast sandwiches. But if you’re looking for a more traditional breakfast drink, Holey City carries PBR Hard Coffee, which, according to Odachowski, “isn’t that bad.”
After signing the lease, Odachowski learned that the space include free parking across the street and a coffee bar, too.
“When I first called the number on the sign that was outside the space, I didn’t know that was even part of it,” he said. “Five Loaves apparently made it into a juice bar and I didn’t know it was there. It was like an added bonus.”
The coffee bar sources King Bean coffee. “Their cold brew is amazing,” Odachowski said. “We talked to a number of different coffee companies and I’m a cold brew guy, so that kind of pushed me to go with them.”
In addition to cold brew, the Holey City coffee bar also serves drip coffee, traditional espresso and espresso drinks like Americanos or lattes. Drinks can be ordered at the main counter and in the coffee bar, but all food orders are placed at the main counter.
“We’ve been trying to figure out how to incorporate having two entrances,” he added.
Odachowski has been rolling bagels (and selling out) for the Lowcountry at the Charleston Farmers Market in Marion Square since 2017, as it was always something he’s wanted for the city.
“I’ve been here a long time,” he said. “But I still always thought there was a need for more traditional bagels. I wanted to do the hand roll well before you bake them like they do in New York City or New Jersey.”
Odachowski grew up in New Jersey, 20 miles outside of New York City, where the bagel scene thrived. The now 39-year-old moved to Charleston at the age of 15 and has been here ever since.
He purchased a food truck at the end of 2020. And for the past year and a half, Odachowski has been running Holey City as his full-time gig since leaving his previous profession as a teacher.
“It was really successful,” he said. “I always wanted to open a bagel shop. That was always a goal of mine. I love teaching, too … So it [was] tough to leave, but it was kind of the craziness of the pandemic.”
Once Odachowski decided to leave teaching, he continued taking the food truck around town and participating in local markets and pop-ups.
Before his brick-and-mortar, Odachowski spent his bagel-selling mornings at the KTCHeN in North Charleston. His days would start around 2:30-3 a.m., he said, to account for prepping the kitchen, cleaning the kitchen for the next person and transport time.
“After doing that for six months, I was like, ‘I need a brick and mortar immediately,’” he added. “I can’t imagine how nice it would be just to take your bagels out of the oven and put it in the rack and you’re ready to go. Food truck life was a grind.”
Now, with his own brick-and-mortar, Odachowski’s day only starts at 4 a.m.
And they’re still selling out.
Holey City Bagels is open 7 a.m.-1 p.m., Wed.-Fri. and 8 a.m.-2 p.m., Sat.-Sun.
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