I was so excited to hear that a bagel shop was opening in Easthampton. I didn't have very high hopes for a great bagel but I figured even if it were as good as Bruegger's it would be better than nothing.
Stopped in yesterday for lunch and learned that my skepticism was well founded. I had a plain bagel with egg and pepper jack cheese and my husband had a plain bagel with cream cheese. We both agreed that as a sandwich it was pretty good but not a good bagel. It was more like semi-dense white bread shaped into a bagel! It had a pretty good flavor but absolutely no tooth to it at all. Soft, soft, soft! As far as bagels go in the Pioneer Valley, Bruegger's is hands down the best. But then Bruegger's doesn't have nearly the charm of this place.
Tandem is in an old train station building and the brick walls have been painted white, giving it a bright cheerful atmosphere. It has a beautiful old fireplace (also painted white) and it looks like it works, which will add additional charm in the winter months.
You order at a counter and they bring your food to you. There are a few seating options. You can sit in the room where you order and that's where the fireplace is. The room has a long high table with high stools placed along the wall with windows, or you can sit at a regular table. There's a second room that has several tables along two walls. We sat in that room in front of an open window with a nice breeze. And then there's an outdoor patio area that looks very comfortable and also has several tables. The building is on the bike trail and the shop has a ride up window for bicyclists. A nice touch.
They had a pretty good selection of drinks, such as blood orange San Pellegrino which is one of our favorites and there was a board with daily specials. The specials were things I would like to try. A salad passed by our table and it looked delicious and very large.
My overall impression of the place is that it's a great space, has great service, a nice variety of sandwiches, drinks, and daily specials, but lousy bagels!
That said, the sandwiches were tasty enough that I will probably go back and try some of their other menu items. I just wish they had called themselves something besides a bagel shop. I read some other online reviews and people were raving that these were the best bagels they had ever had. I don't know what those people have eaten before, but it makes me sad to think this is what passes for a bagel these days.
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