Getting Chews-y

Getting Chews-y

Max and Kayla Palmer brought a taste of New York to Nashville

Words by Isaac Ray Norris

Photos by Danielle Atkins

In the heart of Donelson, Tennessee, there exists a hidden gem that transports you to the bustling streets of New York City with each delectable bite: BagelShop. Nestled under the shadows of the vibrant cityscape of Nashville, this quaint eatery offers a tantalizing array of authentic New York-style bagels that have quickly captured the hearts—and taste buds—of locals and tourists alike.

Like many new businesses thriving today, BagelShop was born out of the COVID-19 pandemic, when founders Kayla and Max Palmer found themselves at a crossroads. Would they choose to follow their passion or typical careers?

“BagelShop happened accidentally. I was experimenting with baking and stumbled into making bagels. Once I got the hang of it, more and more of my friends kept asking for me to deliver bagels to them," Max said. “All of the dough was being made by hand every day, and when the pandemic started, people wanted us to deliver our bagels to their houses, so we started there.”

Luckily, the Palmers found BagelShop’s first home in the Fairlane Hotel right in the heart of downtown Nashville—fully stocked with all the necessary equipment and a rotating door of incoming guests and downtown residents alike. It was an instant success, and an even better partnership for the hotel and the eatery.

“After a year or so, we started to ask ourselves what we wanted for the future. Luckily, the Fairlane allowed us the space to really think about that, and that’s when we decided to take space in Donelson,” Max said. 

Upon stepping into BagelShop, visitors are greeted by the comforting aroma of freshly baked bagels mingling with the invigorating scent of brewed coffee—a symphony for the senses that sets the stage for a quintessential café experience. The interior exudes a cozy yet bustling ambiance, with friendly staff members bustling behind the counter and patrons chatting animatedly over their breakfast or brunch spreads.

Patrons are struck by the modern-meets-classic interior, welcomed by large tables, pleasing grains of wood, custom murals, and even warmer finishes and colors. 

Max’s mother, Lisa Palmer, took on the task of designing her first commercial restaurant space, making this a truly family-oriented business. Taking notes from Parisian and Italian influences, Lisa’s touch elevates BagelShop into a modern eatery that you want to keep coming back to again and again. 

“The thing about a coffee shop or something similar,” Lisa said, “is that people come for extended periods of time—they come to the space to hang. So, I had to think about that in the design of the space. It was a new challenge for me and one that I loved.”

Lisa’s touches include French bistro seating, emulating an outdoor café, along with lime-washed, caramel walls, and zellige tile in a rich, deep emerald green.

These design touches continue to BagelShops glassware, creating a full circle of design and aesthetic.

Lisa adds, “We’re getting a ton of feedback from both customers and social media about how much they love to just be in our space, and that’s the best gift.”

At the heart of BagelShop's menu are its signature New York-style bagels, handcrafted using time-honored techniques and premium ingredients to achieve the perfect balance of chewy texture and irresistible flavor. Whether you prefer classic varieties like plain, sesame, or poppy seed, or crave a more adventurous option such as everything or jalapeño cheddar, there's a bagel to suit every palate.

However, BagelShop offers more than just exceptional bagels; their menu boasts an array of mouthwatering toppings and spreads to complement each freshly baked creation. From traditional cream cheese schmears in flavors such as scallion and lox, to decadent options such as smoked salmon and avocado, the possibilities are endless. For those seeking a heartier meal, BagelShop also serves an assortment of breakfast sandwiches, piled high with savory ingredients such as eggs, bacon, and melted cheese, all nestled between two perfectly toasted halves of their signature bagels.

One of the hallmarks of BagelShop is its commitment to quality and authenticity. Each bagel is meticulously crafted using traditional methods, from hand-rolling the dough to kettle-boiling and baking to perfection—an art form that has been passed down through generations of skilled bakers. This dedication to authenticity shines through in every aspect of the dining experience, from the warm and welcoming service to the unparalleled taste and texture of each bagel.

Beyond its delicious fare, BagelShop also serves as a gathering place for the local community—a hub where friends, families, and neighbors come together to share stories, laughter, and, of course, great food. Whether it's a leisurely Sunday brunch with loved ones or a quick grab-and-go breakfast on a busy weekday morning, BagelShop offers a welcoming atmosphere that makes every visit feel like coming home.

In addition to its role as a beloved neighborhood eatery, BagelShop also plays a vital role in supporting the local economy and fostering a sense of community pride. By sourcing ingredients from local vendors whenever possible and actively participating in community events and initiatives, BagelShop demonstrates a deep commitment to giving back to the vibrant city that it calls home.

As word of BagelShop's culinary prowess continues to spread, so too does its reputation as a must-visit destination for food lovers in Nashville and beyond. Whether you're a native New Yorker in search of a taste of home or a curious foodie eager to experience the authentic flavors of the Big Apple, BagelShop offers an unforgettable dining experience that transcends geographical boundaries and celebrates the timeless art of bagel-making.

BagelShop stands as a shining example of culinary excellence and community spirit in Donelson. With its commitment to quality, authenticity, and hospitality, it has earned its place as a beloved institution—and a destination not to be missed for anyone craving a true taste of New York in the Music City. So, the next time you find yourself in Nashville, be sure to stop by BagelShop and treat yourself to an experience that is nothing short of extraordinary.