Love For Authentic Bagels Sparked a Fire For One Mount Pleasant Resident
Jeff Walker, Entertainment Writer
One man's quest to locate authentic New York style bagels in greater Charleston lead him right into his very own kitchen. After careful research and a couple of months of trial and error, Madison, Connecticut (90 minutes outside NYC) native Kevin Roach discovered he could create bagels good enough to please the most discerning northerners residing in the low country. Thus, the genesis for Ruby's New York Style Bagels was put in motion.
Not content to judge his home-made edibles by his own standards, Roach decided to give away hundreds if not thousands of bagels to fellow neighbors (several from NY, NJ, PA, & Conn) and let them decide if they were up to par. An overwhelming thumbs up lit the proverbial light bulb above his head, with an idea soon becoming a business plan.
A former tech company exec Roach began testing his bagels at the co-op on upper King Street while searching for a permanent location for a bagel shop. With his wife Gail's blessing and a partnership with fellow Connecticut couple Joe and Denise Harvey who operated successful coffee shops in their home state, the foursome set out to introduce the low country to genuine New York style bagels.
A little bump in the road called COVID delayed his original start, but it did not deter Roach nor his partners, and in October of 2022 Ruby's New York Style Bagels opened at 280 West Coleman Blvd in Mt. Pleasant. A clever give away promotion combined with the fact that many residents east of the Cooper River are transplants from up north proved favorable, as Ruby's quickly became the go to place for real bagels, with lines out the door.
For those unfamiliar with bagels here's a quick education. Traditionally originating in Jewish communities out of Poland, an authentic bagel is a doughnut-shaped yeast-leavened roll. Typically the dough is first boiled for a short time in water and then baked. The result is a dense, chewy, doughy interior with a browned, shiny and often crisp exterior. Truly, bagels are set apart from any other bread product.
Offering up two dozen selections of made from scratch bagels including savory, sweet, and cheese varieties alongside breakfast and lunch sandwiches, cream cheese and flavored spreads as well as fresh brewed coffee complements of King Bean Coffee Roasters, Ruby's New York Style Bagels is the ideal blend of a grab n' go deli and coffee shop.
You would be hard-pressed to find a flavored bagel not to your liking, with a dozen under the savory category alone including the traditional plain, sesame seed, poppy, and whole wheat, side by side with rosemary sea-salt, garlic, and pumpernickel. Got a sweet tooth, maybe a cinnamon crunch, blueberry, or cranberry orange will fill your authentic bagel craving, as would a cheddar, swiss, or sun dried tomato asiago.
Dining in, much like their bagels, Ruby's blends over 10 cream cheeses to top your bagel of choice. Their Bacon Scallion, Jalapeno, or Veggie easily spice up a savory bagel. The Very Berry goes nice on Ruby's French Toast bagel as does the Oreo Cream Cheese spread on their Chocolate Chip Sea Salt bagel.
Not a fan of cream cheese, un-heard of but okay. Maybe order your bagel of choice with any of their assorted jams, peanut butter, apple butter, or Nutella. Seafood lovers kick it up a notch with tuna or whitefish salad. So many flavor combinations (bagel & spreads) you're head might explode! And get this, if you don't see your favorite bagel listed, chime in because they might just add it to the menu.
Trust me, bagels make a great foundation for an early morning or midday sandwiches. Ruby's serves up 13 signature sandwiches that not only taste great but satisfy any hunger level. Droppping in early, go old school with an Egg & Cheese Bagel (cheddar, American, Swiss, pepperjack). Take it up a notch by adding honey ham or Taylor Ham (preferred NJ sliced pork). The Rico Bagel pays homage to southwestern United States, complete with avocado, egg, cheddar cheese, and bacon with a slather or chipotle mayo.
If it's closer to midday perhaps a Reuben (pastrami, swiss, sauerkraut & thousand island) or the Turkey Naturally layered in roasted turkey brie, apples, lettuce, cranberry mayo on a pressed panini may be more appetizing. The Tuna Melt or Egg Salad with lettuce and tomato are equally tempting. In case you misread the panini entry, Ruby's will gladly craft your sandwich on any bagel of choice, but others might best come on any of their whole grain breads or baguettes.
Once word got out 'how freakin' awesome their bagels are people began driving all over the tri-county area to pop in the Mount Pleasant location. A nice trek from Summerville and Moncks Corner. Thankfully for Ruby's lovers in the north area and beyond, the partners just opened a second location in the growing and revitalized Oak Ridge Plaza on Dorchester Road near intersection of West Montague.
While both locations allow for indoor seating, the Mount Pleasant site is boxed in between two existing stores with a couple of tables out front. However, the North Charleston Ruby's has a roll up side garage door allowing for patrons to order without coming inside with shared patio space with a few other eateries and shops in the plaza.
I already made mention of King Bean Coffee Roasters, so if you beverage of choice just happens to be an espresso, cappuccino, macchiato, drip coffee (decaf available), or cold brew you know damn well it's going to be java-licious! The answer is yes, they do offer flavored teas, hot chocolate, water, and Coke products. For my money a fresh made bagel with cream cheese and a bold cup of coffee go together like Charleston and hospitality!
Let's break it down. Northerners, especially those from the northeast (from PA thru New England) are relocating to the south (including Charleston) in record numbers. The reasons are simple. They are leaving behind high taxes, politics, and cold weather, preferring hazy, hot, & humid to shoveling the driveway several times every winter season.
Although the transplants easily add BBQ and Shrimp & Grits to their regular diets, there are a few foods northerners can not do without and will not compromise on. Folks from the northeast are passionate about NY style thin pizza, kosher hotdogs, deli sandwiches, and their bagels. And while the first three can be found scattered around greater Charleston mostly due to New Yorkers opening pizzerias and such, when it comes to bagels it's a harder find (near impossible).
But bagel lovers your search is over. Ruby's New York Style Bagels is legit, serving up fresh made (daily) bagels that slay the competition in the low country. Open 6:30am until 2pm currently (soon 3pm), again Ruby's is the perfect cross between a contemporary coffee shop and a bagel bakery.
Drop in on your way to work, for lunch, or maybe take a half dozen home for you and the family to enjoy. Don't forget to pick up a small tub of flavored cream cheese.
Eat & repeat, and remember if you do carry bagels home they are best eaten within a few days to preserve the overall taste and texture. You can get a couple more days out of them if you place in the refrigerator, especially if you plan to do what most do and that is pop in the toaster. Enjoy with a variety of spreads you have in the fridge, pantry, or build your own breakfast, lunch, or dinner sandwich.
Just in case you're wondering how the name came about. Ruby's is affectionately named for man's best friend. That's right, Kevin named his new bagel shop after his beloved pet. So cool! Find Ruby's New York Style Bagels at 280 West Coleman in Mt. Pleasant and 5060 Dorchester Rd Suite 210B in North Charleston. West Ashley bagel lovers you'll soon find Ruby's in Crossroads Centre (Sam Rittenberg @ Ashley River Rd). For more on Ruby's visit https://www.rubysnybagels.com/