This restaurant is CLOSED
Update: What is the name of this place anyway? This location in not listed as a location on the official website.
For reasons I do not understand, Daniel just HAD to go to Chesapeake Bagel today. The name never comes up during the daily “where will we eat” discussion. Maybe he watched a program about the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel on the History Channel last night or something and that made him think of the restaurant.
I have been here only once before and it left unfavorable memories behind. The same old feelings came back to me as I navigated the lunch hour on Capitol Street.
My impression of the interior of the restaurant is: dirty cafeteria. There is nothing stylish, pretty, or appetizing about the decor. There are glass blocks greeting you when you belly up to the counter to attempt to order. The kind of glass blocks used in bathrooms. I think they bought them at Lowe’s. On top of the glass block counter was a massive display of various styrofoam plates and vessels. I have no problem with paper products, but styrofoam is completely unappealing to me. The menu is displayed on the wall above this unattractive counter. I feel like I am lost trying to order, pay and receive my food here. We ordered in a haphazard manner and kind of hung around, waiting on further instruction. When we got the instructions, the staff person made us feel like idiots that we didn’t automatically know we were supposed to round the corner, past the homemade-looking 2-story chip display unit that held, like, no chips. Well, there were a couple bags of Sun Chips and a couple bags of pretzels. That’s it. And why didn’t we know to keep moving? Because the staff people preparing the food kept asking us questions, that’s why.
The enormous selection of chips left me wanting, so I simply went with a sandwich of ham and provolone on foccacia for $5.25. I didn’t have to wait long to receive my order but Daniel, who ordered first, was still waiting for his. In fact, Phil was the last to order but the first to receive his sandwich. Apparantly this place operates on the LIFO basis. (Sorry, lame accounting humor.)
Most of the dozen or so tables were full but we found one available by the window. Even the finish on the tables is worn and unattractive. I carefully inspected my sandwich and decided to pile all the filling on just half the bread, as the bread did not look appealing to me. After I tasted it, I realized that was a good idea indeed. There was nothing special about this bread, it was just okay. No stand out flavors, no toasting. The bright spot of the sandwich was one piece of leaf lettuce. I could have used 3 or 4 more leaves, but at least it wasn’t iceberg. And they put a blankety blank pickle on my styrofoam plate. Geez. I put a napkin over the pickle juice that had already exuded from the offensive green item and removed it to the scratched-up table. Before I had worked my way through half of the sandwich, the place had completely cleared out.
While we sat there, someone pulled up outside and carried in some boxes of chips that looked like they were procured at Sam’s. Had they arrived earlier, we might have had a better selection of side items.
The best part of this lunch was the soda, priced at $1.25. They serve that brand I don’t really care for, but they also offer Diet Dr. Pepper, which is not often found at the soda fountain and one of my favorites.
This meal did not make me happy, and I felt bad for the owners of this place. They need to invest some capital to improve the interior and work on the menu. No wonder there are rumors that the place is going out of business.
I wanted to go eat on Capitol Street for one reason and one reason only – Ellen’s. I had asked the counter help for a special run of “Sir Almond Hilary” and word on the Twitter was: it was back. I knew Susan wasn’t ready for the confines of Ellen’s lunch menu – soup and salad for the most part. So I suggested Chesapeake Bagel. We parked in the Summers Street Parking Building, and walked a block to the corner of Capitol and Lee.
As we walked in, I thought this establishment looked tired. The menu consists of simple bagel sandwiches and more elaborate Focaccia sandwiches. On a prior visit this decade, I had the Humus Bagel Sandwich. It was good and I liked the sprouts. This visit, I ordered the Grilled Chicken Cordon Bleu Melt. The staff member that took my order said to another worker that he had never made that before so the back up took care of it. As I waited and waited for my sandwich I walked towards the register, but then I thought “does he need to know what I want on my sandwich.” So I circled back around to the prep area. He pointed me back to the register.
Still waiting, I thought I might want some chips so I surveyed the chip display – it was barren. No selection, just a handful of BBQ chips. Next I looked at the pitiful pastry case with its squares of yellow cake and bagel bites dipped in icing. The final discouragement was the reach-in deli case. It was empty and turned off. This is a bad sign. It tells me that they don’t care. If they can’t get it fixed or can’t afford to get it fixed, buy some decor at Wal-Mart. A table cloth, silk ivy and some plastic fruit would make that look a little less pathetic. Here is an idea – try putting fresh apples, oranges and bananas in there.
My sandwich was finished and the singing staff member passed it to me saying it was a masterpiece. The chicken was grilled to order explaining the long wait time. The chicken was placed between sliced honey ham and Swiss cheese then topped with lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and mustard. Finally this is stuffed inside of a sliced piece of sundried tomato focaccia. The bread was fresh and thick, but lacked the flavor one expects with a premium sandwich. The flavors of the sandwich were overpowered by the yellow mustard, which covered my lettuce. The sandwich artist inside me thinks mustard should be on the meat side and mayo on the veggie side. This was all on top like it was an afterthought. I will say that this sandwich has a reasonable price of $5.75.
I echo Susan’s comments on the future of Chesapeake Bagel. If you are in a pinch and want to grab a bagel, cream cheese and coffee, this TWO Fork establishment might fit the bill.
Chesapeake Bagel/Charleston Bagel
240 Capitol St
Charleston, WV 25301