47 years after opening his first bagel bakery and cafe here in Western New York, Jay Gershberg has decided to hang up the apron and retire with the sale of his Bagel Jay’s locations in North Buffalo, Williamsville and Snyder.

“It’s a testament to the entire community of Buffalo, from my hardworking staff to our loyal patrons, that I achieved such continued success,” Gershberg says. “While I’m saddened to pull one last board out of the oven, I feel nothing but gratitude and wish to extend a heartfelt thanks to everyone who has enjoyed our bagels, shmears and sandwiches over the years.”

Gershberg recently agreed to terms with Bagel Brands, which plans to transform Bagel Jay’s locations into Bruegger’s Bagels, a bagel bakery serving over 180 other locations. Bruegger’s Bagels prides itself on offering an authentic New York-style bagel experience. Fresh bagels, made in small batches throughout the day, made-in-Vermont cream cheese and delicious signature breakfast sandwiches are menu favorites.

“I have known, followed and respected Bruegger’s Bagels for the better part of three decades. So, I am happy to pass the torch to a company that will do Buffalo proud,” said Gershberg.

Thus caps the end of a remarkable journey that began in 1976 as Jay and his brother Bob, who were born in the Bronx, opened the first of what became two dozen Bagel Bros locations throughout Western New York and Cleveland.

“Greater Buffalo was the perfect place to operate a business and raise a family,” adds Gershberg, who created the Bagel Jay’s brand in 2001. Bagel Jay’s became a community staple as the bagels were always hearth-baked with a crusty edge to them, in the New York City tradition. Bruegger’s Bagels will continue this tradition.

“We are honored to join the Buffalo community and grateful to Jay for giving us the opportunity,” says Will MacIntosh, Bruegger’s Bagels’ operator. “We’re looking forward to Jay’s bagel fans coming in and giving our New York-style bagels a try.”

To pay homage to Bagel Jay himself, Bruegger’s Bagels will keep his signature breakfast sandwich on the menu. The JayNOURMOUS is as big as Gershberg’s love for bagels with double eggs, three meats and melty American cheese. Though he will be gone, he certainly won’t be forgotten.

“The time for my next chapter has arrived,” says Gershberg, “but I’ll never forget the loving support of Western New York.”

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