Get Toasted at Proper Bagel
I graduated from Belmont University in 20 (cough cough) and I continue to be amazed by the number of restaurants and boutiques that pop up in the area. While I was in school, our options were limited, VERY limited. I remember spending countless hours sipping lattes and studying for art history exams at Bongo Java and those adventurous souls who were "over" the cafeteria and wanted some food with flavor frequented Taboulis and International Market. In need of a late night bite? Circle K was really your only option unless you preferred the ultimate in late night cuisine, the Waffle House.
As I stroll down Belmont Boulevard, it warms my heart to see how much the area has changed. Staples like Bongo Java, International Market and of course, Circle K are still thriving, but its the restaurants like Chago's Cantina, PM, blvd Nashville, and Martin's BBQ that are shaking things up. In 2016, Instagram and local food blogs were inundated with coverage on this new shop, Proper Bagel. My curiosity piqued, I decided to check it out. After circling the block multiple times looking for a parking spot, I noticed that the line continued to grow at Proper Bagel. WTH. Like all new restaurants in Nashville, people flock. Frustration set in and I quickly threw in the towel and vowed that I would find another time to visit.
Between work, travel, and adulting, time got away from me, as it often does, and I realized that I never dined at Proper Bagel. Having a few days off during the holiday season seemed like the perfect time to pop in and see what all the fuss was about. Despite the torrential downpour, I was able to find a parking spot within a matter of minutes and waded to the front door.
It's like the gates of breakfast heaven had opened. Cream cheese as far as the eye could see and bagels for absolute days! I grabbed a menu and headed to the register. As tempted as I was to completely basic and order a bagel and a schmear, I couldn't. I exhausted what energy reserves I had at Pure Barre and was literally running on caffeine alone. So a heartier dish was in order.
Proper Bagel offers six breakfast sandwich variations, each option sounding better than the last making it quite challenging. Craving avocado, I ordered the Avocado and Egg on a Salt Bagel. If there's one thing I love, it's a good salt bagel. Each bagel sandwich is served with a choice of seared tomato, sweet potato mash or micro green salad.
I could rave about how amazing the avocado and egg combination was, but you all know that's a solid pair. Instead, can we talk about the tomato jam? Damn. Coupled with the Salt bagel, it added an entirely new dimension of flavor.
Proper Bagel has such a simple but gorgeous presentation. I love their use of white serving pieces because they amplify the colors of the dish.
One of my Pure Barre baes joined me and ordered this amazing Smoked Salmon toast. Stunning presentation. Why is it when I try to replicate things like this at home it ends up looking like a complete pinterest fail??
By good fortune, we had a chance to chat with one of the lovely ladies of Proper Bagel and she gave us a few tips to beat the rush which I'm happy to share with you!
Parking: Circle often and keep your eyes peeled. Proper Bagel has two parking spots in front of their establishment, however, there is ample parking available on the street (when Belmont students haven't taken it over). If you see a spot, claim it.
Looking for a little lunch? Earlier is better if you want a table. When Belmont is back in session, Proper Bagel can get taken over by students looking to avoid the dreaded cafeteria and even faculty that need a break from campus. Plan ahead.
Weekend Bae Brunch? Unless you are there when the doors open (7:30 AM (M-F) and 8:00 AM on the weekend), be prepared to wait between 30-40 minutes in line and that doesn't include the wait time for the food which can vary.
Despite the inevitable lines and the tricky parking, I enjoyed every bite of my bagel sammy. Next time, I am going to be totally basic and try out that dill pickle cream cheese... it's totally calling my name!
Until Next Time!