GREENWICH — When the owners of Lenny’s Bagels were looking to open their third shop, Greenwich jumped off the map as the perfect location.
The town lacked a dedicated bagel shop, it already boasted a loyal customer base — and it perfectly lined up with their stores in Rye Brook and Pelham, N.Y., and co-owner Richard Damato’s home.
And after nearly 18 months of planning and work, Lenny’s Bagels held its grand opening at 207 E. Putnam Ave. in Cos Cob earlier this month.
The popular restaurant boasts a menu of breakfast sandwiches, burritos and omelets, breakfast bowls, cheese steaks, specialty sandwiches, wraps, smoked fish, cream cheese and more. And there are over 20 bagel choices, ranging from plain and sesame seed to garlic and even rainbow, with low carb and whole wheat options available, too.
The shops reflect the vision of brothers Richard and Steve Damato, who are carrying on the business started by their father, Lenny, in 1989 in Hastings and Manhattan.
“We had the two stores, and we wanted to open up another one,” Richard Damato said. “I live in Stamford, and we wanted to keep it somewhat convenient to the other stores. We wanted to have something on the same line with our existing stores, and when we looked at the map, Greenwich stood out.”
When the brothers found the location in the Mill Pond Shopping Center, they recognized the opportunity in Greenwich and knew it was where they wanted to be.
“We had a lot of Greenwich residents come all the way to our Rye Brook location and tell us that Greenwich didn’t have a bagel store, and the town and Cos Cob really needs a store like this,” Steve Damato said. “We checked out the area and it’s a great town. We feel like this town knows a good product.”
Richard Damato added, “We take pride in the quality of our product. Everything we sell we make sure is perfected before we distribute it to the customers.”
Pointing to their high-quality ingredients, the brothers said that every day they bake their bagels, make their salads, and grill chicken for their sandwiches.
“This is like fresh home cooking,” Steve Damato said. “We’re here every day.”
With its many breakfast and lunch options, Lenny’s offers variety to customers and dishes up something more than a “typical bagel store menu.”
“I haven’t seen this type of store anywhere with this type of breakfast variety,” Steve Damato said.
It took 18 months to convert the storefront with the stone facade from what had been Rosie’s frozen yogurt into a bagel shop and go get all the needed town approvals.
And that was before the global coronavirus pandemic, but even that would not stop the brothers.
“We didn’t have a choice,” Richard Damato said. “Once the pandemic hit, we were so far into it that it wasn’t even an option to stop.”
They were nervous in February and March when the pandemic hit, but they saw “the light at the tunnel” and kept on pushing to open, according to Richard Damato.
“We weren’t stopping for anything,” he said. “We were seeing this project through, one way or the other.”
The pandemic required a few extra safety steps: masks are required, and they added spots on the floor so waiting customers can practice social distancing. They offer indoor seating as well as takeout, and they will look into the possibility of outdoor seating as well.
Lenny’s Bagels offers an app for ordering and paying. For more information on the app and to check out the menu, visit www.lennysbagels.com.