For just over 20 years now, Empire Bagel Factory has been a popular stop for islanders and visitors seeking out the elusive fresh bagel and quick breakfast or lunch sandwich. Lucas and Rachel Oest, who are the third owners of the popular eatery, saw this as their opportunity as young entrepreneurs six years ago when they purchased the business, and have never looked back.
Since purchasing Empire Bagel Factory on Marco, they also have opened another location on Vanderbilt Beach Road and have plans for a third location to open sometime later this summer on the East Trail in East Naples. They recently moved to their new location on Marco at 239 North Collier Blvd., between Sami’s and Verdi’s.
Lucas moved to Collier County from the Metro-Chicago area with his parents while still a youngster. In later years, he subsequently met and married his wife Rachel, and they have two young children.
Besides having bagels as a mainstay of their business, they quickly are becoming known for their specialty coffees and espresso drinks. In addition, they are baking their own delicious croissants, assorted muffins, donuts and danishes. “We quickly found that Marco has discriminating taste for delicious pastries, so instead of buying them from a service, we bake them fresh along with our bagels,” said Lucas.
Breakfast sandwiches are one of their most popular items, served on bagels, on a Kaiser roll or in a large wrap. Lunch sandwiches also are served, and they have added fresh baked “sub-rolls” for those desiring a traditional offering that utilize Boar’s Head Meats and Cheeses sliced fresh.
Being only 19 when he and his wife purchased the business, he reflected on just how much he has learned over the almost 7 years they have been in business. “We really have learned a lot and are extremely excited about how far we have come and how much we’ve accomplished,” said Oest.
Those looking for a special cream-cheese flavor will find plain, vegetable, cinnamon, jalapeno, scallion, strawberry, honey walnut, lox, sun-dried tomato, green olive and blueberry cream cheese. Lunch sandwiches include the traditional BLT, an Italian sub, turkey club, ham and swiss, roast beef and cheddar, or chicken, tuna or egg salad on a variety of rolls, wraps or bagels.
They are open seven days a week at their new location at 239 North Collier Blvd. or, if in North Naples, at 7273 Vanderbilt Beach Road.