By Andy Tarnoff Publisher Published Jul 10, 2006 at 10:50 AM
East Side bagel aficionados will be left with one fewer option this week when the Downer Avenue Einstein Bros. Bagels closes quietly Tuesday afternoon. According to a store manager, the decision was made after the new building owners decided not to renew its lease. The manager said that because of store traffic and other factors, it didn’t make sense to operate the store at a higher rent.

The store, 2567 N. Downer Ave., opened in 1996 and in some ways, filled a gap left when Oriental Drugs closed.  Even though it was a chain bagel shop, at least a baker's dozen of different East Side regulars could be seen every day at the shop, which serves breakfast and lunch.

However, Tim Gokhman, director of sales and marketing for New Land Enterprises, said the decision to close the shop had nothing to do with the new ownership.

"We haven't even closed on the property yet," he said. "We found out through the current owner, Katz, that they were planning on moving. Einstein's corporate made the decision to close long before we came around."

Gokman said that he couldn't even raise their rent, since they were under a lease. "That store isn't performing, they don't want to stay."

"(We) would have loved to have them stay there and, in fact, made attempts to work with Einstein's corporate to get them to stay," said Gokman.

If you live on the East Side, your next closest Einstein’s becomes the Shorewood location, 4301 N. Oakland Ave., or the East Point store, 544 E. Ogden Ave.

Einstein’s is owned by New World Restaurant Group, Inc., and has 639 locations nationwide, including Einstein Bros., Noah’s New York Bagels, Manhattan Bagel, Chesapeake Bagel Bakery and New World Coffee.

New Land Enterprises, which closes on the property at the end of July, is considering new developments above Starbucks and Harry W. Schwartz, and discussed their ideas at a recent neighborhood meeting. Stay tuned to OnMilwaukee.com for more information about these new proposals.

Andy is the founder and co-owner of OnMilwaukee.com. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.

Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.

Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.