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Abel Bagel returns to original spot, decreases capacity, business hours

Within the week, students will have to head to a slightly different location to enjoy their Abel bagels.

The bagel bakery is moving one store over in the Witherspoon Street building where it currently resides, according to owner Alfie Kahn.

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Having served the Princeton area for 14 years, the bagel shop will reoccupy its smaller, original location, Kahn said. Ferry House, a sit-down restaurant, will open in the vacated space.

The bagel bakery previously had expanded to allow for more customer seating, however, Kahn cited a decreased need for that space as the reason for the move.

Kahn explained that other eateries in town now offer tables so there is "not the demand there used to be." Abel Bagel will still offer 15 seats in its new location.

Since Abel Bagel's founding Einstein Bros. Bagels and Chesapeake Bagel Bakery have opened on Nassau Street but Kahn said their presence was not a reason for the downsizing.

"They really have not had an effect on business," Kahn said. "There are so many people eating bagels."

Kahn also cited his shop's lower prices and "old style" recipe as reasons for the continued popularity of his bagels.

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In addition to cutting back in size, Abel Bagel also recently shortened its business hours to 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Despite the cutbacks, Kahn said his store will never go out of business. Although other bagel bakeries may come and go, "Abel Bagel will always be here," he said. He added that "little is sometimes better."

"It was a much more friendly little store in the narrow 14-foot wide store. Students would get together there and really meet," Kahn said.

'An institution'

The shop will remain open this week during the move to its new location. Since its opening in the early 1980s, Abel Bagel has never failed to open, even for a day, according to Kahn. "It's an institution," he said.

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Kahn said he had hoped to open a 24-hour diner in the bagel shop's current location but the project "never got off the ground." A series of complications – including the collapse of the building's roof two years ago – rendered made the project impossible, he explained.

Ferry House manager, Bobby Trigg, holds an 11-year lease on the Witherspoon Street building's larger space, said Kahn, adding that he thinks the new 65-seat eatery will be open for business within the next couple of weeks.

Kahn explained that Ferry House probably will not cater to students unless their parents are visiting, however. Trigg could not be reached for comment.

In the past, Abel Bagel has employed special measures to serve University students including a recreational vehicle known as the "Winnebagel" used to serve bagels at the 'Street' on Thursday and Friday nights, said Kahn.

Abel Bagel will still furnish study breaks for the University's residential colleges and organizations during the move.

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