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Bagel bliss: Few earn deli fame

By Dana Humen
On April 15, 2014

To most Miami University students, the name Reilly Thimons probably does not ring a bell. The Miami alumna graduated several years ago, but her legacy in Oxford lives on through the popular Bagel and Deli Shop sandwich, the Crunch and Munch-a favorite late-night snack among students.

The Crunch and Munch, which consists of turkey, smoked cheddar cheese, honey mustard, parmesan peppercorn ranch dressing, lettuce and a bag of Doritos on an everything bagel, was created by Thimons when she was employed at Bagel and Deli from 2004 to 2006. Co-owner of Bagel and Deli, Gary Franks, said while there have been plenty of other sandwiches with chips on them that did not catch on, the Crunch and Munch became popular because of Thimons's own marketing of the sandwich.

"She worked here one summer during orientation," Franks said. "I think to everybody that came in she was like, 'Oh you have to try this bagel, it's really good,' and pressed it on people."

Along with the Crunch and Munch, there are 88 other bagel sandwiches listed on the official menu, but customer submissions put the total count to just under 100 sandwich options. Although Bagel and Deli's menu is extensive today, the shop did not offer any specialty sandwiches when it first opened in 1975. It was not until the mid-1980s that a marketing fraternity came up with the idea to name customized sandwiches.

"The mid-'90s were the glory days of naming sandwiches," Franks said. "People still bring them in, but it's kind of hard to make something different enough that it actually gets ordered."

Like the Crunch and Munch, several of the bagels featured have been created and named by employees, although customers have submitted many sandwiches, as well. Franks said the process of submitting a new bagel sandwich is fairly informal-all a customer has to do is create a sign with a new sandwich recipe, and if it gets ordered enough it will stay on the menu. Once framed and on the wall, a bagel recipe will remain there permanently, unless the shop gets rid of an ingredient involved.

"If it's been up there for a couple weeks and we're still having to turn around and look at it because nobody knows what it is, then it's not getting ordered enough," Franks said. "If people bring something in and they've worked hard on it, we'll humor them because they put a lot of effort in it and want to see it up there."

Franks said that a former Miami student wanted a bagel sandwich on the wall as his legacy before graduating, but after failing multiple times, finally got the Get Swanked bagel on the menu after having all his pledge brothers order it. While Franks said the Get Swanked bagel is a good sandwich combination, he has also had his fair share of strange sandwich submissions.

"We had a bagel once that had bananas and eggs on it," Franks said. "It had peanut butter, banana, and eggs. They swore it was good but it wasn't."

While the staff created some sandwiches on the breakfast menu because it needed more options, Franks said he prefers to have people submit recipes because it is a part of the shop's tradition. For customers looking to submit their own sandwich recipe, Franks suggests creating a good combination that isn't too similar to anything else on the menu. Franks also said timing is important, as submitting a bagel right before graduation doesn't normally allow enough time for the sandwich to be ordered.

"You're better off doing it at the beginning of the year when you can pressure all your friends into ordering your bagel. Because the more it gets ordered, the more likely it is that it will stay up," Franks said.

Today, the Crunch and Munch, the Messy Katie, and the Tanya Harding Club are some of the most popular bagels according to Franks. But with Bagel and Deli nearing it's 40-year anniversary of being in business, crowd favorites have changed over time.

"When I was in school the Kool Jules was the Messy Katie of the day, there's always been a few bagels that are always ordered, they just kind of shift over the years," Franks said.

Although the Crunch and Munch is the bagel sandwich of choice for most customers today, in a few years there could be a new favorite at Bagel and Deli-possibly a bagel sandwich that has yet to be submitted.

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