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Brooklyn’s ‘Bagel Mystery’ Is Solved: A Competitor Is Taking Over

Peter Eulo closed Court Street Bagels after two decades. Smith Street Bagels, a competitor, is taking over.

A person passes in front of a Brooklyn bagel shop, Court Street Bagels.
Someone took over Court Street Bagels and is pretending like nothing happened.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Mystery solved: Court Street Bagels has a new owner. The Brooklyn bagel shop was taken over by Smith Street Bagels, a competitor nearby, owned by Adam Alsoora. The new owner will bring in “better quality ingredients” and a “wider selection of bagels.” As part of the change, he plans to lower prices.

The answer comes after a week’s worth of questions from residents in Cobble Hill. Court Street Bagels closed after 20 years last week with a day’s notice to customers. Then, under mysterious circumstances, it reopened without its longtime owner, Peter Eulo.

Eulo opened the bagel shop in 2004. It wasn’t an institution, but it meant a lot to its fans. For two decades, the cash-only bagel shop has anchored the intersection of Court and Dean streets. The neighborhood has rapidly developed around it, but the bagels stayed the same.

That changed last weekend when Eulo abruptly announced he would be closing after 20 years. The last day was supposed to be Sunday, but the next morning, Court Street Bagels opened as if nothing happened. It had the same name and most of the same employees. The only noticeable change: Eulo wasn’t behind the counter.

In interviews and online messages, Eulo said he “had no idea” who took over the shop. New York Magazine called it a “Brooklyn bagel mystery.”

Alsoora, who took over on Monday, says he kept the name the same to cause less disruption to customers. Whatever his intention, the change left fans and its former owner confused. “Court Street Bagels exists because I got up at four in the morning six days a week for 20 years,” Eulo says. “I kept that store open through everything you could imagine.”

The hand-off was shrouded in confusion from the start. On Saturday, a member of Boerum Hill at Large, a local Facebook group, claimed to be the owner of the shop. The closure was due to vandalism at the shop, they said. Eulo attempted to dispel the rumor on X, formerly Twitter, but not before it had spread to Reddit and Instagram.

Naturally, fans were expecting the worst. “Sounds like Peter was robbed of his brand and his store,” one person said on Instagram. “Will not be supporting the new owners.”

Eulo left the shop for a few reasons, but the biggest dates back to July 2020, when the shop’s building was sold to Abe Cohen, behind the Brooklyn-based real estate company Conway Capital. (Cohen did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)

By 2021, Eulo had fallen behind on rent payments, in part because of an alleged rent increase. When his lease expired in January 2023, he was told he could not renew it. He came to an agreement with his landlord to keep the shop open for another year. The extension ended this month.

Alsoora signed a lease on the property in May 2023. The bagel shop had been listed on LoopNet, a real estate website, with an asking price of $15,000 a month. The lease went into effect when Eulo left the premises. When he dropped off his keys on Sunday evening, Court Street Bagels belonged to Alsoora.

It’s not the end he imagined, but Eulo admits he needed some time off after 20 years. And anyway, the shop’s name was always the most generic part. Fans say it’s really about the man behind the counter and the connections he made with the people who walked through his door. “This bagel shop did a lot of good for a lot of people,” Eulo says.

“I loved Cobble Hill and I will miss it dearly.”

Update: February 1, 2024, 11:40 a.m.: This article was updated with additional information from Adam Alsoora.