Oak Harbor store manager Michelle Berger holds the location’s best seller, the Turkey Club. She came up from the Clinton location to manage the new store when it opened in April. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News Group.

Oak Harbor store manager Michelle Berger holds the location’s best seller, the Turkey Club. She came up from the Clinton location to manage the new store when it opened in April. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News Group.

Whidbey Island Bagel Company voted the best

When John Auburn opened a second Whidbey Island Bagel Factory in Oak Harbor, it meant adapting to a new market.

That meant customizing the menu to satisfy the taste buds of North Enders.

Apparently, the effort was appreciated. The business is this year’s Best of Whidbey winner in the Baked Goods, Bagels and Donuts category

“Oak Harbor has been kind of a different animal. It’s different in all sorts of ways — different food, different payments, but it’s been good,” Auburn said.

“Sandwiches that go great down here (Clinton) don’t up there,” Auburn added.

One of those was the curry chicken bagel sandwich that he said flies off the shelves in Clinton. Instead, the Oak Harbor location offers a more traditional chicken salad sandwich with grapes, toasted almonds and garlic mayo.

“It’s more crowd-pleasing,” Oak Harbor store manager Michelle Berger said.

It was tough to adapt to the new location in the beginning, Berger said, because of all the menu changes. At first she wasn’t sure if the shop could sell its pesto garlic bagel since the South End store has much better ventilation from the garage doors it has.

Luckily, they were able to modify its production a little bit because people love them, she said. Its best seller has been the turkey club sandwich with its thick cut bacon, avocado and Britt’s full sour pickles.

Besides the obvious sign of being voted the Best of Whidbey, it’s clear that customers love the well-rounded menu.

Jack Seymour of Oak Harbor said he usually orders the jalapeno cheddar bagel. With it’s toasted and slightly crunchy cheddar cheese top and just the right amount of heat from the jalapenos to linger on the tongue, but not overpower the bagel, it makes a tasty snack.

“My wife and I come here all the time. We used to go to the shop in the South End,” Tom Hoctor of Oak Harbor said.

Hoctor said he and his wife were pretty excited when Auburn decided to open a second location in Oak Harbor, and now they eat there all the time.

“It’s the place to go.”

The bagels have a pretty far reach too. Auburn said that one customer recently came in to order four and half dozen bagels to be shipped to New Jersey, and another customer asked for two and a half dozen to be shipped to Chicago.

Auburn plans to open up five new stores in the future. The next one will be in Mount Vernon in late 2019 or early 2020, he said. After that he’s looking at spots in Bothell, Mukilteo and Edmonds.

When asked if he’d ever change his menu and pursue other menus, he said no.

“Bagels and bagels sandwiches seem to be working pretty darn good,” he said.

More in News

Langley mandates employee vaccines

All city employees of Langley will soon need to follow a new vaccination rule.

Photo provided
A car rolled over south of Deception Pass and struck several parked cars. It was the second car accident in the area on Sunday.
Two car accidents on Sunday slow bridge traffic

Two separate car crashes just south of Deception Pass bridge sent two people to the hospital Sunday.

Two injured in Oak Harbor crash

Two people were injured in a car accident on the afternoon of Friday, Nov. 19.

Deputies negotiate surrender of knife-wielding suspect

Deputies negotiated the peaceful surrender of an assault suspect who refused to leave his car.

Three Coupeville school levies to appear on February ballot

The Coupeville school board adopted resolutions to approve three levies to appear on the ballot.

Another park access offered

Oak Harbor city staff is recommending a third option for an access road to a planned regional park.

Hillside development agreement approved

A developer and the city of Oak Harbor finalized a unique agreement.

Infrastructure bill will help ferry system stay afloat

President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure act will help fund ferries in Washington state.

Holiday celebrations galore coming to Langley

The Lighting of Langley, an annual tree-lighting ceremony, will begin at 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 27.

Most Read