’When Henri Heyne bought Upper Crust Bagels on Purchase Street last fall, he knew that once he changed the layout and settled in, he’d be tweaking the menu and slowly introducing other kinds of food.
By Robin Jovanovich
When Henri Heyne bought Upper Crust Bagels on Purchase Street last fall, he knew that once he changed the layout and settled in, he’d be tweaking the menu and slowly introducing other kinds of food.
The longtime chef said, “This has been a bagel shop for seventeen years and I’m not going to stop carrying bagels, but I’ve added an espresso bar and traditional scones to the menu.”
The writing is on the wall for bagels, he said. “It’s expensive to make the gluten-free variety and very hard to make them taste good. A bagel should have a nice crust and be airy on the inside. To make a perfect bagel takes time.”
Heyne knows bagels, having grown up and spent part of his adult life in New York City, and having almost started a bagel business with a group of investors twenty-five years ago. He also knows how to run a restaurant. The newly renamed Henri’s is his eighth. For four years, he received accolades from Dan Young of The Daily News for serving up the best coffee and iced-tea in the City at his café in the Village on Bleecker. He also earned high praise from Rye High students, as the chef at the cafeteria for a number of years.
These days, he’s more interested in putting his more creative culinary skills to work, and to that end he added a burrito bar. He braises his own pork and marinates meats (all nitrate-free) for three days in a concoction he created for skirt steak, made out of fresh jalapenos, garlic, and a few other ingredients. “The naked burrito — no tortilla — is coming!” promised Heyne, who also knows a bean or two about burritos. Twenty years ago, he opened the first Whole Enchilada on Maiden Lane in lower Manhattan.
The father of three, one of whom is following in his footsteps and is a chef at Tarry Lodge in Westport, says Henri’s is a work-in-progress. “I went stainless steel in the kitchen and I’m going in a number of different directions in what I’ll be serving. Currently, the shop is open from 7-8 daily. He may trim the hours back a bit this summer. Then, he’ll have more time to run the nonprofit Haitian relief organization, whose mission is to bring sports to Haiti, where he was born.