Wednesday 16 January 2008

Glossy Sheen Can't Hide Bagel Bar's Missteps

Note to readers: The pictures formerly associated with this review have been taken down at the request of the business owners. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Roasters and Toasters
18515 NE 18th Ave.
North Miami Beach, FL USA 33179

Where is it?

From the main entrance, head right, past the deli and bagel-ordering bar, and through the dining room. Look for a door in the back left corner of the dining room. Go through. You'll enter a hallway that contains some storage areas as well as the bathrooms, which will be on your right.

What's it like?

Roasters and Toasters is a Floridian take on the New York City bagel bar and deli. It offers delicious bagels (some of the best available outside of NYC), as well as fresh roasted coffee, delicious deli meats (including superb corned beef shipped from NYC) and cheeses, breads and other bakery items, and various smoked fish products. Outside of NYC, you can't do much better, really.

The interior loses the NYC wear and tear in favor of modern chain restaurant design, which seems built around their brand identity. You'll find plasma televisions on the some of the walls, most of them broadcasting CNN or ESPN, as well as sleek-looking cafe tables, plenty of beige paint and tile and sparse, almost minimalistic, decor on the walls. It's like an upscale Denny's crossed with a Starbucks Cafe, only with much better food and drink.

As expected, the bathrooms extend the stylishness of the dining room. The floors and walls are covered with elegant tile, marble on the floor and granite (it seems) on the walls. The stall door to the lone toilet is made of metal but looks like dark wood -- which adds a some sophistication to the design. It's generally clean too, though you can start to see some wear and tear building on the fixtures, especially around the seems.

Sadly, it's also a small place, with only one urinal, one commode and one sink available to the public at one time. Considering that the place doubles as a coffee house, you can imagine that the bathroom sees its share of line-ups.

Also, the location makes the place feel busier than it really is -- the hallway outside gets a lot of foot traffic, from both customers and employees (a closet containing all the beverage syrups sits right next door), and you hear that traffic constantly while you're inside, which makes you feel rushed.

On top of that, during my visit I found a few things out of order: The toilet paper roller in the stall was split open, with half of it sitting on top of the garbage can found in the stall. Also, a "Wet Floor" sign stood prominently in a major walking space, making it hard to maneuver around it once other people entered the bathroom.

Marks out of 10:

7. Would have been higher were it not for those missteps.

Comments to the Management:

If possible, I would consider moving the storage items (including the drink syrups) further down the hall and then extending the bathrooms some so people can have a little more room to do their business.

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