‘Watts for Dinner’: Empire Bagel has everything you’ll want and more

Will Watts

Our next dining destination is Empire Bagel Factory on Marco Island.

I used their website the night before to order some breakfast and lunch for the next day. I picked exactly what I wanted from a dropdown menu; selected the time I preferred to pick up my food and went ahead and paid for it in advance. So convenient, easy.

Of course, you don’t have to do it this way. The tradition lanes of commerce are still open. And as you’ll see from my experience, it didn’t help me avoid the line completely (partly my fault).

My partner in dine picked a breakfast sandwich with sausage, egg and cheese (prices vary, $9.50 based on the following selections). In personalizing his order, he asked for the everything bagel, egg whites only, extra sausage and American cheese; toasted. And he got it exactly that way.  

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The sausage is not super thick, but the diameter is large (bagel sized). So, he was glad he went with two. And while the sandwich was really good, the bagel was exceptional.    

I wanted the bacon, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich ($8.75). I asked that it be built on the asiago bagel. I decided I also wanted sausage on it too, scrambled eggs and cheddar cheese; lightly toasted. And so, it was! I love the attention to detail!

It feels so sinful to have sausage and bacon on the same sandwich. Perhaps I’ll call it a sausage club, to alleviate that emotion!? Amazing flavor! I highly recommend this sandwich. It’ll keep you full for the entire day!  

That being said, we did order some lunch sandwiches; which actually became dinner.

My dining companion had the turkey club on a croissant ($10.25). This is a good time to point out that Empire uses Boar’s Head products (my fave). He added Swiss cheese, tomato, mayo and mustard. He also instructed that it not be toasted. Another perfect order.

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The croissant doesn’t look exactly how you might picture it, as it appears to be modified just for this sandwich. But the flavor was there. And typically, you get two types of restaurants, those that stack on too much meat and those that put on too little. Well call this the three-little-piggies sandwich, because it was just right.         

I went with tuna salad on a garlic bagel ($9.99). Yes! You got to love a menu that will allow you to create something you might not have thought of otherwise. I added lettuce, tomato, red onions, pickles and mustard. And that’s exactly the way it came.  

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The tuna was high quality: white, albacore. Just the right amount of mayo. And the bagel, so soft, fresh and delicious.

We also took home a half dozen sweet bagels ($8, you can also choose savory and up to a dozen). Too many bagels for your household? Mine too. But guess what? You can freeze them. Then eat them toasted. We do it all the time. Fresh tasting bagels without an extra trip.

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So, here’s my only hang up this visit. I was doing errands on Marco Island when I got a text that my order was ready. It was early but I assumed the text was true. When I arrived, it was not on the online orders rack. So, I got in line. It was fairly busy this day.

When I got to the register, I found out my order was not yet ready. But it gave me the opportunity for an impulse buy: two coffee cakes! Never leave me alone with pastries.

This was my first time to visit the somewhat new Marco Island location. And I was thankful to discover that the bagels were just as amazing as before. Happy eating!

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This newspaper pays for all meals related to dining reviews. We do not solicit or accept free food. Not all dishes are featured in print, but you can find a gallery of all reviewed dishes online at marconews.com.

If you go

Empire Bagel Factory

  • 239 N. Collier Blvd., Marco Island
  • 239-228-5340
  • empirebagelfactorymarco.com