Written by Mary Schrott
While many of the orders may come in as drunken yelps across a counter, the dozens of sandwiches at Oxford’s Bagel & Deli shop all have a story. For more than 40 years, Bagel & Deli has been steaming up fresh and unique bagel sandwiches for its loyal student fan club and local customers.
These sandwiches are known not only for their delectable taste, but also for their creative names. From the Tonya Harding Club to the Crunch and Munch, these sandwiches are legendary. Wondering where the names and recipes came from? Meet the masterminds who created them.
“Everybody joked because I loved roast beef,” Missy Owens, creator of the rare roast beef sandwich “Missy’s Bloodbath,” says reminiscing on her past B&D coworkers who she describes as “vegetarian types.” Missy eventually went on to marry one of those coworkers, Jeff Owens, and together they opened an Owen’s Bagel and Deli in North Carolina in 2005. Missy describes her time at B&D as one of the best jobs she’s ever had, even though it took her a month and 100 flash cards of bagel names to prepare for it. Today Missy’s bagel, made of rare roast beef with melted colby on an onion bagel, remains a strong contender on the shop’s infamously extensive menu.
Eight dollars and a lapful of napkins is all you need for a Messy Katie. Named after the 2002 Miami graduate and former B&D employee Kate Matthews, now Dobbins, this bagel is one of the shop’s most popular. This Uptown classic starts with a warm bialy bagel, with turkey, colby, cream cheese, avocado, lettuce, tomato, sprouts and a smear of honey mustard. The bagel was named after its creator, Katie, who was known by her coworkers as a girl who knew how to have a good sloppy time. Katie was also a member of Miami’s Pi Beta Phi sorority. Her bagel has been recreated in offspring B&D shops in other cities and also has its own T-shirt.
On a slow night at B&D, Julie Brubaker says her coworker Sean “Fly” Flynn threw together some turkey, provolone, veggie cream cheese, sprouts, mustard on a bialy bagel. After his creation was complete Fly named the sandwich after his friend Julie who he called Coolie and the “Kool Jules” was born. Since then the “Kool Jules” bagel has been a crowd favorite at B&D. Julie, who worked at B&D in the early ‘90s, says even today people talk to her about the bagel and its “hangover nursing” qualities. Julie went on to marry one of her bagel coworkers, Scott Brubaker, who worked as a delivery boy. Though it has been years since its creation, Julie plans on stopping back in the shop to have her bagel this fall as her child will be an incoming freshman at Miami.
Class of ‘98 Riot Bagel
The naming of the this bagel can be attributed to a team of students who rioted on High Street during spring semester’s finals week in 1998. Co-owner of Bagel and Deli Gary Franks says he doesn’t know why students were rioting, but the commotion was legendary enough that the day after a group of guys came into the shop saying this bagel needed to be created. A sandwich of ham, salami, smoked cheddar, onions, mustard and black pepper on a jalapeño bagel was made in the events honor. Though it has been years since the infamous riot, a picture of it still hangs proudly inside the shop today.
Randy Ayers Bagel
A pepperoni, provolone, banana peppers, onions and pizza sauce garlic bagel represents one Miami alumnus who has coached professional basketball teams from the Washington Wizards to the Orlando Magic. Randy Ayers graduated from Miami with a degree in education in 1978 and then with a masters in education three years later. During his undergraduate career Ayers played for Miami’s basketball team where he was recognized several times by the MAC conference for his defensive skills. He later played for several years in the NBA and eventually became a professional coach. Though Ayers went far beyond Miami, it’s legend that this was his regular order at B&D.