Johnson City Press: Get Your Daily Dose of Bagel-based Bounce at Wheeler’s Bagels

Get Your Daily Dose of Bagel-based Bounce at Wheeler’s Bagels

Mystery Diner • Feb 11, 2019 at 12:00 AM

Most people think that when they retire, they can take it easy. Not so for dine-around bunch member the Retiree. Our friend’s current daily schedule is busier than when she worked for the state of Tennessee. How busy? Our friend had to trade her pen & paper datebook for a high-performance smartphone just to keep up with her day-to-day activities. Fortunately, our friend gets her daily energy boost from Wheeler’s Bagels in Johnson City.


The brainchild of Florida-sheriff-turned-entrepreneur Gary Wheeler, Wheeler’s Bagels is a truly purpose-built bagel bakery. For five years running, Wheeler’s Bagels has gathered a regular and loyal clientele of bagel enthusiasts who, just like our friend the Retiree, get their daily dose of bagel-based bounce and sass. This has not escaped notice of the folks over at Taste of Tennessee, who recently named Wheeler’s Bagels the Number Two Bagel Shop in the whole state of Tennessee. Being Number Two means the team at Wheeler’s is trying that much harder to make your visit a special one.

Located in an airy corner storefront just off North State of Franklin Road, Wheeler’s squeaky-clean dining area fronts a muffin-filled display case and a constantly full bagel rack. An active bakery and kitchen run by current proprietor Eric Wheeler, his wife and a very busy support team is in back Dining area furniture is Spartan but comfortable, with a drinks fountain and utensils bar conveniently at hand. Restrooms are clean, tidy, and about ten degrees cooler than the dining area.

Wheeler’s Bagels has a fresh-baked bagel, delectable muffin or superb scone waiting for you before sun-up each day, as ours was when the Retiree took my dining partner and I along for her usual early morning romp.

(Veggie Omelet Bagel)

The Retiree strode purposefully up to the front counter and ordered a Veggie Omelet Bagel ($8.49). As I watched with interest, our friend had her omelet bagel “deconstructed;” the fluffy, onion, pepper and mushroom-filled omelet in the middle, the split bagel on each side of it. As I corralled a forkful of omelet from her plate, our friend remarked that Wheeler’s can do the same with an egg-white only omelet. Either way, it was a very delicious forkful indeed, especially so with the sweet, spicy and slightly sour taste of cinnamon and raisin bagel helping out.

(Chocolate Chip Muffin)

Having been raised by Mamaw here in East Tennessee, my dining partner knows when she hears the word “Breakfast,” that means “Biscuit;” anything else that starts with “B” (other than “Bacon”) is in the wrong place. That being said, my dining partner’s choice of a chocolate/chocolate chip muffin ($2.49) is not out of line. This delicacy is a softball-sized chocolate muffin with extra bits and pieces of very real dark and bittersweet chocolate mixed into the batter and covering every available inch of space on the outside. This delectable little muffin is Eric Wheeler’s version of “Death by Chocolate.”

(Slice Nova Bagel)

While our Retiree friend was savoring her veggie omelet and my dining partner was being launched into Chocolate Heaven, I settled down with a Wheeler’s Slice Nova on a rye bagel ($8.99). “Nova” means salmon, cold-smoke cured Nova Scotia-style. The 80 degree F. “cold smoke” process does not cook but cures the salmon, giving it a deep orange color evocative of a Nova Scotia sunset. The salmon Nova is then placed on a lightly-toasted bagel that is “schmeared” with cream cheese. Be careful with the schmear. Too much will hide the delicate flavor of the salmon. Adding sliced red onions and diced ripe tomato only enhances the delight in every mouthful.

(And For “Later”)

Impressed with my Slice Nova bagel, I ordered a Wheeler’s Monte Cristo bagel ($7.99) for later. My version of Wheeler’s take on the Monte Cristo sandwich starts with an excellent rye bagel, takes thin-slices of smoked breast of turkey, equally thin slices of “city” ham, nutty-flavored Swiss cheese and creamy-tart, slightly sweet Thousand Island dressing. Thus customized, my Wheeler’s Monte Cristo is a savory treat that hits all the important taste buds of my palate.


Wheeler’s Bagels has to be the most customer-centric bagel shop I’ve ever enjoyed visiting. Friendly, attentive customer service is a hallmark of Wheeler’s Bagels, from Eric Wheeler himself, his kind and knowledgeable staff, right down to the bagel and muffin bites offered free at the front counter to help customers narrow their choices. (My new favorite is an Asiago cheese-flavored bagel with just a hint of a strawberry cream cheese schmear on it. Sweetness and sharp pungent cheese in one bite? Oh, yes. Wheeler’s has several excellent coffees and teas available, both hot and cold, along with a soda fountain plus bottled drinks both still and sparkly.

What more could you ask for? Wheeler’s Bagels is “Recommended” by the Mystery Diner.

Why not stop in and see if you don’t agree?


Wheeler’s Bagels

260 Marketplace Blvd, Suite 160

Johnson City


Mon-Fri 6:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Sat-Sun 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Available on Facebook & at

Credit cards accepted

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