LAKE WYLIE — A Lake Wylie resident is banking on knowing his neighbors are looking for a gathering place close to home.
I want it to be a community place, said Frank Keefe Jr., who is currently refurbishing the former Bank of America building at 4090 Charlotte Highway into The Bagel Boat.
Keefe expects to open the coffee house serving authentic New York bagels and frozen yogurt by Nov. 1.
He said he will begin accepting applications and interviewing for full time and part time positions in the next couple of weeks. He plans to hire up to 18 staff members.
He said since the Lake Wylie Coffee House abruptly shut down at the location now occupied by Azteca Grill in Shoppes at the Landing, he has eyed the roadside 2,200-square-foot location at Lake Wylie Plaza.
Ive been looking at it the past couple of years, he said of the building after the bank moved to Mill Creek Commons off Highway 557.
An enticing feature, he said, is the available parking and ability to have a drive-thru.
It has great visibility, he said.
Although the menu and coffee roasters arent set quite yet, he is anchored in his bagel choice.
A native of New Jersey coming to Lake Wylie via Long Island, N.Y., he has chosen Davidovich Bakery bagels.
He said the bagels, handmade in Woodside, N.Y., will come parboiled to be finished off at Lake Wylie. He even held a taste test, he said, and the bagels won hands down.
If youre looking for the authentic New York bagel, Keefe said, this is it.
Keefe, who spent 19 seasons as general manager of New York country club and 20 years in the hotel business, said he is coming out of retirement because Im missing the action.
The action he envisions for his new cafe is something for everyone.
His design plans include a quiet lounge area removed from the high-traffic entrance area, a conference room that can be rented, and even a childrens play area.
This is not going to be an espresso house or night time cafe, Keefe said.
Keefe expects house to be from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, and open until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with adjusted Sunday hours.
Hes grateful for support from the Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce, his neighbors and especially, his family including wife Susan.
Everybodys helping me, he said.
As work continues turning a bank into a coffee shop, a reminder of the buildings former resident will remain the vault.
Thats where the secret of our yogurt will be kept, he said.