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The Rios family plans to make The Great American Bagel shop at 12774 S. Harlem Ave. a go-to breakfast and lunch choice in Palos Heights and beyond. Pictured (from left) are Manny Jr. Manny Sr., daughter Silvia, Mia and mother Silvia Rios. (Photo by Cosmo Hadac)

The Rios family plans to make The Great American Bagel shop at 12774 S. Harlem Ave. a go-to breakfast and lunch choice in Palos Heights and beyond. Pictured (from left) are Manny Jr. Manny Sr., daughter Silvia, Mia and mother Silvia Rios. (Photo by Cosmo Hadac)

Experienced bakers buy The Great American Bagel in Palos Heights

New owners nearly double the menu for breakfast, lunch

By Cosmo Hadac

When The Great American Bagel’s shop in Palos Heights changed hands late last year, the new owners who walked in the door weren’t exactly new.

Manny Rios Sr. and his wife, Silvia, have nearly 50 years of combined experience in the bagel business.

Manny started as a baker with The Great American Bagel 26 years ago. He quickly rose through the ranks and eventually earned a promotion to general manager of the company’s wholesale bakery in Frankfort. Along the way, he helped run The Great American Bagel shops in Hickory Hills, Lemont and Chicago Heights.

Silvia has worked for the company for 22 years. Among other things, she has helped her husband run the company shop in Frankfort.

“We’re pleased to be in Palos Heights, and we look forward to serving our customers for years to come,” Manny said. “We encourage everyone to stop in and taste what we have to offer.”

Under previous owner Andy Klinger, the shop in Palos Heights, 12774 S. Harlem Ave., had built a steady and loyal customer base. The Rios family aims to expand upon that with about double the menu options, rolling out such favorites as wraps, soups, salads, panini, desserts, espresso, flavored cream cheese and more.

“We’re an excellent choice for both breakfast and lunch,” Manny added.

After renovating the interior, the new owners had a soft opening in late November. They plan a grand opening celebration in the weeks ahead.

Manny and Silvia are originally from Celaya, a city in Guanajuato, Mexico. They met as young teenagers, and both eventually found their way to the U.S., where they married and raised a family in northwest Indiana. They have three children. Two are adults (Manny Jr. and Silvia), and the youngest (Mia) is a pre-teen. Young Silvia works at the Palos Heights shop full-time. Manny Jr. helps out on the weekends, and Mia is eager to work there when she is old enough, Manny Sr. said with a note of pride.

The Great American Bagel’s Palos Heights shop is open seven days a week. Its hours are 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Delivery is available, as is catering. Phone is (708) 361-6400, and its expanded menu is posted at greatamericanbagel.com.

The parent company was founded in 1987. Its corporate headquarters are in Westmont. Today, it has more than 60 locations in nearly 20 states. Its affiliate, The Great Canadian Bagel, maintains some 15 units across Canada.

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