The student news site of Jones College Prep High School


The student news site of Jones College Prep High School


The student news site of Jones College Prep High School


The bustling bagel business

The new small business that’s been attracting Jones students and staff
The bustling bagel business

Tilly’s bagels opened up on Aug. 12 drawing in the Jones community as another go-to breakfast and lunch spot just down the street. 

Hannah “Tilly” Tillett the founder of the shop had a bagel recipe for seven years before opening her shop on Baldo. 

“Before the pandemic, I was working as a pastry chef and fine dining. When the pandemic happened I just started making bagels for friends and family,” said Tillett. “Then I thought,  I’m just gonna do this full time, and now we have a shop.”  

One of her employees, Beth Coile, was formerly a customer during Tillett’s online bagel shop. 

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“I used to be a customer of Tilly when she was delivering during COVID,” said Coile. “They the bagels were so delicious that I wanted to work here.”

Jones students help contribute to the success of this local business. 

“I really like supporting small businesses,” said Eleanor Kerns ‘25. “It feels better to give money to a business that is run by people who have put a lot of work into what they do, rather than big corporations like fast food restaurants.” 

Tillett decided to locate Tilly Bagel Shop in the South Loop, the neighborhood she lives in, which is less than a two-minute walk from Jones.

“There’s not a lot of bagel places, especially on the south side of the city. So we really wanted to cater to everybody down here,” she said. “A lot of our customers are [Jones students and staff]. Also, we’re in a residential building for Columbia, too.”

As Jones students begin coming in to experience the local tastes Tillys has to offer, reviews are flooding the school halls. 

“I have gone about three times and, as a relatively picky eater, I have been very impressed with how their complex flavors have been truly delicious,” said Kerns.

Many businesses in Chicago try to emulate a New York-style bagel, but Tillet wanted to take a different approach. 

“I thought it’d be a good idea to do a Chicago style because Chicago doesn’t have specialty bagels. So all the bagels are sourdough and we have 12 different styles,” said Tillet. 

Tillet employed all of her friends to make the bagels as they joined from their previous jobs to make her recipe. 

Tilly Bagel Shop’s menu has a wide variety of flavor combination possibilities that are unseen at other bagel shops: garlic, rosemary, and chili pepper.

“A lot of [the preparation] was learning the flavors and learning the flavor combinations that work really well, as they are pretty unique flavors,” said Coile. 

Coile particularly enjoys the customer experience aspect of Tilly Bagel Shop .

 “It’s been a nice experience to interact with all age groups and all types of people from internationally too,” said Coile. “Hearing some people’s flavor combinations and having repeat customers has been really nice.”

Not only have people been very impressed with the taste of the bagels, but students find the space to be comforting and welcoming. 

“I really like the ambiance that they have. Being a local business, it can be hard to get a good flow of customers, but, from what I have seen, they seem to be getting good business which is really impressive,” said Kerns. “When I walk by, I immediately must go inside for a bite.”  

Coile has shown lots of gratitude towards the familiar faces that are starting to come more often.

“Having people have this become people’s regular spot has been really cool,” said Coile. “I really want to open up a conversation with them and make sure that they leave happy.”

But this interest and attraction towards the opening doesn’t stop at students, staff have evidently begun running into students on their daily bagel runs. 

“I even ran into my English teacher, which led to a bonding moment as we began referring to each other as ‘bagel buddies’,” said Kerns.

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About the Contributors
Ramiyah Lee '24
Ramiyah Lee '24, Journalism I
Ella Lewis '25
Ella Lewis '25, Journalism I

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