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Big O Bagels

Food: ()

Sweet and savory bagels; sandwiches can be good or inconsistently prepared.

Service: ()

Friendly and well-informed at two stores, less aware on the south side.

Atmosphere: ()

Butler Market shop is modern and spacious, the other two not so much.

More info

Location: 1032 NW Galveston Ave., Bend; 61419 S. Highway 97, Bend; 2625 NE Butler Market Road, Bend

Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Saturday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday

Cuisine: Bagels and sandwiches

Price range: Dressed bagels $1.70 to $3.10, “eye-opener” breakfasts $3.70 to $4.65, lunch sandwiches $4.75 to $7.45, combo meals $6.75 to $9.35

Credit cards: Master Card, Visa

Kids’ menu: No

Vegetarian and gluten-free menu: Try the veggie combo bagel, but wheat goes into almost everything

Alcoholic beverages: No

Outdoor seating: No

Reservations: No

Contact: facebook.com/bigobagels, 541-383-2446 (Galveston), 541-317-3924 (South Third), 541-306-4096 (Butler Market)

The word is prominent on the blackboard menus at all three of Bend’s Big O Bagels shops: “Guadagno.”

I “googled” it and learned that Kim Guadagno is the lieutenant governor of New Jersey.

I translated the word from Italian and discovered that it means earnings or profit.

The second meaning, I imagine, is more suitable for a small business than the first. But it doesn’t explain how a bagel sandwich with turkey, bacon, avocado and cheddar cheese had that name bestowed upon it.

At $7.45, the Guadagno is a good sandwich, my favorite of three bites that I sampled recently at the different Big Os. It was served — per my choice from among 18 options — on a sun-dried tomato bagel, a perfect complement. The bagel sandwich was spread with mayonnaise and Dijon mustard, garnished with lettuce, tomato and onion.

The bagel options vary from savory (bacon cheddar, garlic onion, sesame, for example) to sweet (cinnamon raisin, chocolate chip, blueberry). They can be purchased individually or by the dozen, and dressed with a variety of cream cheeses (including spinach artichoke, cinnamon honey or vegan Tofutti), or with hummus or peanut butter and jelly.

In addition to bagels and bagel sandwiches, the Big O menu features such novelties as bagel dogs and pizza bagels. And there’s a selection of breakfast choices: eye openers.

Good nosh

But despite their similarities, each of the three Bend outlets offers a different experience — some positive, some not so.

The west-side shop on Galveston Avenue, located beside a 7-Eleven store, is simple and friendly. There’s no seating here other than a few counter stools (on tables shaped like bagels, naturally), but the cozy space has a good bagel case and separate display areas for soft drinks and Kettle chips.

The two young servers walked me through the choices and quickly prepared my Guadagno turkey-and-bacon meal.

In northeast Bend, in a little strip mall where Butler Market Road meets 27th Street, the newest of three Big O Bagels has established a presence. This is by far the largest and most contemporary cafe, with seating for about 30 guests at tables and a few stools. The blackboard menu is more colorfully and neatly presented than at the other stores, and two walls feature novelty photos of dogs (and other family members) enjoying bagels.

My eye-opener breakfast combo ($6.75) provided me a 12-ounce vanilla latte with a toasted bagel breakfast sandwich of egg, cheese and sausage. (Bacon and ham were other options.) It wasn’t an out-of-the-ordinary sandwich, but it was just fine for the price, and I’d take it over McDonald’s any day. What’s more, the two employees were very helpful and well informed, offering me options (what kind of cheese? What meat?) and telling me how things should have been on the south side.

And not so good

Indeed, my visit to the Big O on South Third Street — opposite the Toyota dealership, next door to the Mazatlán Mexican restaurant — was a disappointment. This is a small, spare space, with a small counter area and seating for 14. That makes it larger than the west-side store, but the service wasn’t up to the same standard.

The menu promised: “All sandwiches come with lettuce, tomato, onion, mustard & mayo.” I expected that to be so with my tuna melt ($5.95) on honey wheat. But it was delivered as two open-faced slices, both with only a mound of tuna salad and a slice of cheddar lightly melted on top. The bagel was unevenly sliced, so that the thinner slice was like over-crisp toast.

On my request, the lone counter attendant was kind enough to give me a side of tomato, lettuce and onion, after the fact. I later learned that she should have offered me a choice of cheeses: I would have preferred Swiss or provolone, had I known they were available, over orange cheddar. And the Butler Market staff told me they always include tomato on tuna melts.

Mostly, I felt as though the server was merely going through the motions.

— John Gottberg Anderson can be reached at janderson@bendbulletin.com.

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