Bagels R Bagels, a New York-style bagel shop on Mariposa Road, closed its doors Friday after nearly 18 years of business.


A few years after moving from New York, Michael Paduano and his parents began building the bagel shop and even laid the tile floor themselves. In November of 1990, Bagels R Bagels opened, sharing made from scratch bagels with bagel-lovers and people who'd never eaten one.


"Guys I worked with said, 'What's a bagel?'" said Paduano, of when he first moved here and started talking about opening a bagel place.


Despite the economic recession in 1990, the Paduanos' bagels became increasing popular, twice winning an award for the best bagels in Southern California. Bagels R Bagels once made about 800 bagels a day and supplied the High Desert with authentic and fresh meat for sandwiches.


Now the bagel shop produces about 300 bagels every day, as the recent economic difficulties left it struggling to survive. Although Paduano has been working a full-time job at Fort Irwin througout the existence of Bagels R Bagels, he can no longer afford to keep the bagel shop open.


"The money's just not here. Times are bad; it's the worst it's been since the first month we opened," said Paduano.


Customers Suzanne and Gary Quarton have been coming to Bagels R Bagels for around seven years.


"We come here in the morning, relax, read the newspaper and talk to friends," said Gary.


The couple regularly drives from their Oak Hills home to get bagels with their kids on the weekends, and they also often swing by during the week after dropping the kids off at school.


"I keep thinking this is a nightmare. I'm going to wake up, and [Paduano] is going to say he's not closing," said Suzanne.


Paduano hopes to reopen in a couple of years, when money is less tight. In the meantime, he plans to go to New York and learn how to make authentic New York pizza so that he can bring a "taste of New York" to the High Desert through pizza and bagels.


"I will be back," said Paduano. "That's the nature of me - I will be back."