By Raiza Giorgi

Enjoy Cupcakes owners Kevin and Amber Vander Vliet said this is now the second time a crisis has led them into a business venture as their successful cupcake business was born out of the financial crisis in 2008, and now their Enjoy Bagels is born out of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Kevin and Amber Vander Vliet, owners of Enjoy Cupcakes and now the new Enjoy Bagels venture, said they are so thankful to the Santa Ynez Valley for supporting them during the pandemic.
Photo by Raiza Giorgi

“It’s crazy to just literally change your business model overnight, and I think that is why Amber and I have been okay through this, it’s because we did this once before,” Kevin Vander Vliet said. 

The couple frosted their way into success as they are a well sought out company for all kinds of celebrations from weddings, birthday, holidays and more. They opened a shop at Santa Barbara Public Market and were gearing up for an incredibly busy year of more than 200 events booked when the world stopped in March for COVID. 

“All of a sudden all the orders we were anticipating canceled and postponed,” Vander Vliet said. “It was panic and chaos and I just started making a bagel to comfort myself and thought, ‘I love New York style bagels, I wonder if I could make this a thing.’” 

His wife Amber is more tech-savvy than him and he asked her to put it out on the valley’s social media groups to see if there was interest. 

“Amber came to me later that day and said… ‘Well, you have to make 600 bagels in three days,’ and I was shocked,” Vander Vliet said. “We literally spent all day and night filling orders and now we have a store front location at our baking space in Buellton.”

The Vander Vliets decided they wanted the feel of a back alley in New York, where there’s industrial-type shops around them and there tucked in the back is a great bagel shop, and they got it. 

“The coolest part is, all through this pandemic, the valley has stepped up and supported us the whole way through,” Vander Vliet said. “How amazing is this community to help a couple bakers out.” 

The Vander Vliets’ shop has a giant lighted arrow pointing to their door, industrial type seating and they painted the outside wall a charcoal black to make it stand out even more. 

The bagel shop has now been open for a little over two months, and Vander Vliet said that his day typically starts at 3 a.m. and it’s a family affair with his wife making deliveries, and even his kids get into the kitchen to help after school. 

The French Toast bagel at Enjoy Bagels is made with cinnamon sugar, soaked in eggs, cinnamon, cream and vanilla bean then baked and topped with powdered sugar, blackberries, maple syrup and caramel.
Photo by Raiza Giorgi

“I don’t even know what day it is sometimes, but that’s what you do when you own your own business, whatever it takes to get through and hope for the best,” he said smiling and covered in flour. 

Vander Vliet said he also loves they can be super creative with their bagel flavors and have added in ‘bagel-wiches,’ coming up with fun ideas like using newspaper baking paper to wrap them in. 

“Part of the fun of going to New York is the food,” he said. “I am happy to bring a little of that flavor here to the valley.” 

A couple of the shop’s ‘bagel-wich’ options are the Bagel Burrito with beef, black bean corn salsa, grilled pineapple and melted cheese; and the You Turkey, which has a garlic basil pesto schmear, turkey, melted cheese, heirloom tomato, butterleaf lettuce and pepperoncini. (Has your mouth started watering yet?) 

There is also the French Toast bagel with cinnamon sugar, soaked in eggs, cinnamon, cream and vanilla bean then baked and topped with powdered sugar, blackberries, maple syrup and caramel. 

Enjoy Bagels is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday through Sunday and located at 270 East Highway 246 #112, on the backside of O’Reilly’s Auto Parts building. Visit them at for more info.