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Winston Mezo and Brad Preiss

Winston Mezo (left) has sold his legendary bagel business to Brad Preiss (right). 

CARBONDALE — An iconic bagel joint is set to reopen next week under new ownership.

Winston “the Bagel Man” Mezo, who peddled hot bagels to Carbondale’s late-night bar crowd for 34 years, retired last spring. He recently posted all the equipment associated with the business — including his bagel cart, grill and 1998 Econoline Ford van — on Craigslist for $3,500.

Brad Preiss has purchased the cart and plans to reopen it under the name “Winston’s Bagels by B-Rad.”

Preiss has lived in Southern Illinois for two years and is originally from Virginia and New York state. His wife, Alexandria "Alix" Myers, a Carbondale Community High School graduate, was a longtime fan of Winston’s Bagels and encouraged him to buy the business.

“I couldn’t believe it when it became available. We really jumped on it,” Preiss said.

Mezo has been teaching Preiss about the best ways to operate the equipment.

"He’s been extremely helpful,” Preiss said.

Preiss said the menu will be virtually identical, although he may consider adding a New York bagel down the line.

Preiss said there’s no replacing Mezo’s expert touch — or his sense of humor. His slogan for the business is “almost as good as they used to be.” But he hopes his bagel cart will honor Mezo’s legendary career.

“I want to make sure that his name will still be around, and I’ll continue his legacy as best as I can,” Preiss said.

Winston’s Bagels by B-Rad will be open from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Wednesday through Saturday at 606 S. Illinois Ave.

Preiss hopes to begin operating Friday, Nov. 10. For updates, visit


On Twitter: @janis_eschSI



Janis Esch is a reporter covering higher education.

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