Murphysboro native to continue legacy of Winston’s Bagels


Winston Mezo hands a bagel to a customer on Nov. 4, 2016, as he stands behind his kart in the parking lot of Pinch Penny Liquors. (Anna Spoerre | @annaspoerre)

By Amelia Blakely

The legacy of Winston’s Bagels will continue with a new face running the beloved cart – Brad Priess of Murphysboro.

For three decades, Winston Mezo stood outside Pinch Penny Pub on East Grand Avenue from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., flipping bagels for countless SIU students after long nights out. Mezo retired in April of 2017.

Preiss, originally from New York, said he plans to continue the bagel tradition, hopefully getting the cart up-and-running by Nov. 10 at its new location, 606 S. Illinois Ave.


Priess said his wife is a Carbondale native and has known Winston for “years and years” from when she used to work at a print shop on the Strip. She introduced Mezo to Preiss, he said.

“The SIU tradition is kind of one of the reasons why we got involved,” Preiss said. “Winston often says that he spent 34 years there for a reason.”

Mezo’s cart is part of the university’s culture, Preiss said, and was often a place for students to meet up as the last stop before they headed home from the bars. Priess said Winston’s absence was immediately felt by alumni and students.

Priess, 53, said he is very excited to meet students and the community.

“I sure use to live the high life back in the day and I can relate 100 percent,” Preiss said. “Joking around with students will be one of the highlights of my night, for sure.”

He said two weeks ago, around the time Winston put his bagel cart for sale, Priess’ five-year-old daughter started school. This left him some free time, as he said he has been a stay-at-home dad for the past five years.

“My daughter started kindergarten and I wanted to get back to work,” Preiss said. “We decided this would be a great idea to continue the legacy of Winston.”


The business will get a new name, too — Winston’s Bagels by B-Rad. It also comes with a new slogan.

“’Almost as good as they used to be,’” Preiss said. “I want people to know I’m not trying to replace Winston but I am trying to carry on his legacy.”

Priess said the operation will be almost identical to Mezo’s, just with a new location. The operation hours will be the same, from 9 p.m. to about 3 p.m. — depending on the crowd — on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, he said.

Preiss said he hopes to implement occasional daytime hours for special events, which would be held in Murphysboro.

“Hopefully some of the folks who can’t get out at night can come and have old-style Winston’s bagels,” Preiss said.

To get updates on the cart, Preiss said the check out the new Facebook page, Winston’s Bagels by B-Rad.

Staff writer Amelia Blakely can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @AmeilaBlakely.

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