Don’t get it twisted. Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company isn’t even from Brooklyn. Instead, the moniker of this Astoria-born bagel company is a shout-out to the old-fashioned style of hand-rolling and water-boiling dough to give each bagel that extra special snap. It’s a difference you can taste, and it’s just a tiny part of what makes these bagels some of the very best in the city.
Bagels are available in several shapes, sizes and flavors, ranging from a big hand-rolled ketel-boiled bagel for $1.20 to a mini for $1.05. Or order a bialy or Kaiser for $1.20, or even a spelt bagel loaded with a schmear or one of Brooklyn Bagel’s flavored butters.
But it’s not just about the bread. New cream cheeses are developed weekly, and they’re anything but orthodox. Wasabi lox, bacon scallion, curried apple spread, peanut butter chocolate chip — an ever-changing line-up of spreads is constantly intriguing and tempting customers’ taste buds.
“You can’t hold back on innovation,” says Peter Voyiatzis, co-founder of Brooklyn Bagel.
The restaurant — the brainchild of college friends Voyiatzis and John Rocchio — first opened its doors in 2002. Originally Steinway-based civil engineers, Voyiatzis and Rocchio decided to trade in their hard hats for baker’s caps after 9/11, when public bids for construction quickly dried up — though they built each of the four bagel stores themselves, of course. Today, the two Astorians rotate between the shops, scouting out new opportunities and coming up with the company’s constantly expanding list of new flavors.
In addition, the store notably only uses unbleached and unbromated flours, avoiding popular industry processes that whiten and strengthen flour with potential carcinogens.
But the menu at Brooklyn Bagel only starts with the bagels. It continues with a broad range of coffees, teas and seasonal ciders. But the selection truly gets rich with the soups, yogurts, sandwiches and grilled goods. Cold cuts, cutlets and fresh salads are ready to crown the bagel of your choice. And if folded ribbons of lox is a little too much smoked fish for your preferences, they offer several cream cheeses with bits of smoked fish or bacon blended directly into the spread. But don’t forget the capers, juicy sliced tomato and bright onions.
The pesto chicken pasta salad is light, refreshing and full of tangy red peppers. Tortillas come stuffed with Moroccan chicken, chicken caesars, and tender sliced Boar’s Head roast beef slathered with Greek tzatziki. One of the best wraps is their teriyaki chicken laced with sweet pineapple and an orange mandarin ginger dressing.
The commitment to quality is almost tangible. The final product? An inspiring model for what great local business should aspire to be. Two neighborhood boys who refused to fall victim to the economy, defying tumultuous odds to create one of the most delicious and customer-focused businesses in Astoria — with a team that believes in their vision just as much as they do.
Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company
6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
36-14 30th Ave, Astoria
35-05 Broadway, Astoria
6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
35-09 Ditmars Blvd., Astoria
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