A new bagel place is in the works in the space last occupied by Peruvian restaurant El Pollo, on Fifth Avenue between First and Second Streets, and earlier this afternoon I had the chance to drop by and speak with owners Robert and Joey Massa, two Brooklyn-born brothers who are eager to start serving up some hot, fresh bagels.
"All our bagels will be baked on-premises, in the authentic, honest way of doing it," said Robert, who lives in Staten Island but grew up about 20 blocks away. "When I say that, I mean hand-rolled, kettle-boiled instead of steamed, and slow-baked in small batches. Most places churn them out by the hundreds; we'll be baking only 4-6 dozen at a time."
The commitment to the hand-crafted, artisan technique will also carry over to the other food offered. "All our meats will be roasted in-house, instead of just using Boar's Head," he added. "We'll be making fresh roast turkey, ham, and roast beef here every day, sliced fresh to order." All pastries and muffins will be made in-house as well, and all other bread will be from Baked in Brooklyn, located further down Fifth. Jams and jellies will come from Anarchy in a Jar, usually found only in specialty stores.
According to Steve, the jovial baker, fresh batches of bagels will be coming out of the oven every hour, so there'll always be something hot. "They'll be crunchy on the outside, and soft on the inside," he said. "Just the way I like it. Not doughy, soft."
"It's more labor intensive to do it the old-style way, to take our time with it and do it right," said Robert. "But when you try it you'll be able to tell the difference, and to tell that we take pride in it."
If all goes to plan, Beygl will be open by the end of the month.
Owners Robert (l.) and Joey Massa