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Name: Shuie Blau
Busines Name and Position: Owner, Holy Bagel
Location: 2388 Nostrand Avenue
Years in Business: 6 months
Number of Employees: 5

1) Is there a back story to the name Holy Bagel?

Every day people ask me about the name! I was in Israel last summer and discovered a franchise of eateries called Holy Bagel. I was intrigued and loved the name. I modeled my place after them, but we are not affiliated with Israel’s Holy Bagel and have our own identity and logo.

2) Please tell us a little about your experience in the food industry?

My love for cooking emerged about 20 years ago when I was in yeshivah and was developed professionally about 15 years ago. I have no official culinary experience; I learned everything on my own. When I was in yeshivah, I used to help prepare and cook the food for our melavah malkas. The food used to be prepared in advance and frozen, and it never tasted good, so I took over and noticed that I have a talent for food.

3) How did you get into the bagel business?

First, I had a pizza store called Pizza Palace. I sold it to its current owner 11 years ago. After that, I opened a steakhouse called Palace Grill, which I sold in 2009. I got into the bagel business with a lot of siyata dishmaya. Running a bagel place is not that much different than a pizza shop; the key ingredient is always the dough. When running a bagel place, it’s different in the sense that it’s more intricate, meaning you have more variations and options. For example, you can make eggs 20 different ways.

4) What made you open a bagel store?

I saw a need in the community. The men in shul would talk in the mornings and complain how there aren’t enough bagel stores in the area, so I decided to fill that void.

5) Can you describe the process of making a traditional bagel?

Every bagel store has a different method. We use malt here. We are also very particular about our water temperature. If the water is not in optimal temperature, then it can become more like a pizza or cake dough consistency. We are very careful about the dough rising and yeast fermenting process as well as the boiling so too much water is not absorbed into the mixture. We also use a special bagel oven which is made of stone, not metal, allowing the dough to heat gradually through, absorbing the stone’s heat. This takes 10 to 20 minutes and makes the bagel nice and crispy.

6) Do you offer rainbow bagels?

We get a crazy amount of orders for these colorful bagels. You would think only kids love it, but adults order it too. The recipe is the same as for a traditional bagel, but we incorporate food coloring, roll each color separately and then combine. To make your own rainbow bagels, dye each portion with food coloring (use yellow and red to make orange and blue and red to make purple). Each piece will have to be kneaded for about 10 minutes to get a uniform color throughout the dough. Keep dough you aren’t using covered, so it doesn’t dry out! Twist the stack together to make a rainbow log.

7) What is your most ordered item?

Of course, a bagel and tuna and bagel and cream cheese. These are staples in anyone’s breakfast.

8) Are bagels primarily a brunch food?

Some people can eat bagels for dinner by adding meat or fish or making it into French toast, but I find that most connote anything with eggs as a breakfast meal.

9) What is something surprising about your store that people may not know?

Our coffee is #1. I did a lot of research into making the best coffee, and it starts with using the best cream; I didn’t want to use a cream powder. We make our coffee with espresso shots, and we grind it on the spot, so you get the authentic taste. We also have indoor seating so you can enjoy your food at our bar.

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