The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. will scoop out a bagel… (Baltimore Sun photo/Sarah…)
The bagel isn’t what it used to be. And we’re not even talking about those rolls with a hole in the center you see for sale at the grocery store. Those aren’t even bagels. But a bagel purist – and no one writes more crankily and persuasively about this subject than Mimi Sheraton -- will tell you that even the better bagels these days are soft and puffy imitations of their hard, chewy immigrant ancestors. It’s the story of America.
The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. has recently opened in Pikesville. Founded in 2009 in Delray Beach, Fla., the bagel shop uses a “proprietary water technology” it says creates the beloved Brooklyn bagels of days gone by The company’s slogan is “It’s all about the water.” The Brooklynite Larry King was persuaded by them. He’s now the company’s spokesman and a franchise owner.
The bagels, made on the premises, are fine second-generation American bagels, with a good hard crust and a fairly chewy interior. Original Brooklyn stocks the standards like poppy seed, sesame, marble and onion, along with a few oldies like salt bagels and marble rye. There a couple of new-fangled editions like Asiago and cinnamon raisin but, reassuringly, no blueberry or chocolate-chip bagels. On the other hand, there are, sadly, no bialys. Loose bagels are $1.09 each.
Original Brooklyn has built a breakfast and lunch menu around its bagels, and the Pikesville shop in Hooks Village was packed with customers on a few recent visit. Orders are placed at the counter for egg sandwiches, bagel sandwiches, pizza bagels and Scooper Melts, scooped-out bagels stuffed with meats and cheeses and melted under a broiler. There’s a cheerful, sunlit dining area to enjoy them in.
On request, Original Brooklyn will also scoop out the dough of your bagel before it packs in the tuna salad, egg salad, turkey breast, chicken salad, or whitefish salad. It makes for a better sandwich this way, really, with a better balance of bread to contents. I’m still looking for a stuffing to love, though. The texture of the whitefish and egg salads is too creamy, and the chicken salad ($6.99) has a sweet-pickle taste.
Original Brooklyn sells freshly squeezed orange and Fox’s U-Bet, a nostalgia-inducing bottled chocolate egg cream. But the big hit at Original Brooklyn is the Cubsta (pronounced CUBE-sta), a machine that produces ice cubes made from iced coffee. Think about how great that is.
The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co.
Where: 25 Hooks Lane, Suite 114, Pikesville
Contact: 410-602-7776, www.brooklynwaterbagels.com
Hours: 7 a.m-3:30 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday, for lunch and breakfast