Bagels, oh bagels! Is there anything more delightful than sinking your teeth into a warm, chewy, and freshly baked bagel? I think not! Bagels have always held a special place in my heart. From my childhood days to my current love affair with these heavenly handhelds, bagels have remained my go-to any time of day. That’s precisely why I couldn’t resist the opportunity to explore the inner workings of the Bagel Barn Cafe and Deli, renowned for serving arguably the best bagels in Volusia County.
I arranged a late-night meeting with Joe Benigno, the owner and operator of Bagel Barn, along with his apprentice, Adrian. I was ready to uncover the secrets behind their mouth watering creations.
Joe revealed the secret to their amazing bagels: the proofing process. To achieve that perfect texture and taste, the bagels are pulled from the freezer 24 hours before they are ready to be baked. This slow thawing allows the flavors to develop fully, ensuring an authentic bagel experience.
But what sets Bagel Barn apart from the rest? It’s the NY-style method of boiling the bagels. Joe explained that boiling the bagels before baking them not only makes them larger but also gives them that distinctive chewiness.
The bagel-making process begins late at night, usually around 11:30 p.m. The number of bagels prepared each night varies based on the day of the week, with more bagels made to meet the demand on Saturdays and Sundays.
In addition to the cafe and deli, Joe also operates a food truck called Bagel Barn Cafe and Deli on Wheels, stationed at the Mary McLeod Bethune Beach Park. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., beachgoers can indulge in the same delectable bagels.
Now, let’s talk about the bagels themselves! The everything bagel takes the crown as the most popular choice, and for good reason. Its harmonious blend of flavors and textures is simply irresistible. Joe boils each bagel for 20 to 30 seconds, gives them a toss in a variety of seasonings, and then bakes them to perfection.
With the capacity to boil eight bagels at a time, Joe’s bagel-making prowess is nothing short of impressive. Once baked, the bagels make their way into a series of four ovens, each set at different temperatures ranging from 325 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, ensuring even baking and consistent quality.
The Bagel Barn’s lineup includes a wide variety of flavors, and their newest addition, the marble rye
bagel, promises a unique twist on traditional favorites. It’s a testament to Joe’s creative spirit and his dedication to keeping the bagel experience fresh and exciting.
As we chatted, Joe shared interesting tidbits about their daily operations. Did you know that they make a whopping 40 pounds of bacon on weekends? That’s enough to satisfy even the most ardent bacon lover’s cravings!
The Bagel Barn has also perfected the art of breakfast and lunch sandwiches. Speaking of these heavenly creations, let’s dive into the delightful world of Bagel Barn’s sandwiches. Trust me when I say that picking a favorite is no easy task. Each sandwich is made with fresh, quality ingredients that make me hungry just writing about it. But if I had to narrow it down, my top three picks would undoubtedly be the Reuben on toasted marble rye, the perfectly pressed Cuban and the Italian on a hoagie roll. Just thinking about them makes my mouth water.
To complement their scrumptious bagels, Bagel Barn boasts a great coffee bar with top-notch Joe (ha, ha!). The aroma alone is enough to lure you in, and the rich, smooth taste of their coffee never disappoints. And here’s a little insider tip: they also offer pre-made meals that you can take home for those days when cooking feels like a chore. It’s like having a personal chef without the hefty price tag.
Now, let me share a truly unforgettable experience I had at Bagel Barn. I had the incredible opportunity to join Joe and Adrian in the bagel-making process. I crafted my very own cheddar and bacon bagel. The anticipation was palpable as I watched it rise and bake to perfection. The next day, I was on my way to play golf with my buddy Rico, and together we indulged in the fruits of my labor. Oh, what a moment! Bacon, gooey cheddar, and the distinct bagel texture was pure bliss.
But the surprises didn’t end there. Joe, the maestro of pastry, surprised me with my all-time favorite treat, a strawberry cheesecake croissant. It was a symphony of sweet, tangy and buttery goodness that melted in my mouth.
A new location in New Smyrna Beach is currently in the works. While we eagerly await its grand opening, Joe and his team are diligently working through the permitting process. Keep your eyes peeled for the exciting announcement on their social media channels.
Speaking of their social media accounts, they are running an epic summer photo contest! Here’s what you need to do: 1: Stop by any Bagel Barn location and grab your favorite bagel. 2: Strike a pose and take an incredible photo through the bagel. 3: Share your masterpiece on Instagram or Facebook, tagging @BagelBarnFL and using the hashtag #bagelbomb. The winner will be announced at the end of summer and will receive a free bagel or bagel breakfast sandwich every day for one year! Flip to the back cover of this issue to see exactly what I am talking about.
If you’re craving a taste of Bagel Barn but can’t bear the thought of waiting in line, fear not! You can skip the queue and order online. While delivery isn’t available, just visit their website at BagelBarnCafeDeli.com and place your order with ease.
So, my fellow bagel aficionados, if you haven’t had the opportunity to experience Bagel Barn Cafe and Deli you most definitely have to see what everyone else is talking about and try it for yourself. I’m on my way there right after this to quell my appetite. Yum, yum!
Bagel Barn Cafe & Deli On Wheels
Bethune Beach Park
6656 S Atlantic Ave, NSB 32169
Friday-Sunday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.