Philly Style Bagels’ mission is to fill the hole that exists for fresh baked bagels in Philadelphia.
Our bagels are so different, we had to create a new category: the Philly Style Bagel.
There are very few places in Philadelphia that make bagels from scratch, and none in Fishtown. We want to see fresh baked bagels on our side of town!
Having run a steady Sunday pop-up shop at Pizzeria Beddia for over a year, we’re ready to make the jump to our own shop in Fishtown, and we need your help. We make a bagel that Philadelphia can be proud to call its own. We would like the world to know and love the Philly Style Bagel.
What is a Philly Style Bagel?
Philly Style Bagels is the world’s first and only shop to boil its bagels with beer in the kettle water instead of malt syrup or honey. It’s our homage to the great beer culture of Philadelphia and it’s absolutely delicious.
Our recipe and technique pull many elements from different styles of bread and bagel baking. We’ve experimented with every detail of the bagel-making process to emphasize what we like and eliminate what we don’t like about the bagels we grew up with. The results were worth the effort.
We make them from scratch and pay close attention to every detail of the process.
We bulk ferment our dough before shaping the bagels; it highlights the wonderful complex flavors of fermentation that bread lovers prize and brings out the nuanced complexity of our simple ingredients.
A Philly Style Bagel is hand-rolled and seeded on both sides. We dust the bottoms with cornmeal and bake them upside-down on burlap-lined bagel boards before flipping them directly on to the stone to finish baking. We make small batches throughout the day, so the bagels are always fresh, even for the late-risers.
We aren’t bound by bagel tradition in Philadelphia, so we’re free to create an even better bagel.
Here’s how our bagels stack up against other bagel styles:
What’s our secret to making these bagels so good?
It’s no secret. There’s definitely something in the water that makes them so uniquely delicious: beer! Yard’s IPA, to be exact.
The strong malt backbone of this beer gives the bagels extra flavor and their signature crunch, while the hoppy flavor of the beer balances the sweetness of the malt.
Where are we setting up shop?
We have a space in the heart of Fishtown, right on Palmer Park! 100% of the proceeds from the Sunday pop-ups have gone directly into funding this project. We certainly couldn’t have come this far without the support of our amazing community. We just need a little boost to help us cross the finish line.
Having our own shop will allow us to offer a lot more than we’ve been able to at the pop-ups. We look forward to offering a full menu of breakfast sandwiches and lunch options. Everything will be made fresh with locally-sourced high quality ingredients.
What does your donation go towards?
Our life force — the oven. The Montague Hearth Bake 25P-2, a larger version of the oven we fell in love with at Pizzeria Beddia. It’s a top-of-the-line gas oven lined with pizza stone on all sides. The extra space will help us produce enough bagels to keep prices reasonable and meet demand.
We are Collin Shapiro and Jonathon Zilber.
We met over five years ago while working together stocking beers at the Foodery in Northern Liberties. It’s one of Philly’s first craft beer bottle-shops and is known for its huge selection.
We also share a love of coffee — we’ve spent years working the bar over at Shot Tower Coffee in Queen Village, one of Philadelphia’s best coffee shops.
One day a few years ago, we cured up some salmon but didn’t have a plan for how to serve it. Naturally, we thought of the obvious choice — bagels! Out of necessity, we made our first batch.
While they weren’t the prettiest, they were good enough to inspire us to set out on a mission to make the best bagels possible.
We began making bagels every week, refining the recipe along the way.
We didn’t start with a recipe or any preconceived notions about what they “should” be. We knew what result we wanted. We arrived there by tweaking our recipe little by little.
After several months of experimentation, we finally settled on something we were ready to share with the world.
Working in the back of that beer store meant we saw almost every bottled beer distributed in Philadelphia. And stocking shelves for hours on end meant we had plenty of time to toss around seemingly far-fetched ideas.
People were using anything and everything to flavor the beer. Inspired by this creative approach, we asked ourselves, “What if we boiled bagels in beer? Then we could make up our own style of bagel… we could call them Philly Style Bagels.”
The first time we baked at Pizzeria Beddia, it was an experiment and we didn’t know what to expect. We invited all of our friends to come test out our first batch. The level of support we received right away left us in disbelief. We were taken aback by how strong the demand was for us to return, and it has continued to grow. Before we knew it, we were making bagels there almost every Sunday. And we’ve made so many new friends along the way. After a year of pop-ups and generous support from our local community, this idea doesn’t seem so far-fetched anymore.
Our story represents what it means to be a Philadelphian these days. We have the spirit of innovation. We are creative. Our imagination has no limits. We are resourceful, resilient, and hard working. We inspire each other. We maintain strong roots in our history and tradition but we are not bound by it.
Philly Style Bagels will become an integral part of Fishtown. We will support companies that are in line with our philosophy of sourcing high-quality ingredients and supporting local farms and producers. Our shop will also create a place where our neighbors can fulfill these expectations while enriching the social fabric of our neighborhood.
As experienced baristas, we take coffee seriously and will offer excellent coffee as well.
Most importantly, bagels are a food for everyone. A bagel shop is a place for neighbors to come together, where people of different backgrounds can connect with each other freely.
Risks and Challenges
Baking is itself a difficult thing to master, but we have proven through our pop-ups that we are ready for the challenge and our supporters have proven that they’re ready for our brick and mortar space.
Bagel making is a labor intensive process, especially since we don’t use the machines that are staples of mass production. But we are ready to put in the long hours. It’s also a labor of love, so it’s lucky that we love what we do.
As first-time business owners, it is easy to underestimate the amount of capital needed to open a retail business. With your help, we will be able to purchase the oven that is the keystone to our shop.
The support we’ve seen from the local community of small businesses, organizations, and artists has been unreal, and we are looking forward to becoming a part of it. There’s so many people to thank for helping us out along the way.
Collin Shapiro & Jonathon Zilber
Philly Style Bagels