For more than two decades, Frank Mangiapane he has risen before dawn to prep a days worth of bagels done exactly the way it is done in Brooklyn.
Mangiapane, owner of NY Gourmet Bagels, fondly accepts that he is the bagel maker of Spring Hill, earning the community’s praise for making bagels the Brooklyn way for 23 years in the same location. His store hasn’t changed much since it opened, nor has the size or quality of his bagels. He makes them with the same passion and detail he did when he moved here in the late 1980s from Brooklyn.
Joe Parmesan shows off the finished product. Every morning promptly at 4 a.m., NY Gourmet Bagels owner Frank Mangiapane and Parmesan begin the process of boiling, coating and baking nearly 28 dozen bagels. KIM DAME
Every day promptly at 4 a.m., Frank and Joey Parmesan, fondly known as Joey Bread, begin the process of boiling, dipping in poppy seeds, sesame seeds, salt, garlic or onion pieces, then baking in a special convection oven nearly 28 dozen bagels. Then they begin the next day’s supply by mixing batches of dough, rolling, cutting, and forming the bagels to rest in the refrigerator over night.
The finished bagels are then placed in bins by flavor, often as lines begin to build at the front counter. Customers come from all over to purchase grocery bags full of fresh bagels, containers of various flavors of cream cheese crafted in-house, or individual bagels, some toasted and topped with egg, cheese, bacon, sausage or ham.
The lunch crowd comes in for sandwiches, including the very popular Taliham or pork roll. The menu of choices has changed a bit, adding customer requests. But the bagels themselves, or how they are prepared, have not.
For years, NY Gourmet Bagels had prepared bulk orders for local schools, organizations and businesses for special occasions. They’ve welcomed student tours where children learned what might be a rare art.
Mangiapane’s commitment to his business and his customers is a big reason why NY Gourmet Bagels has become so well known and popular. It has a lot to do with the way they treat their customers and the quality of a real authentic Brooklyn-style bagel, Mangiapane said.
Mangiapane laughed when reflecting on his decision to follow his uncle’s advice and open a Brooklyn-style bagel shop in Spring Hill.
“I thought it would be an easy business to run,” he said. “I’ve never worked so hard in my life.”
Mangiapane still comes in most mornings to make the bagels. From a spotless, frequently-inspected kitchen, he proudly shows off the equipment that make his business: a mixer, capable of blending 200 pounds of flour; a kettle where boiling each bagel helps add the sheen; and a convection oven that turns the racks as they bake. He paid a modest price for his equipment that has been with him since day one.
The cozy New York-style shop is decorated with photographs that preserve years of memories. His most cherished is one of his son, Joseph, who he and ex-wife Eugenia Mangiapane lost before a second store was to open on U.S. 19.
“He was going to run it,” he said, his voice cracking slightly.
Joeseph Mangiapane was a college graduate with a promising future. He wanted to help his father run the family business and moved to Spring Hill to work the second store. He died in his sleep from a brain aneurism before that dream was realized.
NY Gourmet Bagels has since become the Mangiapanes’ obsession. They were divorced when they lost their son but their relationship strengthened as they shared their grief. Eugenia is Frank’s right hand.
Frank Mangiapane built his business by earning every single customer’s loyalty on their first visit.
“If somebody were to ask what’s one good thing about Spring Hill,” he said, “they’d say we have the best bagels.”
Eugenia Mangiapane, known as the Bagel Lady, said some customers actually order dozens before a trip up north. “They take them to New York,” she said.
Others who move from Spring Hill make a point to stop in when they visit.
“They used to get them when they lived here and now they take them back for their kids,” she said
The price hasn’t changed too much in all that time. A single bagel is $1. Add cream cheese and it’s $2.50. A bagel sandwich is under $6.
NY Gourmet Bagels is open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. They are closed only one day a year, on Christmas.
Email Hernando Today correspondent Kim Dame at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Biz at a Glance
Name: NY Gourmet Bagels
Address: 11206 Spring Hill Dr.; Spring Hill FL
Phone: (352) 688-9315