Sunday, March 21, 2010
Celebs and regulars alike come to local bagel shop and deli for great food
Many people who’ve had them will tell you that New York City bagels are somehow different than New Jersey’s. And while many of those same people probably can’t tell you how they’re different, Chester Bagel and Deli owner, Henry Delgado, has a theory.
“Our breads are very important,” Delgado says as to why his shop only uses breads shipped from New York City, “Even though we have some great bakeries here in New Jersey, I feel there’s nothing like that New York bread.”
Born and raised in Staten Island, you’d probably expect him to root for the home team. But customers ardently agree, too, which is why the lines can sometimes get so long here.
“Customers come in here regularly on the weekends and you’ll have lines, especially in summertime, that go to the door, and [sometimes, even] out the door,” Delgado says.
Those who might see a line here and think that they’ll be waiting in for at least a half an hour though, need not worry, as the bread isn’t the only thing that Delgado brought over here from New York City.
“When you go into New York, everything is very high paced,” Delgado says, “So one of the things that I wanted to bring here is not only the New York style bagel, but I wanted to bring in the New York City mentality as far as how to do service [as well].”
“If it takes you more than ten minutes [to get a bagel here] then we’re doing something wrong,” Delgado adds, “Maybe we’re short staffed or we had a problem with the grill, but other than that, we should get you inside the door to out of it with a full line in ten minutes. So, [that means] we gotta hustle.”
While the hustling aspect of the business is a nice perk, it wouldn’t be worth anything if the food itself wasn’t very good. Luckily though, it is, and it’s even attracted some nearby celebrities such as Jim Breuer and Joe Piscopo.
Both of them are actually such frequent customers, that they even have sandwiches named after them, with the Jim Breuer being grilled whole chicken breast, lettuce, tomato and mayo on a toasted everything bagel, and the Joe Piscopo being oven gold turkey breast, Swiss cheese and honey mustard on a sesame bagel, respectively.
“Jim’s a very good man,” Delgado says of the comedian, “he comes in here with his kids, and it’s funny because he won’t order a Jim Breuer.”
The bagels here are also made differently than they are in many other bagel places.
“A lot of bagel shops nowadays use different tricks to keep their bagels soft and feeling fresh throughout the course of the day,” Delgado says, “Most bagel shops use sugar in their bagels, [but we don’t].”
What’s Delgado’s secret then?
“The difference with us is that our recipe is completely different, and as such, you have to actually bake throughout the course of the day which is more expensive [than only baking once in the morning] because you have to keep the oven going,” Delgado says, “It makes for, I believe, a much better product.”
And Delgado should know a thing or two about what makes “a much better product” as he’s been working towards entrepreneurship ever since he could get his hands on working papers.
“I’ve been involved in other restaurant ventures in the past, and that’s my thing,” Delgado says, who’s also involved in the mortgage business, “I like to work at other places and build it up to a point, and then eventually, I sell them.”
Delgado looks to work at the Chester Bagel and Deli for quite some time though with his staff and crew, which he’s grown very attached to over the three years that he’s owned the place.
“Everybody lends a hand here,” Delgado says with a smile, “It’s a real family atmosphere.”