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Big Taste in a Small Bite: Bantam Bagels Opens in the West VillageBantam Bagels serves bite-size bagel bites in creative flavors
As New Yorkers, we are proud of our city in many ways, but perhaps the biggest claim we hold on to is that there is nothing like a New York bagel. And yet, this Friday, married couple Elyse and Nick Oleksak seek to “change the way you bagel” with the opening of Bantam Bagels, a bagel shop in the West Village serving golf ball-size bagel holes filled with toppings.
The bite-size “Bantams” are made from traditional bagel dough that is baked in small balls, about the equivalent of 1/4 of a bagel, so you can taste your way through the menu without filling up. The menu features three “Bantam Basics:” plain, sesame and everything bagels infused with traditional fillings like butter, peanut butter, cream cheese and veggie cream cheese, a “Bantam of the Month” (taste the inaugural one, The Slice, a pizza dough bite filled with marinara mozzarella cream cheese and topped with a slice of pepperoni), and 11 “Bantam Specials” which are more creative combinations, like Hot Pretzel, Cinnamonster, Cookies & Milk, and The Hangover (a cheddar cheese and egg bagel filled with bacon cheddar cream cheese and maple syrup and topped with melted cheddar cheese).
Although the Oleskaks had no prior baking experience, they’ve mastered the bagel hole in no time. Six months ago, after Nick came up with the idea in a dream, they sought out bagel experts and worked with them to perfect the recipes, while relying on their finance coworkers as recipe-testers. Elyse left her Morgan Stanley job last month to focus on the shop’s operations, while Nick is keeping his job and waiting to see if these small bites translate into big business after the August 30 opening.—CASSIE KREITNER
Bantam Bagels | 283 Bleecker Street at 7th Ave.