When sisters Michelle Hollitz and Tobi Myers-Browning — and other family members — opened the doors at New York Bagel & Deli April 16, they were greeted with a line of customers that spilled out the door and wrapped around the corner.
Downtown DeLand, apparently, had a pent-up hunger for a taste of New York City.
The family conver ted a Downtown DeLand antique shop at 218 N. Woodland Blvd. into what is now New York Bagel & Deli. They serve fresh-baked, authentic New York bagels, cold sandwiches, and desserts.
Location: 218 N. Woodland Blvd., DeLand
Cuisine: New York-style bagels and sandwiches and desserts
Hours: 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday-Sunday
Specialties: Plain, everything, cinnamon raisin and sesame seed are the four most popular bagels.
Prices: Sandwiches range from $6 to $9. A single bagel can be purchased for $1.29, or buy a dozen for $13.99.
Alcohol: The bagel shop doesn’t offer alcohol, but don’t miss their coffee.
Owned by the sister duo of Hollitz and Myers-Browning — who both call DeLand home — the shop is family-run, and this family feeling can’t be missed.
Hollitz, who lived in New York City for a time, said the decision to open the shop was a “fluke,” but what was once only a pipe dream became a reality.
“I’ve wanted this for probably, I want to say 30 years, which is a really long time. But I had a friend that started something similar to this in Orlando, in 2019, and he said, ‘Hey, you should do this,’” Hollitz said.
After seeing her friend’s success, Hollitz and her sister went to work.
Running the bagel shop is a joint effort; Hollitz and Myers- Browning said they wouldn’t be able to do it without the support of their family.
Hollitz’s daughter Kayla can be found whipping up coffee behind the counter, and the sisters’ mother can be found after hours every night, creating the store’s 11 flavors of cream cheese for the next day.
The family takes pride in the authenticity of their food, and Hollitz and Myers-Browning explained what that means for the bagels they bake fresh every single morning.
“They come to us from New York,” Hollitz said. “They’re made there. They’re hand-rolled. The bakery that we use is one of the few places in the world that still hand rolls their bagels.”
The bagels come to DeLand ready to bake.
“They kettle-boil them, which is where the ‘New York’ comes from, because the New York bagel has to be done in the New York water,” Myers-Browning said. “So they’re kettle-boiled, flash-frozen and shipped to us on a truck twice a week.”
I decided to try a taste, opting for the ham-and-Swiss cold sandwich on a ses-ame-seed bagel — my typical sandwich of choice wherever I go. New York Bagel & Deli did not disappoint.
There was no doubt the bagel was freshly baked, with just the right balance of fluff and crunch. The spicy mustard — which I was hesitant about but decided to branch out and try — was the perfect balance of flavor and spice.
My opinion is one thing. What about an office full of cynical newspaper people? We had a chance to see when The Beacon staff decided to order bagels for lunch on a recent Wednesday.
Noah Hertz, the staff’s self-described “amateur bagel enthusiast,” ordered the everything bagel with sun-dried-tomato cream cheese.
“I’ve eaten a lot of bagels in my time — like a lot of bagels — and this right here is a pretty good bagel,” Hertz said.
Vicki Duckett, who tried the garlic bagel, said it was “out of this world,” and “super fresh.”
Of course, The Beacon wouldn’t be a newspaper if someone wasn’t at least slightly critical. The staffer who ordered the Village Veggie bagel sandwich said the ingredients were tasty, including the fresh bagel, but the combination featured too many competing flavors for one sandwich.
As I sat down and talked with Hollitz and Myers-Browning, they kindly offered me one of their authentic New York cheesecakes, which come directly from Junior’s Cheesecake in Brooklyn. I decided it didn’t qualify as a bribe, and accepted.
The Chocolate Swirl Little Fella, as Myers-Browning told me it’s called, wasn’t too overpowering, offering a perfect balance between chocolaty richness and cream-cheese flavor.
In addition to scrumptious cheesecakes, New York Bagel & Deli serves other authentic New York-style desserts: cupcakes, muffins from New Jersey, and Italian cookies.
The store is still in its soft-opening period, serving bagels, desserts, coffee and cold sandwiches. Following a grand opening planned this week, customers can begin to look forward to hot sandwiches, as well.
The hard work the sisters have put into making their customers’ experience the best it can be is evident.
“It’s been really fun,” Hollitz said. “It’s really rewarding, and we’re enjoying it.”