"As a nice Jewish boy from Brooklyn, I've always done the NY bagel snob where I complained and complained and complained," says David Kover, one of the cofounders of Schmendricks Bagels, "Until another friend told me to shut up."
That was when the four neighbors decided to go into the bagel-baking business. Bakers from the two households have been shuttling back and forth, testing batches, for months, and the two couples took an exploratory trip back to Brooklyn, hitting 13 bagel shops in one morning. A few months ago, they signed a lease on a commercial kitchen. Subramanian quit her job as a corporate lawyer to serve as Schmendricks' head baker. Now they're trying to scale up their recipes to work with the larger ovens.
So what are the characteristics of a perfect bagel, according to Kover?
"It's denser and smaller than most people think of," Kover says. "It has to be chewy, with that crisp crust on the outside and a good, malty flavor. You're not going to find any blueberries or sun-dried tomatoes in our bagels. We're just doing plain, onion, garlic, salt, poppy, sesame, onion, and maybe an everything."
More importantly, a good bagel doesn't need to be toasted. "We would never toast our bagels," Kover says. "We'd get the bag home from the Bagel Hole and rip into it immediately. A perfect food on its own. We might had cream cheese, margarine, or lox on the second or third bagel."
Schmendricks hopes to start full-scale production in January. There are no retail spaces planned, but Kover's hoping to start supplying cafes and offices at first. You can track the progress of their launch by following their Facebook page and Twitter feed.