I have a few bagel places in Ocean County that I absolutely love. I used to live in Ocean Township, and around the corner from me was a place called, What About a Bagel on West Park Ave. in Cobblestone Village. They were one of my favorites.
Now that I live in Ocean County, I have to say that new place in Brick, “Big Belly Bagels” is my current favorite.
My loving companion, Bruce, comes from a long line of bagel bakers from Brooklyn. His late father was one of the last great bagel bakers of his generation. If you’ve ever visited Grandma’s Bagels in Little Silver back in the 90’s and early 2000’s, you may have known him, his name is Max Cooperman.
Max and his wife, Phyllis were the King and Queen of their little bagel castle. Phyllis’s grandfather was actually one of the first bagel bakers in America and had a hand in forming the first ever bagel baker’s union.
Phyllis was practically the Mayor of Little Silver. Everyone knew her and absolutely loved her. Like all Jewish Grandmas, Phyllis was a nurturer with a great laugh, and was as loving as any human being can be.
She greeted every single person who walked through the door, and would often sit down with customers to chat while they ate their meals. She treated the entire community like family.
I have heard so many stories about Phyllis from her children, grandchildren, and other family members, it makes me sad that we never got to meet.
Before I list some of Ocean County’s favorite bagel shops, I want you to give you my thoughts on what an honest to goodness bagel should be. A REAL bagel is rolled by hand, kettle boiled, and baked. The result is a dense, chewy, doughy interior with a shiny, golden crisp exterior.