Taste of the past: Jewish deli’s new Slope outpost serves up ‘old-school’ bagel

The bagel man: Peter Shelsky held up a basket of the signature, old-fashioned bagels he is hawking at his newly opened Shelsky’s Brooklyn Bagels shop in Park Slope.
Brooklyn Paper
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This old-school bagel is on the rise!

Fans of an old-timey style of bagel that fell out of fashion around the turn of the 21st century can now find their beloved bread of the past in Park Slope, at a new sister shop of popular Cobble Hill delicatessen Shelsky’s of Brooklyn that opened on Monday, according to its owners.

Bakers Peter Shelsky and Lewis Spada said one bite of their revival of the particular style of bagel — which Shelsky described as denser, chewier, and smaller than the more modern iterations of boiled bread sold across the city — will hook locals on the recipe gone by.

“We think bagels have gotten really large, soft, and fluffy,” said Shelsky. “In my lifetime bagels slowly changed, and over the past 15 years they disappeared altogether. We want to make them how they use to be.”

The owners opened the Slope location, called Shelsky’s Brooklyn Bagels, on Fourth Avenue near the Fourth Avenue-Ninth Street subway station, hoping to capture the commuter crowd with their throwback breakfast food, which they developed with baker Matthew Tilden, the man who ran Bedford-Stuyvesant eatery Scratchbread for six years before shuttering it in 2015.

Tilden helped the duo concoct a special sourdough yeast, which lent their bagels that long-lost chewiness they yearned for, according to Spada.

“He’s really captured what Peter and I were looking for in bringing back an old-school Brooklyn bagel,” he said.

Shelsky’s retro bagels are currently only available at their Park Slope location, but the partners plan on bringing them to their Court Street flagship — which is currently stocked with bagels from Mill Basin Cafe — sometime after the holidays, Spada said.

Try a throwback bagel at Shelsky’s Brooklyn Bagels (453 Fourth Avenue near 10th Street in Park Slope, Open daily.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 9:04 am, December 5, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Andrew Porter from Brooklyn Heights says:
And bialys? What about those?
Dec. 5, 2018, 10:01 am
Mary Ann from Gowanus says:
Finally, maybe some competition for Bagel Hole in the "actual old-school NYC bagel" market? Too many people moving here from the suburbs think bagels are supposed to be a pound of circular Wonder bread! Can't wait to try these.
Dec. 5, 2018, 10:26 am
Old time Brooklyn from Slope says:
So true Mary Ann They have no idea what a real bagel - that Ohio sensibility
Dec. 5, 2018, 3:17 pm

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