If you’re looking for the “perfect” bagel, don’t come to The Bagel Place.
Owner David “Ringo” Roseman said the perfect bagel simply doesn’t exist, since everyone seems to have their own preference.
But if you’re looking for a neighborhood place where you can stop in for a quick nosh before heading to work, sit down to read anything from Exodus to a trashy novel in a comfy chair or spend some time surfing the web, this is it.
Located in the heart of Queen Village, The Bagel Place is a community-oriented endeavor, Roseman said.
That’s why every morning he donates as many as a few hundred unsold bagels to the needy or to area church groups and hospitals for fundraisers. That’s why he prominently displays the work of local artists on his walls, with proceeds going to charity. And that’s why this northern Virginia transplant, who spent most of his life working in bars and restaurants — including the past eight years as World Cafe Live’s music manager — is convinced he’s doing it right.
“The way both my wife, Karin, and I were raised, we look out for each other,” said the 36-year-old Roseman. “My family was extremely supportive of all my endeavors, so watching out for each other was instilled in me. It’s very important to be a member of the community, and Philadelphia is the most welcoming community in terms of the city and the restaurant industry. They look out for each other and take care of each other.
“If I were to run out of flour, I’m sure I could borrow some from the guy at the pizza place across the street. I haven’t really witnessed people here who don’t want to participate. I always call Philly a big city and a small town because there’s such a diverse amount of things to see and do.”
Roseman said while quality bagel shops are abundant here, he wanted to open a shop that did things just a little differently.
“I bought the website thebagelplace.com in 2000,” he said. “My friends and I just wanted our own website where we could post jokes and have our own email. I couldn’t tell you at the time I knew back then this would happen.
“But I have romantic notions about bagels, which is why it was important to me to come up with a great bagel place. And for it to be a very comfortable place that can be home for the community.”
As for the bagels themselves, to find the right recipe, Roseman and his staff did all sorts of taste tests. They even ventured to New York to see what they liked or disliked about bagels there. They combined that research to come up with a formula they hope appeals to every discriminating taste.
“We developed our recipe through lots of trial and error,” Roseman said. “They’re one of those food items where people have a strict set of criteria for what makes a good bagel. There are people who say all bagels should come toasted automatically, but I know a lot of people who don’t like them toasted. Some people say they should be harder. Some like them soft. People also take into account size and, for me, it’s flavor.”
Along with the bagels, The Bagel Place offers an array of sandwiches ranging from a tuna melt and muffaletta, to standards like roast beef, pastrami and, of course, lox, along with coffee and assorted baked goods. In the fall, he’ll add soups and small salads.
So far, just more than a month in since opening July 5, Roseman has no regrets.
“I say to my baker Leo [Rahil], ‘It’s a strange thing we’ve done,’” he said. “Dropping what we were doing and launching into the great unknown is very bold, but I like making food for people.”
Contact: [email protected]; 215-832-0729