words & photography by Jacki Philleo.
Quit your job to pursue a passion: it’s a recurring theme in the world of food and drink.
Add Philly native Phil Gallagher to the long list of people who have done it. He very recently closed out a long tenure in the restaurant industry to pursue, full-time, a hobby he loves: making bagels.
But he hasn’t been at it for long.
“Probably like a year ago now, I was just bemoaning the lack of good bagels in Philly. And there was this one bagel shop down the shore, where Laura’s (Gallagher’s fiancé) family has a house, called Hot Bagels [in Margate]. These bagels are like, life changing bagels—they are so fucking good.”
Gallagher began making bagels at home and has joined the ranks of recent start-ups, Philly Style Bagels and Knead Bagels, who were spurred on by the same motivation: that basic want of a good bagel in Philly.
He recently finished out his final two weeks at Tria Taproom where he worked as a bartender/server (he previously worked at the Tria cafes as well) and now finds himself making bagels in the kitchen of a local Italians restaurant during their off-hours.
Shocking to me was that he had never really baked before.
“I’ve always cooked and I’ve always just really liked to cook. Which makes sense – working at a restaurant, you’re around food all the time. But I didn’t have the patience for baking.“
Once he got into it, however, the satisfaction of making a great bagel won out and soon, he was making larger batches and experimenting with new flavors.
“We immediately started doing really weird flavors and it kind of encouraged us to do more – obviously the pea shoot bagels were not traditional. It was more like fun flavors…we made the sausage bagel on the second go around. Those are just flavors that I really love – the fennel and all that stuff,” Gallagher says.
From that experimentation came an obvious array of questions.
“What else can we do with bagels? Why are our options limited to the plain stuff? Why don’t people just put stuff into dough products more often? Just add a couple spices and you have a way more interesting dough product,” he says.
B Street currently offers flavors such as horchata, sriracha peach, spinach, and trail mix. They have a few classics available as well, including poppy, cinnamon raisin, toasted coconut, and roasted garlic.
As far as sourcing goes, Gallagher’s personal preferences have met the same realities that any new food business faces. While he says he strives to use non-GMO and organic ingredients as much as possible, he has to deal with issues of availability and cost restrictions.
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