SOUTHINGTON - Fancy Bagels has reached its 30th year, having found success baking bagels made from scratch for loyal customers and charitable causes.
Fancy Bagels, at 405 Queen St., is owned by Sal Belcaro and Dominick Gualtieri.
Belcaro’s family moved to New York from Italy in the 1970s, then came to Connecticut at the start of the “bagel boom” of the late ’80s. Gualtieri came on board in 1996, when he was still in high school.
Belcaro said the company was started by his uncle - his mother’s brother..
“Unfortunately, my uncle has since passed away, but I’m sure he’d be very proud of what we accomplished. It was always his intention to see the business grow. We worked really hard to get to this point and we’re thrilled. At times we struggled, but we put a lot of effort into it,” said Belcaro.
Gualtieri said that he attributes Fancy Bagels’ success to its consistent quality and also to dedication and hard work.
“We haven’t really changed the formula at all since it first opened,” he said. “There are three people alive today who know the original formula. Some people boil bagels and others steam them. Our method combines them both to make something really unique.”
Gualtieri said that he has seen customers come to Fancy Bagels from all over the country, especially during the holiday season and during the town’s Apple Harvest Festival.
“I’ve talked to customers from Florida, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York and Maine,” he said. “Apple Harvest Festival is an especially good time for us. On average, we bake around 1.2 million bagels every year.”
Fancy Bagels has also made a special effort to give back to the community that has supported it. It has a collection box set up for Toys for Tots and frequently donates to Bread for Life and the Southington Library’s Books and Bagels program.
“This is my 21st year here and it is very rewarding to see so many repeat customers,” said Gualtieri. “It makes me feel a little old, but I see people today who started coming to us as kids and who are now married and coming in with kids of their own.”
Fancy Bagels’ Southington location is open from 6 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Sundays.
For more information on Fancy Bagels, call 860-621-0055, visit fancybagel.com or search for Fancy Bagels on Facebook.
Fancy Bagels also has a location at 353 Scott Swamp Road in Farmington.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Brian Johnson on Twitter @brianjohnsonBP.