The Perfect Bagel 

The expansion of Dave’s Bagels.

Dave’s Bagels — coming this summer.

Michael Donahue

Dave’s Bagels — coming this summer.

Brick and mortar soon will be added to Dave Scott's successful recipe for Dave's Bagels.

This summer, Scott, 27, is slated to open a main store in Midtown, which will carry his bagel, bialy, and pretzel items. He eventually may branch out to satellite stores in other locations. Scott, who has been working out of a shared commercial kitchen, will continue to sell his baked goods at farmers markets and other locations.

The main store would be the flagship store, where all his items will be made. "Then maybe a couple of little satellites that we can deliver the fresh baked product to, but we won't need all the equipment on the premises."

A native of Morristown, New Jersey, Scott began making bagels when he was living in Las Vegas. He missed the bagels he used to get in New Jersey and New York. After much trial and error, he created what he — and, apparently, many others — consider the perfect bagel.

Scott, who moved to Memphis in 2016, began selling his bagels at the Curb Market and branched out to other locations. Later, he began thinking, "Well, they don't have any good Jewish delis or, really, like an old school bagel shop. I wanted something like that down here, which was kind of why I went with the bagels in the first place. 'Cause I couldn't get one in town. I couldn't find a decent one. Now, I'm thinking, 'I want a store.' Using a shared-space kitchen is great, but I'm missing out on a lot of retail opportunities.

"I just put a lot of feelers out there, let everybody know what I was looking for and hopefully somebody would come back and tell me some good news, eventually."

He got the good news last September. A man came by Scott's commercial kitchen to check out his products. "I was baking that day, so I had fresh stuff out of the oven. I said, 'Hey, man. You look hungry. Here, grab a bagel. I got some cream cheese in the back if you want it.'"

The man loved it. He loved it so much he continued to buy Scott's bagels and, eventually, became his silent partner.

Scott wants the store to be a "grab-and-go-style bakery."

The satellite locations "will give us more room to experiment with the menu. The plan is to do breakfast and lunch. And, again, we'll have your classic bagel stuff, bagel combos there. Your bacon, egg, and cheese. That kind of thing. I'm trying to work in some veggie options on there, too, because bagels inherently are a vegan item."

Scott also is thinking "kosher."

"One of the things that I was making a point to do with this store that I can't do with my current location is be completely kosher. So, I've been throwing out some feelers with rabbis in town seeing what I'll be needing to do. And once we start construction on the building, we will work with a rabbi so we can get at least the bagel process and all that kosher. So, everything in back of the house will be kosher. I just have to work out details when it comes to front-of-the-house stuff."

Scott wants to keep the business simple at first "and probably get a little experimental with having some more deli items."

He already figured out what the decor will look like. "I've always been really into like a rustic-modern mesh."

As for the name, Scott says, "We're probably going to stay at 'Dave's Bagels.'"

Scott's ultimate goal? "I want to be in every grocery store, every major grocery store in the country. You got all 50 states in there. And/or have franchises."

So, what makes a perfect bagel? "The long-term fermentation. I could make a batch and bake them off and everything in two hours if I wanted to. But 18 to 24 hours fermation. It allows all the ingredients to work together."

Making a bagel, says Scott, is "a two-day process, or it's not good."

Make a bagel from Michael Donahue on Vimeo.

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