Bagel Mania- Matawan, NJ 

Lox & Cream Cheese $5.90
Everything & Rye Pumpernickel bagels with smoked salmon, cream cheese, tomato & red onion.

On the last day of our trip this weekend, we found we couldn’t be bothered with cooking breakfast and cleaning up before driving home. We typically enjoy camping in more remote places but we had to admit, it was nice to be able to drive 10 minutes to the shops when we’d forgotten something. Or more importantly, to find bagels on a Sunday morning. 

Bagel Mania reminded us a lot of our local bagel shop which I’ve written about before in a previous post. Scoops of flavoured cream cheese on display, the aroma of eggs & steaming coffee, fresh baked blueberry muffins at eye level trying to tempt you. The only difference was the amount of people working behind the counter, at our local there’s about 9 who operate like a well oiled machine. Here there were 4 trying to keep up with the Sunday rush, maybe that’s where the ‘mania’ part of the name comes from. Taking orders, calculating change, working the grills, slicing & chopping. Honestly, I don’t know how they remember all the details. 

For example: “Morning Bob, how you doing? How’s the kids summers going? Bet they’re driving you crazy already! Anyhow, I’d like 4 bagels. A toasted poppy seed with lox and cream cheese but not too heavy on the cream cheese, no onion but lots of tomato. A pumpernickel rye with strawberry cream cheese lightly toasted. A jalapeño cheddar with eggs over easy and crispy bacon, not toasted and with ketchup. A wholemeal bagel, scallion cream cheese with capers but no tomato or onion, make that toasted- pretty toasted, she likes it burnt. Great, thanks buddy. Oh and 3 large coffee’s please.” Imagine that in a slight NY-NJ accent at full pelt while the server either tries to remember it or scribble it down. If you think you could produce that order without a hitch, I frankly don’t believe you.  

Considering the chaos, we received the correct bagels and they were really tasty AND they came with a pickle on the side (big points there.) Finally, a bagel that wasn’t inundated with cream cheese! Chewy but light, salty and most importantly- easy to eat. Sometimes eating a bagel can be like trying to consume an over-stuffed burger. It’s frustrating and messy, you end up with more in your lap than in your mouth.

Now I know I haven’t been writing this blog for long and I haven’t sampled as many bagels as I would have liked to, but so far, New Jersey is producing the better bagels. There, I said it. Most of you probably won’t see that as an issue but it is, in fact, quite a controversial statement. New York City is famous for it’s bagels but up to this point, I’ve found them over-priced and over-stuffed. New Yorker’s are also very proud of the fact that cream cheese was first mass produced there (not Philadelphia- don’t ever say that) but I would like to point out the earliest mention of a cream cheese like substance was in England in 1583, with written recipes following in 1754. Just saying…

347 Matawan Road, Matawan, NJ, 077047