Gregg Linzey wants to set the standard for bagels in Northern Virginia, and last Thursday he and his small team opened The Chewish Deli at 807 Pendleton Street in Old Town.
What’s the secret to making a good bagel?
“It’s simple, but not necessarily easy,” Linzey told ALXnow. “There’s no place to get a good bagel, so this all started when I tried to make my own bagels at home.”
Linzey continued, “You have to get every part of the equation right for all of your ingredients, like making sure the dough has the proper hydration. You need the perfect percentage of water, salt, flour, and we use malt syrup as our sweetener. That’s the key to getting a good New York style bagel. No sugar, no brown sugar, no honey. Just malt syrup.”
In case you missed it, The Chewish Deli opened in March as a food truck selling bagels, hot pastrami and Reuben sandwiches around Alexandria. The new brick and mortar is open on Thursday, Friday and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. until noon.
Hey everyone! Just a reminder of our schedule for this week!
Linzey, who left behind a successful career as a certified financial planner, is baking the bagels every morning at 4 a.m. He says that business really took off for the food truck until a car accident sent the truck to the shop for 10 weeks. During that time, Linzey searched for a pop-up to work from and came across the former Pendleton Carryout.
“I met with the owner of the building and five days later negotiated my lease,” Linzey said.
Linzey lives in the Mount Vernon area, and previously spent five years living in Old Town. He’s a native of Haverhill, Massachusetts, and fondly remembers trips to Brooklyn to visit his grandmother and eat bagels.
“One of the best parts about going there was walking around the corner to a little bakery to get fresh, hot bagels,” he said. “They really take you back. This one customer was a woman in her sixties and she told me that it reminded her of getting bagels in New York with her father when she was young.”
Linzey said he wants to sell his bagels in cafes and coffee shops all over town.
“Right now we sell to Misha’s Coffeehouse and Roaster, and I’d like to have our bagels in cafes and coffee shops all around Alexandria,” he said. “That’s one of my goals, that I want to be the authority and set the standard for bagels here in Northern Virginia.”