A new locally owned shop is filling the hole left in the Tucson bagel scene when The Bagelry on Campbell closed. Located in a former Mapgies pizza place up north at 7315 N. Oracle Road, The Bagel Joint promises to be a godsend for lovers of East Coast deli.
Boston-native Michael Rudner bakes the bagels fresh every day using a detailed method that involves letting the dough sit overnight, then boiling in vats of filtered water and brown sugar before putting the bagels in a massive oven with rotating stone shelves. He uses fresh yeasts and high-gluten flour, to give the bagels that perfect chewiness. There is no freezer in the building.
"I love bagels, but I love them done right," he says. The service industry veteran has a long history with the breakfast staple. When Rudner was a child, his second cousin owned a bagel shop in Boston, and he remembers delivering the bagels with his grandfather. Growing up, his house wasn't complete without a bagel in the kitchen.
"It's a Sunday morning thing," he says.
He sells his bagels in "Boston dozens," which are packs of 14: 12 plus one, plus one. His startup menu is minimal, with a few bagel sandwiches and various types of Shamrock Farms cream cheese. Although, he hopes to roll out specials including an Elvis bagel with peanut butter and bananas, as well as a Big Papi bagel with Italian sausage, provolone and sautéed onions.
The bagel and lox, ordered on a recent visit, was almost exactly that: no capers, no red onions, just brilliant strips of fatty salmon nestled between some tomatoes, cream cheese and the best bagel I've had in recent memory. The dough is not too dense nor too airy, chewy on the inside with a crispy brown shell.
The little shop is open 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day.