Bagel Plaza in Merrick, opened in 1962 as one of the South Shore’s very first bagel shops, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. It now offers 56 different bagels, bialys, rolls and challahs made from scratch every day. A special feature is that seeds on top of the bagels are also mixed in the dough.
Owner Sam Asatur added that the store has 14 flavored cream cheeses and five rugalah varieties, including sugar-free and gluten-free, all baked on the premises.
Bagel Plaza’s website notes that the shop has “21 different salads, with many choices for our health-conscious customers. We slice Nova lox as thin as you can get in the finest New York City stores...And if you really want to [satisfy] those taste buds, select one of the 28 gourmet muffins and scones. The variety of food we serve is always growing. You can even order French toast, blintzes, latkes, knishes, French crepes and much more. From the North Shore to the South Shore, from Westchester to Montauk, all our customers say the same thing: ‘It’s worth the ride.’ “
The website adds, “At Bagel Plaza we are happy to be part of the Merrick community. We support all local schools, religious organizations and charities. Bagel Plaza has also been a proud sponsor of the Merrick Little League for 11 seasons.”
Asatur said he bought the store 21 years ago from Norman Slotnick, an immigrant from Eastern Europe, who now owns Bagel City East in Boca Raton, Fla. Asatur immigrated to the United States in 1987 from Ukraine, which was then part of the Soviet Union.
Asatur said that Slotnick came from a family of bakers in Eastern Europe. “We bake the same way as 50 years ago,” Asatur said.
He added that Bagel Plaza does catering in “Westchester, Manhattan, Roslyn, Baldwin, for all different occasions,” serving “fish, appetizers and salads.”
“We don’t sell fish we don’t like,” he said. “I’m always here. I like to be in control. I know everything” that is going on in the store, Asatur said, noting that the shop is kosher, “so we have no meat in the store.”