Although they were created in New York, the bagel balls are about to be seen nationwide thanks to a deal with Starbucks. Bantam Bagels was founded by Nick and Elyse Oleksak. Back inthe two were both working in the corporate finance world. They took time out of their busy lives to watch Shark Tank every Friday night.
Reinventing the bagel into a mini ball, the owners are creating their own flavors and fillings that satisfy all appetites.
The idea of creating artisan bagels came to Nick Oleksak in a dream, and he explained how his dream became a reality in an interview with us during the very hectic and exciting opening week. What drew you to the West Village as the place to open your doors?
I think we like the West Village because there are tons of tourists and you get people from all over the world, but it still has that neighborhood feel.
With tons of families and restaurants it has a cool feel to it.
We just love the neighborhood and wanted to share Bantam first with Manhattan. Where are your other favorite places to eat in the city? What inspires you to create new and interesting flavors?
How did you decide on the first types of bagels to debut with? A lot of it was friends and family research and development. We looked at what kinds people loved that we were sharing at work or with our parents. From that we got really good feedback from the ones that everyone really liked and the ones that we really liked.
What sets your bagels apart from the rest? When I go to a bagel shop I end up wanting an everything, a cinnamon raisin and probably a third one.
And I can never pick just one.
So I end up getting two and leaving half of each. The Weekend Brunch- An everything bagel filled with red onion, fresh lox, tomato, cream cheese, so it basically tastes like your quintessential New York brunch spread. She loves the Boxed Lunch, which is a plain bagel with fresh roasted peanuts and peanut butter and strawberry jam.
It brings you back to fifth grade when you open up your lunchbox. Some of the most surprising things are how people respond to just the plain flavors. How did you begin baking bagels? I had never baked bagels ever, before this. I woke up from a dream I had of making these little bagels filled with things, wrote a note in my phone, and called Elyse to get her thoughts.
That night I went home and looked up a couple recipes and tweaked a few things to get to the flavor profile that we really wanted. What have you learned from the creation process?
At the end of the day, making a bagel is very simple, but for us, making what we feel is a really good bagel is hard. It takes effort and trial and error. A lot of it was learning on the fly and eating a lot of bad batches of bagels, which was fun. You tell them exactly how you feel and then you move on.
That so far, is what has made us successful and has made us get as far as we have, being able to work together so well.For Nick and Elyse Oleksak, starting their own bagel business was a dream come true. Literally. In May of , Nick had a strange dream about bagels that were shaped like donut holes and filled with cream cheese.
When he woke up, he immediately told his wife he had an idea for a new product. Elyse thought the idea was so crazy that it just might work. Owned and operated by the husband and wife team of Nick and Elyse Oleksak, Bantam is taking a New York breakfast staple and giving it new life.
Reinventing the bagel into a mini ball, the owners are creating their own flavors and fillings that satisfy all appetites. The “mini bagel balls”–which the shop dubs “bantams”–come in a variety of flavors and styles, including classics like plain, sesame, and everything with cream cheese, and the.
Bantam Bagels sells bite-sized bagel balls stuffed with various types of cream cheese. There’s the “Everybody’s Favorite”, for example, which is an everything bagel stuffed with freshly-chopped vegetable cream cheese, or the Grandma Jojo, an Italian spiced bagel topped with a thinly-sliced, marinated tomato stuffed with fresh basil.
Within months of launching their mini bagel empire out of a tiny storefront on Bleecker Street in , Nick and Elyse Oleksak said yes to a QVC sale, despite limited production capacity, and agreed to a $, investment from Shark Tank's Lori Greiner in exchange for 25 percent of the company.
After coming up with the bagel recipe in their Brooklyn kitchen, the couple raised a friend and family round of seed financing to open their bakery, Bantam Bagels, in New York City in