Shirley bagel makers to bring ‘boil and bake’ method to iconic Bellport location


This Shirley family’s business plan is full of holes — and they’re good with it.

The Backhaus family, whose roots in Long Island bagel making stretch back to the 1970s, is bringing its brand of old-fashioned boiled and baked delights to a new Station Road location that, for close to 40 years, housed Spicy’s Bar-B-Que in Bellport.

“It’s the arches — everybody knows the old Spicy’s building,” said Josh Backhaus, 22, who is going to run the show at 501 Station Road. “It’s such an iconic building.”

His dad, Will Backhaus, 55, branched out into the At the Top Tree Service business more than 20 years ago after successfully getting Freshy Fresh Bagels in Shirley off the ground in 2009. And his grandfather had opened one of Long Island’s first bagel stores in the 1970s.

“At a young age, I was exposed to a lot with the business and the struggle of building it,” Josh Backhaus said. “Growing up in it and being involved, I have really come to enjoy it.”

Mom Jessica and younger brother Justin run the Freshy Fresh at 917 Montauk Highway in Shirley, but the reins to the Bellport store will be turned over to Josh, a graduate of William Floyd High School.

While the new location does not yet have a name, the family is sticking with the long-held recipe for how bagels are made.

It’s a formula that Will Backhaus came up with as a kid, according to his oldest son.

“Anybody can steam a bagel,” Josh Backhaus said. “Boiling and baking bagels, that takes technique — watching the dough, understanding it.

“There really is a lot that goes into it.”

The finished product is one that Backhaus said emerges “more crispy and crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.”

Backhaus said he hopes to keep the Bellport store open into the evening hours with “bigger plans than just bagels.” An opening date has not yet been set.

“We want to do more there,” he said.

The Station Road building went on the block after Spicy’s was seized by the state Department of Taxation and Finance in April 2018 for non-payment of taxes.

But Josh Backhaus said the shuttered store remained in his dad’s sights once the “For Sale” sign went up, because he had long wanted to open a place on Station Road.

“My dad passed it a couple of times and figured it was way out of his league to buy,” he said. “But it made sense, so he just went with it and now he’s got the building — it’s been a long time coming.”


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Top: Outside of the iconic former Spicy’s building in Bellport along Station Road. (GLI Photo/Nicholas Esposito)

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