Joe Borgia took a chance on leaving corporate America and bringing classic New York bagels to Milford, and so far, so good.
Borgia’s Bagels B2B, which stands for bagels to burgers, opened recently at the site of the former Enterprise car dealership and rental agency on the Boston Post Road.
“After being laid off from IBM after working with the company for 9.5 years, I knew it was time for a career change,” Joe Borgia said.
He and his father, Angelo Borgia, had talked years ago about starting a business together. They’d talked about an ice cream shop, or gas station, and then hit on what they thought was the perfect idea, a New York bagel shop.
Bagels seemed perfect because Joe, his parents and sister, April, had lived in Middle Village, N.Y., and had become well acquainted with the morning food staple.
“It was hard for me to make the decision to leave corporate America but after being laid off I knew this was my chance,” Joe Borgia said. “During family dinner one evening my dad said, ‘Who doesn’t like bagels?’”
The dinner table conversation continued, and Angelo Borgia said, “We know what New York bagels are — big and round, crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside. Why don’t we open a New York City bagel shop?”
The next day father and son started to brainstorm. They initially planned a small shop in Monroe, but after the location fell through they stumbled upon 886 Bridgeport Avenue after Enterprise closed. The not-so-small space has seating for 48 people, and an open and airy layout.
“The process was long and it took approximately a year and a half to complete,” Joe Borgia said. “There are so many things that go into starting a business from scratch. We worked with an architect, a building engineer, landscaping engineer and a general contractor.”
They spent a lot of time with the Milford building department, health department, and fire department, making sure everything was proper and up to code.
“Being this was our first bagel store, working with an architect to construct our ideas, including choosing the right equipment and kitchen layout, took some time,” Joe Borgia said.
Along with all the construction, there was also the creation of the menu, color schemes, logo and website.
The Borgia family, though they once called New York home, is now living in Connecticut. Joe and his wife, Kristen, live in Stratford with their three daughters: Allie, 6; Jillian, 5, and Hailey, 2.
Angelo and his wife, Linda, live in Shelton, and Linda owns Linda’s Liquors and Wines in Shelton.
Sister April lives in Trumbull.
But the bagels are definitely New Yorkers, created with some New Jersey know-how.
“For a year I would drive to New Jersey to learn the correct process of making hand rolled bagels and creating wonderful flavored whipped cream cheese,” Joe Borgia said. “The baker who taught me, his family has been in the business for over 60 years. I could not have had a better mentor — he showed me many tricks of the trade.”
The bagels are hand rolled, kettle cooked and baked hourly. Varieties include plain, everything, sesame, poppy, salt, onion, garlic, cinnamon raisin, egg, whole wheat, multi-grain, blueberry, pumpernickel and Flagels.
They can be topped with Borgia’s own gourmet cream cheeses, including scallion, veggie, olive, sundried tomato, chocolate chip, strawberry, jalapeno, apple pie, nova, walnut and raisin, or honey cranberry.
Besides serving New York hand rolled bagels, the new eatery offers artisan sandwiches, burgers, soups and salads.
Borgia’s B2B is open daily from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.