South Gate Ocean Pines
11304 Manklin Creek Road
Bill and Mary Jaeger moved to the eastern shore from New York and realized rather quickly what we long time residents have always known; that a good bagel is as hard to find as a rainbow colored unicorn running around Assateague Island. But instead of bemoaning their loss they decided to remedy the situation and we should all be eternally grateful.
A Bagel And … is a small, unassuming store on the corner of the South Gate in Ocean Pines. It has an instantly warm feeling with its large black and white tiled floor, its plain but clean wooden laminate tables and its hand painted, mismatched chairs. The counters and walls are decorated with framed pictures of the employees and articles about the store and its owners. A customer goes to the counter, places their order, pays at the register and either has a seat to eat in or waits to carry out. Be forewarned, during the summer there is always a line and a wait for breakfast.
As the name implies the gems of the menu are the bagels. These are not your mass produced corporate rolls you can get at any number of franchise stores or supermarkets. These are real, honest to goodness made in house New York Style bagels. These little gifts are rolled out the day before, allowed to ferment (gain flavor) then boiled (to acquire that glossy, chewy crust) and finally baked throughout the morning to guarantee fresh hot bagels. I am partial to the sundried tomato with its tangy sweet taste also the egg bagel with its rich yolky color and the onion bagel has a generous coating of crunchy chopped onions. Have them plain to take home or order a breakfast sandwich made with your favorite filling, the eggs and meats are all cooked to order. Believe me; you will be set to go for the rest of the morning.
Other “sweet ” surprises I found in the display case are the pastries which are also all homemade. There are fruit turnovers that are wonderfully flakey and generously filled, there are lindzer cookies, éclairs, muffins, and individual cheesecakes that are as rich and creamy as any I have tasted. The crumb cake is a little too heavy on the crumb and thin on cake and the muffins are a little too sweet for my taste but all are very satisfying. The Jaegers also serve deli style sandwiches for lunch and sell Boar’s Head Meats exclusively. I would suggest trying one on their in house baked Kaiser rolls.
My only question is why not use unbleached, unbromated flour? It is less processed and therefore retains all the vitamins inherent in the grain while adding a superior mouth feel to the finished product. In this health conscious day and age it would be a positive selling point.
Nothing in the Jaegers shop would ever be considered cutting edge cuisine or fancy in any way but what it is can only be described as good food made by people who care and that is never a bad thing. A Bagel And … is a great breakfast place so I would suggest starting there. Come in have a bagel and a schmear or some lox and see where the day takes you. At the very least you can say you had the best bagel on the eastern shore with a straight face.