SOUTHINGTON — Bagels are moving straight from the oven into customers’ hands at the newest location of Fancy Bagels, which began serving Plantsville customers last month.
“It's been steady all day, with busy spurts during the weekend. It’s been incredible,” said Chris Fiorillo, who partnered with the longtime owners of Fancy Bagels to open a third shop at 309 Buckland St. The business, which opened Aug. 13, sold nearly 1,000 bagels on both Saturday and Sunday.
Fancy Bagels at 405 Queen St. celebrated 30 years in business in 2020. The company also has a Farmington location.
Operating as Fancy Bagels XPress, the new restaurant aims to give customers much of the same experience they expect from a visit to the Queen Street location, but without having to brave the traffic. The menu is focused on the bagel options that have proven to be the most popular over the three decades Fancy Bagels has been in town.
Customers can also order smoothies, which aren’t currently available at the other Fancy Bagels locations.
Though it lacks indoor dining, Fiorillo said he hopes to add a few tables outside. Despite its small size, the bagels are still being baked on-site using dough brought over every morning from Fancy Bagels’ centralized distribution location off Industrial Drive.
Part of the delay in getting the restaurant open — Fiorillo originally wanted to launch around the start of summer — was getting the new ovens to mimic the process Fancy Bagels bakers have mastered on the decades-old ovens at the other locations.
Fiorillo has worked in the music management industry for 20 years — he's currently a representative for Chris Webby, a Norwalk-based rapper — and also owned the music store Quiet Sounds.
Being able to partner with Fancy Bagels owners Dominick Gualtieri and Salvatore Belcaro gave Fiorillo an established footing for his entry into the food business. A Plantsville resident himself, Fiorillo had been toying with the idea of opening a coffee shop in the area at the same time Belcaro and Gualtieri were looking to expand.
“Chris was looking to do something and it kind of fell together,” Gualtieri said. He’s known Fiorillo, a distant cousin, his whole life and was looking for someone who could help them open a location in Plantsville.
Gualtieri said expanding to Plantsville was inevitable.
“Through the years the constant thing we've heard from the customers is you’ve got to get on our side of town,” he said. “ … If they’re on that side of town a lot of times people don't want to make that trip to Queen Street...”
Business has been booming for Fancy Bagels, with 1.3 million bagels baked last year. To meet the rising demand from both their storefronts and wholesale distribution to businesses like Neil’s Donuts, the company opened the distribution location around late May. Gualtieri said they’re looking to expand wholesale operations and could see more Fancy Bagels locations opening over the next couple years if they can find partners to help run them.
“We have plans for a whole bunch of stores right now,” he said.