SOUTHINGTON — Customers can find a variety of bagel creations at Fancy Bagels on Queen Street, including a BLT bagel sandwich and a chili dog bagel.
“We make everything fresh, everything is made to order,” said co-owner Dominick Gualtieri.
The first Fancy Bagels location was opened in 1988 in Farmington by the family of co-owner Sal Belcaro and quickly expanded to Southington. Gualtieri started in 1996 and eventually took over with Belcaro.
“After almost 30 years in Southington it’s almost like family,” Gualtieri said. “We just have fun.”
For a period Gualtieri also ran a business next door — Fancy Burgers and Franks — with his uncle.
Gualtieri said the business closed after his uncle died and the wall dividing the businesses was taken down to create a bigger space for the bagel shop.
“We wanted to try something new,” he said of the hot dog and hamburger venture. “We still have the menu, we still make burgers, we still carry Martin Rosol’s hotdogs.”
While the breakfast bagels are most requested, Gualtieri said he is hoping lunch bagels with hot dogs and hamburgers sell more in the new year.
“That’s starting to become a little bit more popular,” he said.
The chili dog bagel is made by filleting a hot dog and grilling it before covering it with the house chili on a bagel.
The shop at 405 Queen St. has over 20 bagel flavors made fresh daily at the Farmington location using ingredients like blueberries, spinach and other vegetables.
“It’s the same recipe we started with,” Gualtieri said of the dough.
Customers have several cream cheese options, including traditional plain or a cannoli creation.
With more bagel shops opening in the area, Gualtieri said the demand has increased.
Kettle Bagels opened in 2017 less than two miles away on the Southington-Plainville line. The place also markets New-York style bagels. Other places that serve bagels nearby include Bagels Plus in Plainville and chains such as Dunkin’ Donuts.
In the first 11 months of last year, Fancy Bagels made 1.2 million bagels, an increase from the previous year.
“A few thousand a day easily between the two (locations),” he said.
The shop recently started introducing gluten-free options with a separate preparation space.
“Just keep growing,” Gualtieri said of future plans. “Wherever it goes, it’s a wild ride.”