The car park of Marrickville wholesale bakery Brooklyn Boy Bagels is no longer just a car park. Michael Shafran, who has been selling Sydneysiders golden-crusted New York-style bagels since 2013, has converted its parking lot into a drive-through so customers can quickly grab its breaded goods and tubs of whipped cream cheese to eat in the comfort of their home.
“We’ve been in Marrickville for four years but it’s an industrial area so we never opened to the public,” says Shafran. “Like everyone else, we’ve had to pivot quickly, and on top of home delivery we’re [offering] drive-through so we can bring fresh stuff straight out of the bakery and to people in their cars.”
On offer is Brooklyn Boy’s usual delicious rotation of holed goods: plain, blueberry, sesame, poppy seed and fan favourite “Everything” (which is topped with poppy, sesame and caraway seeds, plus garlic and onion). There are also 285-mil tubs of cream cheese (plain, jalapeno, lox with capers, or garlic and chive), packs of lox (cured salmon) and, coming soon, pastrami.
Takeaway coffee is made with beans from Little Marionette, and if you can’t choose, there’s the $42.95 Bagel Survival Kit (it comes with eight bagels and a couple of spreads) and the big daddy, the Self-Islolation Nosh Fest (with 24 bagels plus five tubs) for $104.95.
Until recently Brooklyn Boy Bagels were available in Circular Quay, but Shafran closed the cafe late last year. “The building was under construction. Then we signed a lease for a new store in Bondi but [the deal fell through]. It was a blessing in disguise,” he says.
He and his team continued to see the bagels at market pop-ups and select cafes. Shafran knows his bagels have a following but even he was surprised by the response when he announced the drive-through on April 12 via Instagram. “People were going ballistic,” the New York native says. “It takes us two days to make our bagels so it’s hard to respond to demand quickly. When we realised so many people were interested I thought, ‘Oh my God, we need more bagels’.”
In the first two days of trade they sold hundreds of bagels and had to turn people away. Everything Bagels were gone by 9.30am.
While the drive-through won’t make up for lost sales, Shafran’s goal is to keep his bakers employed. “A lot of skill is involved in what we do and if we lose our staff, it will take ages to retrain people.”
Shafran reckons this could offer a new direction for Brooklyn Boy at the other side of the pandemic. “This might be the start of us building a cafe in the bakery. It would be a nice story to come out of what’s been a really challenging time.”
Brooklyn Boy Bagels
19 Carrington Road, Marrickville
Tue to Sun 7am–12pm