Britt & Co Bagels: Bringing bagels and bobas, coffee and community to Railroad Ave
In 2020, pandemic entrepreneurs have launched millions of new businesses in the United States. The months of confinement provided the luxury of time and, for a local entrepreneur, the realization of a lifelong dream.
This summer, as pandemic life recedes, Britt Zavala is gearing up to open Britt & Co Bagels, an upscale brick-and-mortar bagel and cafe on Railroad Ave, just across from Greenwich Station.
This week, Zavala took a break from building high tables from vintage barrels to share the story that led to her rental of the former Green & Tonic space.
Early in the pandemic, when Zavala and her family were at home, she applied for a cottage food license to make bagels in her home kitchen.
But his bagel story started long before 2020.
At the age of four, Zavala recalled being glued to Julia Child’s cooking show on television.
“Mum and grandma exposed us to fantastic food,” she added.
Soon she started cooking and dreamed of going into the food business.
At age 16, a job at a bagel shop in Larchmont was a turning point.
“They let me take the specialty flour home and experiment with it,” she recalls.
Zavala said she wanted to find a way to put cream cheese on the inside a bagel so it won’t come loose when sliced. This is how the idea of the “bagel bomb” was born, bagels filled with, for example, bacon, egg and cheese, or sausage, egg and cheese.
Another bagel bomb from Zavala hides Nutella inside. After the filled bagel is boiled, she finishes it with a honey buttercream glaze and dusts it with powdered sugar.
The Big Daddy Danny Bagel Bomb is loaded with buttery scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese and fresh jalapeños.
“My husband knew when he met me, he saw my book of bagels and knew that was what I had always wanted to do,” Zavala recalls.
During Covid in 2020, Zavala started making bagels for healthcare workers and first responders, which she delivered with handwritten notes of encouragement. She also made bagels for family and friends.
In response, she would hear, “These are the best bagels we’ve ever had. How can we order them?
In addition to its cottage kitchen license, some Westchester restaurants that have been closed during the pandemic have let Zavala use their commercial kitchens. Customers ordered online for delivery or collection in pop-ups or at home.
“The first month I made 8,000 bagels, and by the ninth month I was over 80,000. And my husband was doing 1,200 miles a week in deliveries,” she recalls.
“The response has been phenomenal,” she said, adding that her bagels had been named Best of Westchester.
Links with Westchester extend to a relationship with brainwashing coffeea Port Chester-based company that donates 50% of its profits to addiction recovery.
“The coffee is phenomenal,” Zavala said. “They packed coffee and pods for Kuerigs, and they just added canisters of nitro which we’ll take too.”
When Britt & Co Bagels open this summer in Greenwich, Zavala said the classics — plain, sesame, all, poppy and salt — will be made continuously in small batches. Specialty offerings will be alternated on the menu, including sweet varieties like Oreo, PB&J Drizzle and savory versions like Spicy Asiago, Cheddar & Carmelized Onion and Pepperoni Pizza.
And watch for Baby Yoda bagels with green faces, pointy ears and black eyes, which Zavala says are popular with adults and kids alike.
The Cinnamon Roll bagel looks like a regular bagel on the outside, but there’s a cinnamon roll swirl inside.
There will also be a variety of specialty spreads and butters. Zavala has a tantalizing list: Coffee Honey Butter, Strawberry Butter, Wildflower Honey Butter, Mike’s Hot Honey Butter, Coffee Nutella Butter, and, just invented, a Banana Butter.
As if all these choices weren’t enough, Britt & Co will have a boba bar with boba drinks made with juice and tea.
Zavala explained that the original version of boba, also known as bubble tea, was black tea with milk and sweet chewy tapioca pearls.
“You get a big straw and the tapioca passes, so you get that chewy goodness,” Zavala explained, adding that it can be made with oat milk, almond milk, or flaxseed milk for a vegan or non-dairy option.
“Bagels and bobas stick out of the tongue,” Zavala said.
For kombucha lovers, Zavala partners with Intercultural kombucha who have a tap room and brewery in Danbury.
Zavala, who lives with her family in Byram, said as her store’s opening got closer, she focused on the finer details of the customer experience. The shop will have an old-school aura with framed black and white vintage photos. Female staff members will have a uniform reminiscent of Rosie The Riveter, familiar from war effort posters. Men will wear soda jerk caps.
“The way they speak and greet customers will be polite and formal, like it was in the 1940s, for a classic, iconic experience,” she said. “Customers will be transported to another time, but with all this new era and modern cuisine.”
Diane Roth, the property’s listing agent, said she was thrilled to have paired Zavala with the Railroad Ave location.
“Having someone who lives in our town share their talent is what makes our business community so interesting that it adds the cool factor to Greenwich,” Roth said.
With Britt & Co’s opening just weeks away, those interested in trying Zavala’s bagels will have the opportunity during the Chamber of Commerce’s sidewalk sale days, July 14-17.
Expect free samples and a special boba drink each day. Additionally, Zavala is working on the details of a digital punch card to reward people who come in every four days and make a purchase.
Discover Britt & Co website.