Creative bagels also are on the menu at this longtime shop, which has six locations in Monmouth County.
"Once they got started with the rainbow craze, we started that immediately," said Paul Cannavale, who is purchasing the third-generation business's first franchise location in Red Bank.
'We do a lot of those on the weekend, when the kids are coming in," he said, adding that rainbow bagels are a labor of love: "If you have six or seven different colors, you have to make each individual dough." The colored doughs then are twisted together to make each bagel; this method keeps the colors bright ($3).
The variety of cream cheeses available at Gem's House of Bagels. (Photo: COURTESY OF GEM'S HOUSE OF BAGELS)
"Some of our others that are staple recipes are the Eggel, which has an egg cracked in the middle of the bagel, pork roll, bacon or sausage and cheddar on top and (then is) put into the oven. It's like an all-in-one that's baked into the bagel ($4)."
Gem's also sells a Buffalo chicken bagel - chicken with Buffalo sauce is piled atop a bagel, then a slice of mozzarella goes over the top and it is baked - and a bacon cheddar bagel made with crumbled bacon and cheddar cheese melted on top ($3).
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As for spreads, there are plenty of fun varieties: pumpkin graham cream cheese - and a pumpkin bagel with a graham cracker crust - walnut raisin, red velvet, cake batter with sprinkles among them.
Cannavale says many customers still enjoy a simpler bagel or breakfast sandwich,"but if you can have a little fun and creativity, that's what makes the day go."
Gem's House of Bagels has locations in Middletown, Hazlet and Keansburg; visit www.gemsbagels.com.
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