The Bagel Business is Booming in Madison

On the corner of Waverly Place, Drewids can find Madison Bagel, one of the newest additions to downtown Madison. Serving lunch and breakfast until 3 p.m. and situated conveniently by the train station, this is a must-visit location. 


We met with Dan Taskila, the owner of the café, for a short interview before taking one for the team and sampling some of Madison Bagel’s lunch dishes. 


Taskila has been in the bagel business for about 24 years. He has a production facility in Newark that ships bagels to places as far as Toronto, Virginia and Cleveland. He opened his first retail location 17 years ago in Connecticut and added a few more in the subsequent years; however, he was looking to open a shop in New Jersey that was closer to where he lived. After looking for a location for a little over a year he settled on Madison, and Madison Bagel officially opened in April 2018, fulfilling over 500 orders on their first day. “We fell in love with Madison. I like the fact that there were two colleges less than two miles from here, FDU and Drew. The downtown is really nice, it’s walkable and a good community,” he said.


Taskila also stressed how important it was to him to use premium ingredients in their food. They prepare almost all of their meats (except the cured meats) in house, as well as whipping their own cream cheese and making some of salad dressings they offer. “I don’t serve anything that I don’t eat. I don’t want to be in a business that you are trying to get the absolute lowest end of the market,” he said.


“We boil the bagels before they are baked in the traditional New York style,” he explained. They have won several “Best Bagel Contests,” including in areas of Brooklyn. 


With over 15 varieties of bagels (sun dried tomato and poppyseed being some of the highlights) you can easily make your own breakfast creation. Whether you get a classic Taylor Ham (or Pork Roll - we don’t want a fight), egg and cheese on a jalapeño cheddar bagel or a sun dried tomato bagel with scallion schmear (one of our recommendations), your breakfast is sure to be delicious. They also have a wide variety of breakfast sandwiches, such as the Mother Clucker, which has egg, crispy fried chicken, pepper jack cheese and chipotle mayo. “We serve breakfast and lunch all day, so you can come and get a salad at eight in the morning if you wanted to or eggs at two in the afternoon,” Taskila added.


Another highlight of Madison Bagel is the donut station. With cake donuts made fresh every few hours, the bar has a variety of toppings for creating your own sweet treat. If you are feeling adventurous, you can get a maple bacon donut. “The maple flavor was amazing, they nailed it. The bacon was perfectly cooked,” said Anna Walker (’20). “The texture was amazing, dense donuts are the best. I could appreciate the donut and the glaze and bacon at the same time. Good flavor balance.”



In addition to recommended donut flavors, you can also mix and match donut glazes and toppings to get the donut of your dreams. Of the cinnamon sugar donut he tried, Starling Noboa Salobo (’22) said, “I like that it is dense, not too cakey. It is soft and not too crispy. It is not dry, it’s very moist. It reminds me of a cake almost. I rate it 8.5; I just wish it was bigger.” 


The dishes tried for this review were Taskila’s favorite and some of their best sellers. We sampled their modern caprese sandwich (with avocado!!!) on homemade focaccia bread and had a sample of both their Greek and cobb salads, both with and without chicken. The salads a the perfect option for a light but filling lunch, and if you are in a hurry you can get one as a wrap. 



Madison Bagel offers a 10 percent discount for students and are open Monday-Saturday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Sundays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.


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March 13, 2020

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