RED MILL — Charlie and Shannon Cohen have opened a bagel shop in Red Mill Commons called Brooklyn Bagels, and they aim to deliver the taste of a New York bagel.
The Independent News spoke with Shannon Cohen at the shop and via email about the effort to bring Virginia Beach “an authentic New York experience” — one that had its grand opening this week.
The couple is so dedicated to the authentic New York taste they are even making their water like that of Queens to ensure the bagel tastes exactly right.
“We are bringing in the New York WaterMaker system, because it removes or reduces the chlorine content so the yeast will react better with the dough,” Shannon Cohen wrote via email. “The water system’s job is to maintain a low level of good minerals in the water and reduces the hardness which effects the texture and consistency of the dough.”
Originally from Queens, Charlie met Shannon through a mutual friend, and they later married. Since moving to Lago Mar three years ago, they have fallen in love with the community and now want to bring a piece of New York to Hampton Roads.
“We chose to open Brooklyn Bagels in this area of Virginia Beach simply because we wanted to give back to the community that same level of comfort and closeness that provided a sense of belonging,” Shannon Cohen said.
The eatery will offer a variety of hand-rolled bagels, cream cheeses, and bagel sandwiches that will be named after neighborhoods in Brooklyn. All of their bagels will be fresh, made in-house every day, according to Shannon Cohen.
The goal is to provide an authentic New York experience “one bagel at a time.”
The couple has five children, and they want to bring that comfortable, family feel to their store.
“We’re local, we’re family owned and operated, we have five children,” Cohen said. “You’ll see one of us every single day.”
The couple also owns six tire shops throughout Hampton Roads. Brooklyn Bagels is their first culinary enterprise.
“I am most excited to see the reactions of our customers when they walk through the door,” Cohen said. “At first we were nervous, but based on what we have been hearing, the public is just as excited as we are to open.”
The Cohens hope to one day have other Brooklyn Bagels locations in Hampton Roads.
Shannon Cohen and her husband want the shop to become a fixture in the lives of customers, whether as a place to stop for coffee on the way to work or as a weekend breakfast destination before a day filled with sports and activities.
“Our hope is to make Brooklyn Bagels a household name,” she said.
Brooklyn Bagels is located at 2201 Upton Drive, Unit 904. Find them on Facebook via @brooklynbagelsvb or call (757) 689-4590.
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