When I got to The Bagel Store on Bedford Avenue and descended down its steep stairs, I found my Friend Scot Rossillo rolling red, white, and blue swirled vanilla bagels. It was a tribute to France, rolled to a soundtrack of operatic music wavering throughout the space.
“I wasn’t gonna do it,” said Rossillo as he quickly rolled bagels on his work table, “but I got a lot of people prompting me to do it, so I’m doing it.
Rossillo is a larger Jewish-Italian man, a native Brooklynite with an accent to match, complete with earrings, tattoo sleeves, and a genuine spirituality that blends into his work. He is the man behind the rainbow bagel, bagels that have been swirled with vibrant colors that don’t bleed or fade and taste a lot like Fruit Loops and are usually stuffed with Funfetti cream cheese.
If you want one, you have to call the day before to reserve one. These rainbow bagels are a hot commodity, and he only makes limited batches.
“I’m the world’s premier bagel artist!” he exclaimed as he stopped rolling.
Rossillo doesn’t just make rainbows. In addition to the Insta-famous rainbow beauties, he also makes plenty of other flavors.
“I make unique bagels; the croissant bagel (the cragel) the bacon-egg-and-cheese bagel, French toast bagel, and a host of other hybrids,” said Rossillo.
Among that host of hybrids are even wilder combinations: a mac and cheese bagel, a ramen bagel, a Philly cheesesteak bagel, a taco bagel, and more. In a fridge where the bagels cold proof, he showed me stacks of spinach parmesan bagels, Challah bagels with braids just like the bread, and cotton candy bagels amongst the regulars. He pulled a bacon-egg-and-cheese bagel (with the ingredients incorporated into the bread) off a tray and up to my nose so I could smell the smoky bacon.
“Oh my god, there’s no territory he hasn’t covered,” said his older sister, Michelle Ferro, who works with Rossillo, “you want flavored bagels, I’ve lost count at this point.”
It’s the rainbow bagels that are his most famous. Rossillo got the idea 20 years ago and has been developing them ever since.
“20 years of experiments, 20 years of failures—I wouldn’t say failures, it brought me to here,” said Rossillo. “I always keep on keeping on even though many times people would come to me— ‘you’ll never be able to sell those fucking bagels!’”