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BUSINESS BROOKLYN STYLE - Fresh bagels at any time of the day

Hungry bar-crawlers looking to grab a late-night snack before hopping on the L train can now avail themselves of Bagelsmith, the bagel shop on Bedford Avenue between North 6th and 7th Streets that recently became open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Owner Paul Furtaw, a Windsor Terrace resident, offered a simple explanation for his decision to go 24/7: “There’s a large bar crowd in the area, and people coming out of bars want something to eat. What’s better than a bagel to absorb some of that alcohol?”

Bagelsmith’s bagels are large and chewy, with “just enough crispness on the bottom,” according to Furtaw. They are the result of a secret recipe Furtaw developed over 16 years in the bagel business.

Bagelsmith – which opened in November 2004 – carries 16 types of bagels along with 20 different spreads, ranging from flavored cream cheeses and tofutti to hummus and tuna.

“This area is such a melting pot, so we try to bring in as much variety as possible. In a market like this, you have to cater to everybody,” said Furtaw, a self-described “bagel connoisseur” who eats three bagels per day.

“They’re pretty much the ideal bagels – they’re pretty much what you think of when you think of New York City bagels,” said Williamsburg resident Joey Magrane, who said he gets the everything bagel with scallion cream cheese.

“I live on the Southside, and I’ve definitely made the walk for a bagel,” said Ellen Pugliese, who is partial to the strawberry cream cheese.

The expanded hours give Bagelsmith a competitive advantage over The Bagel Store on Bedford off North 3rd Street, whose bagels, by consensus, are of similar quality. A very informal poll found Williamsburg residents are split close to 50/50 on which bagels were better.

Whether its Williamsburg residents themselves or those who visit the area for its nightlife, Furtaw sought to capitalize on the foot traffic on Bedford Avenue going toward the L stop, one of the most highly-trafficked stations in Brooklyn.

“Being right outside the train is huge – it’s the busiest block in the neighborhood,” he said.

In order to accommodate the expanded hours, Furtaw had to expand his staff by three. Always on hand is an experienced bagel-baker.

As Furtaw said, “They have to spend the right amount of time in the kettle, you have to spend the right amount of time proofing the dough. There’s a science to this – you mess up one of these things and the bagel’s not right.”

Bagelsmith is located at 189 Bedford Avenue. For more information, call 718-218-7414.

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