No twist here: These bagels in Malta will please even downstaters

Left: A club sandwich, with bacon, turkey and ham, on an everything bagel at the Twisted Bagel in Malta. Right: The Lighten Up Francis vegetarian sandwich on an egg bagel.
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Left: A club sandwich, with bacon, turkey and ham, on an everything bagel at the Twisted Bagel in Malta. Right: The Lighten Up Francis vegetarian sandwich on an egg bagel.

MALTA — Did you ever eat something so satisfying, you wish you could eat it all over again as soon as you took the last bite? That’s how I felt about my sandwich at the Twisted Bagel in the Price Chopper plaza here. The eatery opened in August 2021.

I heard about the Twisted Bagel from my niece Ann Marie, who knows her bagels. A Long Islander like me, she worked as a teen at that shrine known as Seaford Hot Bagels.

She’d texted a photo of their drop-dead gorgeous breakfast sandwich. Piled on a crusty-looking everything bagel was a cooked egg, thick sausage patty and melted cheese.

“I went to the bagel shop in Malta and I’m eating outside,” she said, then sent a half-dozen more photos of bagels.

So I had to see for myself. Sheryl and I visited recently, and came away very happy.

Twisted Bagel is in the shopping center not far from the excellent Jimmy’s Pizza. It’s an unassuming glass-fronted store with a few tables out front. The best part is inside.

It’s small and tidy, with just a waiting area and a few stools at the window counter. Straight ahead are the goods: a multitude of bagel varieties, both old favorites and some cheeky, fresh interpretations. We edged closer for a better look.

In addition to the old friends such as everything, poppy and cinnamon raisin, on this day they had French toast, blueberry, and cheddar jalapeño. They even had egg bagels, which I don’t often see, and gluten-free.

Twisted Bagel is open for breakfast and lunch, and that’s what’s on the menu. You can get a standard breakfast sandwich with two eggs and cheese ($3.95), or a hand-formed hamburger with cheese, bacon and all the fixings ($9.25).

You’ll find a loaded lox sandwich ($9.65) and for the kiddos, PBJ or fluffernutter (both $4).

We had come for bagels and completely overlooked the salads and desserts. Sorry. But they have them.

At Twisted Bagel, one bagel is $1.10; you can get six for $6 and a dozen for $12. Get some flavored cream cheese, too. They’ve got lots of kinds ($4.95 for a half pound).

Drinks are in the big cooler with the sliding glass doors. Help yourself. They get points for carrying Battenkill Creamery chocolate milk ($2.25). You can get your coffee fix, tea and hot cocoa (all $1.25), soda, juice and water.

Sheryl chose the Lighten Up Francis ($6.95), a vegetarian sandwich that makes you forget about meat. It’s got cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado, red onion, cream cheese and lemon pepper seasoning.

The ingredients were assembled atop a sliced egg bagel so carefully and symmetrically, it seemed a shame to put the top on.

“I may have to eat the whole thing,” said Sheryl, eyeing the humongous sandwich. “The seasoning makes it,” she added between bites.

“I like that the onions were cut really, really thin,” she said. “If they weren’t, I’d take them off.” Instead, she enjoyed them.

“It’s good,” she declared, an understatement as she was already working on the second half. I thought, looking at my own sandwich, no way am I ever going to finish.

Their everything bagel is good enough to eat out of hand, on its own, like a soft pretzel. I had a club sandwich ($9.95) on one; it was only one component of a sandwich made with all excellent ingredients.

I nibbled some turkey hanging over the side. It was very moist, with a solid turkey flavor. Next, the ham. “They use good cold cuts,” I told Sheryl.

One slice of sharp cheddar was just enough, and their bacon was charred at the edges and a bit fatty. Together, the fillings made up one of the best sandwiches I’ve had. Lettuce and tomato were standard. I skipped the onion and cream cheese.

Their fresh bagels are chewy on the outside and soft within, and they’re not too much bread for a sandwich. They resist enough when you bite; when you reach the interior, you realize a bagel makes the best sandwich bread around. At least at Twisted Bagel.

They taste a little sweet and a little rich. A downstate bagel is bready, substantial and heavy, even the inside. They’re best eaten toasted. Here, the bread part is as tasty as a bakery roll. It even smells like one. And it works like one.

Attention must be paid to the toppings. The garlic was toasty and crunchy, as was the onion, and crucially, there was just enough salt in the mix. Add sesame and poppy, and you’ve got everything.

I’d started on the second half of my sandwich. Sheryl’s was gone. She was enjoying the Battenkill Creamery chocolate milk. I started taking smaller bites of my sandwich to stretch it out.

“Want to smell the pickle?” asked Sheryl, who knew I did. I won’t eat one, but I’ll rate it by smell, and this was a good one. She also liked the homemade macaroni salad. “That pickle was good,” she said.

We were enjoying our seats in the sunshine and doing some leisurely people-watching. I reluctantly popped the last piece of sandwich in my mouth.

We cleared our table and went inside. Twisted Bagel adds a 4% surcharge to credit card orders. So one way to look at it is that you get a discount if you use cash. I’d rather see the 4% rolled into the menu pricing, but I get why they do it.

We each took home a half-dozen and enjoyed picking them out. I got everything, salt and plain. Sheryl got jalapeño cheddar for Frank.

“Two thumbs up,” she texted later. “Frank just had a bagel and said it was sooo good.”

So, bottom line: Twisted Bagel is the goods. But their bagels skew sandwich-style. So get yourself a sandwich. And bring some bagels home for later.

The Twisted Bagel Company

WHERE: Shops of Malta (Price Chopper plaza), 15 Kendall Way, Malta; (518) 808-9478
WHEN: 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday; 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; closed Tuesday
HOW MUCH: $22.42, plus a few bucks in the tip jar
MORE INFO: ADA compliant. Credit cards: Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover, Apple Pay. Delivery through Door Dash or Uber Eats. a sandwich. And bring some bagels home for later.

Caroline Lee is a freelance writer who lives in Troy. Reach her at [email protected]

Categories: Life and Arts

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