Alfa Bagels | Northern NJ's Finest Hand Rolled Water Bagels


ANGELA SPARANDERA writes from The Daily Record

It’s 10 a.m. on a Thursday morning; the parking lot at Alfa Bagels Deli & Cafe on Rt. 10 in Randolph is filled with cars and a hungry crowd inside the shop.

Just another typical weekday morning.

Owners Jim and Joanne Psaras, along with two other employees, are busy working at the counter, slicing, spreading and pouring as fast they can.

Customers make it a point before they leave to tell Jim how great their breakfast was.

The Psaras’ four children, off for school break, are also at the store today. Christine, 15, Peter, 6, Joey, 5, and Elizabeth, 3, help their parents with the local rush.

For 17 years, Alfa Bagel has been a staple of Randolph Township.

“Alfa Bagels is part of my morning routine every day on my way to work, and even on the weekends. I love this place,” said Tony Zarro, a Randolph resident for 30 years and father of six. “My children practically grew up in this bagel shop. Whenever they have sporting events, they always ask me to come here first.” Zarro proudly wears a navy blue Alfa Bagels t-shirt.

Hand-rolled bagels

The Psarases make bagels the original way, first hand-rolling the dough, then putting them in water before placing them in the oven. The result is a soft, chewy piece of breakfast heaven.

In addition to this technique, what is most notable is the size of the bagels.

On the menu, the website and in the store, the Alfa Bagels mantra reads, “Home of the Giant Bagel.”

They aren’t kidding.

Jim makes it his mission to create the biggest bagels in the county — maybe even the state, he said.

What’s his secret?

“The quality of ingredients,” said Psaras. That’s all he was willing to divulge.

It isn’t just Randolph taking notice of these great bagels. Jim and Joanne ship their baked goods all over the country, and most recently, overseas, to China.

Customers are known to bring Alfa’s bagels home to their families for the holidays, and even take them when leaving for vacations. Students from County College of Morris also like to cut across the woods to the store to get their morning and afternoon fix.

You can get any sandwich on a bagel at Alfa. Their overstuffed sandwiches come with a choice of meat, lettuce, tomato, onion, mustard and mayo from $4.75 to $5.75.

Passion for success

Jim always knew he was going to own his own bagel shop one day. When he moved from Greece, he first opened a diner in Morristown. He then moved on to the bagel business in 1998. It’s his hands-on approach and passion that makes this business successful, he said.

Everything at the shop is made fresh, including the spreads. Some customer favorites include the Taylor ham, egg, and cheese topped with home fries on a giant bagel, also known as the “Belly Buster,” and the Psarases only use Trenton Taylor ham and Hatchfield Bacon.

Athletes, office workers, students and parents, as well as many others make Alfa Bagels a part of their routine. Many Randolph schools get bagels from Alfa and just ask any school sports team where they want to eat before (and sometimes again, after) their games.

“Best bagels in the country,” said Tony Caserta, a retired resident of Randolph for more than 80 years. Caserta spends his time traveling around the country in his RV and said he can’t find a better bagel.

Two local customers enjoying their lunch at a nearby booth make sure to add their two cents.

“We love Alfa Bagels and we don’t want the word to get out,” one patron said.

As lunchtime approaches, Alfa Bagels shows no signs of slowing down.

“This is my passion. This business is how I take care of my family,” said Jim. “I have always wanted to do this.”

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Alfa Bagels

Address: 587 Rt. 10, Randolph

Tel: 973-361-3311


Hours: 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday; 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday; 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday.

Owner: Jim and Joanne Psaras

Cuisine: Bagel and deli

Prices: Bagels, breakfast sandwiches: $1.50 to $6.50; omelettes, eggs, French toast, pancakes: $4.05 to $6.15; espresso bar: $1.50 to $3.20; subs, sandwiches, wraps: $4.95 to $6.50; salads: $4.50 to $8.50; paninis, burgers: $3.85 to $6.50; soups and sides: $2.75 to $3.75

Delivery: Only for catering

Catering: Yes

Occupancy: 25

Vibe: Breakfast cafe

Alfa Bagels | Northern NJ's Finest Hand Rolled Water Bagels

Alfa Bagels

587 New Jersey 10
Randolph, NJ 07869
Phone: 1 (973) 361-3311