Courtesy of Olivia Yasharoff
Being one of several new additions to Wildwood Shopping Center such as Joe & the Juice and Flowerchild, Bethesda Bagels brings New York style bagels to the D.C. area with heart and a side of cream cheese.
Though the name might be misleading, Bethesda Bagels actually has five locations, including Bethesda, Dupont Circle, Navy Yard, Rosslyn, VA, and now Wildwood, which is located on Old Georgetown Road across from Walter Johnson High School.
Since 1982, Bethesda Bagels has been a family run business. Founders Steve and Fran Fleishman adopted their styles and techniques for making bagels from the famous New York bagel. As their family grew, their business only got stronger.
“You learn a lot about business and hard work and life when you see your parents work so hard at a young age,” President Danny Fleishman said.
Danny Fleishman and his three brothers grew up in the bagel business and now play prominent roles in running the stores. Danny is the president of Bethesda Bagels and also a WCHS alum. His oldest brother Lee is the vice president, with younger brother Noah as the general manager for each location, and youngest brother Josh who graduated last year having worked there on the weekends during the school year.
The new location was planned to open in time for Rosh Hashanah (Sept. 29 to Oct. 1) because Jewish holidays tend to be their business’ busiest time of year. However, in the end, Bethesda Bagels instead opened on Friday, Oct. 11, due to permitting taking longer than expected.
Now open for business in Wildwood, Bethesda Bagels serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee and other drinks, while also offering deliveries in addition to walk-ins 7 days a week from 6:30 AM to 5 PM on Mondays to Saturdays, and 7 AM to 3 PM on Sundays.
They sell classic handmade New York style bagels such as plain, poppy, sesame and everything, but also offer many unique options such as orange cranberry, sundried tomato, asiago cheese and rainbow—which is only sold on Saturdays and Sundays. In addition, they provide a variety of cream cheese spreads like chive, veggie, olive, strawberry, blueberry and jalapeño cheddar, making it almost impossible for the customers to pick just one.
If you are looking for something a bit more filling, they also sell lots of kinds of sandwiches, ranging from egg to turkey pastrami to melted mozzarella. You can also get pizza bagels or even a “bagel dog.”
Still can’t decide? Fleishman’s all-time favorite is an everything bagel with lox, chive cream cheese, onions and capers. He says he loves it so much that he could eat it every day.
As a 2005 graduate of WCHS himself, Fleishman gives plain advice to WCHS students.
“Just come on and eat bagels, as many as you can,” Fleishman said.
In addition to walk-ins, catering is an important part of the Bethesda Bagels business. Bethesda Bagels is an important part of the local Jewish community. They cater for Jewish events like Bar and Bat Mitzvahs and other gatherings and celebrations, as well as delivering breakfast and lunches to offices. They also provide a special “Kiddush Menu” for catering that can be eaten at a luncheon after a celebration of some sort at temples or other religious centers.
With a close-knit family dynamic and close ties to the community, Bethesda Bagels brings service with a smile to Wildwood Shopping Center.
“You see generations of families that have been eating at Bethesda Bagels over the past 37 years and it’s special because they all know my family as well,” Fleishman said. “And so really it’s more than just a business, it’s creating relationships and everybody knows each other and you have the same people come in every day or every weekend that you’ve built relationships with.”