Specialty bagels at Pantano's Doz. Bagels in Garden City Park...

Specialty bagels at Pantano's Doz. Bagels in Garden City Park include Buffalo-jalapeño, Doritos, pizza and French toast. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

It’s a good thing the sesame bagels at Pantano’s Doz. are so good because, otherwise, a certain bagel purist might not take seriously a place that counts Doritos, pepperoni pizza, Buffalo-jalapeño and Oreo twist among its bagel flavors.

But Michael Pantano, who has opened bagel shops in Garden City Park, Levittown, Freeport and Garden City, appeals to bagel lovers of all stripes.

“These crazy flavors get people’s attention and get shared on social media,” he said. “But it’s all about quality here.”

No matter if a bagel identifies as bacon-and-egg or rainbow or poppy seed or everything, it starts its journey as a traditional dough made with high-gluten flour, malt syrup and brown sugar. That dough is portioned and rolled by hand into rings before a long, slow “proof” in the walk-in. Risen bagels are plopped into a kettle of boiling water, but “not for too long or they get too puffy,” Pantano specified. Their next stop is the traditional revolving oven, which “must be very hot or they never get brown and develop a real crust.”

Attention to detail doesn’t stop at the bagel: Salads are made with Hellmann's mayonnaise, cream cheese is Philadelphia, sliced meats and cheeses are Boar’s Head. “I want my customers to come back,” he said. “And this is Long Island — this isn’t some rest stop in Arkansas.”

Pantano is an entrepreneur who has opened, closed, sold and licensed many venues since, at 21, he opened his first deli in Oceanside in 1995. Over the next two decades he presided over Pantano’s delis and pizzerias all over Nassau County, but his business really took off in 2016 when he opened Pantano’s Gourmet in Uniondale. “Being right there on Hempstead Turnpike, getting all those Hofstra kids — it took the brand to the next level.”

He’d never been a slouch about branding: Little cars wrapped with the Pantano’s logo and photos of menu items have been driving around Long Island since 1995. Not only his takeout menus but his napkin dispensers bear QR codes directing customers to his website and Instagram.

He operated two bagel shops (in Valley Stream and Franklin Square) early in his career but it wasn’t until he bought Garden City Park’s Bagel House in 2021 that he began to think of himself as a deli guy and a bagel guy. It was his wife, Christina, who came up with the bagel brand.

Classic sesame bagels at Pantano's Doz. Bagels in Garden City...

Classic sesame bagels at Pantano's Doz. Bagels in Garden City Park. Credit: Erica Marcus

“I wanted to keep ‘Pantano’s’ and she suggested ‘Pantano’s Doz. Bagels,’ as in ‘he DOES bagels.’”

Pantano owns the original bagel shop in Garden City Park and the newest one, on Seventh Street in Garden City, which opened earlier this year. Levittown and Freeport operate under a license agreement. His portfolio also includes Pantano’s Gourmets in Uniondale and Hewlett, both of which serve bagels in addition to a massive menu of salads, sandwiches, grilled items, acai bowls, smoothies and breakfast all day. (An abbreviated lineup of these items is also available at Doz.)

Pantano's Doz. Bagels in Garden City Park, Garden City and Levittown are open Monday to Friday 5 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.; in Freeport Monday to Friday 5 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

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