HUNTERSVILLE – Eighteen years ago, Exit 25 was just an idea.
When brothers Silvio and John Cadolino signed the lease for the space around the corner from what would become the Target, the exit was not finished. But the area was clearly ready for business.
“We were washing windows and people would come up and ask when we were opening,” said John Cadolino.
“We’ve been very fortunate with our customers,” Silvio Cadolino said. “It’s all word of mouth.”
And the mouths are saying that these are the best bagels south of New York City.
The Cadolino brothers grew up in Long Island. In 1991, John Cadolino moved down to the Charlotte area with FedEx. Silvio Cadolino was a pharmacist in Long Island, but told his brother he would be willing to move for a good business opportunity.
After listening to his brother lament that there was no good bread to eat in the Charlotte area and smelling the bagels from the shop next door, a business opportunity was born.
The bagel shop owner in Long Island generously helped the brothers buy equipment and then walked them through the bagel-making process.
Silvio Cadolino then moved down to the Charlotte area in 1995 and the Bagel Bin opened later that year.
The brothers arrive at the Bagel Bin every day at 3:45 a.m. to start making the bagels.
The tidy back room where they do the baking is a study in efficiency. While the brothers talk constantly to each other, it is not about the actual mixing or baking. That part is now second nature honed over 18 years of practice.
John Cadolino skillfully works the homemade dough with the help of a machine into perfect circles. Silvio Cadolino expertly shovels the circles into hot ovens, baking them to a perfect golden brown.
Everything at the Bagel Bin is made from scratch. Only black and white cookies and the crumb cake are imported fresh from New York City. But the pastries, danishes, muffins, Kaiser rolls, brownies, chicken salad and most everything else on the menu are all made fresh in-house.
They also claim to have single-handedly brought Boar’s Head meats and cheeses in the area.
If a patron orders a sandwich, the meat is cut at that exact moment to ensure the best quality taste. It takes a bit longer, but the freshness of the meat and cheese is well worth it.
Bagel Bin also serves S&D Coffee out of Concord.
At 10 a.m. on a random Tuesday, the Bagel Bin is hopping.
“Oh you should see it earlier or on a weekend,” said manager Vanessa Hughesman, who has been working at Bagel Bin for 17 years. There are plenty of regulars who stop by daily for the exact same order.
“We just start making it the second they walk in the door,” Hughesman said.
Mickie Williams, of Huntersville, is one such customer. As she and Hughesman talk about her son’s induction into the Armed Services, she pauses to relay what makes Bagel Bin so special.
“They make it a habit to get to know you,” Williams said. “Plus you can tell with the first bite that everything is homemade.”
John and Silvio Cadolino are aware of their cult following due to the impressive, homemade bagels and other food items.
“Sometimes I just wish someone else owned it,” sighed John Cadolino with a wry smile. “Then I could enjoy it more!”
9815 Sam Furr Road, Huntersville