Photos by Tina Garceau
As a young adult, Aaron Wagner wanted more out of life than what he felt his family’s business could offer, so he became a world traveler. Living in Hawaii when father Michael expressed a need for help, he returned to the East Coast and became yet another beacon for the Wagner clan’s connection to bagel sales. A day short of three weeks old, Fitzwater Street Philly Bagels has helped the 33-year-old to strengthen his lineage and bond with a receptive community.
“I feel very fortunate and blessed to have the opportunity to serve this part of town,” the fifth-generation figure said from his South-of-South establishment. “A few years ago, this was probably the last thing I wanted to do, but a good cup of coffee and a good bagel can go a long way.”
The Philly native grew up in Cherry Hill and resides in Queen Village above his brood’s South Street Philly Bagels operation, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Having found a need for more exposure, Wagner, also responsible for Chestnut Street Philly Bagels, long held South Philly as an appealing spot and believed the Fitzwater Street address would afford him moments to enjoy “neighborhoody” experiences.
“We wanted to make everything warm and welcoming,” the proprietor said of the space. “In our short lifetime here, things have been going really well.”
Wagner lauds his excursions for helping him to appreciate people more, and he has loved interacting with patrons, dubbing those exchanges and quality food as crucial elements for helming a customer service-based business. As he and his hires adjust even more to their surroundings, present and probable patrons will soon come to ponder daily and weekly specials, including one named for his family.
With such an impressive legacy to reflect on and add to, the businessman also looks forward to adding more faces to his memory. Over his years as a hawker of the goodies, Wagner has fetched numerous comments about his allegiance to tradition and is offering the recipe for something with established charm and novel allure, the latter coming through the spicy artichoke cream cheese.
“I think we’ve worked out all the kinks and can work tirelessly toward rewarding people for their support of what we’re doing here,” he said. “I think the Chicken Salad Deluxe is such a means for us to say ‘Hey, we’re pretty proud to make this available to you.’ I hope readers feel the same about it if they try to duplicate everything.”
1- 1/2 to 2 cups of chopped chicken
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 medium stalk of celery, chopped
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
Plain cream cheese
Saint Lucifer Spice
Boil the chicken for 30 to 45 minutes, making sure it is tender and white all the way through. Add it to the salt, pepper, celery, and mayonnaise to form the chicken salad.
Mix the cheeses with the Saint Lucifer Spice, sriracha, and pickled artichokes. Apply these ingredients and the chicken salad components to a bagel of your choice, and top with the lettuce and tomatoes. ■
Fitzwater Street Philly Bagels
Opened: Sept. 9, 2016
Owner: Aaron Wagner
2001 Fitzwater St.
Photos by Tina Garceau