Eggs-perts on the bacon-egg-’n’-cheese: Who served the best at Staten Island’s ‘BEC Fest’? –

A BEC sampler: In the forefront, Not Just Pastrami. To the left, The Bagel Box and in the back, Fina's Farmhouse. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Just like opinions and bacon-egg-and-cheeses, most New Yorkers have them. But Flagship Brewing Co. in Tompkinsville might be the only venue to venerate the iconic breakfast sandwich in the inaugural BEC Fest, held at the brewery Sunday morning.
With such a meal, there are beers for that, Flagship’s Irish Coffee Stout and Pumpkin Spice Latte, among the selections included in a three-hour open bar for $50 a head.
About 75 guests attended the BEC Fest at Flagship Brewing Co. in at 40 Minthorne St., Tompkinsville. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)
Six contenders presented their best BECs — Beans ‘n’ Leaves Cafe of West Brighton and Richmond Valley, Wynwood Street Eats of Stapleton, The Bagel Box of Pleasant Plains, Not Just Pastrami of Port Richmond, Fina’s Farmhouse of Tottenville and Jimmy Max of Westerleigh.
And before we deliver you the names of the winners, there are a few important things to note, as both an opinionated partaker in the event and an official judge.
Alexa Bartiromo, a manager at Not Just Pastrami in Port Richmond. While the restaurant was tempted to use pastrami for the contest, they stuck with traditional bacon for the sandwich. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)
First, the elephant in the room with a roster that includes Jimmy Max: what ever could a pizzeria and non-breakfast-serving pub present in the lines of a BEC-loving public? The answer — a breakfast pizza made with melted American, scrambled eggs and bacon.
The BEC pizza from Jimmy Max of Westerleigh included slices of American cheese (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)
The next question — at least one that we initially had — how is it possible to serve bacon-egg-and-cheese to a room of about 75 guests without mangling the sandwich? Having served many in my own career as a school lunch lady and caterer, it is undeniably an enormous feat. With the level of difficulty in such a competition — on a scale of one to 10 with 10 being the most tedious — it has to be a 9.5.
A close up on Beans 'n' Leaves' two versions of BEC with one on a croissant and the other on a brioche bun. The catering department of Beans is run out of the Richmond Valley location. Both West Brighton and the South Shore venue sell breakfast daily. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)
Just to crack that 9.5 rating open a bit more, as kudos to the competitors, eggs are a persnickety thing to make and ship. They turn green if they touch aluminum, like foil or bake pans. If not heated to a perfect temperature, yolks will turn a murky grey. Kept continuously hot, the whole shebang can easily overcook. Even a shade of well-doneness on omelets or curds can result in an unpleasant, intense sulphureousness.
Also, a properly composed sandwich keeps its ingredients in check. There is no slip-sliding of the cheese, no shape-shifting of the bun. It should be consumed in a few tidy, glorious bites.
With full appreciation for all that, giving this food its proper due, every BEC chef at BEC Fest deserves extra props, particularly The Bagel Box, Fina’s Farmhouse and Beans ‘n’ Leaves’ dedicated catering kitchen, all miles away from Tompkinsville on the South Shore. Also, remember on Sunday the street closures due to the New York City Marathon added extra travel time for everyone.
Guests savor their bacon-egg-and-cheeses on Sunday morning. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)
By standards of self-described Professional Eater (@elena.eatz) aka Elena Demontreux, the BEC fest was a premium food event. She said on her Instagram post, “There were so many delicious vendors here today and the competition was definitely tight, but I have to go with @BeansandLeavesCafe for 1st place.”
A post shared by Professional Eater (@elena.eatz)
Beer and BEC enthusiast T.J. Smolka took an astute interest in the most egg-cellent challenger of the day. His students in the McKee High School Automotive and Carpentry Department designed its trophy — a keepsake golden bagel. The creation was put on display in the Flagship taproom with much admiration among revelers, a fine token of Staten Island-made, practical folk art from one set of craftspeople to another.
The Golden Bagel Award: The BEC Fest winner in 2022 has received a hand-crafted, keepsake trophy courtesy of the McKee High School Automotive and Carpentry Department students (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)
Smolka said, “Having read the menu descriptions beforehand, I went in with a biased opinion. I was really excited to try Wynwood because they advertised beforehand that they were going to be using slab bacon.”
And he wasn’t disappointed with Wynwood’s production that (surprisingly) included unctuous and crunchy fried onions strings.
Frankie Daly of Wynwood Street Eats handed out BEC with applewood smoked bacon, cheddar and a fried egg topped with floured and fried onion strings for crunch and extra yumminess. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)
Smolka maintained, “They were clearly the best. They are a gourmet restaurant though and while their interpretation of a BEC was stellar, you’re not realistically going to go there for a traditional New York bacon egg and cheese. I think the underdog winner here was the only New York City deli that represented today — The Bagel Box with their Swiss cheese BEC.”
Mallory McEvoy of The Bagel Box in Pleasant Plains added a squeeze of hot honey onto a New York bagel topped with Swiss, bacon and egg. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)
He enthused, “Flagship did an amazing job putting this together and I’m looking forward to an expansion next year.”
And with that, the official winners of BEC Fest are Second Place (a tie) with Fina’s Farmhouse in Tottenville and Beans and Leaves of West Brighton and Richmond Valley. First Place went to Wynwood Street Eats.
Additional judges were Joe DeMeo representing Flagship Brewing Co., food stylist Justin Sicari of Merakimedia and Dan Ryan of the Advance/
Pamela Silvestri is Advance Food Editor. She can be reached at
Megan Coppola, left, and Danielle Bianchi of Beans and Leaves Cafe in West Brighton and Richmond Valley (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)
Fina's Farmhouse's table at Flagship. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)
A closeup of Wynwood's BEC (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)
What to pair with a BEC? At Flagship, that beverage would be frozen mimosa, Irish Cream Stout or Pumpkin Spice Latte. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)
In depth with Not Just Pastrami's creation (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)
The seeded sweet rolls of Fina's Farmhouse are fresh baked at Belli Baci Bakery in nearby Tottenville (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri_
Fina's Farmhouse of Tottenville with their carefully transported precious BEC cargo. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)
Deliciousness from The Bagel Box in Pleasant Plains with Swiss and hot honey (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)
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