Jersey City residents never seem to get enough of their bagel cravings, and a new bagel shop is coming to fill the void. Cheech’s Bagels is a new bagel concept opening at 176 Erie Street in the Swift + Co. building — near Hamilton Park. The visionary owners behind Cheech’s Bagels are Gianluca Fernicola and John Ballan, lifelong friends and Jersey City residents who saw a need for more bagel options in the area. Read on to learn more about Cheech’s Bagels coming soon to Jersey City and the owners behind it.
Cheech’s Bagels announced via Instagram that it will be “coming soon” to 176 Erie Street in Jersey City. The announcement came on a particular day: National Bagel Day, January 15th. That same day, SILVERMAN Real Estate Group also announced on its Instagram that a lease was signed between Cheech’s Bagels and Swift + Co.
The post on SILVERMAN’S Instagram read, “Crazy day in Jersey City. It’s National Bagel Day as you probably already know, and what did we do? We signed a lease with Cheech’s Bagels, for Swift & Co. Get ready to meet longtime friends and business partners Gianluca and John, and enjoy the best bagels and more. Opening in 2024 at 176 Erie Street, Jersey City. @cheechsbagels. Thanks to broker @joachim_horvitz and the SILVERMAN team including @vanessaimme and @stefanlyons.”
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While an official opening date for Cheech’s Bagels has not been confirmed, the anticipated timeframe for the grand opening is expected to be within the next four to six months.
The Owner’s Bagel Journey
John Ballan and Gianluca Fernicola have been lifelong friends since high school and Jersey City residents for seven years. Though Jersey City has charm and vibrant culture, there was one thing John and Gianluca found lacking in town — an authentic breakfast spot that served bagels. The duo asked themselves, “In a lively city where hangovers are a promise and bread is nearly a right of passage, where the heck do we get breakfast?” Faced with limited bagel options in the area, they decided to make that change together.
John shared the inspiration behind the name. Cheech is named after John’s late chihuahua with a “sassy attitude.” John and Cheech would spend countless mornings together exploring the city, browsing coffee shops, and getting breakfast — with bagels being a particular favorite.
Gianluca is a trained chef owning two well-established pizzeria locations throughout New Jersey — Hasbrouck Heights Pizza in Hasbrouck Heights and Parsippany Best Pizza in Parsippany. His culinary journey, from growing up in the industry, attending culinary school, and gaining hands-on experience in the kitchens of some of New York’s finest restaurants, positions him to deliver his culinary expertise to Cheech’s Bagels.
Together, they dedicated hours to perfecting recipes, experimenting with ingredients, and infusing their love for bagels into their craft. Once perfected, Cheech’s Bagels was born and is coming soon to downtown Jersey City near Hamilton Park.
All About Cheech’s Bagels
Cheech’s Bagels will open at 176 Erie Street in Downtown Jersey City. The plan is to combine the feel of a classic American diner with the lively spirit of a deli. The combination creates an atmosphere where customers can savor their bagels without the need to stand in long lines and instead unwind in a cozy booth.
The menu features a wide selection of bagels, coffee, and breakfast with the choice of specialty sandwiches, spreads, add-ons, and vegan options. Some of its special menu items include a Cheech’s Bagel made with sausage, egg, American cheese, and maple syrup on a griddled plain bagel; a carbonara bagel made with bacon, egg, pecorino cheese, and truffle oil on a garlic bagel; and the HashJam Bagel made with bacon, egg, cheese, and hashbrowns with homemade jam on a hand-rolled bagel.
Cheech’s Bagels also welcomes vegan options that include a tofu scramble made with tofu and plant-based cheese on a hand-rolled bagel, and a challah bagel made with carrot lox, onions, tofu cream cheese, and dill on a plain bagel. Many of the ingredients will be sourced from local farms and food groups. To stay informed about the official opening date, stay tuned on the company’s Instagram for the latest updates.