All photos by Taryn and Nikki Pire

New Jerseyans know a thing or two about bagels. But the Garden State’s never seen anything like The Bagel Nook in Freehold.

This bagel shop is known for way more than your average schmears. It’s gone viral for it’s micro-batch specialty cream cheeses (think cannoli, jalapeno cheddar, cool ranch and cookie dough), Crazy Bagels (many of which are coated in fave kids’ cereals like Cocoa Puffs and Cap’n Crunch) and epic bagel overloads.

This family-owned operation is relatively new to the scene, but has already made a major splash in the Instagram food world. What really put the shop on the map? The Oreo Overload: Oreo cream cheese and whole cookies atop a vanilla chocolate swirl bagel. Boasting more than 63K followers on IG, it’s no wonder the shop’s over-the-top creations have caught the eye of publications like Today, Food & Wine and Buzzfeed.

The owner, Alex Berkowitz, worked in the bagel industry since he was a teenager. From the passion and ideas to start the true breakfast and lunch landmark of his dreams, The Bagel Nook was born. Now breakfast lovers from far and wide travel for epic treats straight from the menu, or their own combo of bagel and spread (we went for the Flaming Hot Cheeto bagel with blazin’ ranch cream cheese with more hot Cheetos inside…and loved it so much that we named The Bagel Nook our Editor’s Pick for Best Bagels in NJ as part of our 2018 Ultimate Bucket List).

The shop does more than next-level bagels. You can start your day with breakfast options like the Oversized Monster Muffins that come in flavors like sugar cookie and M&M, Crazy French Toast, like the Fruity Pebbles number with sweet vanilla glaze, strawberries and a whole lotta cereal, or an array of indulgently-dressed donuts. Alex’s current favorite? The Blueberry French Toast Crumbcake Overload. But he was also super proud of their newly launched (and gargantuan) Cannoli Overload, a Cocoa Puff bagel topped with s’mores cream cheese and a cannoli stuffed donut, all topped with a whole mini cannoli.

The shop can also whip up omelets, pancakes, salads, wraps and other staples. If you go for lunch though, ask about the Truck Sandwich menu, a lineup of four epic “fat sandwiches” topped with everything from chicken tenders and mozz sticks to onion rings and spicy jalapeno aioli.

Don’t live near Freehold? The Bagel Nook will ship select treats anywhere in the country. Remember your out-of-state college days when you were going through a serious bagel withdrawal? Imagine if mom had shipped you the Cookie Monster Back to School Bagels pack, 6 Cap’n Crunch bagels and a pound of blue cream cheese blended with Oreos and cookie dough. Goodbye, homesickness!

The Bagel Nook is located at 51 Village Center Dr. in Raintree Town Center in Freehold. Follow the shop on Facebook and Instagram.