Bagels on the “Express” to Hell

Just a week after raving about Holmdel Bagels, here is a major gripe about D’Alessio’s Bagel Express in Leonardo. Went a few days ago en route to Sandy Hook. Didn’t feel like making the detour to Atlantic Bagels on First Avenue in Atlantic Highlands. I had never been to D’Alessio’s, but they have been there for a long time. Their online reviews are also overly positive. What could possibly go wrong?

First of all, the place was dirty and grimy. The kind of unclean you don’t get from age, but the simple ignorance of cleaning. The coffee pots were stained and filthy. The filters on them look like they had not been changed since the 1980’s. The floors were sticky. The kitchen, from what I could see from where I was standing, was unkempt.

I ordered a toasted everything with butter. Justin had a cinnamon raisin with walnut cream cheese. Both were rung up as $3 each. It was absolutely asinine to charge $3 for a buttered bagel when everyone else charges $2 or less. Upon further investigation, their menu online notes that a buttered bagel is actually $1.50…meaning this guy charged me double! Justin’s was the correct charge. Based on the service which was received (elaborated on below) I think the guy actually forgot what he put on my bagel. He may have even forgot where he was. I wish I could say this is because they were busy.

From their website.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the man helping us behind the counter look like he landed from a trip from Bizzaro Land. His shirt was disgustingly stained and sweaty. I know kitchens are hot, but this was a gross abnormality. He looked like he took a bath. He was buzzing all over the place, speaking almost incoherently despite us being the only customers aside from an obese bald man reading a newspaper at the counter who did not move or speak the entire time and who wasn’t eating anything (lucky him). The worker’s pupils were dilated. He screamed instead of speaking. I picked up a newspaper to kill the eternity we were waiting for these overpriced bagels and he went into a Burt Reynolds rant finishing with, “You two are so young, you probably don’t even know who that is.” I stood in a stunned silence.

We noticed a platter of freshly made chicken cutlets on the counter and something possessed us to ask if we could buy one to try it. He said they were going into a party sub on the catering menu and gave one to us for free. I guess the price was listening to him scream about how Cannonball Run was the best movie ever made before he slipped into a paranoid “the government is spying on us through EZ Pass” tirade.

Overall, the bagel sucked. It was stale, like cardboard. While well-seasoned, it had too much salt. Justin’s was as average as such a product could get. The free chicken cutlet was at least decent, though not worth having to pay the wrong price for my bagel. We were brave to give it a try. I really am shocked at the number of positive reviews D’Alessio’s has online. Maybe we caught them on a bad day, but in this industry, sometimes you only get one chance. If I had to give a rating, I guess I would say 1.5 out of 5 stars.

D’Alessio’s Bagel Express is located at 949 NJ-36 in Leonardo, NJ.

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