Randy Mowery knows if Southerners got a taste of Jersey Shore specialties just one time, their palates would be changed.
He plans to bring a little part of New Jersey to Mt. Juliet with a triple threat of made-from-scratch foods that he will produce himself.
Mowery’s target date to open Jersey Oven Bakery is the middle of September. These days, he’s knee deep in converting a former Subway restaurant space into a bakery unique for the area.
“Jersey Oven Bakery will be a Class A bench hand-scratch bakery,” said Mowery, who moved to Mt. Juliet 14 years ago.
Ever hear of a pork roll? Or eaten a “real” hand-rolled boiled bagel? Or picked up an authentic New Jersey pizza?
Bagels, pizza and pork roll will be Mowery’s top offerings, but the bakery will also offer Philadelphia cheesesteak and all kinds of sandwiches made with Boar’s Head meat.
“I can make anything from scratch,” Mowery said. “Ours will be a mom-and-pop shop and everything we make can’t be found anywhere else.”
Most people haven’t ever tasted a “real” bagel, said Mowery.
The flour is mixed with yeast, salt and malt. The strips of dough are rolled by hand. They rest in the refrigerator overnight, then are kettle boiled.
“These have such a distinct flavor,” Mowery said. “They will fill you up, but are a dense product. People want to take bread out of their diets, but the loaves of bread you get at the store have about 50 ingredients in them. Once you’ve tried one of my bagels, you are hooked.”
Mowery said he has been making bagels since he was a kid in New Jersey. As a high school freshman, he worked at a local bakery and went in to work at 2 a.m. before classes.
He said he makes a killer “everything bagel,” as well as specialty cream cheeses, one with roasted red peppers. His signature bagel is the “French toast bagel.”
And, what in the world is a pork roll? It’s a pork-based processed meat commonly found in New Jersey, New York, Delaware and parts of Pennsylvania.
“It’s not Canadian bacon, but sweet and tangy,” he said. “It doesn’t taste like ham or pork. It’s distinctive, indescribable, but delicious. It’s smoked and cured the old-world way.”
A specialty sandwich Mowery will offer is pork roll with egg and cheese grilled on a bagel.
His New Jersey pizza is also unique.
“If you want a pizza with pineapple, you’ve come to the wrong place,” he said.
The pizza is not deep dish or thin crust but rather a 20-inch pie. The sauce is made from scratch at the bakery with a blend of olive oil, Mowery said.
“Great dough, simple toppings like pepperoni, sausage and onions,” he said. “A good pizza doesn’t need to be piled high.”
Jersey Oven Bakery’s ambiance is different than most bakeries because customers can watch the whole process.
“People will see us work the dough on a bench,” Mowery said. “We will roll the bagels on a special maple bench. They will see us boil the bagels.”
The 1,500-square-foot space will seat about 12 people, but take-out is available.
“From the food to the atmosphere, it’s an experience,” said Mowery. “Like 100 years ago.”
JERSEY OVEN BAKERY
Owner: Randy Mowery
Address: The Paddocks, 300 Pleasant Grove Road, Suite 460, Mt. Juliet
Projected opening date: September 2020
Contact: (615) 354-3943