The saying about family goes, “Blood is thicker than water.”
But since what makes a GOOD bagel great is the water, for the father son pair behind Georgetown’s newest eatery, Uncle Leo’s “Not Just” Coffee and Donuts, it may be a little bit of both. You can tell from the pictures behind the counter that Leo Spinelli Jr. (the father) and Leo Spinelli III (the son, age 22) both have bagels and breakfast running through their veins.
“It’s awesome to work together,” says the son, something his proud dad readily echoes: “He’s tremendous. It’s awesome. This is all for him. He’s been doing it since he was little.”
For twenty years, Leo the dad owned Spinelli’s “Not Just” Bagels in Norwalk , and was renowned for his New York-style bagels. When he sold that business, he decided to open something with his son, searching for years for the right spot before settling on the Georgetown storefront on Main St. that Swirl Ice Cream used to occupy.
“We thought it would be good with the commuters that come down Redding Rd. and there’s not another bake shop in the area. There’s no other donut shop,” Leo the son says.
They’re very proud of their bagels, made with a family recipe. “They’re definitely real New York-style bagels. You’ve got to taste one,” says the younger Spinelli. They’ll also be making Bronx-style Italian bread, turnovers and pastries, cheese danishes and more that they make on premises–including their famous strombolis. But, he adds, the house specialty will always be donuts. “We consider ourselves a donut shop.”
The Spinellis make ’em three-inches big, in every, homemade delicious variety: glazed, frosted, jelly-filled, chocolate, powdered–you name it, they make it, fresh.
But like the name says, it’s not just coffee and donuts (and bagels). Hot breakfast, eggs, sandwiches and lunch are all on the menu. If you don’t see something, ask for it, and the Spinelli men will see what they can do. “Somebody just asked me for a bialy–no problem, piece of cake,” the elder Leo said, adding that they’re also available for catering. “We’re going to do the whole nine yards.”
It’s a hard business that takes a lot of dedication, something dad did warn his son about. “It’s early mornings, an A.M. business and it’s not easy. I tried to talk him out of it, but he loves it.”
Come to think of it, it actually may be something sweeter that runs through the Spinelli father and son veins, considering what they each answered when asked about their favorite donut: powdered jelly for Leo the son and cinnamon jelly for his dad.
Uncle Leo’s will be open seven days a week, 6 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 6 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays, and 6 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sundays.