Josh Greeson’s Side Hustle Is Schmear Genius

Josh Greeson of Sidedoor Bagels
Josh Greeson of Sidedoor Bagels.

Photo by Tony Valainis

If you’ve managed to get your hands on a dozen bagels from the home-delivery service Sidedoor Bagel, you’re one of the lucky ones. Josh Greeson originally planned to sell his sourdough bagels, the perfect combination of chewy interior and crusty exterior, from the “side door” of Amelia’s in Fletcher Place. So he isn’t sure how he went from being “the guy making bagels for brunch with friends” to “the guy who has to turn his phone off because it’s blowing up with orders.”

A professional baker for not quite a year, Greeson (click here for his Everything Bagel seasoning recipe) started his career in a family real-estate investment firm, but long dreamed of a culinary job. Last summer, he decided to pursue his food destiny, taking a full-time baking gig at Amelia’s. When he brought some of his “hobby” bagels in to share with his teammates, they went nuts. He talked to his boss, Amelia’s owner Charlie McIntosh, about making and selling them at the bakery, and the answer was yes. There was just one caveat: They had to be sourdough. “The next day, I started messing with sourdough, and it was a disaster,” Greeson says. “Bagels are harder in general, and I had to really experiment with recipes and flours.”

By skipping the instant yeast that’s a staple of traditional bagels and using a decade-old sourdough starter from Amelia’s instead, Greeson delivers a bagel with a tender crumb and complex flavors that lean malty and tangy, the perfect companion for a selection of schmears made fresh the night before delivery.

Favorite Things

(1) A good bread knife. “It has to be serrated and long enough to have some heft, or it’s easy to cut yourself.” (2) Fresh Thyme’s fresh-squeezed lemonade. “I have at least two gallons in my fridge at all times.” (3) Vintage Lender’s hat. “I grew up eating frozen Lender’s onion bagels.” (4) Di Oro silicone spatula. “The inside is metal, so it’s stiff enough to mix batter, but the ends are pliable.” (5) Love Handle’s fried-chicken biscuit sliders. “My tradition every Saturday morning, because we would bake through the night at Amelia’s.” (6) Everything Bagel seasoning.