Bari Musacchio, owner of Baz Bagel & Restaurant
For the last feature in our Women’s History Month series, we are excited to share the story of one of our favorite bagel spots, Baz Bagel & Restaurant! We learned that passion is something you fight for and isn’t to be ignored.
Interview with Bari from Baz Bagel:
How’d you get into the restaurant business? Was your initial plan to own a food business? If not, what was your initial desire?
My summers in college, where I was studying biology and sociology, were spent working at Ceci Cela, a bakery on Spring St., that has been around for 25 years. I slowly realized that the one day I worked there each week was the one I looked forward to the most, so I decided to go to the French Culinary Institute to begin my career in the food industry. I traveled to Italy to study at Alma, work with wine, and work in different kitchens to absorb as much as I could. I wanted to know everything about it. I think I really got bit by the bug in Italy. When I got back I realized there were no bagel stores in my neighborhood and bagels were how I treated myself every Sunday on my day off.
Who is the mastermind behind your recipes?
My Grandma Joyce. She is where all of the Jewish recipes come from, like latkes, and matzo ball soup. For the bagels, I worked in a bagel store for free to learn the ins and outs of baking.
How has being a woman owner of a food business impacted the way you run your shop?
In certain areas you have to be much stronger than a man would have to be. People expect you to be a pushover. You have to be a little over-assertive with the guys to make sure they respect you. For the girls at the front of house, I see that I’m inspiring the ones who have their own entrepreneurial dreams. Its like ‘you go girl!’
Who or what was your inspiration for your decision in running your own business?
My father has a lot of businesses and I’ve always appreciated the lifestyle he has. I can remember him always being on the move traveling or by the pool relaxing, and I hoped one day I would be able to do the same and not be on someone else’s clock. I also knew if I was going to work extremely hard I wanted it to be supporting myself.
What are some of the challenges you have had to overcome, if any?
I think with any business the challenge is finding your path. You have to let the business dictate itself and be able to grow and move with it. People are also a challenge. Relying on people to come together in a way to make things happen. Vendors, coworkers, etc. But when it does it’s amazing. I look around during a brunch rush hour and am thankful for how everything came together-the baker, the bagel rollers, the waiters-all the different components in sync.
What advice would you give to women who are afraid or hesitant to start their own business?
Just do it. You have to take risks for those types of rewards. Its not easy and you have to be prepared for the challenges. There will be mistakes everyday, but it’s about how you prevent them and solve them in the right way. Its about how you overcome them and keep going everyday. The world is changing. Women are at the forefront of so many businesses. And the best part of what I chose to do is realizing that I’m inspiring others to do the same.