New Wildcat Bagel eatery celebrates SWR athletes

The Wildcat Bagel Deli is just a couple of miles down the road from Shoreham-Wading River High School, and its owners are eager to cheer on its team, the Wildcats. 

A grand opening for the new high school sports-themed bagel deli is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 28, and the school’s wildcat mascot is expected to be on hand to join in the festivities. In December, the bagel deli moved into the former Bagel Palace location in Wading River’s King Kullen shopping plaza on Route 25-A. 

“The kids are the future,” said co-owner Terri Galfano, who runs the business with her husband, Michael; their children, Jaden and Jordan; and Jordan’s husband, Denis Feise. “This is a very big sports community … so we want to [pay] tribute to them.”

The Galfanos moved to Wading River from Manorville in 2021, enrolling Jaden in SWR High School’s Class of 2024. He is expected to start as a goalie for the Wildcats lacrosse team this spring. 

Like any tried-and-true local sports fans, the family crowd-sourced much of their menu by conducting taste tests with local residents.

“The community picked out our menu, basically,” Mr. Galfano said.

It even includes a Wildcat-themed breakfast special. 

“We have something called the ‘Wildcat Rumble,’ which is almost like a McDonald’s McGriddle, only on steroids,” Ms. Galfano said. The sandwich is based on a cheer of the same name that SWR cheerleaders launch into whenever the Wildcats football team scores a touchdown.

The Galfanos are offering discounts for students and faculty (including bus drivers) from SWR and other area high schools, as well as for seniors, law enforcement officers, first responders and other emergency service workers. 

Students get a 10% all-day discount, while those 55 and older receive 10% off after 1 p.m. Members of the military, police, emergency medical services personnel, firefighters and other first responders receive a 15% discount. 

One wall of the deli will be dedicated to showcasing the community and the district’s student athletes. 

SWR athletic director Mark Passamonte said this is an “exciting experience,” for the district’s student athletes. “Not only will our student-athletes benefit from the recognition, our entire school community will know the energy and positivity that comes from growing up in a safe and healthy environment,” he said.

Table seating is in place for those who want to dine together, catch up on work or just relax in a friendly space, and the family also plans to install countertops for customers near a window facing the street. 

“We were really just looking to give back to the community, work with the community and be in the community,” Ms. Feise said.

The food service industry is nothing new to Michael and Terri Galfano. The couple met 20 years ago at Bagel Brothers deli in Port Jefferson, which Michael was running at the time — and they’ve been together ever since. 

“This is kind of full circle for us,” Ms. Galfano said.

Several weeks ago, an unidentified woman came into the deli with a gift for the owners that she’d found at a local thrift store: a ceramic rendering of a golden wildcat made by district alumna Emma Loscalzo.

The Galfanos were deeply touched by the anonymous gift, and will have it on permanent display in the deli.

“That just goes to show you the kind of community we have,” Ms. Galfano said.