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More than 7,000 bagels roll off the assembly line in advance of a typical Sunday at Upper Crust Bagels in Deerfield.

The Rayyan brothers, Ronnie and John, have owned and operated the bakery and full service deli for eight years. The bakery itself has been at 835 Waukegan Road, in the heart of Deerfield right across from Village Hall, for almost two decades.

The process for making the kettle boiled New York style bagels begins early in the morning. One baker arrives at shortly after midnight, and two more clock in around 2:30 a.m.

The bakers first mix ingredients and water to the flour, and put the mix into a mixer, where it will blend for up to 15 minutes. The dough is spread out on a work area, and let to relax for about 10 minutes, before being run through the bagel former for sizing and shaping.


The individual bagels are then placed on racks and allowed to proof anywhere from 24 to 32 hours. Ronnie says the best bagels are proofed for 32 hours. After proofing, the bagels are boiled, then baked, and ready to eat.

By nature, most of the Rayyans’ business occurs early. Ronnie estimates 85 percent of his business takes place before 2 p.m.

Upper Crust is more than just a bakery, it also includes a full service delicatessen, with daily lunch specials. Much of their deli business is catering with fish, meat, bagels, cheeses, sandwiches and sweet trays.


Ronnie said he and his brother decided to buy the deli because they grew up going to delis. He said his father, who works in commercial real estate, also trained his sons from an early age to work with the public. Ronnie received a business degree from De Paul University. The brothers also dabble in real estate on the side.

In June 2004, the Rayyans purchased Door County Fish in Northbrook at 2831 W. Dundee Road, a wholesale smokehouse, smoking and selling fish and meats to various delis in the area.

But three months ago they renamed the second location Upper Crust Bagels and gave it an identity makeover to mirror the Deerfield location. John manages the Northbrook store, which now offers bagels and a full deli in addition to the smokehouse operation.

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