Co-owners Jeff Cofini (left) & Nick Cignarella of Zio’s NY Bagel & Deli Co. in the Pebble Creek Collection. (Photos by Charmaine George)

Although I have known Zio’s New York Bagel & Deli Co. co-owner Jeff Cofini for a number of years, I warned him when he first told me that he was opening a New York-style bagel place in New Tampa that, as a native New Yawka and self-proclaimed bagel aficionado, if his bagels weren’t “legit,” we could have a problem. 

But, while it took a lot longer than planned for Cofini and his nephew and partner Nick Cignarella (in fact, “Zio” means “uncle” in Italian), to open their Zio’s NY Bagel & Deli Co. in the Pebble Creek Collection, there’s no doubt — in my eyes, at least — that it was well worth the wait. 

Smoked salmon and cream cheese on an everything bagel, anyone? 

Zio’s may not have the best bagels I’ve ever tasted, but they are the first legitimate, best NY-style bagels ever sold in New Tampa. I can say, in all sincerity, that anytime I have a hankerin’ for a fried (or scrambled) egg, bacon and cheese or smoked salmon and cream cheese on a sesame or everything bagel (which I get often), with an extra-crisp hash brown patty on the side, my car already seems to know to take me to Zio’s. 

But, Zio’s offers more than just great bagels. Jannah and I (as well as photographer Charmaine George) all already have our own favorites. 

For breakfast, while Charmaine is partial to the steak (grilled Boar’s Head roast beef, actually), egg and cheese wrap or omelette, Jannah prefers Zio’s homemade chicken salad as a melt (with cheddar cheese) on a toasted, scooped-out Asiago cheese bagel. 

The All Jacked Up sandwich.

And for lunch, while I have consistently enjoyed The Melvin (grilled Boar’s Head pastrami and corned beef, with melted Swiss and cole slaw on grilled rye or pumpernickel bread), I also found the All Jacked Up sandwich (with grilled Boar’s Head deluxe roast beef, melted pepper jack cheese, sautéed onions, lettuce and tomato with spicy brown mustard, mayo or thousand island dressing) on a hoagie roll to be outstanding, too. 

And, although she always asks for just two slices of bread, instead of the usual three it comes with, Jannah loves the Double Decker, featuring Boar’s Head Ovengold turkey, with Boar’s Head cheddar (instead of the American cheese it comes with), crispy bacon and lettuce on grilled pumpernickel bread. 

The Harvest salad features Boar’s Head Ovengold turkey & Swiss cheese pinwheels.

Charmaine enjoyed the smoked salmon bagel sandwich, as well as the Harvest Salad (with crisp romaine lettuce, tomato, cucumber, shredded carrots, sweet dry cranberries and walnuts, topped with pinwheels of Boar’s Head Ovengold turkey and Swiss), as well as Zio’s grilled cheeseburgers and crispy fries. 

Jeff says that although many of the items mentioned so far are among his top-sellers, “We sell more of the Italian Combo than any other sandwich for lunch.” The Italian Combo is piled high with Boar’s Head Capy hot ham, Genoa salami and pepperoni and is topped with provolone, lettuce, tomato, red onion and Italian dressing. He says the Taylor ham, egg & cheese dominates breakfast, and breakfast and lunch are both served whenever Zio’s is open, so you can have your breakfast favorites for lunch and vice-versa — and the prices definitely are fair. 

A catering tray of bagels, spreads, salads & muffins.

Zio’s also has fresh-baked muffins in a variety of flavors and delicious gourmet gavina coffee. Catering is a specialty if you have a meeting, party or event coming up. In fact, Zio’s provided a beautiful spread of bagels, butter and cream cheese (including a sweet maple walnut cream cheese) for the Neighborhood News-hosted North Tampa Bay Chamber coffee meeting last month and everyone raved about the bagels. 

Zio’s New York Bagel & Deli Co. is located at 19651 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. It is open Monday-Friday, 6 a.m.-3 p.m.; and 7 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call (813) 388-9498 or search “Zio’s New York Bagel and Deli Co.” on Facebook. 

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