A bagel may just be the simplest indulgence. Perhaps you take it with a cream cheese schmear or loaded with lox, capers and red onion. Either way, its chewiness on the inside and delicate crispness on the outside is pure bread heaven. These top bagel shops combine this deliciousness with a dollop of history and community, for your next feel-good meal.
The savory counterpart to another regional favorite – doughnuts – bagels reign supreme in the Northeast.
Sugar & Olives makes its signature bagels with its own rye flour-based sourdough starter that bubbles with active yeast as it rises on the counter during production. This natural leavening takes four days, creating nine fresh varieties. Pumpernickel caraway everything and cinnamon raisin are the newest flavors. Or try gluten-free with hot honey pistachio cream cheese for your morning kickstart.
Check out Sugar & Olives Diamond Dish recipe for Kale Ribbons With Miso Maple Dressing.
Since 1994, Upper Crust has kettle boiled and hearth baked more than 18 varieties of 5-ounce “bull style” bagels fresh daily, including weekly specialty bagels like apple walnut, pesto and sun-dried tomato. No matter how you slice it, its Beach Club sandwich makes a great lunch with turkey or roast beef, or try The Vegg, featuring a veggie burger with lettuce, tomato and Bermuda onion.
Do you like your bagel savory or sweet? This bagel shop makes both. Your little one might like peanut butter and jelly or Nutella on a plain bagel, while you might try something bolder, like the jalapeno cream cheese on a caraway bagel with notes of fennel. The egg and cheese breakfast sammy will satiate every taste bud. If you like it that much, take a dozen bagels with cream cheese to go.
The turkey club is a popular choice at Beyond Bagels, a small but friendly bagel shop in North Reading. Also try the Lox Supreme with scallion bacon cream cheese. A dozen freshly-baked bagel flavors are the tastiest backdrop for hearty additions like these that satisfy the hungriest appetite for breakfast or lunch. Don’t forget an espresso or chai. Cash only.
Start with Bagels n’ Cream’s famed egg bagel and you have nowhere to go but up. Hot out of the oven, it’s the perfect blank slate for the nearly 50 custom breakfast and lunch sandwiches served at this independent bakery. Pumpernickel rye is also a crowd pleaser, or try the biali to kick up the flavor profile. Fresh roasted coffee, as well as baklava for dessert, make this a one-stop shop. If you can’t make it in person, order online for delivery.
There’s just something about the Nova Scotia lox and cream cheese at Boonton Bagels that makes use smile with anticipation. Perhaps it’s because it crafts custom bagel sandwiches with the freshest ingredients. Try the Italian egg sandwich with peppers, tomatoes and potatoes, or any of its specialty sandwiches like the Michael Jordan (corned beef and pastrami with coleslaw and Russian Dressing) or the Jennifer Lopez (roast beef, lettuce, tomato and Russian dressing).
Locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn
Serving traditional sourdough bagels and lox for more than 100 years, Russ & Daughters was founded by a Polish immigrant selling herring from barrels in 1908. His three daughters helped it grow to an appetizing store, selling the best bagels and their accompaniments. Now operated by fourth generation cousins, Russ & Daughters and its Orchard Street café remain must-visit foodie destinations. Try the Yum Kippered (baked salmon and cream cheese on a bagel) or the whitefish salad for Russ family recipes, and make sure you take some to go.
Since 1949, Goldberg’s has dominated New York’s bagel heritage, from Brooklyn and Queens to Long Island. Four generations later, its 14 flavors of freshly baked bagels include sesame, pumpernickel and egg everything, as well as 13 cream cheese varieties and add-ons like hash browns, tomato and lox. Its extensive menu includes a host of specialty breakfast and lunch sandwiches, so every picky eater will find something tempting to nosh.
Founded by a chemical engineer-turned baker, Rebelle Artisan Bagels hand rolls then cold ferments every bagel. They’re bathed in brewer’s grade malted barley, dipped in poppy seeds, sesame seeds or the house-blended everything mix, then baked on soaked cedar planks in a 24-hour process that elicits crispy yet chewy perfection. Try the house-made whitefish salad or house-cured lox on a pretzel bagel with Avi’s Pickles, then take home a signature pop tart and a half-dozen everything.
Rhode Island’s newest and most secret bagel shop doesn’t have its own storefront – yet. Jamo’s Bagels are boiled and baked New York-style at Foodworks Restaurant in Portsmouth, then sold at locations across Aquidneck Island on weekends, including Sweet Berry Farm in Middletown, and The Nitro Bar in Newport, which can craft your bagel into a mouthwatering egg sandwich. Make sure to pre-order your favorite jalapeno cheddar bagel or get it delivered before it sells out.
Did we forget your favorite bagel spot? Tell us about the best bagel shops near you in the comment below.