While some say that you can’t find a good bagel outside of New York City, we’ve always felt that bold argument was flawed. Passionate bagel makers everywhere do their time to learn the trade and, if they’re lucky, they’re celebrated for imparting their own unique approaches to these rustic, ring-shaped breads. So with this list, we’re proud to celebrate the bagel makers that are waking up well before daybreak to roll, boil and bake the nation’s best!
Winning bagels were judged on flavor, process (hand-rolling, boiling and baking are essential!), ingredients, mission and recommendations from discerning bagel-eaters.
Crestline Bagel Co, Birmingham
Believe it or not, homemade bagels are hard to find in ‘bama. But tucked away in a suburb of Birmingham, you’ll find a locally owned bagel shop with 20 different kinds of New York-style bagels and plenty of cream cheese options. Its sandwich menu includes classics like Nova lox and cream cheese and Southern favorites like pimiento cheese and bacon.
Everything Bagels, Kenai
When the couple behind Everything Bagels was sick of mediocre bagels from the store, they set out to bake their own. With an emphasis on local ingredients, high-quality wheat flour and all-natural toppings, they truly rise above the rest.
Odelay Bagel, Phoenix
Odelay Bagels bakes its bagels in small batches and boils them in malted water, which its owners say makes all the difference. This quirky bagel hotspot offers more than just bagels — there’s an ongoing “beats n bagels” concert series, and community events as well.
Ozark Mountain Bagel Co., Bentonville
In the northwest corner of Arkansas you’ll find a local bagel shop whose mission is to bring “authentic, New-York style bagels” to the Ozarks. When you’re there, you can pair your favorite breakfast sandwich with its locally roasted coffee.
Wexler’s Deli, Los Angeles
Wexler’s is a new-school joint that keeps things simple with just three kinds of bagels — plain, everything and sesame seed. Savor one with cream cheese for $2.50 or give into the callings of its house-cured pastrami bagel breakfast sandwich.
Moe’s Broadway Bagel, Boulder and Denver
This family-owned business has seven locations and bakes 10,000 bagels a day, but you can see its passion for homemade bagels and cream cheese in every store. On Fridays, they sell loaves of freshly baked challah, which definitely wins us over.
Goldberg’s Bagel Cafe, Hartford
Boiled before they’re baked, these bagels are made in the New York tradition. They don’t take any shortcuts here, with house-cured lox and pastrami and farm-sourced eggs and cheese on the menu.
Newark Deli & Bagels, Newark
Located in downtown Newark (not to be confused with Newark, New Jersey), this quaint neighborhood bagel shop is one of the only in the state to bake its bagels from scratch. Choose from 14 different bagel flavors and dozens of sandwich and cream cheese options.
Sage Bagel & Deli, Hallandale Beach
Started by two Queens, New York, natives in 1973, Sage Bagels is as close to New York-style bagels as you’ll find in South Florida. There are a variety of classic bagel flavors to choose from, 12 kinds of smoked fish (sourced from Acme Smoked Fish in Brooklyn) and a number of homemade sweets, including babkas, linzer tarts, rugelach and black and white cookies.
The General Muir, Atlanta
This highly-acclaimed restaurant serves bagel platters for breakfast and has an adjoining cafe, where you can find plain, poppy, sesame, salt and everything bagels made from scratch every day. Their mouthwatering bagel sandwiches are charmingly named after streets from Manhattan’s East Village. We’ve written about them before as a winning new-school Jewish Deli and one of the best in the South.
Yo Bagels, South Kona
In 2016, a food-loving East Coast couple from New York and New Jersey started their own bagel biz in Hawaii. They transported suitcases full of New York bagels back to Hawaii, and through trial and error developed their own bagel recipe. You can find them in seven locations and at a few farmers markets.
Blue Sky Bagels, Boise
Transparent about its process from mixing to first bite, this bagel joint doesn’t cut any corners. Its cheery bright blue logo brightens the landscape of a relatively bagel-less city (and state).
The Bagel, Chicago and Skokie
Rooted in a love for classic Jewish food and family recipes, The Bagel, in Chicago, has been making bagels from scratch and Jewish comfort food since 1950. At both their Lakeview and Skokie locations, you can find bagels boiled and baked to perfection, and all of your other old world favorites.
Bloomington Bagel Company, Bloomington
This small business provides a welcoming atmosphere and top-notch bagels to the city of Bloomington. The owners are passionate about serving their community, and baking a diversity of bagels and bialys from scratch.
5 Borough Bagels, Clive
With a bagel sandwich named after every borough of New York City, 5 Borough Bagels brings New York flavor to central Iowa. It’s one of the only bagel shops in the state that’s independently owned.
Meshuggah Bagels, Overland Park
Meshuggah, the Yiddish word for crazy, aptly describes how wildly delicious these Kansas City bagels and bialys taste. From the ingredients it sources to its appreciation of Eastern European baking traditions to the way its shirts say in New Yorker magazine typeface, “Bringing New York to Kansas City, One Bagel at a Time” — this place is full of sweet and delicious details.
Great Bagel, Lexington
With an emphasis on sourcing local and organic ingredients, and implementing eco-friendly business practices, Great Bagel keeps its standards high, from mixing to baking to packaging. Freshly baked bagels are festively displayed on old-world inspired wooden dowels, a detail that’s as practical as it is charming.
Humble Bagel, New Orleans
Witness the baking process first-hand in its open kitchen, designed with curious onlookers in mind. Started by a New Yorker and a DC native, this bagel shop churns out gorgeously twisted bagels that are made with local ingredients, such as Steen’s Cane Syrup, a Southern Louisiana specialty.
Forage Market, Lewiston
Wood-fired and made of a tangy sourdough, these are anything but ordinary. In a recent mouthwatering photo essay, Saveur ponders if these bagels are the best in America. If they were in New York, we’re sure they‘d sell out before 8 a.m.
Greg’s Bagels, Baltimore
Consistently a winner in the “Best of Baltimore” bagels category, this much-loved bagel shop recently re-opened following a hiatus when the original owner died of cancer after 30 years of bagel making. Described as a “home away from home” in the Baltimore Sun, this bagel shop is more than known for its hand-rolled bagels; it’s known for what it offers the community.
Levend Bagelry, Boston
Housed within the famous Boston Public Market, this bagel shop is a relative newcomer to Boston’s impressive bagel scene. Made with Vermont’s King Arthur flour, which is fermented into a sourdough, these bagels are then topped with salt flakes, sesame, cheddar or everything. The house-made, locally sourced cream cheese is not to miss.
New York Bagel, Detroit
Founded by three Eastern European immigrants in 1921, New York Bagel is a Detroit favorite for traditional bagels and bialys. In addition to its 15 different flavors, which include rye, pumpernickel, egg, and rosemary to name a few, New York Bagels also makes unique bagel spin-offs like caraway twists and salt sticks.
Rise Bagel Co, Minneapolis
This new-school bagel shop makes everything the old-fashioned way, with organic flour, house-cured gravlax and a number of innovative touches like rosemary butter and horseradish cream cheese. This local spot, true to its name, “rises” above the rest.
Beagle Bagel Co, Madison, Oxford, Jackson
One of the only independently owned bagel shops in the state, Beagle Bagel Co has been in the bagel-making biz since 1995. Southern staples like pimiento cheese and chicken salad are listed on the menu right alongside standard deli fare like lox and capers.
B&B Bagel Company, Columbia
Short for “boiled and baked,” this bagel shop is known for staying true to the way a bagel should be. It’s also the only bagel shop on this list that has a drive-thru window—call ahead and they’ll have your bagel ready for you.
Bagels on Broadway, Missoula
We love the idea of a “bagel of the month,” and Bagels on Broadway’s cornmeal bagel definitely caught our attention. Everything here is made from scratch, and they go above and beyond to source their non-GMO wheat locally.
It’s rare to find a place that does it all — bagels, kreplach, matzah ball sou, and latkes to name a few. The bagels are made fresh daily, and you can order them in advance.
The Bagel Cafe, Las Vegas
In a city lacking mom-and-pop shops, The Bagel Cafe offers the hospitality and made-from-scratch goodness that locals crave. Started by New York transplants 20 years ago, this bagel and bialy shop also makes knishes and overstuffed pastrami sandwiches to fulfill all your comfort food cravings.
Teaneck Road Hot Bagels, Teaneck
You can tell this kosher bagel shop is the best, because it’s always bustling with customers. It’s known for serving bagels that have perfectly crunchy exteriors and soft, chewy insides. (Also it’s Shannon’s husband’s favorite bagel!)
Wolfe’s Bagels, Albuquerque
This no-frills bagel shop proclaims itself “The Best Bagels Above Sea Level” in bold letters on the awning. It serves bagels and plenty of other kosher deli favorites, ranging from chopped liver with bagel chips to matzah ball soup.
We couldn’t quite pick one for New York, which is widely famous for having the best bagels in the country. So we just had to choose three.
QUEENS: Utopia Bagels
In northwestern Queens, you’ll find Utopia Bagels, a neighborhood shop dedicated to baking bagels in an “old world process” with its 1947 carousel oven — though it’s not afraid to try the latest foodie trends like rainbow bagels. Further proof of its greatness? It was named number one by Grubstreet, and recently featured in Action Bronson’s Viceland show.
MANHATTAN: Brooklyn Bagel and Coffee Company
Kettle boiled and baked to a golden perfection, these are (despite the name!) the best in Manhattan, with classic flavors like pumpernickel, salt and rye. It also makes innovative specialty cream cheeses, bialys, spelt bagels and mini bagels.
BROOKLYN: Bagel Hole
Known for making slightly smaller bagels, Bagel Hole’s proprietors are ready to tell you that they’re “one of the few remaining old fashioned bagel bakeries.” Perhaps that’s how bagels should be — a little misshapen, with that dreamy combination of soft, crispy and chewy all at once. It’s frequently cited as the best in NYC, and has made the top of the lists since it opened in 1985.
What a Bagel, Nashua
This neighborhood shop in Southern New Hampshire is not one to miss. With a number of innovative flavors, it keeps things exciting — think outside of the box with an apple cinnamon sugar bagel, or rosemary garlic and parmesan. And of course, there are rainbow bagels to consider.
Owen’s Bagel and Deli, Charlotte
Owen’s is home to the “steamed bagel sandwich,” which is a bagel sandwich that’s wrapped in foil and gently steamed instead of toasted. The creative menu will satisfy your cravings for lox and cream cheese, or something entirely new.
With attention to high-quality, local ingredients, Bernbaums brings Nordic, Jewish and Middle Eastern flavors together on the same menu. Its freshly baked bagels are perfectly paired with Israeli labne and zhug, or Icelandic-inspired chevre cream cheese.
Cleveland Bagel Co, Cleveland
Relatively new to the bagel scene, Cleveland Bagel Co. is committed to developing what it calls a “Cleveland-style bagel,” one that’s based on its research of what bagels once were — smaller, flavorful and chewy, with a crisp exterior. Its bagels are golden and blistery, topped with culinary standouts, like coarsely ground sea salt, dried rosemary or everything topping.
Old School Bagel Cafe, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and more
This local chain is passionate about making real, boiled and baked bagels. While the menu dabbles in new-fashioned flavors like French toast and (decidedly not kosher) sandwich fillings like pulled pork carnitas, it has plenty of Jewish-style toppings like pastrami and corned beef.
Kenny & Zukes Bagelworks, Portland
Boiled and baked in small batches, in a special steam-injected oven, the bagels at this Portland hotspot are taken seriously. The owners go the extra mile by preparing house-cured gravlax, homemade whitefish spread and East Coast smoked salmon.
Philly Style Bagels, Philadelphia
These new kids on the block follow traditional, slow-fermented bagel-making in every way but one: They boil their bagels in a mixture of beer and water, which achieves a malty flavor. This beer-boiled bagel is what it coins the “Philly-style bagel,” which celebrates the area’s local history of beer brewing.
Rebelle Artisan Bagels, Providence
Can this place do anything wrong? It uses King Arthur flour, rolls its bagels by hand, boils them in a malted barley bath and pays its workers fair wages. It also tinkers with all-natural bagel flavors like beet or squid ink and black sesame. In addition to scrumptious hand-made cream cheeses, it offers a cashew-based alternative for vegans.
Greenfield’s Bagels and Deli, Greenville
For over 17 years, Greenfield’s has been making dozens of varieties of bagels, cream cheeses and bagel sandwiches. It sticks to the classics, with standouts like egg, rye, black Russian, and pumpernickel — plus four kinds of smoked fish to accompany them.
Black Hills Bagel, Rapid City
This place stands out not only for its huge iconic sign of a cowboy riding a bagel, but also for its creative bagel flavors. (And also just because we bet you didn’t think we’d find a bagel spot in South Dakota!) There’s sweet favorites like peanut butter cup and vanilla nut, and savory options like spinach parmesan and garlic.
Proper Bagel, Nashville
This hip new bagel shop balances tried-and-true bagel making techniques with contemporary flavors like fresh fruit toppings, lavender honey cream cheese and a fulfilling variety of classics, ranging from Jewish deli-themed sandwiches and latkes. With 35 years of old-school baking experience and New York roots, this place is as legitimate as it is Instagram-ready.
Biderman’s Deli, Austin
With a friendly, communal deli atmosphere, Biderman’s offers a fresh take on classic Jewish foods, with bagels at the forefront. In addition to classic bagel flavors and schmears, you’ll find high-quality coffee, challah on Fridays and Dr. Brown’s soda.
The Bagel Project, Salt Lake City
Started by two New Jersey transplants, The Bagel Project is their humble quest to “bake, cure and serve the highest-quality old-world traditional foods…brought to America from Europe in the late 19th century.” They believe that quality bagels and bialys are possible with Salt Lake City water, and they are passionate about their old-world fermentation process, which yields bold flavor without using sugar, honey or preservatives.
Feldman’s Bagels or Myer’s Bagels, Burlington
There are two worlds of bagels living side by side in Vermont — the New York bagel, at Feldman’s and the Montreal bagel at Myer’s. While many prefer the New York-style at Feldman’s, it’s worth noting that Loyd, the owner of Myer’s, learned the trade from a Holocaust survivor in Montreal. He’s been rolling bagels and flipping them in his wood-fired oven, using a rustic pine plank, ever since.
Nate’s Bagels, Richmond
This nomadic, family-owned bagel company peddles bagels at farmers markets, community centers and coffee shops, infusing New York-style bagels with regional character. Using only unbleached flour, seeds, sea salt and malt, it relies on a long fermentation process for chewy texture and a complex flavor.
The secret to these memorable bagels is that they’re boiled in honey water for a touch of sweetness, seeded on all sides and wood-fired, yielding a delicious, chewy bagel that’s slightly smoky and sweet in flavor. Don’t miss out on the pomegranate cream cheese or fig apricot compote.
Bagel Crust Cafe, Morgantown
One of the only locally owned bagel shops in the state, Bagel Crust Cafe is driven by a mission to serve homemade food to the community. The menu includes several classic New York-style bagel sandwiches that are hard to find elsewhere in the state.
Gotham Bagels, Madison
One of the only independent bagel shops in town, Gotham Bagels is the go-to for Madisonians looking for a good spot to sit down and bite into a bagel sandwich. Located in the heart of downtown Madison, these bagels fit right in with the city’s surrounding farm-to-table food scene.
Pearl Street Bagels, Jackson Hole
Like many on this list, this bagel shop was started by an East Coast, bagel-craving transplant. The owners go against the grain by not offering to toast bagels, explaining, “If you time it just right to get a bagel hot out of the oven…we think you might just agree that fresh is a better way to go!” We couldn’t agree more.