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Why New Yorkers are Obsessed With These Bagels?

Why New Yorkers are Obsessed With These Bagels?
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The Bagel – A New York Food Icon

New York City, known for its iconic skyline and diverse culinary scene, has a special affinity for one of its most beloved food icons – the bagel. From locals to tourists, people can’t resist the allure of these doughy delights that come in various flavors and styles. Today, we embark on a bagel tour, exploring the city’s most popular bagel shops, and discovering just what makes their bagels stand out.

Utopia Bagels – A Technique That Sets Them Apart

Our journey starts in Whitestone, Queens, at Utopia Bagels, a favorite among bagel enthusiasts. Co-owner Jesse Spellman proudly introduces the shop, where they hand-roll around 10,000 to 14,000 bagels daily. The secret to their crispy-bottomed bagels lies in a vintage 1947 Middleby Marshall oven – a unique touch that keeps customers coming back for more.

Upon tasting the “everything with scallion cream cheese” and “egg everything” bagels, it’s evident why Utopia Bagels holds such appeal. With a chewy texture and a perfect balance of flavors, these bagels are a must-try for any bagel aficionado.

Absolute Bagels – The Classic New York Style

Absolute Bagels, a quintessential Upper West Side establishment. This cash-only spot boasts a line around the block, filled with eager customers waiting to savor their delectable bagels. The “everything with veggie cream cheese” bagel impresses with its generous coating of seasoning and fluffy yet non-puffy texture.

The second generation of bagel makers at Absolute Bagels keeps the tradition alive, producing time-honored, delectable creations. As one of New York’s most recognizable bagel spots, Absolute Bagels has earned its reputation for serving high-quality, classic bagels.

Ess-a-Bagel – A New York Institution

Moving on, we arrive at Ess-a-Bagel, a legendary establishment since 1976. This iconic spot embodies the essence of the New York City bagel, known for its larger size and incredible variety of cream cheeses. Here, classic and savory bagel choices take center stage.

Ess-a-Bagel has witnessed a shift in bagel preferences over the years, with more adventurous and creative flavors gaining popularity. However, they remain true to their roots, offering top-notch traditional bagels that satisfy both locals and tourists.

Tompkins Square Bagels – East Village Funkiness

Our final destination is Tompkins Square Bagels, where creativity knows no bounds. Known for its wildly inventive bagel flavors and spreads, this East Village hotspot caters to those with an adventurous palate.

Tompkins Square Bagels delights visitors with unique combinations like the “French toast bagel with birthday cake cream cheese” and “walnut raisin cream cheese.” This East Village gem is a haven for those seeking an indulgent, dessert-like bagel experience.

The Verdict – A Bagel for Every Palate

New Yorkers and visitors alike can’t resist the allure of these iconic bagel shops. From the technique-driven Utopia Bagels to the classic appeal of Absolute Bagels and Ess-a-Bagel, and the creative flair of Tompkins Square Bagels, there’s a bagel for every palate in the city that never sleeps.

Exploring New York’s Culinary Gems

In a city known for its diverse and delicious culinary offerings, the bagel holds a special place in the hearts of New Yorkers. Whether you’re a traditionalist, an adventurer, or somewhere in between, the city’s bagel shops offer a tantalizing array of choices that will leave you craving more.

Join the Bagel Adventure

For bagel enthusiasts or first-time visitors to the Big Apple, embarking on a bagel adventure is a must. Experience the rich history, unique techniques, and diverse flavors that have made New York City’s bagels world-famous. From the bustling streets of Manhattan to the eclectic neighborhoods of Brooklyn, the bagel culture in New York City is a journey worth savoring.

The Craft of Bagel Making

Each of these bagel shops takes pride in its craft, ensuring that every bagel is made with care and attention to detail. Whether it’s hand-rolling the dough, using vintage ovens, or creating unique cream cheese spreads, the art of bagel making is a tradition that continues to thrive in the heart of New York City.

A Melting Pot of Flavors

New York’s bagel culture reflects the city’s diverse population, with bagel shops owned by people from various ethnic backgrounds. From Jewish-owned bagel shops to establishments run by Greek, Thai, and other communities, these bagels are a reflection of the city’s melting pot of flavors and cultures.

A Bagel for Every Occasion

In New York City, bagels aren’t just a breakfast staple; they’re a versatile food that fits any occasion. Whether it’s a quick morning bite, a satisfying lunch, or a sweet treat for dessert, there’s a bagel to suit every craving and preference.

The Bagel’s Journey Beyond NYC

New York City’s bagels have earned international fame, drawing bagel enthusiasts from all over the world. With the rise of online ordering and delivery services like Gold Belly, bagel lovers can now enjoy these New York delicacies no matter where they are from Dubai to Florida and beyond.

Keeping Tradition Alive

As the bagel culture continues to evolve, one thing remains constant – the dedication to keeping tradition alive. Bagel makers take pride in their heritage, honoring the time-honored recipes and techniques passed down through generations.

A Bagel Adventure Worth Taking

For anyone visiting New York City or even locals looking to explore the city’s culinary gems, embarking on a bagel adventure is a journey well worth taking. From the nostalgic charm of Utopia Bagels to the creative indulgence at Tompkins Square Bagels, each stop promises a unique and unforgettable bagel experience.

Embrace the Bagel Obsession

In the city that never sleeps, bagels hold a special place in the hearts of New Yorkers. Their obsession with these doughy delights is a testament to the enduring love for this iconic food. So, whether you’re a native New Yorker or a first-time visitor, don’t miss the chance to embrace the bagel obsession that defines the culinary soul of New York City. Join us on this bagel tour and discover what makes these bagels truly special.


In conclusion, New Yorkers’ obsession with bagels is more than just a culinary delight; it’s a symbol of the city’s vibrant food culture, history, and diversity. From the technique-driven Utopia Bagels to the classic appeal of Absolute Bagels, and the creative flair of Tompkins Square Bagels, each bagel shop offers a unique experience that keeps locals and visitors coming back for more. So, the next time you find yourself in the city that never sleeps, take a bite of these beloved bagels and discover why they hold a special place in the heart of every New Yorker.

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