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Jan 15, 2003 10:15 AM

Which is the best bagel chain?

  • c

Good morning folks!

I'm looking for a decent place to get a bagel. What do people like the best? Ideally, it must be easily accessible to me (preferably within Mont. county or DC). That means NYC and Baltimore are out. Also, it should have long hours, since I work 9-6 (Can you tell I have a beef with the Breadline?) So, really, my question is what's your favorite chain (Einstein's, Chesapeake, ABP, etc.). Costco? Should I just buy Lenders "bagels" at the grocery store and give up on getting anything worth a separate trip? Switch to whole wheat toast with peanut butter?

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  1. Safeway, by a mile. Sesame is my favorite.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Steve

      Safeway? Really? I'm skeptical (and a NYer) but I'll have to try one.

      My favorite, although it's Arlington, is Brooklyn Bagel in Courthouse. Also like Bethesda Bagel, and Whatsa Bagel in Cleveland Park.

      Einstein is okay in a pinch.

      1. re: Nancy

        I cannot, by a long shot, call myself a bagel expert, and can only speak to one Safeway, but there must be far and away better bagels out there. I know the original message does not include places in Baltimore, but Joan & Gary's (or Gary & Joan's, I always mix them up) on Reisterstown Road in Pikesville makes what are probably the best bagels around here. Greg's in Belevedere Square is pretty good, too (although they don't make salt bagels).

        Safeway!!?? Come on. Grocery store bakeries have come along, but aren't they more a last resort? I've never been impressed by any bagel I've gotten at the Canton Safeway in Baltimore. Maybe I'm just not getting there at the right time. Or, maybe (probably more likely), I wouldn't really know a good bagel from frozen Lender's. What makes the real McCoy?

        If bagels are like Pizza, you'll only find approximations of varying degrees of quality until you step off the train somewhere above the Mason-Dixon line (or east of the Hudson River, in this case).

        1. re: Harry Romano

          If I'm not mistaken, the original post asked for bagel chains, not individual store(s). I limited my response to the request. I am sure that there are many better bagels than Safeway out there, but I find the other chain bagels to be usually too hard and not at all tasty!
          The good ones at any Safeway I've been to go quickly, though, so it's best to hit them early.

        2. re: Nancy

          I definitely agree with the recommendation for Brooklyn Bagel Deli on Wilson Boulevard in the Courthouse area of Arlington. They also have excellent rugelach and real pickles, and the owner (Moe) is very friendly and helpful. I don't know its weekday hours, and it's not open late, but it opens early on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

      2. c

        bethesdabagel- ignoring all that stuff about New York- becuase this is not New York- these are chewy bagels- and there are several locations - my favorite is Bethesda Ave.

        1 Reply
        1. re:

          Agree with Bethesda Bagel. It was impossible to get a decent bagel in DC until they opened up. Their whitefish salad was good too. Don't know if they still make it tho.

        2. I think the Georgetown Bagelry on M Street has some solid bagels, and Einstein's is better than any supermarket kind in my opinion.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ep

            plus they have coupons on their website I think, and sell their bagels at 1/2 price starting 1 hour before closing.

            If you get on Einstein's email list, they sometimes send you coupons.

          2. The bagels at Whole Foods are edible. Not great but edible.

            1. I also agree that Brooklyn Bagel in N Arlington has good stuff. But, try Arrowine in the Lee Heights Shops on Old Lee Highway, also in N Arlington. They carrey H & H Bagels shipped in from NYC. From what I understand, they are half-baked in NYC and finished up onsite. Can't go wrong with them - just bought a bunch this past weekend and wasn't disappointed.


              2 Replies
              1. re: ANCyM

                I did not know that about Arrowine! Thanks - it's good to know you can get top-notch bagels there. It's a great store - very good place to buy wine, knowledgeable staff, I think good prices (disclaimer: I don't drink wine for medical reasons, but my fairly serious wine-drinker friend highly recommended it, and when we went there to buy wine for a dinner party we had a very helpful salesman and got something reasonably priced that everyone at dinner loved).

                The Lee Heights shopping center where Arrowine is located is also where Pastries by Randolph is - very very good cakes and pastries, though on the pricey side (Heidelberg Bakery on Lee Highway in Arlington has better prices).

                1. re: Genevieve

                  The H&H bagels served at Arrowine are the best I've found in WDC, especially when hot from their mini-oven. Arrowine also sells excellent bread and cheese along with their wine selections. Location and other info are available at the URL listed below.