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The great Delaware County bagel hunt...

My wife and I just relocated to Delaware County from New York, by way of northern New Jersey. We've had a hard enough time adjusting to the pizza down here, but we've found the bagels to be absolutely awful. Our friends in New York insist that the secret to a good bagel is a soak and a boil in New York tap water -- so are we out of luck? The closest thing we've found to a "real" bagel was at a bakery around the corner from the City Avenue Deli (where we had a very good corned beef sandwich, and better than average matzoh ball soup). Any other recommendations?

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  1. That place was where I was about to suggest! As far as I know, you can stop looking - that's the best we got. They also used to be the only people around who made bialys, although I think they've changed hands a time or two since then, so... ?

    There's also a decent-ish place in a little strip shopping center just east of 420 on West Chester Pike. But I think the City Line place is better.

    If you want other good Jewish deli food, go to Hymie's &/or Murray's on Montgomery Avenue - just over the county line, and less than a block apart. I like both, which shows I'm not a true local - eastern Main Liners have very firm affiliations to one or the other. I also like Michael's in King of Prussia.

    http://www.michaelsdeli.com/

    Hymie's Merion Deli.
    342 Montgomery Ave
    Merion Station, PA 19066.
    610-664-3544

    Murray Delicatessen
    285 Montgomery Ave
    Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004-2814
    Phone: 610-664-6995

    1. Thanks, Mawrter! Looking forward to trying both Hymie's and Murray's. My old mainstay in this area for a decent sandwich was always Koch's in University City, but it's my understanding that they've changed hands. This is very helpful to know.

      1. Custom Bagels in Media is the best bagel that I've found in Delco. It's just off State Street on Olive St. Closed on Sundays.

        5 Replies
        1. re: jessicheese

          Tried Custom Bagels today. Sorry to report that their bagels suffer from the very same malady that appears to afflict all bagels in the Philly area -- they're just donut-shaped lumps of mediocre bread. Just because a bagel is slightly crunchy when you bite into it -- as all real bagels should be -- doesn't mean that it's stale. I wonder if local bagel makers know to spray the surfaces of their creations with water while they're in the oven? The hunt continues...

          1. re: Criticus

            Instead of pining for things you can't get here, why not just enjoy what is available? Ok, so there aren't bagels that meet your standards and the pizza here is different (not better or worse) than what you are used to. But there are other things that you can find here that are just as good or better than other parts of the country, so why not just be glad for those things?

            1. re: Philly Ray

              Nah. I think I'll continue to pine, and search for restaurants with higher and better standards. I wasn't raised to settle for second best.

              1. re: Criticus

                It's not about second best. It's about enjoying the things that are available. When I visit other cities, I don't go looking for a cheesesteak because it just won't be the same as what we have here and I'm sure I would be disapponted too.

                1. re: Philly Ray

                  Second best is second best. I outgrew aesthetic relativism a long time ago. And I'm not visiting the Philly area -- I live here. I judge the quality of a TexMex meal according to the standards set for me by southwestern cooking, just as I benchmark my experience of Chinese food according to regional cuisines I've enjoyed in Beijing and Guangzhou. The same is true of pizza and bagels, and DelCo appears to be bereft of decent instantiations of either.

        2. Criticus, I've got some bad news for you. You're not going to breathe a sigh of relief and feel that you're home. Hymie's is mediocre at best, and Murray's, while traditional in style, just isn't New York, or even Boston. And that's saying a lot. Your corned beef sandwich will be served refrigerator cold and your bagel will continue to lack texture. It's as close as I've found though, and I've lived here for 2 years.

          1 Reply
          1. re: witnessprotection

            Thanks, WP. The sigh you're hearing is one of despair. We'll keep hunting, and hoping for the best. If something decent should turn up I'll certainly let you know...

          2. It may be a little far but Wegmans in Cherry Hill actually has really good bagels. They bake them fresh and they're almost always still warm when you buy them. I just bought a dozen and ate a garlic one on the way home. I grew up up in NYC and these definitely hit the spot.

            1 Reply
            1. re: lawslaw

              You're right! Wegman's provides the best New York style bagels in the whole area -- hands down and bar none. Thanks for the recommendation.