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Bagels.

I love a good bagel. For me, bagels must be chewy on the outside with a dense, yeasty and well balanced interior. I have yet to find a bagel shop in Austin other than Einstein's and was hoping to branch out from their corporate carbohydrates. Any suggestions for bagel shops somewhere in the vicinity of central austin?

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  1. And I thought I was a dreamer! If the old Bruegger's were still in town, you could at least change corporate "flavors." But I think it's long gone. I'll be interested to see what other chowhounds recommend.

    I've always wondered if the Texas Hillel Cafe would be a good bagel source:

    http://www.texashillelcafe.com/menu.htm

    If you get really desperate, Benny's Bagels on Huebner Road in San Antonio isn't bad—for Texas. [Note: It's been a while since I tried it.]

    1. I know they aren't grab and go, but I hit grapevine market once a week for the four packs of frozen H&H bagels. Not a ton of choices, but the best option I've found down here for sure!

      1. Hasn't been an acceptable bagel in Austin since the bagel manufactory closed IMO. I currently make do with the ones at central market (hot jumbo bagel) or fiesta (not sure if these are made there).

        1. I'm a bit of a bagel fan. Actually, I'm an enormous bagel fan. I'm such a bagel fan that I named my cat "Bagel." I grew up eating bagels on Long Island and cut my teeth eating them in NYC (I lived a block away from the greatest bagels in the universe, produced by Kossar's Bialys) and Montreal (don't let the Quebecois tell you otherwise, their bagels are decidedly inferior to the NYC variety, but somewhat good in their own right. Or rather, I miss them now that I live in this bagel-free part of the world).

          Anyway, needless to say, it's a bagel wasteland here. It's like the goddamn bagel apocalypse, it's so bad.

          What are the options? Well the four major supermarkets carry "bagels" (HEB, Central Market, Whole Foods, Fiesta) but I think they are all abysmal. A shame given the overall high quality of the Whole Foods bakery, but they clearly don't know what they're doing with regard to bagelry. I think CM sells "Hot Jumbo Bagel", consistency seems more akin to cardboard.

          There used to be a barely passable bagelry on Mesa that turned into a cookie shop, so that's no help.

          Not sure what Katz's serves but I'm pretty sure I had 'em ages ago and it did little for me.

          I only heard of this Texas Hillel Cafe recently so no idea what they've got.

          Here are your best options: the absurdly named Manny Hattans flies in frozen H&H Bagels from the big city itself. H&H are decidedly middle of the road bagels in NYC (I'd give them a C+) but when you're bagel-deprived like me, a dozen of these will make do in your freezer for a while. Unfortunately for me, Manny Hattan's isn't really conveniently located for my home or work. (OK, it's not that unfortunate because 183 North is a terrible place to be located).

          So as a result, I find myself most frequently (like once a month) going to Texas French Bread on South Congress for my bagels. They only have poppy, sesame, and plain, and they are pretty mediocre (also a C+ by my steadily eroding NYC bagel snob standards) in the scheme of things. Oh, and sometimes they just don't have 'em (this only happened to me once, but that once was yesterday morning). But I can walk or bike there in minutes. I can stop next door at Farm to Market and pick up some lox and head home, close my eyes, and vigorously pretend that I am in New York again. It takes an awful lot of pretending.

          3 Replies
          1. re: tastegood

            I feel your pain about bagels. My husband is from NY and is very disappointed with the selection here. I think I've posted this before, but the only bagels he finds somewhat acceptable are the ones from the bakery at Randall's. I know, odd place, but they aren't half bad. Central Market's are awful in my opinion and he won't eat the ones at Einstein's. They aren't phenomenal bagels, but the best we've located are at Randalls.

            1. re: shan

              Panera's corporate, but I would rate them ahead of einstein's and CM. Haven't tried Randall's or Texas hillel

              1. re: shan

                I grew up on LI too and lived in the Village for 7 years before moving to Austin. I picked up some frozen H&H bagels from Central Market this past weekend and they are seriously lacking. H&H wasn't my favorite bagel shop (Murray's!) but they could give any bagel in the city a run for their money when fresh and hot from the oven. Frozen? Not so much. It didn't even seem like an H&H bagel to me, not even close.

                It's cool though, I'm over it. I love the food in Austin so we're even. I actually enjoy the Randalls bagels too! There must be something there.

            2. Sweetish Hill, a locally owned and operated bakery makes bialys that are yummy - especially with egg and cheese on them. I've had their plain and serrano; both are crispy on the outside with a moist, chewy inside. Give it a shot and let me know what you think. There are 2 locations; west 6th Street just past Z Tejas and downtown in the 98 San Jacinto Center building in the southwest corner off the lobby.

              1. I was in Bakerman's today and they told me that they were going to start making Bagels....from scratch next week. I asked if they were boiled or steamed. They said boiled. I hope that they live up to what a bagel should be. There don't seem to be any good local bagel places.

                2 Replies
                1. re: GracieO

                  Uggggggh... I lived in NY for seven years and every once in a while I'll get really depressed in the morning when I think of a bacon, egg & cheese on a bagel. Frozen H&H bagels sound like a glimmer of hope that'll turn out bad... are they really ok?

                  Sooner or later a yankee will move down here and be pissed off enough to start making proper bagels :)

                  1. re: GracieO

                    GracieO... thank you for the detailed information. A) Bakerman's has excellent sandwiches and soups for lunch, B) I will try to swing by there for breakfast in a week or so and will see if these bagels are there. Big fan of this place.

                  2. bakermans will begin selling bagels in monday the 11th. i do like the randalls bagels but as a nyker so far none are like the ny or east coast bagels.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: nytexan

                      I've tried Rockstar bagels - and I'm no expert - but they seemed really good. It's one guy, from NY, making and selling bagels to some area coffee shops. He sells to Mozarts, Quacks and a few other spots. Would be curious to see what some NY transplants thought. I liked them, some others who know bagels liked them, too. They're chewy and are browned more than Hot Jumbo (which I don't care for).

                    2. yeah i have had rockstar bagels at blue dahlia and came across them at cafe mundi.. LOVE EM! i haven't found anything as near as good or real here in austin. it might be just what this town needs.

                      1. Too bad rockstar doesnt have their own store,Anyone try the new bagels at bakermans yet?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: nytexan

                          I went by there today and got an everything bagel. It was delicious...chewy on the outside and soft on the inside. The bagel had sesame, poppy, sunflower seeds, garlic, onion, caraway and salt on both sides, not just the top. The only downside was it took a little while to toast the bagel. They have three cream cheeses :plain, roasted garlic, and honey, walnut raisin. So far the best bagel I have had in Austin. (I havent tried Rockstar as they don't have a storefront) I took a photo with my phone...can i upload it somewhere?

                          1. re: mkwng

                            Summermoon Coffee sells Rockstar bagels, and I stopped in for one today. By far the best bagel I've had in Austin. I had an everything and it was loaded with the good stuff (garlic, onion, sesame, poppy, salt AND NO CARAWAY!!!!). Chewy on the out, soft on the in, and perfectly toasted by the people at Summermoon.

                            Joe at Rockstar is a) hot from that picture...and b) makes a great bagel. He needs a storefront so I can have good cream cheese and not just a packet of Philly.

                            1. re: foodiegal71

                              talked to joe online and hes cool.bakermans seems expensive @$1.25 for a bagel plain.

                            2. re: mkwng

                              Gotta lend my voice to the growing legions of Rockstar Bagel fans - by far the best bagel I've had in Austin too, and I just want to reiterate the "by far" part. We ordered via email from Joe, and stopped in to pick up our dozen this AM. We demolished a poppyseed and a sesame on the way home, and they were delicious. This is the only bagel I have come across in Austin that looks, feels, and behaves like the bagels I love....smooth crust that even untoasted has a crackle to it, and chewy goodness in the mouth with a moist interior. The taste was also above par - full of flavor. When we got home we toasted up an everything bagel and a garlic...and they were fantastic. The crust crunched beautifully (I moaned), complemented perfectly by that moist interior. Really, really good. Joe really seems to have put his heart and soul into these bagels, and I hope to see Rockstar Bagels permeating Austin coffee shops and stores....until then, I'm getting my weekly fix from the man himself - I have the rest of the dozen sliced and frozen for my weekly consumption.

                              Maybe we could start a list of places that carry them so hounds throughout Austin can check them out and report back?

                              1. re: saticoy

                                great idea saticoy,maybe joe can blog it here.

                                1. re: nytexan

                                  "Some of the places you can buy a Rockstar Bagels are: Summer moon Garden District Quack's Mozart's Cherrywood Blue Dahlia Pacha Spider House Snack Bar cafe Mundi Little City"

                                  1. re: mkwng

                                    Joe also mentioned a place called Clementine, I think, and another I can't remember. He is expanding quickly, and as a solo business person (who dealt with a broken mixer and a major head bonk in trying to fix it) may not be able to keep his myspace up to date - and I think the CH mods frown upon a business person promoting their own wares here. I hope all bagel-lovin' hounds will keep their eyes, noses, and mouths peeled, and report all findings.

                                    1. re: saticoy

                                      Right now, Rockstar bagels offers plain bagels topped with salt/rosemary, poppy, sesame, garlic, onion/chive, everything, or just plain.

                                      Joe (the owner/baker) started selling his Rockstar Bagels in March, the result of a local coffee shop offering to sell his homemade bagels if he found a commercial space to make them. During SXSW he played in eight day shows while continuing to work on making bagels 85-90 hours a week.

                                      He grew up in Queens, NY and told us his inspiration is Pick a Bagel and David's Bagels (recently closed). Joe's goal is to provide real, New York-style bagels that have been made with high gluten flour, left to ferment for 24 hours, and boiled before baking. He makes 180-280 bagels a week and estimates he can handle up to 420 with his assistant in his current space.

                                      Right now, Joe delivers to local businesses around town and arranges for friends and acquaintances to pick up a dozen or so at wholesale prices at the kitchen. We paid $12/dozen but the bagels are sold around town at prices that range from $1.25 to about $2.50 per. You can pick them up daily at Quacks, Cafe Mundi, Summer Moon, Garden District, Little City, Mozarts, Pacha, Spiderhouse, Blue Dahlia, and Cherrywood. He'll begin deliveries to Wheatsville and Royal Blue Grocery next week and hopes to add Clementine and Thunderbird to the list soon.

                                       
                                      1. re: jodila20

                                        Thanks for the update - I hope hounds will patronize the places that carry them and report back - I think this is a truly superior bagel!

                                        1. re: jodila20

                                          http://RockStarBagels.com

                                          You can order via email and then pick up at the new location inside a coffee shop located at 1400 E 38 1/2 St. They are $1 a bagel and the minimum is 1/2 dozen. It's Passover soon, but I intend on getting over there tomorrow for a couple of bagels before Passover begins!

                                          I am from Northern NJ & am spoiled with Mike's bagels there, and have been suffering here in Austin feeling as if I am in diaspora. Hoping Rockstars will sate my appetite and memory cells :-

                                          )

                                          Central Market (on Lamar) flies in Smoked White Fish from NYC weekly as well as chubs. They will cut you a chunk of White Fish- no need to purchase the whole thing!

                                          RS Mallory
                                          Compassionate Marketing

                                          -----
                                          Central Market
                                          4477 S Lamar Blvd Ste 100, Austin, TX 78745

                                      2. re: mkwng

                                        I went to Pacha this morning, and they toasted me up a regular and an everything bagel - they came with packet of cream cheese from WI. They didn't really have holes in the middle of them, which made for easier spreading. They were chewy and flavorful - my wife (from Philly) said that they were good but they reminded her more of some sort of a dinner roll. It tasted good and like a bagel to me.

                                        I just looked up "bagels" on Wikipedia to see what the definition is - the dough is prepared, allowed to rise, then boiled, then baked. I think that these bagels were like that. They also had the perfect amount of salt. Pacha did the toasting in some sort of an oven - didn't see it, but they might have spread a small amount of butter or oil on it. FYI - these weren't huge bagels - they ran $2 or so (a fair amount of labor is involved to slice and toast).

                                        1. re: rudeboy

                                          Mistake - He makes 180-280 bagels a DAY (not week). Also, Treat (in the South Austin Trailer Park & Eatery) also carries the bagels - Thursday through Sunday.

                                2. Randalls bakery's blueberry bagels and energy bars are amazing. They are so good, in fact, that I arrive at the store every morning between 6 and 7am just to get them while they are still warm out of the oven. I've shared them with some of the people at my gym in the mornings too - and the first thing everyone said upon tasting them was "wow..." (And you can get them for 50 to 59 cents a piece too :) Let me know what you think!

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: gaphile

                                    I need an egg bagel. I'm ready to give up and fly back to NY to get one. any ideas. I'll try
                                    rockstar but he doesn't seem to have egg

                                    1. re: Kipperman

                                      Have you checked Wholly Bagel? I thought I've seen Egg bagel's there but I haven't actually bought one so I'm not sure.

                                      1. re: ssouth

                                        Yeah, pretty sure they have one.

                                      2. re: Kipperman

                                        Wholly Bagel has a delicious Egg bagel. We get them frequently.

                                      3. re: gaphile

                                        I don't like Randall's at all, but rather than leave empty-handed, I got 2 jalapeno cheese bagels for $1 there the other day. They weren't "real" bagels, more of a roll with slight resemblance to a bagel and slightly chewy, but overall I thought they were excellent. I'll go back again for the bagels only. The prices on grocery and produce were 20-40% more than HEB for the 9 or 10 items I checked.

                                        1. re: sqwertz

                                          Randall's used to make a pretty good bagel but they changed their recipe a few months back and it seems more like a sandwich roll now.

                                      4. Just heard that Bruegger's is back in Austin, opening in March 2012 in Westlake with more locations to come. It's going to be family owned and operated by NY transplants living in ATX. Not sure about ya'll but I am SO EXCITED!!!! They are so delicious, and the bakeries are clean and real deal!!! YAY!!

                                        9 Replies
                                        1. re: ringsmasher

                                          i lived around the corner from a bruegger's in brookline, ma and they are pretty darn good for a small chain-- WAY better than einstein.
                                          this is great news!

                                          also, our work cafe has rockstar bagels, and they are pretty darn good, too.
                                          it can really depend on how old they are, though.
                                          so i imagine they are excellent in their just-made state.

                                          1. re: dinaofdoom

                                            So, I can revive an old thread, right? :) Like so many of you, I'm a lover of *real* bagels (none of this "roll with a hole" stuff). After reading these posts a while back, I added Bakerman's to my list of bagels to try, and finally made it there yesterday. Alas, they're not making any bagels anymore. So, y'all can cross that one off the list. :(

                                            Bruegger's website still lists them as coming soon to West Lake.

                                            1. re: quilter

                                              what did you think of Wholly Bagel? It did the trick for me. I was having my bagels flown in from New York andChicago before I tried Wholly Bagel.
                                              -Scott

                                              1. re: Kipperman

                                                Wholly Bagel is the only bagel I buy in Austin.

                                                1. re: heyzeus212

                                                  If you're from the Northeast, then Wholly Bagel is the closest thing you're going to get to a real bagel. Rockstar comes in second. Both are run by people from New Jersey. For the folks that like Einstein, you really don't like bagels. I'm curious about Montreal bagels. These are becoming real popular back home in NY.

                                          2. re: ringsmasher

                                            It's going in the strip mall across from Randalls in Westlake (on Westbank Dr.). I think it's opening this Saturday?

                                            1. re: tokyomonamour

                                              I called them and chatted with the owners a few days ago. Bruegger's is on Bee Caves Rd and Walsh Tarlton, and they open this coming Monday, or maybe Tuesday, at 6am.

                                              1. re: ringsmasher

                                                Per one of the "things to do around town" sites they opened yesterday. I will try and go this week and report back. Excited to have a place like this so close to home!

                                                1. re: elpaninaro

                                                  Had time to pick up a mixed dozen for my office this morning. The bagels are really really good. The texture they get from being boiled then baked is soooooooo much better than what we have had in Austin. My office mates pretty much all agreed these are terrific bagels.

                                          3. hope we get a good bagel place in north austin soon.