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BAGELS + BIALYS IN ST LOUIS

we will be travelling from chicago to st louis for the holidays. as we are the resident cooks in the family, we have been asked to prepare breakfast / brunch on christmas morning (for friends + family).

where would i find a great deli where i would be able to pick up QUALITY bagels, bialys, lox, sable, etc, etc, etc.

we will staying be in clayton, so the closer to there the better, but i am not adverse to driving for my bagel and schmear.

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  1. Coming from Chicago to St. Louis for quality deli....Hmmm. You'll find a great deli in New York or in Cleveland or in Philadelphia or in Chicago, but not in St. Louis. The best bagels are at The Bagel Factory on Olive. I don't know anyplace that makes bialys. You can get decent fish at Pumpernickle's on Olive (near The Bagel Factory) or at Protzel's in Clayton. You may want to see if the bagels at Protzel's are to your liking, which will save you the trip to Olive Street.

    -----
    Protzel's Delicatessen
    7608 Wydown Blvd, Saint Louis, MO 63105

    Bagel Factory
    11256 Olive Blvd, St Louis, MO

    Pumpernickle's Real Deli
    11036 Olive Blvd, Saint Louis, MO 63141

    1. I agree with Alan. Your best bet would be to go to Hungarian or Romanian and a bagel place on Dempster in Skokie and bring your supplies with you. (Especially if they need to be kosher, which I am taking from your note, they do not.)

      I am not sure if Pratzel's Bakery, which is now located at Simon Kohn's, makes bialys. Their bagels are o.k., but the choices are limited. Their best are the onion-poppy seed, but you need to call in advance as they are often out of stock.
      Have safe journey, p.j.

      2 Replies
      1. re: p.j.

        Just so you're not confused, Pratzel's Bakery is not the same as Protzel's deli, although I believe the latter carries bagels made by the former.

        -----
        Pratzel's Bakery
        10405 Old Olive Street Rd, St Louis, MO

        1. re: alan

          I work right by these, so I went to Bagel Factory and Pratzel's on the same day a few weeks ago to compare the two.

          Texture and crust at Pratzel's was better, but taste was better at the Bagel Factory. Pratzel's tasted too sweet to me.

          The Bialy's at bagel factory were not as flat as I've seen elsewhere, but they did taste good also. It was my preference of all three things.

      2. I've lived in Chicago and St. Louis, and I can tell you, without a doubt, buy your bagels and bialys in Chicago. There are some places in St. Louis that are just okay, but they're okay because there are no other options.

        Schmear can be found at Protzel's -which is right in Clayton.

        2 Replies
        1. re: kkak97

          I was with you until you mentioned schmear. A bagel with a schmear is simply a bagel with cream cheese which is smeared (schmeared, from Yiddish) on the bagel.. So what do you mean by saying that you can find "schmear."

          1. re: alan

            Yes, I'm very well aware of what schmear is. I'd rather she pick up schmear in St. Louis than transport it for a 5+ hour trip in the car.

        2. The Home Cooking board has an interesting thread on making your own Gravlax. Perhaps that is an option...

          FOTD

          1. Funny, I was just checking on-line to see if my old favorite bagel place was still around so that we could do a similar brunch thing when we visit my "family of origin" in St. Louis this Christmas. I think the New York Bagelry is probably long gone and been replaced by the Bagel Factory. The other places people mention have been around forever and are all decent. Once I went to an really solid deli a million miles west (or so it felt to me); maybe it is this place that other web research has turned up good reviews of "... Kohn's Kosher Meat Market and Deli 10405 Old Olive Street Road (314) 569- 0727. Kohn's started way back in 1963 and has been a favorite St. Louis kosher market and deli ever since. They have some of the best homemade corned beef and pastrami that you can find. They also have smoked fish such as salmon, sable, and lox..."

            5 Replies
            1. re: nsmcc

              Yes, Kohn's is still there, but, with all due respect, I can't share your enthusiasm. I find the food to be mediocre, certainly in comparison with kosher delicatessens in cities with larger Jewish populations. You're right about New York Bagelry. My general complaint with St. Louis bagels is that they tend to be what I refer to as "BSOs"--Bagel Shaped Objects. They look like bagels but they don't have the distinctive chewy crust and texture that only an authentic bagel will provide.

              1. re: alan

                I did see this post and completely agree. Kohn's is just not good. I've found it unkempt--bordering on dirty--every time I've ever gone in.

                When I came back from NYC last year, a lot of foods in St. Louis were ruined for me, because I saw what they can be when they're made fresh.

                Heck, just keeping it topical to this thread:

                Hot pastrami and corned beef in St. Louis come from microwaves
                Bagels are as you said, BSOs.
                knish...can you even get one in a restaurant here?

                We just don't have the daily foot traffic to make doing these things right, profitable. The reality is that few places can, and New York just happens to be one of them.

                1. re: bobzemuda

                  St. Louis has so many wonderful restaurants, but it falls sadly short in the areas of good Jewish delis. There were so many I enjoyed in Chicago, that St. Louis just couldn't live up to.

                  But if you're looking for good Italian, there is much to be had in St. Louis.

                  1. re: bobzemuda

                    It's been a few years, but I had OK knishes at Pumpernickles - and they had kasha, my favorite!

                  2. re: alan

                    oh well, maybe kohn's isn't the place i was thinking of. i miss the new york bagelry. let's leave it at that. even in my neighborhood in brooklyn (where i now live) we don't find very good bagels.

                2. I forgot to report on my adventures--I hope the OP-er comes back to report on his, too. We had a toddler who needed to nap, so we hopped in the car and drove to pretty much all the places mentioned (and the kid conked right out). Kohn's is definitively NOT the place I ate at years ago. The place I ate years ago was much more of a restaurant, modelled after the Stage Deli or 2nd Ave Deli in NYC. Kohn's is kind of like an unkempt, unwelcoming kosher bodega with an unappetizing prepared foods display. They didn't even seem to have lox--just smoked salmon in vacuum packs that you could get anywhere. Pratzel's is now inside Kohn's. Their bagels are a little on the sweet side but OK. Tzitzil bagels (corn meal?) is a nice local specialty I had forgotten about. We missed Bagel Factory because it was Christmas Eve and they closed early, darn it, but we went to Protzel's. They are a real deli with lots of tasty meats. We got all their remaining bagels and lox. The lox came in two versions--regular and salty. The salty lox was another local treat I had forgotten about--took me right back to my youth. Yum. Their bagels seemed better to me than Pratzel's; but I wonder if that other poster is correct and they are actually the same... To summarize, Protzel's is better and much closer to my parents' house and I will never make the trip out to Kohn's/Pratzel's again.

                  1. what's the word on Kopperman's in the CWE these days? (looking at my next trip home)