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Decent bagels in Baltimore?

I'm fairly new to the area and am desperately searching for some good bagels. I can't stand the chain stuff (Einstein, Brueggers) or those fashionable fruity Panera concoctions that are pastries masquerading as bagels. I'm looking for someplace near Lutherville/Timonium or points east/north. Any suggestions?

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  1. I love Greg's Bagels in Belvedere Square. Terrific bagels, incredibly varied assortment of smoked salmons, and even some interesting sandwiches (which I ignore at most places).

    Greg's Bagels
    519 E Belvedere Ave, Baltimore, MD

    1. Goldberg's New York Bagels in Pikesville are the best around.

      1. I've found the bagels to be pretty decent at the Cockeysville Bagel Bakery where Cranbrook and York roads meet. They close at 2pm and on Sundays and the dough is made by someone else but I find them to be pretty good.

        Better than CBB is Towson Hot Bagel on Joppa Road a couple doors down from Strapazza and about a block from the Towson Traffic Circle. They make the bagels on the premises that are light, fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside. As good as Ruthie's in New York City.

        Greg's is pretty good as is Goldberg's. However, since Goldberg's is the true Kosher bagel joint, they do not offer sausage so those who prefer sausage with their bagels should look at the other places listed above.

        1. You could do a lot worse than Wegman's bagels and it has a store at Hunt Valley.

          1 Reply
          1. re: skipper

            Agreed. Wegmans' bagels are pretty good. Greg's is probably slightly more authentic, but not worth the drive if you're close to Wegmans.

            Another place to consider is Sam's Bagels on Cold Spring Lane in Baltimore.

          2. It's not in Lutherville, but I've always enjoyed the bagels from the Common Ground in Hampden on 36th street. They also have fantastic coffee.

            3 Replies
            1. re: maddogg280

              Both Common Ground and the Daily Grind (in Fells Point) get their bagels from New Town Bagel Bakery (in Owings Mills, apparently) – I think they're the best bagels in the city.

              1. re: ktracy

                New Town Bagel Bakery closed about a month ago....they were great bagels though!

            2. A second vote for Goldberg's, if you're looking for true New York style bagels. They're the best!

              1. Third vote for Goldberg's. Best around. Go to Edmart across the street for amazing hand-sliced belly lox and whitefish. That's my dream combo.

                n.b. Goldberg's is closed on Saturday.

                1. Greg's and Goldberg's. Greg's is closed on Mondays; Goldberg's, being kosher, keeps kosher hours.

                  Greg's Indian and other takes on smoked salmon are outstanding.

                  1. Greg's for great fun bagels and funny staff, Goldberg's for a traditional NY bagel, no question about it.

                    1. Boy, there sure seem to be a lot of locals here who are NOT NYC bagel snobs. Greg's bagels don't even rate as a New York style bagel. Too sweet. I agree about Goldberg's. Seems to be the best local option.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: b_morefoodie

                        Greg's bagels are very different than the typical "New York" style bagel. I've always wondered why: was it a conscious decision to make the bagels a certain way? or an oversight due to lack of forethought?

                        Given the quality, taste, and apparent detailed focus on the salmon, I believe that Greg's bagels are the way they are because of a conscious decision. That is, I doubt Greg "underthinks" anything.

                        The reasoning behind the style of Greg's bagels? I have no idea. Long time family recipe?

                        1. re: smt

                          Years ago Greg's used to occasionally offer continental bagels which were more traditional. When I asked why they don't offer traditional bagels more often Greg's wife(?) said their custumers aren't necessarily traditional bagel eaters and that ths is what they like. I still still stop in on occasion but prefer Goldberg's, Wegmans and Einstein's in that order. I think only Goldberg's and Wegman's boil before baking which is the traditional method.

                          1. re: jfish

                            Greg's DOES make his bagels the traditional way....boiled and then baked.
                            As a matter of fact Gregs still HAND ROLLS his bagels as most of the other places use machines to form them.

                            The reason Greg's Bagels are "different" than a traditional New York bagel is becauses he uses real honey as a sweetener, where most New York style bagels use a malt derivitive. Also....there are absolutely NO preservatives in Gregs bagels.....better consumed ( or freeze) immediately.

                            1. re: MDicecreamguy

                              I stand corrected on the boil thing. I guess I just prefer malt over honey.

                        2. re: b_morefoodie

                          "Boy, there sure seem to be a lot of locals here who are NOT NYC bagel snobs"

                          Yes, isn't it nice that we aren't caught up in that!

                          1. re: crowsonguy

                            Perhaps we're forgetting that food should not be some homogenous mass that's uniform and tidy. While I may not crave Greg's, I certainly like the fact that his bagels are different than the ones in Towson, Cockeysville or Ruthie's in Chelsea.

                            This difference in approaches should be celebrated.

                            But if you really want a horrific "bagel", I suggest visiting Seattle. Was having a craving for a bagel once while in Seattle, asked a friend for a recommendation and it was absolutely atrocious. Basically a donut shaped piece of dough baked in an oven like normal bread. Not bad for bread. Horrific as a "bagel."

                          2. re: b_morefoodie

                            Too sweet - and greasy. Bagels shouldn't leave grease marks on paper bags!

                          3. As Sop recommended, try Towson Hot Bagels on Alleghany Avenue just west of the horrible Towson Circle. We think they're the best option at least in the Perry Hall to Towson corridor north/northeast of Baltimore City. They're thronged with college kids on weekends during the school year, but a quick in-and-out on weekday mornings. Seating is limited, but the bagels are really good. However, being regulars there, we've noticed a little dropoff in the bagels recently and are wondering if they've switched to different ingredients. We're hoping it's a temporary thing, but the last handful of times we've been there the bagels seemed to have a coating similar to the bottom of brick over pizzas such as those you'd get at Bertucci's. Their bagel sandwiches are usually quite good, with the bacon, egg and cheese often having plentiful bacon. At times, particularly when very busy, they burn the bagels while toasting, but they're good about replacing them if not toasted to your liking.

                            1. I grew up in the New York area, and Goldberg's is the closest to a New York bagel that I've found here. And the service is sometimes surly, too, which adds to the authenticity. The bialys, however, are lousy.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: DSattler

                                Thanks for the recs! We love Goldberg's bagels and bought a dozen last Sunday, and while I agree their bialys are lacking, I like their sticks too. Reminds me of the delis in Chicago. Hope to get to Greg's soon, but I'm a traditional gal when it comes to bagels.

                                1. re: trillgirl

                                  lol I had Goldberg's once and it was ok. I moved to Orange co and actually tried to order some. the fee was huge, so I declined.

                                  is the hoco chain any good, it's called the bagel bin I think?

                                  what about the place in ec near elkridge in the big shopping ctr by the rte 103, 100 interchange? it also has a hershey's ice cream shop. hope these haven't moved since I left at the end of '06.

                              2. Bagel Bin was good when it started, but the original owner sold it a few years ago and the quality of the bagels (in my opinion) went down. Friends of mine who live in Howard County say the same thing. Too bad, because I'm in Howard County a couple of times a week for work purposes, and Bagel Bin is very convenient.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: DSattler

                                  I lived in Harper's Choice many years ago and used to regularly get bagels at the predecessor to Bagel Bin in Wilde Lake. I now only get up to Columbia very infrequently, probably not enough to notice a downturn, but I still think BB's Black Russian bagel is very good.

                                2. I lam from Baltimore area originally but lived in NYC for about 10 years. I bought Goldberg's today for a breakfast party and can definitely say these are the closest to NY bagels that I have found since relocating. They are chewy, not too big, very fresh. They are a little on the expensive side at 9.50/doz (or something like that). If you are having a party or want a dozen good bagels, then these are they. I thought they were very good and would drive a ways to get them especially for a special event.

                                  1. One great place that has not been mentioned is Greenspun Bagels. Their bagels are not overly-doughy or dense, which I've always disliked about most bagels you find around here. They do not sell retail, however. I know Greenspun bagels are sold at City Cafe in Mt. Vernon and On the Hill in Bolton Hill. You can contact Greenspun and find out where else their bagels are sold by visiting their website: http://www.greenspunbagel.com/index.htm

                                    1. One more vote for Goldberg's: Hands-down the past in Baltimore. Then, go across the street to Edmart and get the hand-cut belly lox.

                                      1. I am grew up in Brooklyn but I don't care if it is NY bagel or not - it has to taste good. Goldbergs tastes the best and has the best atmosphere for people watching. My husband and I drive 20 minutes one way there almost every Sunday. Split Pea soup is to die for, lox spread tastes fresh, although whitefish is not consistant. If you get there on Saturday night after Shabbat (in summer about 9.30-10pm) you can get them warm straight out of the oven. The only exception to Goldberg's is Wegmans - their bagels are not bad and you can get choice of whitefish, lox and a bit watery chopped liver and put together your own bagel.

                                        Gregs at Belvedere might be different, but just like Sam's Bagel on St. Paul, is grainy and just doesn't taste good. At Edmart the people who work there are just plain rude. I went in to check out some of their prices for comparison which was clearly not appreciated by the staff. If you pride yourself on being a real NY deli then price comparison should be second nature to you. That being said, their whitefish whole is pretty good, as well as hand cut lox, but there are several Russian stores just down Reisterstown Road with much bigger selection of smoked fish, and they don't "put on airs."

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: yankabanka

                                          The Nova and the Lox at Edmart aren't bad but unfortunately they don't know how to slice or trim it.It should be sliced so thin it's translucent but those guys don't even come close.
                                          Send all the help there up to Zabars or Barney Greengrass in NYC. for some training.....

                                          1. re: yankabanka

                                            I'd love to try these Russian stores you're talking about. Where are they on Reisterstown Road?