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Zucker$$$$$ Bagels, OUCH!!!

Motosport Jan 13, 2013 10:27 AM

We've been patiently awaiting the new Zucker's Bagels on Lex near Grand Central since Vic's Bagel Bar closed.
They opened last weekend and we got our usual Sunday morning bagel fix. The bagels were good but the staff needed a little more seasoning. I should not have to repeat my order 4X (no exaggeration) before the "order taker" gets it right. The order taker passes your order to the actual preparer who then passes it on to the cashier where I pay and then move over to the counter where I check to make sure it is correct. It wasn't (onion and garlic are not the same thing) so I returned it and they got it right on the second try. "Rookies!!" I thought I'd see if they got it together in a week.
The price of last weeks order seemed a little high so today we decided to to a detailed comparative analysis ( I know I need spellcheck) of Zucker's and Bagel Express across the street.
Bagel Express: Ordered a garlic bagel with scallion cream cheese, Nova and a little bit of onion on top. The counterman took the order and nailed it like Willy Mays catching a fly ball.
Zucker's: Same order, "OK you want an onion bagel with plain cream cheese and lox." Eagerly nodding her head and looking for approval. "No, garlic bagel, scallion cream cheese, Nova and onions on top." It was painful, like a Red Sox fan watching Bill Buckner field that easy grounder. We got it right after the third try.
The final analysis: The Zucker bagel was a tiny bit better with a crunchier crust and more garlic topping.
The Bagel Express bagel was a bit bigger.
Otherwise, quality was the same.
BUTTTTTTTTTTT: Bagel Express $7.57 and Zucker's $11.38.
WOW!!! Almost $4. more for Zucker.
What's up with that??? Who do they think they are, Starbucks?

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  1. princeofpork3 RE: Motosport Jan 13, 2013 11:22 AM

    Next weekend try the same order at Daniels and see the difference. Service is still confused but the bagels are excellent and the prices are more reasonable

    2 Replies
    1. re: princeofpork3
      Motosport RE: princeofpork3 Jan 14, 2013 08:03 AM

      We've been to Daniel's and we like their bagels. I can't imagine the same order at Daniel's would be cheaper then Bagel Express which is a bit closer to my apartment.

      1. re: Motosport
        Motosport RE: Motosport Feb 3, 2013 12:32 PM

        OK, I went to Daniel's this morning and compared the same order (garlic bagel, scallion cream cheese, Nova and a little bit of onion) to Zucker and Bagel Express.
        Zucker's $11.38
        Daniel's $9.95
        Bagel Express $7.57
        Daniel's makes an excellent bagel but it was the smallest of the three with the least amount of coating. It cost more than Bagel Express but less than Zucker's.
        I like Ess-A-Bagel the best. Tal is a close second. Neither are convenient to Murray Hill. Such is life!

    2. c
      churros RE: Motosport Jan 13, 2013 02:31 PM

      I posted about my visit to Zucker's yesterday on another thread. Also experienced good food and poor service (they screwed up my order too). Willing to overlook service for now since it just opened.

      I also thought prices seemed high but was attributing that to never really paying attention to bagel prices in the past!


      1. jon RE: Motosport Jan 13, 2013 03:18 PM

        Not impressed with this place, which is depressing because there is no where to get a decent bagel on the east side of grand central. Service is terrible and confusing (do you really need to order just a coffee in the rear of the store?)

        Also, I don't think they make their bagels fresh throughout the day. I asked for a hot bagel around 9 am (not toasted, hot, as in straight out of the oven). They said all bagels were made in the morning. Boo.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jon
          Motosport RE: jon Jan 14, 2013 08:06 AM

          There is nothing better than a fresh out of the oven bagel.
          FYI: I get my triple espresso fix at Dunkin next door.
          I was stunned at the prices at Zucker's. Too bad. I was looking for an alternative to the hike up to Ess-A-Bagel.

        2. c
          comiendosiempre RE: Motosport Feb 3, 2013 02:58 PM

          I will have to try Zucker's, since I am often in the area.

          However, for midtown, the options really are limited to three, and those are a bit far apart one from each other. Ess a Bagel, Daniel's and Tals. As between the three I would rank Tal's as number one, and has been for a long time. I think a few years ago it was rated no. 1 or a top bagel in the city. Number 2 is Daniel's, also very good. And no. 3 Ess a Bagel. While many love the spot I find their bagels a bit too large and too doughy.

          NYC is a demanding bagel town and if the counterperson mucks up the order, not only are you angry but it slows down the line. Leading to a near riot....

          1 Reply
          1. re: comiendosiempre
            Motosport RE: comiendosiempre Feb 4, 2013 08:26 AM

            Share your Zucker's experience please. Hope they get your order right the first time.
            My lovely wife complains that Ess-A-Bagel's are too big. "eat half", I say.
            Tal makes an excellent bagel. No argument there!

          2. f
            foodwhisperer RE: Motosport Feb 4, 2013 02:33 PM

            I go to Zucker's in Tribeca often. You can give your order to the actual order maker ,then go up to the register to pay and tell that person what you ordered. I would imagine it is set up the same way at the new place I have no issues with service or quality at Zucker's

            4 Replies
            1. re: foodwhisperer
              Motosport RE: foodwhisperer Feb 4, 2013 02:56 PM

              Unfortunately they have a three step process. Place your order. The order taker passes that off to the actual maker. You move down the line to cashier to wait for your order and pay. If you want coffee you go in the opposite direction to get your own coffee. Tedious and confusing.
              My two issues are:
              The order taker is not well trained. I ordered a garlic bagel with scallion cream cheese and she thought that meant onion and plain cream cheese repeated the order 3 times. The same thing happened on our second visit with a different employee. I hoped that in time they would get on the job training.
              My main complaint is the price. $4 more than the place across the street. Yikes! Maybe their prices are the same as the Tribeca location.

              1. re: Motosport
                foodwhisperer RE: Motosport Feb 4, 2013 07:46 PM

                Sounds frustrating. I personally would not go back if I experienced such ineptness. The Tribeca branch , had the owners working there full time for quite some time, so maybe the training was better. I don't know about prices, since there is no competition in Tribeca. The smoked fish is good overall, but I always make sure to pick which fish I want it cut from as some look in better shape than others. If I go to the midtown branch, I will bring with me a photo of scallion cream cheese to show the order taker,that should work .

                1. re: foodwhisperer
                  Motosport RE: foodwhisperer Feb 5, 2013 08:21 AM

                  Also bring a picture of an onion and a clove of garlic!!
                  The quality of everything was excellent. No complaint about quality.
                  I suspect that Tribeca being Tribeca and the lack of competition may dictate the prices. Murray Hill it's not and the competition is close by.

                  1. re: Motosport
                    chowdom RE: Motosport Feb 5, 2013 08:37 AM


            2. princeofpork3 RE: Motosport Feb 8, 2013 01:03 PM

              It seems strange but the quality of service at so many bagel stores is sorely lacking. There are not that many ingredients, suprising they have so much trouble

              1 Reply
              1. re: princeofpork3
                Motosport RE: princeofpork3 Feb 9, 2013 04:08 PM

                Go figure? Bagel, cream cheese, lox & onion!! Double duh?
                Then again, there are places that over engineer a cup of coffee. I never seem to get the size right.

              2. s
                sugartoof RE: Motosport Feb 10, 2013 11:26 AM

                I spotted some of the bagels were precut in the bins, and walked out. I guess they do it to handle a midtown rush, but this was 4pm, and the store was entirely empty. There were also packaged bagels, that again looked precut, sitting by the checkout up front. Not a good sign.

                6 Replies
                1. re: sugartoof
                  Motosport RE: sugartoof Feb 11, 2013 09:13 AM

                  Hopefully the Zucker owners read Chowhound and will get their act together.
                  Than again, I posted on their Facebook page asking why their bagel lox and creamcheese was $4 more than the place across the street. No answer but my post was deleted. I did expect it would be deleted but I also expected an answer.

                  1. re: Motosport
                    churros RE: Motosport Feb 11, 2013 09:57 AM

                    Motosport, with all due respect, what answer did you expect? If Zucker's is not competitive and business is not good, it will adjust eventually.

                    I've been back to Zucker's a few times and continue to enjoy the bagels and cream cheese. The quality is good and worth the slightly higher prices for me. Service has gotten somewhat better.

                    And out of curiosity, I looked up the prices for Ess-a-bagel (which I personally don't like) on its website. Its lox and cream cheese seem just as pricey.

                    1. re: churros
                      Motosport RE: churros Feb 11, 2013 10:41 AM

                      I expected a reason for a 50% difference in price. I was polite and respectful. "Our bagels are made of unobtainium" or "Our lox is hand caught by eskimos" Anything to justify such a huge price difference.
                      I was comparing the Zucker price to the place across the street and not Ess-A-Bagel.
                      As I said in my original post: "The Zucker bagel was a tiny bit better with a crunchier crust and more garlic topping." "the other bagel was bigger."
                      Not enough of a difference to justify paying $4 more. The Ess-A-Bagel price for the same order is $1 less than Zucker's. It's like comparing Cleon Jones to Willy Mays. No contest.

                      1. re: Motosport
                        churros RE: Motosport Feb 11, 2013 12:52 PM

                        I get that you were comparing to Bagel Express. My point was Zucker's prices are not necessarily out of line with other well-regarded spots in the city. (Based on the online menu, Ess-a-bagel's prices look like they might even be higher than Zucker's.) Maybe Bagel Express is just unusually cheap?

                        Anyway, up to the individual whether Zucker's is worth the prices.

                        1. re: churros
                          Motosport RE: churros Feb 11, 2013 04:09 PM

                          Ess-A-Bagel is $1 less.
                          I.M.H.O. it's not worth $4 to get a smaller bagel with a bit more garlic on it.
                          Neither Bagel Express or Zucker's is in the same ballpark with Ess-A-Bagel but they are in my neighborhood.

                    2. re: Motosport
                      Motosport RE: Motosport Feb 11, 2013 11:34 AM

                      Mea culpa, a retraction of sorts: Zucker's did not delete my post on FB. No response but not deleted.

                  2. jon RE: Motosport Feb 11, 2013 11:30 AM

                    the best thing about the place seems to me to be that a small cup of la colombe coffee is $1.85, which is only $.05 more than dunkin donuts next to door (for better coffee), and $.40 cheaper than a small cup of comparably tasting coffee at joe's in grand central.

                    their bagels have gotten better, but i still wish the ordering process was smoother and that the bagels came out fresh and hot throughout the day.

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