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Bagels in the Lower East Side?

I did a search, but only came up with other breakfast options. I'm just looking for a dozen to go, in the general area we're staying in the LES, before heading towards Penn Station to catch our bus back to DC.

Any recommendations?

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  1. There are four good options between the LES and Penn Station:

    1. Ess-a-Bagel, on 1st Avenue at 21st St.

    2. Murray's, on 6th Avenue between 12th and 13th Sts.

    3. Murray's, on 8th Avenue between 22nd and 23rd Sts. (depending on how much stuff you are carrying, Penn Station is walkable from here)

    4. Corner Cafe, on 6th Avenue at 24th St. (of the four, this place tends to have the shortest lines; also, depending on how much stuff you are carrying, Penn Station is walkable from here)

    1. Not in LES, but there's a Best Bagel right by Penn Station.

      1. Kossar's on Grand Street...great bagels, bialies, pletzel.

        1. In the LES I'd go to Kossar's for the best bialys and decent bagels. Closed on Saturday!!!
          The best bagels I.M.H.O. are at Ess-A-Bagel on 1 st Ave and E 21 St. Definitely worth the side trip.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Motosport

            IMHO Kossar's bagels are more than decent -- bagels the way they used to be and should be, i.e., not huge and puffy, but nice and a bit chewy. BTW, OP, if you have never tried "pletzel," pick one up at Kossar's. They are large flat discs with onion on them and really delicious.

            1. re: City Kid

              Decent is a good thing. Being a big fan of Ess-A-Bagel I find it hard to compare theirs to others.
              Kossar's Pletzel is amazing. No other Bialys in Manhattan compare to Kossar's. In fact I have seen bialys from Kossar's being sold at other bagel shops.

              1. re: Motosport

                Thank you both for the tip on the pletzel. I've had Kossar's bialys (bialies?) before, but never got past those. I could do with some old-timey bagels, though. I know exactly what you mean, City Kid, by huge & puffy - although I never seem to complain while eating a huge, puffy bagel either.

          2. Kossar's totally fell off my radar in terms of bagels, so thanks for the reminder.

            I typically like the bagel run to be the last thing we do before picking up the luggage at the hotel and jumping in a cab to Penn (just in case they're right out of the oven - hey, you never know). But I'll definitely note the others in case we pick them up while we're out & about during the day. Thanks!

            9 Replies
            1. re: VaPaula

              Wow, having a cabbie wait while you run in for bagels ... makes for one darn expensive dozen bagels.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Some things are sacred and may defy logic. I can totally understand.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  No, bagels BEFORE the cab. Although depending on the situation, I could see me doing that - ha ha. I agree with Motosport - some things are sacred. We ate our last 2 NYC bagels over the weekend, those from Tal on the UWS (where we stayed last time). My favorites are still in my old 'hood, York & 76th, called something like, "Bagels" or "Bagels & Co."

                  1. re: VaPaula

                    TAL makes a very nice bagel. In my top 5 for sure.

                    1. re: Motosport

                      Without hijacking this thread, would you mind giving me your top 5 bagel spots in Manhattan?

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        It'll cost you!!
                        Bagel Express

                        Kossar's stands alone for bialys!!!!!!!!

                        1. re: Motosport

                          Which EAB location? Only been to the (newer) one in MTE, and didn't find it all that, but heard the original locale was better.

                          I personally like Absolute and Murray's.

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            Both Ess-A-Bagel locations work for me. My lovely wife says they are excellent bagels but "too big!" Go figure?

                            1. re: Motosport

                              Don't let her visit Los Angeles ...

              2. I think the bagels at Russ & Daughters are much better than those at any of the aforementioned places. And they have minis, which are like bagels really used to be. They even have bialys which put the ones at Kossar's to shame.

                13 Replies
                1. re: mitchleeny

                  FYI: R&D gets their Bialys and bagels from Kossar's. They do not make their own.

                  1. re: Motosport

                    FYI: No, I don't think they do. I was told that they stopped using Kossar's a while ago, due to the decline in quality.

                    You are right that they don't make their own.

                    1. re: mitchleeny

                      Bagel Hole (Brooklyn) makes the bagels for R&D.

                      No idea about the bialys.

                      1. re: mitchleeny

                        Huh? On a recent visit to Kossar's I saw several brown bags filled with bagels and bialys with R&D written on them.

                        1. re: Motosport

                          That's interesting. I'll do a little further research and see what I can find out, because I'd been told by 2 generations of Russ what I posted above (though no one would ever tell me who they got their bagels from!).

                          What I do know for sure is that I don't like the bagels offered at Kossar's. And they sure seem different from the bagels they sell at R & D.

                          And the Hot Bread Kitchen web site says their bialys are carried at R & D.

                          1. re: mitchleeny

                            And there's this, from the NY Times...

                            "Mini-bagels (plain only, please) are the best defense. Fortunately, there are quite delicious mini-bagels at Russ & Daughters on the Lower East Side, which gets them from the Bagel Hole, a small retail bakery in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Large bagels with amorphous centers from the same source taste good in small chunks, but have the usual oversized disadvantages."


                            1. re: mitchleeny

                              Like I said up above, R&D gets their bagels from Bagel Hole (in Brooklyn), but no idea where their bialys come from

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                I really think the bialys at R & D are from Hot Bread Kitchen - they are also available when Hot Bread Kitchen is at the New Amsterdam Market.

                                Bagels at Kossar's are huge, vapid and just annoy me.

                                1. re: mitchleeny

                                  "huge, vapid and annoy"ing!! I've never thought a bagel could be that way. Now, some people I have met..........
                                  I'll have to try a Kossar's bagel again. I usually just get bialys there and bagels @ Ess-A-Bagel.

                            2. re: mitchleeny

                              Ouch!! Wrong again!! Mea culpa!!
                              But what don't you like about Kossar's bagels?

                            3. re: Motosport

                              Hey Motosport, I think your "recent" visit was Dec. 2010 (or has R&D switched back to Kossar's?) Then you followed up with:
                              Motosport Dec 28, 2010 09:56 AM
                              I stand corrected. Went to Kossar's Friday and picked up a couple of dozen bialys for the holiday weekend. I asked about the R&D bagels. Answer: "We used to but they changed to a bakery in Brooklyn."

                              1. re: City Kid

                                Mea culpa!!!! I am getting old and my memory fails me. It seemed like yesterday. Good to know someone is watching over my shoulder.

                      2. A word of advice. I've made the mistake of including garlic and onion in my cross country carryon and it stunk up the plane.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: foodyum

                          Oh I got this whole process down, both in terms of protecting the precious cargo-and not annoying fellow passengers. But thanks for the advice!!

                          1. re: foodyum

                            Zip Loc freezer bags work great. Bagels and bialys freeze well. Just pop them out of the freezer the night before and they will be ready in the morning. A short stint in the oven brings hem back to life.

                          2. I wanted to report back on yesterday's bagel saga. So I decided on Kossar's - got there around 2:30 or so yesterday (I know, I know.) They had about 4 dozen bialys left, but NO bagels.

                            But that's OK because I remembered somebody recommended a place by Penn so that became my Plan B. (Thanks, ipsedixit). So after getting situating at one of the nondescript Irish pubs on 33rd bet. 6th & 7th by our bus stop, I left my husband at the bar and off I went (I'm just faster on my own, lol) to 35th St. to Best Bagel. It was closed. Closed. Now I understand being closed on a Saturday, but Sunday?! I usually check opening times, etc., but just totally goofed on that. So here I am, back in D.C., bageless (bagelless?). Sigh.

                            But we did get to Russ & Daughters (love the minis!) yesterday morning and it was the perfect fix. The Nova was SO good. Had I known what would have become of Plan A and Plan B, I would have walked around with a dozen minis all day! Oh well.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: VaPaula

                              Many bagel joints are breakfast/lunch focused and close early afternoon.
                              Kossar's closes on Saturday since they observe the sabbath.
                              Ess-A-Bagel will ship you bagels!!!!!!!!!! It might be worth a try.
                              I had an Ess-A-Bagel this morning. I took it out of the freezer last night and put it in the fridge in a zip loc bag. Sliced and lightly toasted brought it back to almost fresh.