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New York style bagels

Help, please!!
I am from New York, and like my bagels HARD!
Brueggers in my neighborhood used to be somewhat reasonable, but now they too are making big, plump bagels, that are way too soft,
Is there anyplace in the greater Lexington, MA area where I can find decent, firm bagels??I am desperate!


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  1. Have you tried Ray's New York style bagels? I find them in the
    frozen food section of my local Shaw's. Combined with
    Zausner's whipped cream cheese from WF...great way
    to start the day

    1. Same answer as every other bagel thread, go to Katz in Chelsea, there is no alternative

      2 Replies
      1. re: Luther

        Definitely agree with Katz and pickup corned beef + chopped liver at Arthurs.

        I am curious if anyone has tried Brooklyn Water Bagels in Framingham as I have yet to make it out that way. Marketing shtick for sure, but I am still interested in trying it.

        1. re: itaunas

          I had a sesame with Miami lox cream cheese. Dense and chewy outside with a nice moist inside. Cream cheese a little fishy.

      2. Iggy's are harder and more Montreal-style but they may be closer in texture to what you are looking for. Rosenthal's in newton center make the best bagels locally.

        24 Replies
        1. re: teezeetoo

          I really like Iggy's but I can't compare them in a material way to an NY bagel. The closest is Katz's. Rosenfeld's - note the spelling - makes a very good bagel but it's not NY.

          Another choice is Bagel Rising on Comm Ave near Harvard. Decent bagels. Really good bagel sandwiches.

          1. re: lergnom

            I never would have thought to try Bagel Rising, thanks for the tip

            1. re: Luther

              2nd for Bagel Rising. It's not a good NY bagel, but in Boston it's the best of the rest and has been consistently good for a long time.

              1. re: Luther

                Yeah, Bagel Rising is pretty good. Do they still carry them at Espresso Royale?

              2. re: lergnom

                Rosenfeld's is just ok - we trekked out to Newton a couple of weekends ago to try out these much lauded bagels. They're not bad, but they're still not quite right.

                1. re: gini

                  This is true. Rosenfeld's due score high if you're marking on a curve, which is to say they are in the running for Boston's best, but Boston's best bagels fall short of greatness.
                  However, friends in NYC tell me that the quality of bagels there have markedly declined in the past decade of so. If true -- and I have nothing more than this anecdotal evidence -- maybe the great New York bagel no longer exists anywhere except in our memories and dreams.

                  1. re: katzzz

                    There are bad bagels and good bagels, but I think everyone's "best" bagel among good alternatives is a matter of taste. However, Rosenfeld's is better than anything I've had in New York City. Rosenfeld's bagels, however, must be consumed with minutes of purchase. Even a few hours later they become harder and stale. Bagel Hut in Great Neck, NY, however, has the best bagels I've ever had. There are no longer Jewish neighborhoods in New York City, but there are on Long Island, so its not surprising that the best bagels have migrated to the suburbs.

                    1. re: lipoff

                      Totally off topic for this board, but yes the best bagels are in fact now on Long Island.

                      1. re: mkfisher

                        actually the best NY bagels I've had are at Great Barrington Bagel Company on Route 7 in Great Barrington. Far and away the best bagels I've found.

                        1. re: mkfisher

                          Queens and Brooklyn are part of Long Island...Still some good bagel stores there too..Such as Utopia Bagels in Whitestone, NY

                        2. re: lipoff

                          My non-scientific research tells me that lifespan of a fresh bagel from Rosenfelds is less than 20 minutes (that's how long it takes me to get them home) before they need some toasting to bring them back to life.

                          I have great memories of the bagels from some small shops in Rockland/Bergen counties of NY/NJ. Even Goldbergs (small chain which made good, but not the best bagels) are better than anything I've had in this area.

                          1. re: lipoff

                            bagel hut is pretty good, but let there be bagels in port washington is better. :)

                            there are a few good bagel places left in manhattan (including a random one near penn station in the depths of the garment district), but the best are definitely on long island.

                      2. re: lergnom

                        Iggy's bagel's toast beautifully. Far more interesting flavor than oversized fake NY bagel's everywhere.

                        If you're looking for the old-fashion NY bagel that was smaller and firmer (and non-existent today) try Iggy's.

                        1. re: Grubstake69

                          I actually think Iggy's is much more of a Montreal-style than a NY style. Not that Montreal bagels don't have their merits, but a NY bagel it is not.

                          1. re: gini

                            TOTALLY agree, as an NYC boy myself, while a nice piece of bread, New York Style, Iggy's bagels are not.

                          2. re: Grubstake69

                            While I adore Iggy's breads, I'm not a fan of their bagels, which are not at all like old- or new-fashioned NYC bagels: they're the right size, but they're too tough and too chewy. Nor are they like the Montreal bagels which Iggy's allegedly is trying to emulate; again, right size, wrong texture.

                            1. re: katzzz

                              Just to be clear on Iggy's, according to their website they are not claiming to emulate Montreal-style.They started out trying to do so (presumably without the wood oven) but then developed their own style.


                              1. re: deglazer

                                Thanks for pointing out the non-Montrealness of Iggy's bagels. Many years ago, before Iggy's started making bagels, I was talking to Mrs. Iggy (a former Montrealer) and she told me they were planning to start making Montreal-style bagels. I always assumed that remained the intention, but clearly, as you point out, it is not. Amazing what you can learn from a web site! But I still don't care for their bagels. Like biting into something created for a teething toddler to chew on for hours.

                                1. re: katzzz

                                  The trick with Iggy's bagel is a long toast time. More than I would toast a regular bagel. Almost till they're crispy. I love the multi-seeded with cream cheese, and whatever - capers, ripe tomato, salt, cracked pepper.

                                  Purists will correctly point out that this is not a true NY bagel, or even Montreal. But it has become my favorite.

                                  1. re: Grubstake69

                                    That assumes you *like* a toasted bagel, which I do not. Fresh and chewy is best for me....

                                    1. re: Science Chick

                                      If its fresh and chewy you should without a doubt check out Newmans in Swampscott.

                                  2. re: katzzz

                                    I actually see plenty of Montrealness, just pointing out what their website says. I think if you lined up all Boston bagels against one of the classics from Montreal, Iggy's would be the closest by far.

                                    Wondering if Area 4 has been mentioned? They have a bagel that's soft and bread-y but I still liked it quite a lot.

                                2. re: katzzz

                                  Agree about the tough and chewy. I toasted one once and it took me a half hour to eat it and my jaw was sore! Tasty but a whole lot of work to get down. Hmm..maybe you burn off all the calories by the time you get to the end? ;-)

                                  1. re: Jpan99

                                    My husband picked up some sesame bagels from Iggy's this morning shortly after 7. They were hot, and after a brief toasting they were absolutely delicious. They are loaded with sesame on both the top and the bottom, and the seeds get toasted a bit more which really accentuates the flavors.

                                    I have no idea if they are authentic in any tradition, but we love them.

                          3. Not NY style per se, but my favorite in the area is Newmans in Swampscott.. Rye bagel with a schmear of lox spread.

                            1. Surprisingly, Wegman's makes a pretty good bagel. Northborough probably isn't very convenient to you, but once the Burlington branch opens up, check it out. They do them fresh, and properly boiled.

                              1. Bagel's by us just north of Arlington center on Mass ave I think still sells H and H bagels that they bake on site, or you can order them from the H and H site directly.

                                I haven't tried Wegmans in Northboro bagels yet, but I did noticed they have a kettle to boil them in and they looked great, hopefully the local stores will do the same when they open up.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: lc02139

                                  Not sure which bagels Bagels By Us is using now, but H&H is no longer in business. I used to go there when they did have H&H, though.

                                2. Kupel's in Brookline near Coolidge Corner.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: jajjguy

                                    Very much not NY style. Lighter, fluffier, more bread-like.

                                      1. re: jajjguy

                                        I know people that have worked in slave like conditions at that place and I can say that I would never recommend any food that does not arrive in a sealed container from outside.

                                      2. As this subject seems to come up about once a year here are some historical post from before, don't know if they places they mention are still open or not. Not all are about hard bagels, let us know what you find since it is such a hot topic.


                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: lc02139

                                          Ha, I love how even the thread from 8 years ago, folks are saying, "This topic has been covered so much already, do a search."

                                        2. Although it's a bit of a hike, bronx bagel in milford ma has the best bagels i've found anywhere outside of nyc. Definitely worth a road trip on a free sat or sun morning.

                                          1. I stopped at Katz's on the way back from the airport at 7AM Sunday. The bagels are more NY, as I remember, with a real skin. They make a great bagel dog using Vienna Beef dogs.

                                            1. Many bagels these days, even in some 'bagel shops', don't have the proper density to be anywhere near that of the classic NY bagel.

                                              The other frequent problem seems to be size...lots of places just make them too darned big (even some NY joints are guilty of that). Some clock in at 600 calories _just_ for the bagel without any added goodies. Traditional, smaller sized bagels are hard to find in the shops.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: The Professor

                                                A standard old bagel, like at Katz's, is 4 ounces but some are now 6 or more.

                                              2. Thanks, everyone. I guess I will have to make my own!!!!
                                                Anyone know where I can buy malt syrup??????


                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: msmouser

                                                  I bought malt powder for bagels from Modern Homebrew Emporium on Mass Ave.


                                                  1. re: msmouser

                                                    Before I went through that hassle, I'd jump in my car and head over to Katz's. They make a very respectable bagel.

                                                  2. Although I like Cafe Fresh Bagels (with outposts in Dedham and Needham), I've also recently tried and liked Brooklyn Water Bagels in Framingham. They're owned by Larry King, and have way too much "schtick" for my taste (the marketing, not the bagels), but I have to say, they are MUCH closer to true NYC bagels than anything I've found outside of NYC.

                                                    I'd recommend the OP check them out!

                                                    1. I moved away from Boston back to my ancestral home of North Jersey, and it's sad to say that even around here most places are mediocre these days. The post above has it right...bigger, softer bagels have come into vogue, and now I have to hoof it to Bagel Supreme in Union County or Sonny's in South Orange...I can no longer rely on my neighbhorhood joints.

                                                      I never really found anything matching the bagel of my youth in Boston. Kupel's was just ok. Oddly enough, I sort of liked Finagle a Bagel, especially fresh. They aren't really that NYish but I guess I sort of acclimated.

                                                      There was also a franchise in the BU College of Arts and Sciences of Einstein Brother's Bagels that were pretty dang close. Any other non-BU branches around?

                                                      1. Lately I've been enjoying Bagel World; in Peabody, Salem and (closest to you) Reading. They are a bit flat and have an OK chew to them, although not hard. I also really like the cream cheese and the one I had last week with lox wasn't bad at all. http://www.bagelworld.net/

                                                        If you go the DIY route, Beer & Wine Hobby has malt extracts, not sure if they do the same thing, but check them out online at http://beer-wine.com. They also have a storefront in an office park in Woburn.

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: Chris VR

                                                          I have a coworker who brings Bagel World to the office from time to time.

                                                          I've really enjoyed them and the cream cheese is great.

                                                          I was hesitant to mention them because I haven't had the "freshly cooked" but certainly 1 of my favorite around.

                                                          I have no control over when I get them, but a nice treat when they're brought in.

                                                          Ms 9 picked up some Pain D'Avignon at a Farmers Mkt. I froze them but I think it's what WF carries. I remember themas being pretty good.

                                                          1. re: Chris VR

                                                            Bagel World's chief virtue is that it is one of the few places that has salt bagels, a venerable old-fashioned type. But their bagels are rather big and airy compared to old-fashioned bagels. Katz's are the closest to the real deal (made all the more authentic insofar as they don't try to have all flavors available all the time, you only get to choose from what they've just made).

                                                            1. re: Karl S

                                                              Newmans has salt bagels as well.

                                                              1. re: Karl S

                                                                Mariposa Bakery in Central Square has salt bagels. I like their bagels best of any I've had in Boston, but I don't know what you'd call the style--softer than Iggy's for sure, but that's not hard to do. Maybe it's Montreal style?

                                                                The service is hapless, the place is less than spotlessly clean, but dang they really can bake there and they make great coffee, use high quality ingredients.

                                                                You have to make a point of it, as they're often sold out by mid-morning on weekends.

                                                              2. re: Chris VR

                                                                I'm a big fan of Bagel World's bagels, too. Their lox is very mild in flavor.

                                                              3. I'm a fan of Rosenfelds and Katz's bagels. What I do to get a firmer skin is take a tiny bit of water and brush it in the outside of the bagel(usually do it with my finger). I then bake it in the toaster oven for a few minutes and it gives the bagel a much firmer skin.

                                                                1. Head west on Rt 2, then take 119/2A at the rotary and find Bagel's Plus about a mile up on the right, just past Colonial Spirits. This is the closest thing you'll find to a NY bagel in the Boston area. Get there early on a Sunday and you might be lucky enough to find a few salt bagels....

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: rubysdad

                                                                    I used to be a weekend regular when I lived in Concord. I even make the trip out there from Waltham now when a bagel craving hits. One of the best bagels in the area that I've had.

                                                                  2. Try the "R.E.A.L. Bagels" at Whole Foods. I have spent enough time in Montreal that I can tell you that these are authentic hand-rolled Montreal Style bagels.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Big D Food Hound

                                                                      Where have you seen these at Whole Foods? I'm curious, beacause there are R.E.A.L Bagels shop in Montreal, and they're not bad. Are they frozen?

                                                                      1. re: winedude

                                                                        I saw them at the WF by MGH.

                                                                        They were on a shelf above the regular bagels in plastic bags..6 or so each bag..not frozen.

                                                                        I haven't tried them.

                                                                    2. I went to Kugel's Deli (Route 9/30) in Framingham recently and was surprised to see that they had bialys (a good sign). i got lox and cream cheese on a toasted bialy and it was excellent. Small, chewy and not doughy. I asked where they get their bagels and bialy's. They ship them from New York half baked and finish them at the Deli. Not sure if it will meet your needs but worth a shot.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: gourmaniac

                                                                        Thank you, This sounds as if it is worth looking into, Also, I love bialys, I had given up on them!!!

                                                                      2. Just curious...has anyone tried the bagels at Cutty's?

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: bear

                                                                          yes. amazing. there is a story on them in the current edible boston.

                                                                          1. re: bear

                                                                            Yes, and they're great. Neither NY nor Montreal style. Fridays and Saturdays only. She makes the cream cheese mixes, too. Right now there's a honey lavender that changed my mind, and the veggie cream cheese has tiny bits of carrot and broccoli.

                                                                            1. re: dchow

                                                                              Now you both have me itching to get over there soon on a Saturday. Thanks!