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Block’s Bagels | Columbus, OH

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Block’s Bagels (Facebook / @BlocksBagels)
3415 E. Broad St. (map it!)
Columbus, OH 43213
(614) 235-2551
Open Mon-Fri, 6a-5:30p; Sat & Sun, 6:30a-4p
Accepts cash & credit/debit
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
Kid-friendly? Y

Visited: Saturday, August 23, 2014 at 10:30 a.m.

They say there’s no school like the old school, right? Well, if that’s true, then there’s no bagels like Block’s Bagels. Block’s calls themselves the original bagels to Columbus. The Block family moved here from New York City in the late 1960’s. When friends came to visit from New York, they noticed the lack of real bagels in Columbus. Inspired by the comments, Harold Block opened a small bakery and deli in Bexley. Over the years business grew, and now Block’s is chugging along just like they did in the old days.

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Almost thirty years ago now, they moved to their current location a little east on Broad Street. (Their large production facility further east on McNaughten Center includes a second cafe.)

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Judging by the location, not much has changed over thirty years. Not to say it looks outdated. Well, okay, maybe it does a little. It’s just that, nothing much has changed in how they make their bagels and how they serve their customers, so why change it?

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The cafe is fairly large (enough to accommodate bigger groups, hint) and the counters are divided into two sides: deli and bakery.

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The deli side lets you order breakfast, salads, and sandwiches, as well as bulk meats and salads. Plenty of certified kosher items.

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The breakfast menu ranges from simple bagels and cream cheese, to small plates of eggs and meat (lox, salami, bologna, corned beef), but there’s an Egg Beater omelet and challah French toast.

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The bakery side features baskets upon baskets of fresh bagels. Although Block’s produces much of their wholesale goods at the McNaughten facility, you’ll still see them boiling and baking bagels at this cafe.

Block’s serves New York style water bagels. A New York water bagel is made from simple ingredients: flour, water, salt, yeast. It’s boiled first, and then baked. The boiling puffs up the bagel and gives it a chewier texture, while the baking gives it a better crust.

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Block’s makes nearly 30 styles of bagels and bagel sticks. Sesame, poppy seed, caraway. Sourdough, rye, whole wheat. Blueberry, cinnamon raisin, chocolate chip. Plain. Or Everything. Get the Everything bagel. It’s the only type you’ll ever need. In my opinion, a deli is only as good as its everything bagel.

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The dine-in service is pretty simple. Order at the counter and the server there will assemble your order one piece at a time. This means you might wait a little longer for bigger groups. We ordered four different things; the server moved quickly to prep a bagel with cream cheese and the lox platter. Then she disappeared in the back to make my eggs and corned beef. She brought that out, then disappeared in the back to make the French toast. It’s nice knowing everything’s made fresh, but it means there’s a short wait.

The actual presentation is funny, too: thin styrofoam platters. Plastic forks, knives, spoons and napkins are self-service.

So here’s the first thing: a plain bagel with cream cheese for the boys. Great bagel. Generous smear of cream cheese. Excellent pickle.

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The corned beef, eggs, and everything bagel wasn’t exactly up to par, but for some reason I found it more amusing than off-putting. The corned beef and eggs were over-cooked and the beef itself was a little fatty. But the cream cheese and everything bagel were great, of course, and the pickle. But I probably should have ordered this as a breakfast sandwich instead.

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The challah French toast (made using Block’s challah bread – the bakery has a whole shelf of breads), is excellent. Thick slices of fresh challah, eggy and custardy like French toast should be. Dusted with powdered sugar and (a little too generous) coating of cinnamon.

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And the piece de resistance, the dish by which we judge all delis: the lox platter with salmon, cream cheese, onions, tomato, lettuce, and an everything bagel (we had to ask for the capers – we like that salty kick). Block’s is as good as you could hope for.

Next time you’re out exploring, stop by Block’s for a quick breakfast. Everything is worth a try (maybe get a sandwich and not the corned beef and eggs), and the bagels are stellar. If there’s no school like the old school, then you need to stick with the old school.

(Pssst… Block’s is the original New York bagel in Columbus, but they’re evenly matched by Sammy’s. Columbus is all the richer for both of them.)

Block's Bagels on Urbanspoon

The Bagel Baker | Virginia Beach, VA

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The Bagel Baker
(Facebook)

1340 N. Great Neck Rd. #1248 (map it!)
Virginia Beach, VA 23454
(757) 965-3050
Open Mon-Fri, 6:30a-3p; Sat & Sun, 7a-3p
Accepts cash & credit/debit
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
Kid-friendly? Y

Visited: Saturday, June 8, 2013 at 8:30 a.m.

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A good trip needs a good breakfast! On our way to our annual Outer Banks vacation, we stopped overnight with family in Virginia Beach, and the next morning we fueled up at a relatively new spot called Bagel Baker. Bagel Baker is just over a year old, tucked into a good-sized space in a small strip mall in the Great Neck area. It’s decorated in bright and colorful art – a lot of it New York City-themed – with clean, cool colors painted on the walls.

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Their specialty, of course, is bagels, and they strive to bring a bit of New York City to Virginia Beach, drawing on the owner’s family’s heritage. The breakfast menu features bagels with various toppings, plus all sorts of variations on the breakfast sandiwch.

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The restaurant has a large, long seating area. There’s also a few chairs and tables out front. The renovation is all new and very nicely done.

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The restaurant uses counter service for ordering. Our orders were brought out by the owner himself. Some of the service was a little confusing, with some things arriving plated and some not, but it was great to get to chat with the owner himself.

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We’re in love with smoked salmon, so we of course ordered that on an everything bagel. It came out in a hugely generous portion, with mounds of smoked salmon, tomato, cream cheese, capers, and thinly sliced red onion. All fresh, and all delicious. I love the nice clean flavors of good salmon, cream cheese, and veggies.

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Here’s a huge blueberry bagel with blueberry cream cheese. Just right if you want something sweet for breakfast.

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Mrs. Bfast w/Nick ordered the salmon bagel with the bagel on the side, and they again brought it out in generous portions.

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I love corned beef, so the corned beef bagel sandwich caught my eye. I ordered in on an everything bagel, with a fried egg and Swiss cheese. Again, it came with a generous stack of meat. Aside from a bagel with smoked salmon, this will become my go-to for bagel sandwiches. I should also say that all of the bagels were had were excellent: freshly made, big and puffy, and flavored well. More and more the everything bagel has become my standard, and Bagel Baker’s lived up to the tradition of great New York bagels.

The Bagel Baker on Urbanspoon

Sammy’s New York Bagels | Columbus, OH

sammys3Sammy’s New York Bagels
Free home delivery 7 days a week
Available in the greater Columbus area
Order at (614) 252-1551 or online at SammysBagels.net

Ever since our trip to New York, we’ve been craving good bagels, and we’re lucky that you can certainly find them in town. Columbus’ two biggest suppliers are Block’s Bagels and Sammy’s, both baking New York-style bagels. Block’s and Sammy’s are such big wholesalers that chances are you’ve had their wares: Cup O Joe, Backstage Bistro, many of Ohio State campus eateries, plus plenty more, all serve locally made bagels. One big bonus about Sammy’s is that in addition to their wholesaling, they also offer home (or office) delivery.

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The ordering process is quick and easy. The minimum order is $9.99 (or a dozen bagels). Bagels are $.83 a piece, and you can also order cream cheese spreads, muffins, danishes, challah, turnovers, even lox, egg salad, and tuna salad. You can mix and match your bagel order, and every dozen earns you a free bagel.

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We ordered a baker’s dozen plus some scallion cream cheese. At the order screen, you’re just entering your address, phone number, and delivery date. Since this was my first order, they didn’t have a credit card on file. A Sammy’s employee called within a couple hours to confirm the order and collect payment. I initially left instructions for them to knock on the door, so I could get the bagels right away, but she advised against it because they deliver between 4-7 a.m.! You can schedule a date for delivery far out into the future; orders have to be in by 3 p.m. for next day delivery (by 3 p.m. on Friday if you want weekend delivery).

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I don’t know when our bagels arrived; we certainly didn’t hear them drop it off. But it was a delight to wake up to a bag of bagels on the front porch in the morning! The bagels were triple bagged: smaller plastic bags containing the goods, all packaged together in a paper bag with our order stapled to the side, and then altogether wrapped in a bigger plastic bag to keep it dry.

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Here’s the first peek inside our bag.

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Different bagels are bundled separately: the everything bagels all went together (standard practice). Egg bagels were together. Cinnamon were together. Then the sesame, sundried tomato, and honey sesame came together.

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Bags of bagels! I can’t stop saying it!

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We’re still working our way through them, but so far we’ve liked all of them. The sundried tomato taste fairly similar to the everything, but they’re so loaded with seasonings that I’m not suprised. I liked the cinnamon sugar topping on the cinnamon bagels, and I’m always a fan of a good sesame bagel. The ease of ordering and delivery may make Sammy’s Bagels a household staple; this will be particularly handy when we’ve got family visiting. Just place an order the day before, and have fresh bagels for everyone in the morning!

Bergen Bagels | Brooklyn, NY

Bergen Bagels (Facebook / @BergenBagelsMyr)
536 Myrtle Ave. (map it!)
Brooklyn, NY 11205
(718) 789-9300
Open daily 6a-11p
Accepts cash & credit/debit
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
Kid-friendly? Y

Date of Visit: Sunday, October 21, 2012 at 10:00 a.m.

In addition to our sweet stop at Dough on our way out of Brooklyn, we wanted something savory as well. Because we couldn’t return home without a bag of fresh bagels, we decided to double-up and grab second breakfast while picking up the goods.

A quick online search revealed a nearby Bergen Bagels, which boasted a good history and solid reviews. This location had recently moved to a new spot, which was clean, bright, and easy-to-find. The location was so new that Google Maps still had the old place listed.

We caught it right at opening, and lines quickly grew. If native Brooklyners were gathering for bagel breakfasts, then we knew we were in the right place.

There’s something really delightful about catching a restaurant right when they open, when the displays are neatly organized and completely loaded with food.

And the spreads and salads are packed full of goodness. It’s so full of potential.

We were in bagel mode, so it was breakfast sandwiches for us. My wife chose their smoked salmon spread on an everything bagel. It was appropriately smoky and salty, with the right creamy texture, and went perfectly with the all-flavors-combined of the everything bagel.

And I was stunned to learn of the existence of an egg-in-the-nest bagel sandwich. Why, oh why, have I never thought of this before? It’s. So. Obvious. To make eggs in a nest, you need bread with a hole in the middle, in which to crack an egg. So why not a bagel? (Or a donut… hmm, future blog post in the making here…)

I know I’m over-reacting, but come on! Even though the egg was added after the bagel was baked, I loved how the egg still felt like it was just part of the bagel itself.

Here’s the bottom view. Egg yolk appropriately cooked through.

And the work in progress. It’s a surprisingly filling breakfast: a monstrous mound of fresh, chewy everything bagel with a fully cooked egg. Salty, nutty. Carbs and protein. If I lived in the neighborhood, this would be my everyday snack.

Of course, we took a baker’s dozen of bagels home with us, and enjoyed every one. If there’s anything I learned on this NY trip, it’s how to appreciate a good everything bagel.

Bergen Bagels on Myrtle on Urbanspoon

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