First Look: Brobagel

By Erika Kubick in Food on Sep 18, 2014 7:20PM

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About a month ago, Brobagel brought Wicker Park a much-needed new breakfast option, cozily situated next to Piece on North Avenue. The company is founded by a group of brothers, Andy, Bill, Pete and Steve Jacobs, who began baking bagels straight out of college. In 1983 they opened up The Bagel Bakery on 50 E. Chicago Avenue, which was sold off to the parent company of Big Apple Bagels. The brothers have banded together again with their new bagel venture, in the same building as Bill Jacob’s own business, Piece Brewery and Pizzeria.

I’ve sunk my teeth into four distinct bagels at Brobagel and found myself with a different impression each time. On my first visit I went the sandwich route, trying both the Brobagel Club on an everything bagel with turkey, bacon, avocado, tomato, lettuce and garlic confit spread, as well as the Roast Beef Special on a poppy seed bagel with roast beef, pepper jack, tomato, arugula and garlic confit spread. The bagels were toasted to perfection: a fluffy and light crumb with a firm and toothsome crust and an unexpected but delicious bold flavor. The fixings, on the other hand, fell a little flat. The copious amount of meat lacked flavor and didn’t impress me, but the real issue was in the execution: the components weren’t layered quite right and simply too much was stuffed in between the layers of bagel. What did stand out, however, was the actual bagel and that is what I had come for after all. Despite the pile of tasteless turkey resting in my stomach, I considered this first visit a success.

On my second round, I went for the bagels in their simplest form: untoasted with a slathering of cream cheese. To curb both my sweet and savory cravings, I went for a beer bagel with caramelized onion spread and a walnut raisin bagel with walnut raisin spread. The bagels seemed a little overworked this time: chewy with a dry mouth feel and a smattering of powdery pockets throughout the crumb. The spreads, on the other hand, were both very tasty, though the walnut raisin was a tinge too sweet— it might be better off as frosting for carrot cake. Brobagel also serves soups, rice krispie treats and their own blend of Metropolis coffee— a sweet roast with nutty notes that pairs fantastically well with the walnut raisin bagel.

Even with the inconsistency, I recommend Brobagel for the bagel lovers of Wicker Park. With the years of bagel experience behind the brothers, a few hiccups are to be expected in the first month or so. Give Brobagel a try but stick to the bagels in their simpler form for now.