The 10 Best Bagel Shops Around Chicago
By Anthony Todd in Food on Mar 25, 2016 6:02PM
By Jennifer Olvera
If you listen to tourist guides, New York (specifically) and Montreal (secondarily) are the go-to cities for bagels. The thing is, Chicago has plenty of solid options of its own. So, the next time you need a fix, we say skip the plane ticket—for that reason, anyway—and keep it local with the help of these haunts.
Beans & Bagels
Located just off the Brown Line’s Rockwell stop, Beans & Bagels is lauded for its croissants, yet the bagels are real-deal, too. Get your salted, garlic or onion bagel spread with anything from plain or flavored cream cheese to butter or hummus. On the sweet side, cinnamon-raisin and blueberry benefit from a glossing of jam. Then again, you could always switch things up and order a grilled cheese and tomato on — you guessed it — a bagel instead.
Beans & Bagels is at 2601 W. Leland Ave.
Bagel via Little Goat
Little Goat Diner
Inspired by Big Apple-style bagels in that they’re steam oven-baked, Stephanie Izard goes her own way at Little Goat Diner, with onion rye and Grumpy Goat-golden raisin that’s christened with goat cheese from Wisconsin. When it comes to smears, kimchi, scallion-blue cheese or honey masala cream cheese turn tradition on end.
Little Goat Diner is at 820 Randolph St.
via Chicago Bagel Authority
Chicago Bagel Authority
Earning a following for melty, steamed sandwiches, Chicago Bagel Authority serves its eponymous baked goods in many forms, be it a chewy, gooey bagel grilled cheese; the Cookie Monster, a chocolate chip cookie with cream cheese and cinnamon sugar atop a blueberry bagel; or the The Swanson Sandwich of Greatness, a heart attack waiting to happen with roast beef, ham, sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs, hardboiled eggs and American and smoked cheddar cheeses on an onion bagel with a side of maple syrup.
Chicago Bagel Authority is at 953 W. Armitage Ave., 955 W. Belmont Ave. and 11 N. Wells St.
Upper Crust Bagels
Adding to the roster of excellent bagel bakeries on the North Shore, Upper Crust Bagels
delivers goods in the form of kettle-boiled egg, multigrain herb and poppy varieties as well as surprises like black Russian. Fresh-whipped cream cheese choices include cheddar, Munster and Swiss. Keep an eye out for the bialys, too — no-hole takes that are especially tasty when enhanced with Parmesan or onion.
Upper Crust Bagels is at 835 Waukegan Rd, Deerfield.
Bagels via Reno
Offering Montreal-style, wood-fired bagels, Reno fashions takes that are yummy even spread-free. That’s true whether you choose newfangled flavors (Old Bay or olive and herb) or keep it classic. Still, with cream cheese choices like artichoke, cheddar and whipped feta, bypassing those added calories seems criminal. For a change of pace, get a plain bagel and slather it with house-made mixed berry jam or sweet potato spread.
Reno is at 2607 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Craft Pizza may be known for its artisan namesake, but the crew generally knows its way around bread. As such, it’s no surprise that boil-and-bake bagels — particularly pretzel or Parmesan — also get cred. Get yours with chive or sun-dried tomato cream cheese. Or, go all-out and order a dark-roast Sparrow Coffee and turn your selection in to a ham, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich — you won’t be sorry you did.
Craft Pizza is at 1252 N. Damen Ave.
Tucked into a storefront next to sister spot Piece Brewery and Pizzeria, Brobagel is the work of Bill Jacobs, who ran Jacobs Bros. Bagels with his sibs in the ’80s. The fact that they brought back — make that, built upon — the concept is good news, as evidenced by pitch-perfect “everything,” cinnamon-raisin and sesame as well as pumpernickel and beer varieties. When it comes to cream cheese, expect an impressive lineup: garlic confit, Sriracha and caramelized onion, to name a few. What’s more, its sandwiches are undeniable, whether you settle on the signature club or build your own with Serrano ham and Manchego cheese.
Brobagel is at 1931 W. North Ave.
NYC Bagel Deli
Boar’s Head sandwiches and New York-style slices set the tone at NYC Bagel Deli, which preps impressive pretzel salt, garlic and herb and everything bagels as well. Bagel chips, bagel flats and breakfasts-on-a-bagel further drive the point home.
NYC Bagel Deli is at 300 S. Wacker Dr., 1001 W. North Ave. and 515 N. Dearborn St.
A corn rye bagel from Kaufman's Bagel and Deli in Skokie. (Photo credit: Renee Rendler-Kaplan)
Resurrected after a fire, Kaufman’s — a circa 1955 Jewish kosher bakery and deli — makes from-scratch everything, starting with its own naturally fermented ryes. No one’s going to fault you for ordering some sprinkle cookies, but it’s bagels cradling no-joke sandwiches — like David’s CJF with sable, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and veggie cream cheese — that shouldn’t be missed.
Kaufman’s is at 4905 Dempster St., Skokie.
New York Bagel & Bialy
Stopping the idea that the “suburbs are a wasteland” in its tracks: Lincolnwood’s New York Bagel & Bialy, an authentic Jewish deli with warm, doughy chart-toppers, sold 24 hours a day (or at set times at a location in Wheeling and Skokie). Tucked into an easy-to-overlook strip mall with no seating to speak of, its piping-hot options include onion, blueberry and ever-popular salt and poppy, which you’ll want to top with lox, spread with chive cream cheese or just christen with both.
New York Bagel & Bialy is at 4714 W. Touhy Avenue, Lincolnwood, and 3556 Dempster Street, Skokie, and Chicago Bagel & Bialy is at 260 S. Milwaukee Ave., Wheeling.