May 31, 2022 - Food and Drink

🥯 Local's guide to Chicago's best bagels

bagels
Readers shared an assortment of their favorite bagels around the city. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

After Justin picked Kaufman's Deli in Skokie and Monica picked Taste of New York in Wrigleyville, we asked for your bagel suggestions.

  • As always, you came through:

John M.: "Best bagels are at New York Bagel and Bialy on Touhy in Lincolnwood. The store is open literally 24/7, 365 days a year. Going there at midnight on Tuesday (for example) is just a part of the experience."

  • Travis G., Monica H., Jerry S., John K., John O., Robert G., Stephanie G. and Garry J. agree.

Nathan G.: "My wife has been basically living off of bagels and lox from Once Upon A Bagel in Highland Park since she was young. I wasn’t a big fan of bagels until she forced me to try them .... We live in the city, and throughout COVID they’ve partnered with Kitsch’n on Roscoe and Volo Wine Bar to deliver to the city weekly. So good."

Jude B.: "My wife and I found R&A Bread Bakers while out on a walk recently. We now make sure that our walks intersect with R&A Bakers every time so we can enjoy a delicious, fresh bagel."

Jerry L.: "I've been going to Greenwood Bagels & Bialys since the early '70s, when it was called New York Bagel & Bialys. Still selling what my Jewish wife calls 'real' bagels."

Mark N.: "Steingold's. Not just great bagels, but the best cream cheese and lox in town."

  • Andrew M. and Will C. agree.

Dick S.: "Upper Crust Bagels in Deerfield!"

Daniel A.: "As a native New Yorker living in Chicago, I'm very picky about my bagels, and my favorite is by far Taste of New York in Wrigleyville."

Arriana V. and Nathan M.: "I love Gotham Bagels in Lakeview!"

Jeanne G.: "My favorite bagel place is Daly Bagel in Oak Park! Several great varieties, great homemade cream cheeses and other treats."

  • Pietro T., Stephen B., Garett M. and Sandy L. agree.

Connie C.: "The Onion Roll in Oak Park — a long-beloved Jewish deli in the village — recently started making their bagels in-house under the guidance of a New York bagel-making expert. Perfection!"

Mary Lou W.: "The Bagel on Broadway, just south of Belmont …. You can sit a while and enjoy the full-service menu!"

Roy R.: "You need to look at Schmaltz's Deli in Lisle if you want to talk about New York–style bagels."

Mark G.: "Believe it or not, I think Dunkin has some of the best bagels around … and no one has to travel very far to get them."

Harry H.: "For really good bagels on a budget, try Aldi. We do plain and cinnamon raisin; density and size compare to a New York bagel. And, of course, the price — $1.49 for six!"

Scott L. (in San Diego): "I agree with Justin about Kaufman's Bagel & Delicatessen. It's been 30 years and bagels were 25 cents when I lived in Chi-town."

  • Paul F.: "Kaufman’s pumpernickel, plain cream cheese, razor-thin red onion, tomato, capers, Nova lox. 🎤⬇️"

Arthur F.: "I'm a New Yorker. OK, I moved to Chicago and have lived here since 1980, but I'm a New Yorker. After years of being a total bagel wasteland, Chicago is doing better these days. Two notable developments:

  • Taste of New York has bagels that are made in Queens, New York, boiled, then frozen and shipped to them for baking. So they are, in fact, the real deal.
  • Then there is Gotham Bagels, which sells genuinely New York–tasting bagels and most improbably started in Madison, Wisconsin."

Stephanie G.: "I grew up in Brooklyn and on Borscht Belt deli food when I visited my New York relatives every summer. New York Bagel & Bialy perfectly duplicates the bagels I munched on as a kid. Love Kaufman's for everything else and Max and Benny's in Northbrook for dining in."

Monica E.: "During my tastings, I fell for many of the bagels mentioned here but also those at Mindy's, BroBagel, Tilly's and Baker Miller."

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