Whether or not New York is still king of bagels doesn’t matter—what matters is that there are great bagels in Philadelphia. There are still traditional options that are boiled, drained, cooled, and baked quickly. But there are also new kids on the block doing exciting things, whether it’s creative bagels, spreads, or combinations. So whether you’re looking for an egg sandwich, lox and capers, or just a schmear of cream cheese, these Philly shops will have you thinking “bae goals” all day.
Foodies Collin Shapiro and Jonathan Zilber created the concept of Philly style bagels at Pizzeria Beddia in 2015, and the following year their bagel sandwiches were dubbed the best in the city by Bon Appétit magazine. The original idea is a bagel boiled in a mixture of water, malted flavor, and Yards ESA and crusted in sesame, poppy seeds, or everything spice.
WHERE: 1451 East Columbia Avenue, Fishtown area
MUST-TRY: Classic Lox on an everything (cream cheese, lox, cucumber, tomato, red onion)
Knead, the self-dubbed “non-traditional bagel shop,” gained notoriety when it opened in 2014 for its wild cream cheese flavors. Some of their pre-determined non-traditional combos include spicy togarashi with scallion-lime cream cheese and lavender with a vanilla honey cream cheese. Don’t forget to check out the eclectic list of sandwiches too, which includes traditional egg sammies and more inventive options like Korean Beef or Veggie Bahn Mi. Knead is a convenient ten-minute walk from the Independent Hotel.
WHERE: 725 Walnut Street, Washington Square West area
MUST-TRY: Egg, kale, & smoked gouda pimento sandwich
Montreal-style is Spread’s modus operandi, which means their bagels are boiled in honey water and then baked in a custom, brick wood-fired oven. Visitors can grab egg sandwiches, deli meats, or classic bagels and spreads. Or try your bagel pizza-fied or open-faced, with gooey melted cheese. Even better—enjoy a burger or split Hebrew National cheese dog on a bagel at the Penn location. Spread is also BYO on the weekends, so you can enjoy your bagel in style.
WHERE: 262 S. 20th Street, Rittenhouse area
MUST-TRY: Frittata Scramble (eggs, cheddar, bacon, tomato, Amish jam)
For a class, New York-style (boiled and baked) bagel experience, head to South Street. Since 1996, owner Mike Wagner has employed the same hand-rolled bagel techniques that his Brooklynite father-in-law imparted on him. More than 20 kinds of bagels line baskets, including French toast, veggie, jalpeño cheddar, and rainbow. Besides the storefront, you can catch South Street bagels at Chestnut Street Bagels or food truck Schmear It.
WHERE: 613 S. 3rd Street, Queen Village area
MUST-TRY: Toasted everything bagel with jalpeño cream cheese
Metropolitan Bakery is known for their delicious artisan bread, with loaves and pastries usual favorites. The bagels are just as delectable, and are offered in a variety of options. Locally and regionally grown milled flowers are steamed to make the breakfast staple. A flavorful multigrain with oats and seeds is a popular healthy choice. Check out the locations in Rittenhouse, Reading Terminal, and University City.
WHERE: Multiple locations
MUST-TRY: The multigrain bagel with salmon dill spread