It’s no secret that bagels are having a moment, not only in Philly but everywhere across the country. Whether through pop-ups started during the pandemic, or with longtime favorites that serve our need for comfort during these times, humans would be lost without a few good local bagel shops. Luckily for Philly, we have a rich history as a carb-and-sandwich-loving town, so you’ll never go without one of those bready boys here. In fact, fans will find bagels of all kinds in Philly — sourdough, heavily seeded, whole-grain, Montreal-style, classic — plus all the specialty cream cheeses and toppings one’s heart desires. The Philly vs. New York debate will always be a tired one, but one thing Philly residents know for certain: You don’t need to schlep two hours north on I-95 to get a great (some might even say better, but shh) bagel.Read More
Philly’s Essential Bagel Shops
Seeded, sourdough, crunchy, and chewy: Philly’s bagels will have you saying New York who?
1. Philly Style Bagels (multiple locations)
Philadelphia, PA 19125
Fishtown’s Philly Style Bagels was an immediate hit when it opened in 2016, so much so that a second location is now open in Old City. The bagels, perfectly firm on the outside and soft inside, are boiled in beer from nearby Yards Brewing Company — can’t get much more Philly than that. Go early: The shops regularly sell out before closing time.
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2. Kismet Bagels (multiple locations)
Husband-and-wife duo Jacob and Alexandra Cohen have been all over this past year, as the bagel pop-up that they started during the pandemic skyrocketed to the top of everyone’s bagel list. You can find their bagels — conveniently sold in packs of four — practically everywhere, as well as their unique schmears, like a garlic cilantro and chili pepper version. They’re available every week for preorder and pickup in South Philly, Fishtown, and Haverford. But check your local grocery store and coffee shop, too: their retro-looking pink-and-blue bags are hard to miss.
3. Kaplan's New Model Bakery
One of the oldest Jewish bakeries in the city, Kaplan’s New Model serves up perfectly chewy kosher bagels in a variety of flavors, including French toast, whole wheat, and blueberry. If you’re in South Philly and don’t feel like heading north, fear not: Kaplan’s bagels are available at Biederman’s Specialty Foods, where you can get a variety of smoked fishes to put on top.
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4. Bart's Bagels
Brothers Brett and Kyle Frankel are baking crusty New York-style bagels at their West Philly shop. Get a baker’s dozen and a container of schmear to go, or try one of the sandwiches, like a classic bacon, egg, and cheese or a deli combo of pastrami-smoked salmon, scallion cream cheese, and cucumbers.
5. The Kettle Black
Philadelphia, PA 19123
The photogenic black bagels at Kettle Black aren’t pumpernickel — they get their dark coloring from activated charcoal. Vegan diners will be especially happy here: Toppings include dairy-free spreads and house-made vegan lox. Preorders for the weekend open on Thursdays.
6. Dodo Bagels (pop-up)
Alex Malamy started making bagels out of his West Philly kitchen in 2016 and never stopped. And while his bagel pop-up took off a few years before the pandemic, he’s one of many Philly bakers to make highly coveted bagels that you have to act fast to catch. Matzo ball bagels are just one of the exciting varieties he’s working on — keep an eye on his social media to see where he pops up next.
7. Schmear It (multiple locations)
The claim to fame at Schmear It — a bagel shop with a location in University City, a pop-up near Reading Terminal, and a roving food truck — is its customizable spreads that let customers add mix-ins like roasted garlic, blueberries, and wasabi to base schmears including cream cheese, hummus, and whitefish salad. With 40 mix-ins, 10 base spreads, and a variety of bagel flavors, the possibilities are endless.
8. K'Far Cafe
A Jerusalem bagel is a very special thing, and K’Far Cafe’s version is a standout. Order it pressed like a panini with smoked salmon, pickled cucumbers, and za’atar butter for a sandwich-meets-bagel hybrid. Order online for pickup and delivery, Wednesday through Sunday.
9. Lost Bread Rittenhouse
At this point, you’re probably wondering what can’t Lost Bread Co. do? The bakery’s whole-grain caneles, seeded rye loaves, and pretzel shortbread are all the rage, but at their Rittenhouse location, the bagels are the toast of the town. Combinations like steak-and-eggs pair well with their special hominy and cracked pepper bagels. Plus, they’re made with freshly milled whole grain.
10. Spread Bagelry (multiple locations)
Spread’s Montreal-style bagels are hand-rolled, boiled in honey water, and baked in a wood-fired brick oven, and the line for these irregularly shaped, chewy bagels often spills out the door. The fast-growing chain has six locations, including two on the Main Line.
11. Knead Bagels
Just across from Washington Square, Knead bakes up some of Philly’s most unusual bagel varieties, like lavender or togarashi. Layer the bagels with specialty spreads like roasted tomato or strawberry balsamic cream cheese, or go for a bagel sandwich with sausage, egg, and cheese.
12. Four Worlds Bakery
Known for its challah, Four Worlds Bakery is also one of a few places in West Philly to go for a good, bread-y bagel. Don’t look for rainbow colors or cinnamon swirls — baker Michael Dolich sticks with the classics: sesame, poppy, everything, and plain.
13. Philly Bagels (multiple locations)
Since opening in 1996, South Street Philly Bagels has grown into a mini-chain, adding stores on Chestnut Street, East Passyunk Avenue, Fitzwater Street, and JFK Boulevard. (Each shop was originally named for its street, but the local chain recently rebranded to the simpler “Philly Bagels.”) The family-owned bagelry uses a Brooklyn-style recipe to make its many varieties, which include cinnamon sugar, chocolate chip, and a rainbow-hued “tie-dye” alongside the classics. Cream cheese flavors are plentiful too, from savory options like cheddar horseradish to a sweet honey pecan. Call to place orders.
14. The Bagel Place
In Queen Village, the Bagel Place boils and bakes its bagels using a touch of honey for a flavorful, chewy final product. Along with 20 creative styles, pretzel bagels are a must-try here. A few of the flavored spreads are one of a kind too, including sour pickle and cheddar horseradish.
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15. Essen Bakery
At Tova du Plessis’s East Passyunk Avenue bakery, the sourdough and rye-infused New York-style bagels come in plain, poppy seed, sesame, and everything. Add on a house-made spread, whitefish salad, or lox.
Bonnie Sarana’s East Passyunk bakery has something for everyone, both sweet and savory, but her bagels — which can be ordered alongside a salmon and fixin’s kit — are out of this world. Try a za’atar bagel with jalapeno cream cheese for a real deal flavor experience.
17. Korshak Bagels
Philadelphia, PA 19148
While poet and bagel baker Philip Korshak’s first bagel shop is not yet open — hold on for a couple more weeks, he says — they were Philly’s favorite bagels to order via Instagram DM when Korshak was making them at Angelo’s Pizzeria. Keep your eyes on the prize and look for Korshak’s sourdough bagels (plus schmears and BECs) on 10th and Morris soon. Follow his Instagram for poetry and updates.
18. Westmont Bagel
Westmont Bagels in Haddon Township has been open since ‘93 and the New York-inspired classic offerings are worthy of a trip across the bridge. The highlight is a Taylor pork roll and cheese sandwich on whatever bagel suits your fancy. Maybe a six-grain bagel or a whole wheat everything? Or if you’re really wild, go for a chocolate chip.