Racks of bagels. Photos by Michael Hall ‘19.

Michael Hall ‘19

Food critic

Heading into The Original New York Bagels, I made sure to recruit a gang capable of enjoying what has become almost stigmatized by health fads for its carb-carrying capacity. This bagel-slinging deli in the Harris Teeter parking lot pays homage to the space’s former occupant, TCBY, by offering an array of cream cheeses that includes a thirteen-year-old Michael’s concoction (Oreo, strawberry, etc.) while still incorporating the classics (i.e. scallion).

The selection of bagels is more traditional—poppy seed, sesame, everything, cinnamon raisin—and was still well-stocked despite our late-afternoon arrival.

The Original New York Bagels offers exactly what you’d expect from a casual bagel deli in a college town: bagels, cream cheeses, breakfast sandwiches, and a few relatively pricey specialties such as lox and capers. We decided to give each category a try, ordering a sesame with scallion cream cheese, a poppy seed with egg, cheese, and pastrami, and an everything with lox and capers (all toasted, of course).

The son, mother, and father were all outwardly friendly and I quickly learned that they were from Venezuela and Colombia and shared my disappointment with Sabor’s arepa (a real boost to my ego). By the time I grabbed my coffee and joined my friends, an enthusiastic teen entered through saloon-style doors and placed the three bagels on the table.

Upon arrival, there was no mistaking the Dalí-esque oozing of cream cheese that would commence upon a first bite of the sesame-scallion behemoth. Nevertheless, the bagel warranted no complaints from anyone; although difficult to approach, the bagel’s toast-to-interior ratio was mouth-watering, and I appreciated the subtlety of scallion for its frugality.

Second favorite amongst the table was the poppy seed bagel, adorned with what appeared to be two eggs, American cheese, and small hill of pastrami. The bagel’s presentation—sliced in half—allowed for an encompassing bite that was satiating; however, the central distribution of pastrami meant that after 3 or 4 bites all that remained was a well toasted bagel whose unseasoned egg and gooey American cheese pleaded for salt to combat the dullness of an unseasoned sandwich.

Poppyseed bagel with egg, cheese and pastrami.

My least favorite undoubtedly was the lox and cream cheese. An ode to the bar mitzvahs of my middle-school years, I had high hopes for this classic combination. The bagel came with lettuce and tomato—normally not a problem, but being late October, the sad sliced tomato had been refrigerated and was mealy and flavorless rather than acidic and sweet. Each bite flooded the sandwich with the seeded liquid to rehydrate the salt-cured salmon. As I wrote my comments my friend futilely searched for capers.

The highlight of each of the orders was the bagel—as it should be—and at just four dollars these toasted bagels and cream cheese are a steal, despite the one-dollar premium in comparison to Nummit’s offerings. Also, the general thinness of the bagels prevented an expected carb-coma. Most notable of all was the experience itself.

A soundtrack of the refrigerator’s hum, paper cups and plastic baskets bearing parchment paper and bagels—plus no decorations apart from Google stock photos of New York—created an environment that fit the scene: a low-key breakfast spot in a quiet college town, making this my favorite of the four restaurants I’ve reviewed.

Michael Hall ‘19 is an Economics and Latin American Studies double major from Savannah, GA. He can be reached for comment at mihall@davidson.edu.