Now, that's a bagel.Whenever I've lived in a place for a while, the time inevitably comes when I feel like there's a key food option that I'm missing. I have plenty of favorites when it comes to restaurants, but for everyday, a quick breakfast or take-out lunch that offers a restaurant level of satisfaction without the usual cost or commitment of dining out, I suddenly find myself at a loss for what to eat. Most normal people would fill this dietary gap by going to the grocery store, purchasing selected items and combining them at home to create a meal-you know, cooking. But for me, it's far preferable for someone else to come up with what I didn't know I wanted, prepare it far better than I ever could and spare me the pain and, ultimately, disappointment in my inability to properly feed myself.
Enter the Bagel Stop. Less than a week after my first visit, I can already tell that it is the antidote for that creeping indecision at mealtime. Pretty much everything here appeals, and it goes way beyond just bagels. Offerings range from breakfast sandwiches and baked goods to gourmet deli sandwiches, soups and salads, as well as a full catering operation for anything from picnics to weddings. Closing at 3 p.m. daily, there's no eat-in option for dinner, but a rotating line-up of take-home meals is available. It's sold as dinner for two at $22, but is probably enough for four.
On the surface, nothing exceptional jumps out about the Bagel Stop. The space, near Erickson's on Greenwood Avenue, is modest with a few tables inside and out, a simple, checkered linoleum floor and service counter. The menu is filled with seemingly standard deli options, as well as a few less common combos, but nothing out of the ordinary at first glance. The dazzle in the food at the Bagel Stop lies almost entirely in the quality of the ingredients and the care with which they were made.
Owners Dave Flier and David Cohen, who bought the Bagel Stop two years ago, are both culinary school grads, so nearly everything is made in house from scratch. From fresh-ground peanut butter, house-smoked and roasted meats from local distributors like Carlton Farms and Cascade Natural Beef, baked treats like berry cobbler bars and banana bread and, of course, around 15 different kinds of traditionally boiled and baked bagels ranging from common ones like onion and sesame to signature flavors like bacon, swiss and onion and asiago. Cream cheese options read like a fine-dining menu: lox, pesto, honey vanilla, horseradish, black olive and green onion, artichoke asiago to name a few.
Favorite breakfast specialty sandwiches include the Clogger ($5), a pile of crispy bacon, fresh tomato slices, avocado, red onion and cream cheese on a bagel. For lunch, the Royal Reuben ($8) with thick-cut house-braised corned beef, swiss cheese, sauerkraut and 1,000 island dressing on rye was one of the best reubens I've ever had, and I'm from Brooklyn. One of the greatest things about the house-braising process is that the leftover broth serves as the base for a creamy, juniper-tinged Irish Potato soup with bits of corned beef and chunks of potato ($3 cup/$5 bowl).
Everything is reasonably priced with nothing reaching the $10 mark, but if you're looking for a real deal, the Cheap Eats menu includes bargains like the quiche of the day for $3, a $2 house-made PB&J and a breakfast burrito for $4.50. Or just grab a bagel for a dollar. It doesn't get cheaper, simpler or tastier than that.
The Bagel Stop
661 NE Greenwood Ave, 318-8177