East Coasters rant and rave about their prized bagels and vehemently judge their Western counterparts attempting to replicate their doughy masterpieces. Yes, New York bagels are the best, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find scrumptiously soft, chewy rings of dough out West. And Portland is determined to prove that.
There is a recent bagel resurgence in the Rose City, and the results are delicious. From a food cart in Hawthorne to a Jewish deli in the Alphabet District, these are the places to find the best bagels in Portland.
Joel Bundy started making bagels because he was bored. After teaching himself the technique, the Portland native made 25 batches of self-described “incredible” bagels, but he didn’t tell anyone. Ten years after his secret carby affair, Bundy is making arguably the best bagels in town out of a food cart in the Hawthorne District. He is determined to use the best, local ingredients, and his care for the craft can be tasted in every crisp, fluffy bite. Bundy’s Bagels offers breakfast and lunch options, but for the purists, these fresh bagels are best simply schmeared.
What started out as a small-time bagel distributor for cafés around town is now one of the hottest shops in the city. Noah Bernstein and Peter Hurteau opened their first Bernstein’s Bagels brick and mortar in May 2017, and they’ve been selling out every day ever since. The duo rolls by hand their old-school bagels and boil/bake them daily in two batches: one at 7:30 am and the other at 10:30 am. With a crisp crust and soft, chewy middle, taking a bite of one of these bagels will transport you straight to New York.
Kenny & Zuke’s BagelWorks has been around longer than most of the shops on this list, and it’s still one of the best in Portland. The team prides itself on hand-rolled, 36-hour-proofed boiled and baked bagels, and it shows. K & Z’s offers its malty, soft dough rings in a variety of flavors, and a homemade whitefish spread that regulars swear by. You can also add pastrami to your breakfast bagel sandwich.
The Eisenhower BagelHouse is for those who like their puck of dough filled with all kinds of creative flavors. The North Portland café has some pretty delicious bagels, made even more delectable by unique sandwich combos. Take its namesake breakfast sammy, for instance, which pairs the flavors of egg, swiss and cheddar cheese, prosciutto, roasted garlic potatoes, green onion, rosemary, and cream cheese. For lunch, try their newest sandwich, The B.A.S.T.A.R.D., which comes equipped with bacon, avocado, spinach, tomato, and aioli. But don’t worry, purists, you can get your chewy bagel the basic way too. Can you say YUM?
Some will argue Kornblatt’s is the best Jewish deli outside of New York, and if the bagels are any indication, those people might be right. With a dozen different chewy varieties to choose from, there’s a flavor for every taste palate, but what this Alphabet District deli has that others don’t is an impressive menu of smoked fish. From lox to pickled herring, Kornblatt’s flies its fish in from New York every week, so you know you’re getting authenticity here.
Michael Madigan spent years trying to replicate the bagels he munched on while growing up in Queens, and he succeeded. Bowery Bagels’ kosher offerings come as breakfast or lunch sandwiches or can be simply dressed with some not-so-simple schmear in flavors like red onion and caper, kimchi, and BOM.com, which blends bacon, onion, and mushroom (obviously not kosher). With two locations within the city (find the PSU location here), these New York-style bagels are more than accessible and easy to seek out.