Photo Credit Richie Hicks


In December 2020 / January 2021, Eat, Web Exclusive by Lauren Kruchten1 Comment

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WEB EXCLUSIVE Watch out New York City, North Carolina is coming for the “Best Bagels in America” title. While the Big Apple has its signature soft and chewy bagels, made with city water, the Triangle boasts a bevy of unique bagel options you won’t be able to find anywhere else. Bagel shops in Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Durham experiment with bold ingredients and interesting flavors to dish out some truly noteworthy breakfast items. Below, we take a look at some of the most exceptional bagels in the Triangle to try for National Bagel Day on Jan. 15.

Benchwarmers’ Za’atar + Sea Salt Bagel

Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend typically consisting of dried oregano, thyme or marjoram, sumac, salt and toasted sesame seeds. It adds a savory, herbal flavor to Benchwarmers’ bagels that packs a delicious and unique punch, and pairs well with savory spreads or as the base of a loaded sandwich.

Everything Bagels’ Black Lime and Sea Salt Bagel

Though the everything bagel is its namesake, this Durham Food Hall-based boutique bagel shop specializes in out-of-the-ordinary bagel flavors that are as intriguing as they are tasty. The black lime bagel only sounds intimidating; chef Ray Williams seasons the outside of the bagel with dried and ground up Persian limes, along with flaked sea salt, just before baking to deliver a balanced citrusy and salty flavor that really pops.

Brandwein’s Bagels’ Bialy

Although not technically a bagel, a bialy (pronounced “bee-a-lee”) is made with the same ingredients as a bagel, but instead of boiling the dough, it is baked, and instead of a bagel’s signature hole, a bialy has a depression that can be filled with any sweet or savory ingredients. Though a classic anytime treat in New York, bialys are rarely seen here in the Triangle. At Brandwein’s, you’ll find traditional bialys with caramelized onions as well as a rotating flavor of the day on weekends.

Big Dom’s Bagel Shop’s Spicy Pickle Cream Cheese

It’s no secret that Big Dom’s NYC-style bagels are delicious, but what really takes them to the next level are the cream cheese options—especially the spicy pickle cream cheese. Perhaps not your first choice, you’ll no doubt be pining for it again after you get a taste of the brine-y, zing-y, creamy schmear that, yes, tastes exactly like pickles. You’ll never be able to go back to regular cream cheese again.

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