In New York I learnt two things very quickly: 1) if there’s a huge queue, its worth waiting for, and 2) New Yorkers are super helpful and cool, but terrifying. If you’ve ever seen the “Soup Nazi” episode of Seinfeld, it will give you a good idea of what ordering a bagel at Ess-a-Bagel is like, and it is so worth it.
We arrived at around 9am and the queue was long. By the time we’d ordered it was very long, and by the time we sat down it was out of the door. Ess-a-Bagel is a bagel specialty deli filled with toppings, ingredients and, of course, bagels. We waited in line for about ten minutes, giving us time to read the screens above the counter displaying everything you could order: specials, coffee, bagels… There was also a list on the wall next to a counter of freshly baked bagels of every type you could get. The Everything Bagel seemed to be very popular but I was safe (panicked) and ordered a plain bagel.
As we stood in the queue, making decisions and taking in the delicious smells of freshly baked bagels, we noticed there was definitely a right – and a wrong – way to order a bagel at Ess-a-Bagel. When you are called up to the counter, say your order clearly, and when it’s made you can add your extras, such as a drink, or another bagel. While in the queue a father and son did not order their bagels this way and it all went a bit tits up.
I was called up next to counter, but I was too short to see over it and walked back and forth to the queue for a bit, in a hunger-induced flap. The server then called me back over and I stammered out as clearly as I could that I wanted the BLTA on a plain bagel. After some shouting and chopping behind the counter, he told me that the avocados they had weren’t ripe enough, and that he’d give me extra bacon. It was a slightly traumatic experience but an authentic New York one. The bagel was passed over to me wrapped in white paper and I went over to the cashier to pay, also buying a banana to eat later on.
I ordered the New York Favourite Ess-a BLTA bagel ($6.05) with a cold brewed coffee ($2.55), and Jon went for a butter and jelly bagel ($2.35) on plain with a black and white cookie ($2.55) and a hot coffee ($1.55) – which was probably one of the best coffees we had in New York. Cold brewed coffee is everywhere in New York and fueled me during our jet lagged first day of exploring.
A cheap and filling breakfast, Ess-a-Bagel does amazing bagels. I’d highly recommend coming here as everything about our bagels where perfect. The midtown store was a short walk from our hotel near Times Square, but they have another branch on 3rd Avenue. With so many random bagel places around the city, it’s easy just to settle with whatever is nearest. I found Ess-a-Bagel through Pinterest (which was so useful for planning what to do and where to eat in New York) and I’m so glad we planned to eat here on the first day. I feel like bagels, sunny side eggs and pancakes are the ultimate NYC breakfast, and it was good to start our time in such an amazing and vibrant city.
Ess-a-Bagel have a website that can be found here.
PS. I’ve got a few more reviews up my sleeve from New York. I’ll be sure to link them all back to this post here. Thanks for reading!