I love bagels. I grew up eating bagels & lox with my family on Sundays, and every time I go to New York, I consider moving there just so I can go to Russ & Daughters whenever I like.
If you’re a bagel lover like me, you’ll know that it’s a struggle to find a decent bagel in the South, even in a big city like Atlanta. Southerners traditionally are not “bagel people” – while I love a good biscuit, there is nothing like the perfect bagel on a lazy Sunday morning.
While it might seem like we’re confined to chains like Einstein’s or Panera, there are a few select spots around the city to find tasty Atlanta bagels.
Goldbergs Bagel Company & Deli
Goldbergs is the most accessible bagel spot for Atlantans, with 9 locations scattered throughout the city from Alpharetta to the airport. Goldbergs also offers one of the most robust menus on the list, with a full spread of breakfast, brunch, and lunch options.
Despite an extensive menu, Goldbergs is most commonly known for their large selection of NY-style bagels and homemade cream cheese. The dense, chewy bagels have been touted as some of the closest in Atlanta to a traditional New York offering. I also loved their generous portions – the big fluffy bagels paired perfectly with a large helping of lox schmear.
Photo from goldbergbagel.com
Pro tips: Goldbergs offers great weekday specials, with a bagel + spread + coffee for $3.00. If you check in to Goldbergs on Yelp, they’ll offer you a free coffee (confirmed at the Toco Hills location!)
Located in the same plaza as the Toco Hills Goldbergs (not a coincidence – the two restaurants are the closest bagel joints to the Midtown area), Bagel Palace is a no-frills deli that has been in Atlanta for over 30 years.
When you walk into Bagel Palace, you feel as if you’ve been transported back in time to a 70’s era Jewish diner. Bagels are stacked up in bins behind the order counter, with varieties of cookies and cakes sitting behind glass cases. Fish (lox, whitefish, kippered salmon, and sable) is sliced fresh for each order; the lox at Bagel Palace is the best I’ve had in Atlanta.
The bagels here are soft and a bit sweet – although not as traditional, they’re tasty and pair well with a wide variety of unique cream cheeses (the vanilla walnut raisin and peach pecan are amongst the intriguing flavors).
Service is notoriously slow (but friendly!) at Bagel Palace, so expect a bit more of a relaxed pace than you might find in bustling New York.
Brooklyn Water Bagels
Despite being a chain, Brooklyn Water Bagels has some of my personal favorite bagels in Atlanta. With over 20 locations in 6 states, BWB has scale on its side – the chain has a proprietary water treatment system that enables them to almost exactly replicate Brooklyn’s water source.
According to a bit of research, the specific proportions of calcium and magnesium found in the New York metro area are what makes the water so ideal for bagels with a crunchy outside and chewy inside. The bagels are BWB are almost identical to those you can find in New York, making the drive to the Vinings location totally worth it.
The proprietary water system used at Brooklyn Water Bagels
The bagel and cream cheese varieties are pretty standard, with some fun seasonal flavors like the chocolate chunk bagel + double chocolate cream cheese for the holidays. Prices here are also some of the cheapest on the list, with each bagel costing just $1, and a baker’s dozen around $10.
The General Muir
The General Muir is one of the most popular restaurants in Atlanta, serving up traditional deli-style favorites with a twist. Located right in the heart of Emory’s campus, as well as across from the CDC, The General Muir draws serious crowds for breakfast and weekend brunch.
The deli counter at The General Muir
Deli classics like matzoh ball soup, pastrami and corned beef, and smoked hash are a delicious ode to traditional Jewish fare. With breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner, The General Muir has a bit of something for everyone, even if you don’t care for menu items like chopped chicken liver or latkes.
For breakfast and brunch, The General Muir features open faced bagels and fish platters, named after spots in NYC (Avenue A, The Lower Eastside). The hand rolled, kettle boiled bagels are baked next door at TGM Bread, the same supplier of sister restaurants Yalla, Fred’s, and West Egg. The fresh-sliced fish is piled high on thin, crunchier bagels; you won’t find a ton of cream cheese flavors or bagel varieties here, but the simple quality is top-notch.
The Avenue D – lox, schmear, salmon roe, cucumber, chives
Emerald City Bagels
Although they don’t have a physical Atlanta location, Emerald City Bagels is a Best of Atlanta winner for their Long Island family recipe. Mother-daughter duo Deanna & Jackie Halcrow sling bagels from their facility off Chamblee Tucker Road, providing tasty bagels and spreads to over 20 Atlanta restaurants and coffee shops.
Emerald City has a weekly spot at the Green Market at Piedmont Park, which runs late March to early December each year. You can also find Emerald City’s bagels at shops throughout the city, primarily in West Midtown, Decatur, East Atlanta Village, and Candler Park. One of my favorite traditions is to grab an iced latte and Emerald City rosemary olive oil bagel at Dancing Goats on Saturday mornings.
Emerald City also delivers, so you can order up to 2 dozen bagels + spreads sent right to your home!
Photo from the Emerald City Bagel Facebook page
Have another great Atlanta bagel spot I should know about? Share it here!