I love bagels. And I’m not just saying that because this is a blog post about National Bagel Day. I’ve always loved bagels. Hot and toasted with a good old spread of delicious cream cheese over the top. Maybe a breakfast sandwich with egg, melted cheese and crispy bacon. An everything bagel loaded with turkey, tomato and sprouts, topped off with a spicy garlic aioli. To me, bagels are the perfect carb vessel.
When I was 24, I lived a few blocks from Bde Maka Ska in south Minneapolis and my Saturday morning routine in the summer was almost always the same. A large black coffee from Caribou paired with a toasted rosemary bagel with bacon scallion cream cheese from the Bruegger’s on Lake Street. Enjoyed on a bench just feet from the lake, typically with a friend seated next to me as we dissected life’s greatest challenges over a low-key brunch.
When I decided to cut gluten out of my diet, I mourned carbs — specifically, I mourned bagels. I mourned finding an amazing bagel while traveling, an impromptu breakfast from the corner bodega in New York City or a quick lunch at a cute little bistro like proper bagel in Nashville. The old-school delicatessen in Berkeley, ordering a plate full of lox, red onion, capers to load up on a crispy bagel while sipping bottomless cups of coffee.
Again, I love bagels.
The good news? The Twin Cities is loaded with amazing locally-owned bagel spots for both gluten and gluten-free bagel lovers and I’ve offered up a few awesome suggestions for you below. The perfect way to celebrate this very important holiday.
530 North 3rd Street
Years ago, I attended one of Rise Bagel’s test kitchen pop-ups. For a long time, sister duo Kate and Jen Lloyd sold their organic artisan bagels at farmer’s markets across the Twin Cities. And then they decided to open up a shop. So they settled in to put together a menu of delicious, unique bagels, cream cheese and sandwich offerings and I was lucky enough to be invited along as a friend’s plus-one to partake in the luncheon.
Their brick-and-mortar store in North Loop is beautiful. The perfect surrounding for the products they offer. I ordered a large coffee (with an extra shot of espresso) and settled in to enjoy my Smoked Salmon sandwich on a gluten-free bun. This dream of a sandwich combines all of my favorite traditional fixings that scream ‘BAGELS’ — smoked salmon from Northern Waters Smokehaus in Duluth, red onion, cream cheese, capers and dill.
Rise Bagels is open Wednesday through Sunday from 8am to 1pm (or until they sell out) and they offer online ordering and curbside pick-up.
430 North 1st Avenue
Did you know Minneapolis has a 100% vegan, gluten-free, celiac-safe restaurant? I didn’t either until last week when I started doing some research for this post. Hark! Cafe is a brand-new cafe in downtown’s Warehouse District (in the old Rosen’s location on 1st Avenue, for all of us oldies out there). It’s beautiful. Bright and open and colorful, even with the COVID-restrictions in place.
Hark! is the lovechild of two best friends, Katherine and Lisa, who met in college and now spend their days reinventing their favorite recipes to fit the plant-based, gluten-free lifestyle. Am I vegan? Nope. But I’m open to trying everything. So I went for it with a toasted onion bagel loaded with garlic cream cheese, tofu “egg”, grilled pepper and onions, and vegan cheddar.
It was delicious. And the bagel — which was the real reason for my visit — was awesome. The texture was like an old-school bodega bagel, nice and crispy on the outside but chewy on the inside. It was a bagel!!!!! (If you know anything about gluten-free baking, you know that texture is hardest thing to nail and these bagels taste just like bagels).
Hark! Cafe is open for takeout Tuesday through Sunday.
St. Paul Bagelry
1702 Lexington Ave North
5426 Nicollet Avenue
St. Paul Bagelry is owned by sisters Dodie and Peggy who opened up their second location in Minneapolis in 2017 after acquiring a cult-like following in the St. Paul suburb. And they make over 3,000 of their New York-style bagels every day.
Besides offering the classic bagel and cream cheese combo, St. Paul Bagelry has a long menu featuring breakfast sandwiches, lunch options and even pizza on a bagel that’s made-to-order (called the bagizza). St. Paul Bagelry bagels are also available at stores across the state, from Duluth to Rochester with a few locations in Wisconsin and northern Iowa as well.
My suggestion? The MacGyver — hot roast beef, Swiss cheese, garlic herb cream cheese, green pepper and red onion on an onion bagel.
St. Paul Bagelry’s two locations are open seven days a week with online ordering available as well.
Like this? Be sure to share it on social media and tag @isaacsonbrothers and Lindsay! And stay tuned for more posts on great places to check out in the Twin Cities.
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