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Monday, March 8, 2021

Cleveland Bagel Co. and Bialy's Land on Food and Wine's List of the 50 Best Bagel Shops in America

Posted By on Mon, Mar 8, 2021 at 11:44 AM

click to enlarge A big old bag of Bialy's bagels - PHOTO BY DOUG TRATTNER
  • Photo by Doug Trattner
  • A big old bag of Bialy's bagels

"A funny thing happened, while New York began settling for mediocrity: a new generation of American bakers figured out just how easy it was to get into the game. Best of all, most of them have their own ideas about what a modern American bagel should look like."

So says Food & Wine, which this week rolled out its list of the best bagels in the country. And while New York, naturally, can lay claim to multiple entries in the rankings, so too does Cleveland, where fans don't need to be told by a national food magazine that some of the best bagels being made can be found at Bialy's and the Cleveland Bagel Company.

Still, the recognition is nice.

Here's what Food & Wine had to say about the local champs.


The story goes something like this: Back in the 1960s, a Brooklyn-born baker in search of an untapped market decided on Cleveland, picked up a phone book, scanned it for Jewish-sounding last names, and started calling around, asking where he should open up shop. For more than thirty-five years, Terry Skolnick, and later on his descendants, ran the best bagel shop around—a shop that twin sisters Rachel and Sarah Gross grew up visiting frequently, visits that inspired them to open their own place. That never happened, which was all for the best, because in 2017, they ended up buying Bialy's, carrying on a tradition of making some of the best New York bagels west of the Allegheny. The everything (here, known as a Mish Mosh) and sesame especially aren't just dead ringers for the original article—they're often better.

And Cleveland Bagel Co.:

The direct route from New York to Cleveland is over seven hours of mostly lonely, mostly bagel-less road, and yet, stepping into either of Dan Herbst and Geoff Hardman's heavily-subscribed shops on a weekend morning, you feel as if you have covered almost no ground at all. (Herbst lived in New York long enough to know how a classic bagel shop looks and acts, and it shows.) Bagels here are made the classic way—no bull, nothing overly fancy, just good technique. 

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