Ess-a-Bagel: Midtown East

831 3rd Avenue
New York, NY 10022

During my winter break, I decided to take a trip out this morning to Midtown to another bagel gem of New York City. Established in 1976 by Gene and Florence Wilpon, and brother Aaron Wenzelberg, this spot has gained recognition not only for their bagels, but for their spreads, pastries, sandwiches and salads as well. They are acclaimed for their catering services as well. After having a huge success at their original 1st ave location, including being voted the best bagels in the tri-state area after two years of opening, they established their 3rd ave Midtown location.

As I crossed over 3rd ave and approached the shop, there was a group of young 20-somethings discussing their first trip to NYC, and their excitement to be getting their hands and mouths on a legit bagel. This made me chuckle to myself until I walked in, greeted with a line to the door, the place filled with tourists, each adorned with their NYC maps. But hey, I won’t get too salty about that. More time and less shame in taking pictures of all they have to offer, and to take in the ambience of the place.

fine bagel dining

Bagels: I’m a little bummed that they don’t make egg bagels. HOWEVER, that aside, their bagels have every right to be voted the best in the tri-state area. I went with a garlic bagel that I couldn’t hold off on biting into as I walked back to the train. That first bite left the chewy, tender bread melting in my mouth. “This is so good,” I immediately texted my boyfriend, taking another bite as I walked down to the 6. The bagel was sprinkled with garlic on top that gives it a nice crunch along with the firm outer shell of the bagel.

Cream cheese: To accompany my garlic bagel, I thought that the herb cream cheese would complete it perfectly, like yin and yang. And shit, was I right. I love seeing a bagel place that has a wide variety of cream cheeses to choose from, especially herb! The cheese is thick and creamy, more than a paste-like substance (if that makes any sense). I can’t wait to go back to try the many others, including chocolate chip and oreo. WHAT?!  Oh, and I took a peek at the veggie cream cheese through the mass of people, and it looked goooooooood, aka, not chunky. 😉

garlic bagel w/herb cream cheese. nice and crispy.

Baked goods: They offer a ton of other items. I held myself back from getting anything else for personal reasons; however, everything looked amazing. When first walking in, there’s a long table decked with cookies and chocolate babka. WHY did I not get the babka at least?! They also have window filled with cakes and pies of all kinds:

all of the cookies.

Setting & Service: It was difficult to get a full scope of the cleanliness of the place due to how crammed it was inside, but from what I could tell, it’s fine. Just packed. I will say, it’s confusing inside when busy, which is probably most of the time. You can jump to the back and skip the line if you just want a dozen bagels and cream cheese to-go, not sliced or toasted. There’s two registers on opposite sides of the store. What I found odd was that there’s a woman on a laptop behind the long table of baked goods, working on a laptop, surrounded by office supplies at a little table. She clearly works there, as she yells at everyone to stay on “the other side of the pillars.” Normally, I’d get that, but with people ordering at the counter and there only being so much space, can you blame people for being on your side of the pillar? Otherwise, the line will be entangled with those already ordering. Maybe her setup is for catering services? Maybe she’s a marketer? No idea, but it’s odd. An office would be a better option to give more room to customers. Also, why don’t we let customers get their own drinks? Theft? No space for a fridge available? I only say this, because it saves me from pissing off the already busy cashier from having to find my favorite Snapple, only to find that they’re out. I could have saved her the clearly held back sigh when I asked. I get it, girl. It’s annoying.

As mentioned, Ess-a-Bagel offers catering services, their menu listed on their website. What I REALLY love is that they ship their bagels NATIONWIDE via goldbelly! Perfect for those of us with family in crap-bagel states that beg us to ship bagels via USPS, because it’s no longer an issue! Ess-a-Bagel also serves deli sandwiches, salads, etc, and has a wide range of add-ons. And one last note: they’re open til 9pm M-F! Craving a bagel post-work in the Midtown area? Ess-a-bagel has you covered.

Overall, Ess-a-Bagel is ess-a-mazing, and I will be back to try their chocolate chip and vegetable cream cheese. I do think I will try to come back during off-peak times in the future. Officially ashley’s bagel approved and a favorite! Keep killing it!


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