Murray’s Bagels: Chelsea

242 8th Ave
New York, NY 10011
(646)-638-1335
murraysbagelschelsea.com

When you research the “best bagel spots in New York City,” there are a few that come up as the most predominant. So, a few weeks ago, I found myself at Murray’s Bagels, the Chelsea location off 8th. (Side note: Murray’s also has a location in Greenwich Village off Ave. of the Americas.)

According to their Facebook, Murray’s Bagels has been in business since 1994. Additionally, to add a touch of sentimental value, the name, Murray’s, comes from the owner’s father. The way the establishment in Chelsea came about was from owner, Matt Pomerantz, desiring to bring his heritage in Brooklyn to Manhattan – and voila – Murray’s Bagels was born! And we’re glad it happened.

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Bagels: I have to say, despite the rave reviews and reputation of Murray’s, I really didn’t expect all that much from their bagels. This is primarily based on the state of the bagel shop itself, which I will get into below. However, we were shocked! These bagels were perfectly cooked on the outside, water-boiled and crisp, while the inside were softer (but not too soft!). We both got everything bagels (I wanted an egg everything, but unfortunately they didn’t have), which was perrrrfect. I don’t like when everything bagels are overly seasoned, which can sometimes cause them to be sticky, or is just way too much for my palate. These everything were top notch! One important note: They do NOT toast their bagels. As their website says, “Why make a fresh bagel that’s crispy on the outside crispy on the inside?” #Truth. I only ever toast if I know a bagel is going to completely suck.

Cream cheese: Murray’s offers a pretty basic selection of cream cheeses, as well as some obscure ones such as jalapeno or sundried tomato (which, not sure if that would be obscure? Eh). They also include organic tofu cream cheese for the veggies out there! I went with the low fat scallion. I’ve honestly never had straight up scallion cream cheese, but this spot has turned me onto it! The cream cheese wasn’t too thick, and they also didn’t need to smother the bagel in ten tablespoons of cream cheese. I will say, when I first unwrapped the bagel and saw the simple amount, I was bummed. As New Yorkers, we’re so used to cream cheese being five layers. However, this place doesn’t, and they don’t have to. One other point about their scallion cream cheese is that they don’t include the big, crunchy chunks of scallion (should those bits even be IN cream cheese?!). Yes, we know, I hate crunchy cream cheese (doesn’t everyone?), so this one passes with an A+! My boyfriend got the lox cream cheese, which as similar to H&H, has the salmon diced up into the spread. Perfect.

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everything w/low fat scallion cream cheese
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everything w/lox spread


Pastries & other sweets:
Murray’s offers a variety of baked muffins, including corn, chocolate chip, blueberry, banana walnut, etc. Your basics. They also have a wide selection of other baked goods and snacks, including black and white cookies, large homemade cookies, blondies, gummy snacks and chips, etc. There were some pastries staring at me while checking out, but I resisted! They looked damn good, though…

Setting & Service: One downside, which caused me to be hesitant about how bombastic the bagels would be (which I was gladly proven wrong) was that, although it was around 7pm (they are open ’til 9), their shop was dirty. By dirty, I mean there were cups, plates, and napkins left on the tables from previous customers. There were no one in the shop except for the two workers. …Why then is the dining area a mess? What if we wanted to stay? That aside, the service was still pleasant and the food was good. However, I won’t be shy to say that the state of the shop did leave me wondering… Don’t you want your late-night customers to feel welcome and comfortable?

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dining area w/leftover trash

Noteworthy: As many bagel spots do, they also offer deli sandwiches, including their own signature sandwiches as on their delivery menu. If you bite into one of these sandwiches and fall in love with them, make note that they cater (which, oh my god, includes a cheese board?!). Do you have family coming into the city and want to wow them with your New York deliciousness and make them jealous? Then bring them in!

So, there’s Murray’s Bagels! Litter in the dining area aside, this place was a hit! Would definitely be back, but I won’t necessarily call it a favorite just yet; however – ashley’s bagel blog approved!

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H&H Midtown Bagels East: Upper East Side

1551 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10028
(212)-734-7441
hhmidtownbagelseast.com
*24 hrs

I am ashamed to say that I was unaware of H&H Bagels for a long time. For those of you also unaware of the history of this establishment, H&H was THE bagel establishment back in the day, selling bagels worldwide and producing 80,000 bagels per day. The original location, owned by Helman Toro and brother in-law, Hector Hernandez, was located on the Upper West Side. Unfortunately, H&H eventually filed for bankruptcy, and their UWS and Hells Kitchen location were closed in 2012. The remaining location on 2nd Ave in UES remains open, but under different owners. The great thing? This place is 24hrs! We stopped in after work on a Friday, greeted with happy smiles even at 6:30pm.

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6:30pm – still so many to choose from!

Bagels: I decided on poppyseed. Overall, decent quality. Unfortunately, they took the initiative to toast my bagel without my consent, resulting in a cold toasted bagel that slightly hardened with an aftertaste by the time I got home all the way to Astoria. However, I couldn’t complain too much. It was still edible. My boyfriend decided on a toasted everything bagel – this is where the confusion must have come from. Can’t we ask? We’re two different people with two different tastes!

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Poppy w/vegetable cream cheese
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Everything w/lox spread

Cream cheese: This is where they shine in my opinion. I got my lite vegetable cream cheese, and it was exquisite! Perfectly sized minced veggies so it doesn’t taste like you’re eating a garden on a bagel, but still bursting with flavor! Stephen got the lox cream cheese, which mid-chew he paused and said, “I can’t find anything wrong with this.” After a taste myself, I had to agree. Some people might prefer the cream cheese separate with the salmon placed on top, like a sandwich. We much prefer the opposite – chunks mixed in with the cream cheese, along with capers, allowing the flavors to absorb into the spread, and not as if you are eating a salmon sandwich.

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Dat cream cheese, tho.

Pastries: While I did not try any of their sweets, they do offer a range of muffins, as well as black and white cookies (mmm), tarts, DONUTS, a variety of cookies, etc.

Noteworthy: H&H also offers deli sandwiches, as well as salads (tuna, chicken, macaroni, etc.) And… THEY CATER – minimum party being 10 people, perfect for an office meeting or if your family is coming to town and you want to wow them with a traditional NYC bagel. You can even get a box of coffee that is not from your local Dunkin Donuts, which would be adorned by rolls, not bagels. 😉

Overall, H&H is ashleysbagelblog approved. How could it not with its profound history? We salute you, brothers!

Oh, and be sure to grab a t-shirt on your way out. Support your local business!

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swag.