Some of the best restaurants are the ones who make something you could make at home — burgers, tacos, etc. — only they do it so, so much better.
File The Bagelry, a Santa Cruz treasure of a breakfast and lunch spot, under that heading.
What is there to say about the Bagelry, which has locations on Seabright Ave, downtown on Cedar St., and in Soquel, that hasn’t already been said by nearly everyone who’s tasted one of their creations? It’s simple food: bagels, a selection of cream cheeses, eggs, hummus, lox, and other toppings. But the loyalty many Santa Cruzans feel toward this spot is anything but ordinary.
You’ll know the Bagelry is an institution before even walking into the Cedar Street location. First, there’s the amazing smell twenty-four hours a day of fresh, warm, wonderful bagels cooking that wafts around an entire one-block radius. And next to a message promising “Fresh REAL Bagels” (no fake bagels here!), the restaurant proudly proclaims itself a “Santa Cruz Original Since 1977.”
And there’s a definite Santa Cruz feel once you enter The Bagelry as well — from the vegan toppings section on the chalkboard menu to the natural, serene outdoor seating area, perfect for a low-key weekend brunch.
The lines can be nearly out the door during the morning rush, but not to worry — it tends to move fairly quickly, and besides, all the more time to pick which bagel and toppings you want. I’m partial to the doughy, delicious, halitosis-inducing garlic bagel with the herb-filled Cheese Louise cream cheese, but your possibilities are truly endless. There’s a pesto and sun-dried tomato special, egg sandwiches called “scrambagels,” a blend of lox and cream cheese called the Pink Flamingo, and a mouth-watering roasted turkey sandwich, to name a few. But to discover your own Bagelry usual will take many visits, not that that’s a bad thing.
If bagels just aren’t your thing, fear not! The Bagelry has other delectables like cookies, deviled eggs, soups and salads. They also make a darn good chai, as well as coffee and tea.
One of the reasons I frequent the Bagelry so often, aside from the facts that a.) it’s delicious and b.) I live around the corner from it, is that it’s incredibly reasonably priced — you can get out of there completely satisfied for under ten dollars. But for an even better deal, try the day-olds, which the arrange in sacks of a half-dozen for a couple bucks and change each. Spring on a pint of freshly-whipped and packed cream cheese, and you’ve got a delicious, easy breakfast at home for a week.
I could rave about this bagel joint for paragraphs and paragraphs, but don’t just take my word for it — they constantly receive glowing reviews from every paper in town, including the spot in this years Good Times Best of Santa Cruz issue for Best Bagel. A worthy title for a true Santa Cruz original.