Long Island definitely has a lot going for it: the best beaches on the East Coast, some of the biggest musical acts in the world from Billy Joel to Mariah Carey, The Hamptons. But there’s one delicacy that’s decidedly its hometown glory: the bagel.
Yes, the bagels on Long Island are so world-famous that bagel shops in Florida literally import water from The Land of 72 Exits just so their bagels can taste good. But why, exactly, does Long Island have the best-tasting bagels in America? The answer just might be in the water, as the aquifers that provide the island with its water have a unique combination of minerals that’s ideal for bagel-making.
Or it might be in the fact that bagels on Long Island are made in the old-fashioned style: hand-formed, boiled not steamed, and baked on long wooden slats in hot ovens. During the Postwar years, when hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers (including bagel-makers) left the city for greener pastures to the east, they brought with them decades of bagel-making know-how and spread the gospel to the burgeoning suburbs, and are still there to this day.
But the question is… Which bagel places should you visit? Bagel shops on Long Island are as numerous as Taylor Swift’s awards, so which ones are the best of the best?
In order to assemble our ranking, we judged bagel shops using criteria including word of mouth, reviews both online and in print, level of local and national renown, freshness of the bagels (how often they’re made throughout the day), unique bagel and cream cheese flavors, and, of course, overall taste (and we tasted a lot). Sit back, relax, and get ready to regret buying those bagels from the supermarket last week.