Bagels have their own subculture. Seriously, there are die-hard bagel fans of all ages who insist the rounded dough beats all other forms of bread. Especially among healthy eaters (who haven’t sworn away carbs) the bagel is the way to go. Surprisingly, in a college town like Athens, there is only one bagel shop. Not surprisingly, Bagel Street Deli sees a huge amount of business. Inside the narrow eatery you’ll find a menu offering over 100 possibilities for your bagel sandwich.
Bagel Street’s numerous bagelwich offerings appeal to everyone; there is a Philly cheese steak bagel, a pizza bagel, vegetarian bagels and any number of things in between. Toasted and hand-crafted individually, each bagel is stuffed with a variety of meats, cheeses, veggies and condiments, made to order. They’re absolutely wonderful. Toasted and fresh, it’s hard not to like whatever you get. Sides include standard sandwich fare, chips and pickles, though fresh salads are available, too.
- The Bobcat: Roast beef and cheddar. A simple, but elegant bagel sandwich. Best eaten ASAP.
- Hammond Swiss: Ham, swiss, lettuce, tomato, and any condiment. A good catch all if you love meat and a heavy bagel.
- Seinfeld’s Secret: Roast beef, cheddar, bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo. Crunchy, salty, heavy, and will fill you up all afternoon.
- BLT: Bacon, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo result in a mountainous sandwich of excellence.
Such a nice environment means it’s very easy to hang around and enjoy your bagel with friends. Groups of people come here to eat and chat, though not for too long (the restaurant is a very narrow block about 10 feet across — its a little cramped but the space isn’t the point. My only other major criticism would be the time. I’ve been to other bagel shops and this one undoubtedly takes the longest to prepare your food. A long line means a good 10 or 15 minutes of waiting; don’t come here at a peak meal hour if you’re on the run. It’s good food but all of the experience has an air of slowed down, relaxed dining. If you’re impatient the experience can be maddening.
The food is clearly healthy, but its also a little pricey. The average bagel goes for about $4.50. Some of the roast beef offerings can go as high as $6.50 and up though — and I’m just talking about the bagel, not the sides. That price easily exceeds many of the other healthy offerings in the area, which often offer a side and drinks with food. Bagel Street offers the convenience of a meal to go, but it’s difficult to want that when you know you’ll be waiting for your bagel a long time no matter when you show up.
In short, Bagel Street apparently is Athens’ only strong showing for its niche market, and it does so fairly well. If you want a bagel sandwich in this town, it’s the only place you can go, but you won’t be disappointed. Just make sure you give yourself time to enjoy the experience.
- Whether you’re feeling healthy or like pigging out, snack or full meal, there’s a bagel for you here. Seriously, there’s something for everyone.
- Avoid showing up on the hour or during the lunch hour. Bagel Street has notoriously long lines and the bagels take awhile to make.
- Breakfast bagels offer a sweet alternative to the boring everyday bagel. Give one a try if you’re in the mood for something new.