July 13, 2024 7:17 pm
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Crunchy and Zesty: The Best Bagels in the Triangle

Credit: iStock

Parker Wallis

Bagel shops in the Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and Durham areas are giving New York bagels a run for their money with their vast array of creative flavors and products.

Brandwein’s Bagels, for instance, is an important fixture of Chapel Hill as the only bagel shop on Rosemary Street. Founded in 2020 by a University of North Carolina (UNC) graduate, the restaurant announced last year that they plan to expand their shop, meaning more parking, faster service, and more bagels boiled and baked in Chapel Hill. 

Customers have enjoyed their egg and cheese sandwiches on poppy seed and onion bagels, but one of Brandwein’s most unique choices on the menu is their homemade bialy. While not technically a bagel, a bialy is made with the same ingredients but baked instead of boiled. Instead of the famous bagel hole, bialys have a depression that you can fill with sweet or savory ingredients, like cream or chocolate. At Braindwein’s, you can sample their traditional bialys made with caramelized onions and other local ingredients as well as the rotating flavor of the day on weekends.

Located in Durham’s Food Hall, Everything Bagels prides itself on its assortment of bizarre yet mouthwatering flavors. Try the spicy fig, purple sweet potato, or pretzel bagel, and see for yourself! 

One of these exceptional bagels recommended by Raleigh Magazine is the black lime and sea salt bagel. Chef Ray Williams sprinkles the bagel with dried and ground up Persian limes and flakes it with sea salt, creating a citrusy, savory flavor combination in your mouth. 

In Raleigh’s Transfer Food Hall, Benchwarmers Bagels bake their bagels in a wood-fire oven. Indulge yourself with a dirty chai as you feast on their selection of bagels, like the salt bagel with pimento or a No. 6 (fried bologna, mustard, cheese and egg). Customers also praise Benchwarmers for their pizza nights, saying it’s the best pizza around.

Raleigh Magazine recommends sampling the shop’s Za’atar and sea salt bagel. Za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend made of dried oregano, thyme or marjoram, sumac, salt and toasted sesame seeds, adds a savory, herbal flavor to each bite and makes a fantastic base for any sandwich you crave.

If you’re in the Cary area, stop by Big Dom’s and have yourself a hand-rolled NYC-style bagel. What distinguishes Big Dom’s from other bagel shops, however, is its variety of cream cheese flavors. They have more common flavors available like scallion in addition to more unique choices, such as spicy pickle cream cheese, recognized by Raleigh Magazine. 

Even though the Big Apple is more than 400 miles away, local businesses are bringing the classic appeal of a NYC bagel to the Triangle while reflavoring the beloved breakfast sandwich for North Carolina customers.