Is making bagels hard? I have no idea, apparently any home baker willing to make the effort can do it. But I’m a terrible baker and being an Australian I definitely didn’t grow up eating bagels, and it wasn’t until we moved to Raleigh that we indulged in this ring-shaped bread product loved by millions up north.
But the question I’ve attempted to answer in this post is where can you find the best bagels in Raleigh? The kind of bagels that give New Yorkers a taste of home and would make them proud!
Ask any New Yorker and NOT all bagels are created equal. So with the help of our Instagram followers, several from NY who have relocated to Raleigh, I taste tested my way around five bagel shops in Raleigh, and no, I didn’t visit any Bruegger’s Bagels near me, no offense!
But if you are searching on your phone for “bagels near me”, check out these spots below (in no particular order) and share with me in the comments who you think makes the best NY style bagels in Raleigh, NC?
New York Bagel & Deli (North Raleigh)
As soon as I walked in I got those NY vibes from the memorabilia and photographs on the walls that took me back to our trips to NYC and I can’t wait to return, we love New York City!
For me, what I experienced from the ambience, the menu offerings, and the taste of the bagels at New York Bagel & Deli, it closely resembled a true NY bagel shop and a real NY experience right here in Raleigh.
They use Boar’s Head meats, and with 25 bagel varieties the menu is extensive with classics such as the Empire State (Turkey, Bacon, Swiss, Lettuce, Tomato and Onion), Nova Lox – Nova, Onion, tomato, capers & Cream Cheese, and The New Yorker – Pastrami, Corned Beef, Melted Swiss & Cole Slaw w/ Spicy Mustard.
I ordered the Empire State and a Steak, Egg & Cheese. They tasted fresh with the right amount of filling for me, and they’re definitely up there with the best bagels in Raleigh I’ve tasted.
The lox bagel, the build-your-own sandwiches, and the pastries are also said to be popular and fantastic!
If you’re looking for a classic deli/bagel shop, you probably can’t go wrong here. Some former New Yorkers have mentioned that they wish they added way more cream cheese, but if you add bacon, and scallions – that fixes everything, am I right?!
It’s a relaxed counter-serve spot with friendly and quick service, and if I lived closer this would definitely be a regular go-to place to grab breakfast!
Benchwarmers Bagels (Raleigh)
One of the most popular bagel shops in Raleigh is Benchwarmers Bagels, located inside the equally popular Transfer Co. Food Hall.
If you’re a Raleigh local, you might be interested to know that the owners of Benchwarmers are Andrew Cash of Jubala Coffee, and Joshua Bellamy and Sam Kirkpatrick of Boulted Bread, and if you’ve frequented either of those establishments you’ll know they serve up quality products!
Together they’ve created a popular Raleigh bagel stop for the locals, especially on the weekends and you can tell by the long lines that you’re in for a treat.
Benchwarmers is a bagel + coffee + pizza shop (Detroit style) and they use a wood-fired oven, heirloom grains, extended fermentation, and fresh-milled, pre-fermented 100% organic flour to make their modern bagels.
Their bagels are neither NY or Montreal style, and they go through a long fermentation before being quickly boiled in honey and then baked in a wood-fired oven.
They have six different styles of bagels including the usual classics plus Za’atar and everything bagels, nine different creative sandwich fillings, and some unique cream cheese spreads including pimento cheese, Maitre d’hotel (herby + lemon), Carolina reaper (spicey), pecan butterscotch, and a cashew (vegan).
I ordered their Everything Bagel with Egg, Bacon & Cheese. It had a nice chew to it, and it was tasty and filling. I think that being wood-fired adds a different spin to the flavor and texture.
Vegetarians and vegans are also in luck, as their bagels don’t contain any dairy or egg, but they are boiled in honey. They offer a vegan cashew “cream cheese” spread and their #1 Avocado Sandwich is a favorite. No gluten-free bagels though!
Of course they do a great coffee with one of the founders being in the coffee business, so if you’re looking for a tasty bagel and coffee don’t miss this place – I like to sit on Transfer. Co’s outdoor patio seating!
To get here is a nice stroll from downtown Raleigh, or there’s ample parking on the adjacent streets close to Transfer. Co..
- Address: 500 E Davie St STE 107, Raleigh
- Website: BenchwarmersBagels.com
NC Bagel Cafe’ & Deli (Morrisville)
Family-owned and operated, they bake NY style kettle cooked bagels and make fresh assorted cream cheeses in house.
All their bagels and sandwiches are made to order, and this is a popular breakfast spot in Morrisville for the locals (they serve lunch options too).
Upon entering, I got chatting with the owners son (Daanish), who was friendly and welcoming and offered his recommendation based on my interest and what’s popular with the regulars.
He suggested I try their Avocado Breakfast Bagel: 2 eggs, bacon, and fresh avocado on a bagel of your choice. They had sold out of their popular “everything bagels” but he suggested a garlic bagel which I hesitated about at first, but it wasn’t too overpowering.
I also ordered their Pork Roll / Taylor Ham, egg & cheese on a Ciabatta roll which he says is a favorite of those from New Jersey, and let me tell you it was FANTASTIC!
Others love ordering their lox bagel sandwich, and they specialize in vegan and vegetarian options too – apparently their Impossible Morning Breakfast Sandwich is incredible, and the vegan breakfast wrap – they also have a veggie cream cheese spread!
They also serve refreshing black teas, mango and strawberry flavored, and my mango tea hit the spot nicely on a hot day!
I can vouch for their fantastic customer service, and patience, as I arrived just before closing time at 1pm but nothing was a bother.
For some of the best breakfast and lunch food in the Triangle with a low key atmosphere, put your taste buds to the test here and tell Daanish Craig from ThisIsRaleigh sent you!
Plenty of parking and easy to find in the Grace Park shopping complex off Davis Dr.
N.Y.B.D – New York Bagel & Deli (Cary)
Thomas and Josephine Nurrito opened NYBD III (New York Bagels & Deli III) in Cary with over 80 years experience in the family business, so they know that “great taste” comes from fresh ingredients and baking everything from scratch.
NYBD III is the third of their locations. The other local favorite is the top mentioned spot in this post on Falls of Neuse Road.
His grandfather came to New York in 1923 from Sicily, settled in Brooklyn and started “Red’s Bakery” with the old style coal ovens for baking bread.
With a huge selection of bagels and a nice choice of fillings and spreads, N.Y.B.D specializes in hand-rolled bagels baked daily, fresh salads, iced drinks, soups, sandwiches, and fresh pastries.
I taste tested their Bacon, Egg & Cheese on a sesame bagel, and their Nova Lox & Egg w/ Onions on a Sesame. I can now see why this bagel shop is popular with the Cary locals and those new to the area from up north.
Some New Yorkers have said their lox and bagel with cream cheese is the closest to NY bagels you can get – probably why there is often a line out the door.
They’re also popular for their authentic NY style egg sandwich, their omelets get raved about, and apparently their NY style cheesecake is incredible which comes from an old family recipe!
Go here to get some of the best bagels in Raleigh, and deli experiences. Also easy to find with plenty of parking being located across Kildaire Farm Rd from Whole Foods (next to Walmart).
Big Dom’s Bagel Shop (Cary)
Big Dom’s Bagel Shop is a grab-and-go bagel shop in downtown Cary featuring hand rolled bagels, biscuits and b’donuts (baked donuts).
Their bagels are made fresh every day with malted dough boiled in brown sugar water, then cooked until crisp. I’m no bagel expert, but apparently these are Montreal-style bagels which are smaller and denser than New York bagels and have a slightly sweet taste.
If you’re feeling hungry, the bagel sandwiches would be the way to go!
Our daughter loves smoked salmon and she gave the thumbs up to the HOVA: smoked salmon, cream cheese, red onion, tomato, capers on a sesame seed bagel.
They have some great creations, and the donuts are said to be amazing as well but sell out quickly – next time for us!
I think they’re worth the drive from downtown Raleigh to Cary.
I hope this post helps you get your carbohydrate fix via a tasty bagel. Now it’s your turn, where do you suggest we get bagels in Raleigh?