On the weekends they line up early on Highland Park’s York Boulevard. By the time the window opens at 8 a.m., there’s a half-hour wait—but it’s worth it. For the past few years, Belle’s Bagels has served up some of the city’s best lox sandwiches from a tiny storefront once operated as a Thai fried-chicken spot later in the day.
While Angelenos, especially those who lived in New York at one point in their lives, love to lament L.A.’s lack of good bagels, they no longer have reason to complain. A number of delicious lox-and-cream-cheese venues have opened in recent years, joining tasty OG places like the Bagel Broker and Western Bagel. And there are more fresh baked goods on the way: Courage Bagels, a popular pop-up known for its crispy crusts, is set to open a store on Virgil Avenue in East Hollywood this year, while Unity Bagels, which recently hit the Sunday DTLA market, is making waves with its creative sandwiches, including one topped with ceviche. Here are seven of our favorites from the city’s exciting, ongoing bagel boom.
Backstory: Husband-and-wife team Kelley, 33, and Trevor Faris, 35, opened this cheery stand-alone at the end of 2019.
Bagels: Not-too-dense and easy-to-chew, they’re great sandwich vehicles. The everything jalapeno-cheddar bagel (above) is a standout.
Fixings: Sammies have delightful chef-y touches, like pickled onions and salted cucumbers. The gravlax, made in-house, is sliced thicker than usual, but it works—and it tastes delicious and fresh.
Coming soon: Pizza bagels and maybe pizza pop-ups on the patio.
4315 W. Riverside Dr., Burbank.
Backstory: Started as a pop-up by Gjusta general manager Jason Kaplan. A brick-and-mortar Maury’s debuted last March.
Bagels: Traditional New York-style specimens notable for their properly moderate size—no overstuffed nonsense—and baked using an old-school revolving tray oven. The za’atar flavor (above) is unique.
Fixings: Smoked and cured fish, à la a traditional Jewish appetizing shop, but you can also get labneh instead of cream cheese.
Coming soon: Friday dinners and new flavors like pumpernickel.
2829 Bellevue Ave., Silver Lake.
Freedman’s (Closed during COVID-19)
Backstory: Jonah Freedman, 26, grew up in Toronto noshing on Gryfe’s bagels, which are smaller and less chewy than NYC versions.
Bagels: Modeled after Gryfe’s, Freedman says his have a “touch of sweetness” and are soft on the inside like “a cross between a bagel and a dinner roll.” They’re prepared to Freedman’s specs by L.A. Bread.
Fixings: The restaurant’s brunch showcases plain (above), poppy and sesame bagels topped with lox; beef bacon, egg, and cheese; or fried green tomatoes. They can also be ordered for catering.
2619 W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake.
Backstory: Launched in 2014 as pop-ups by NYC transplant Evan Fox, 34, Yeastie Boys added a third truck in late 2019.
Bagels: Large and slightly bready, perfect for hangovers.
Fixings: It’s all about the indulgent sandwiches, like the Game Over, with scrambled eggs, peppered bacon, and beer cheese. With so much happening on the sammies, a plain bagel (above) is the best vessel.
Coming soon: Various collabs, including one with Tacos 1986.
See @yeastieboysbagels on Instagram for weekly schedule and locations, yeastieboysbagels.com
Backstory: After working in TV, Zachary Liporace, 33, started selling bagels out of his apartment in 2017. He’s now got a semipermanent pop-up at Culver City’s Platform and has catered for Jimmy Kimmel.
Bagels: Liporace bakes on-site, so the bagels are always fresh. Flavors are limited to plain, everything (above), and cinnamon raisin.
Fixings: Homemade cream cheese, Santa Barbara Smokehouse lox.
Coming soon: Liporace is looking to open a brick-and-mortar spot in Culver City this year, and he’s “dying” to add an egg bagel to the menu.
See @popbagels on Instagram for weekly schedule, popsbagelsla.com
Brooklyn Bagel Bakery
Backstory: This 67-year-old bakery isn’t new, but it opened a fresh retail location at the end of 2018 after only selling wholesale for years.
Bagels: Nicely chewy, perfectly sized, and available in tons of flavors, from chocolate chip to onion cheese to good ol’ plain (above).
Fixings: House-made cream cheeses in a variety of flavors, including Nutella; lox comes from local fave Michel Cordon Bleu.
Coming soon: An expanded menu, with pastrami sandwiches and veggie sides, is in the works, and there are plans to start catering.
2223 Beverly Blvd., Historic Filipinotown.
Backstory: Started as a pop-up by friends Nick Schreiber, 33, and J.D. Rocchio, 32, in 2012, it now has a window on York Boulevard.
Bagels: Seeded on both sides (above, poppy), the bagels undergo two rounds of fermentation to yield a nice, crispy crust and good color.
Fixings: Salmon skin, watermelon radishes, and high-quality versions of common fillings: Michel Cordon Bleu lox.
Coming soon: “This may be a big year for us,” teases Schreiber. “We would love to find a bigger space where people can actually sit down.”
5043 York Blvd., Highland Park.
RELATED: A Former New Jerseyan’s Pop-Up Is Serving Fresh Bagels Right Out of the Oven
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