Possibly one of the most contentious, exhaustively debated items in the food world is a good bagel. Everyone has a strong opinion about what makes the best one or which comes closest to the quintessential New York version. Dallas proves that our bagel scene is doing just fine, thank you very much.
With his new deli in University Park, Justin Shugrue, a Westchester County native and SMU alum, opened Shug’s Bagels this summer with Joe Nilsen and Miguel Garcia. Their venture’s catapult launch into popularity is fueled as much by the serious deliciousness of the bagels as it is by the sheer picture-worthiness of its brimming sandwiches. Take Shug’s bacon, egg, and cheese wedged into a kaiser roll. Although this perfect trinity needs no revisions, you can add ketchup, a hash brown patty (do it), or make it spicy (absolutely, yes). Shug’s strikes that balance between respecting the classics—everything, poppy, salt, cinnamon raisin, sesame, garlic—and putting its own stamp on things. “I have never said that what I’m doing here is a New York bagel,” Shugrue says. “I’ve always tried to tell people, ‘No, we’re a Texas bagel. We’re a Dallas bagel.’ ”
Lenore’s Handmade Bagel Co.
The latest newcomer to the Dallas bagel scene comes from Jessica and Seth Brammer. The two veterans of the restaurant industry routinely sell out of their New York bagels—poppy seed, sesame, plain, everything—made with Texas-grown and -milled wheat. Order early for Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday delivery, or pick up your favorites from Houndstooth Coffee on Tuesdays, Fiction Coffee on Thursdays, or Bonton Coffee House on Saturdays.
Cindi’s NY Deli
This mini-chain (now with five locations) is where you go when you don’t need frills, just deli done right. The seriously stacked pastrami sandwich remains one of the best in town. The unabridged menu includes matzo ball soup, blintzes, all-day breakfast, and a diverse bagel lineup. Flavored cream cheeses range from strawberry to jalapeño, and they’re not shy with the schmear.
Home of the triple decker sandwich, this North Dallas joint near the intersection of Campbell and Preston roads will put a jaw-testing pound of pastrami on rye and call it a day. Yet there remains a competent array of bagels with simple cream cheese spreads. Among them, the homemade nova lox is the winner.