As mentioned yesterday, there was a rally last night to save the Upper West Side home of H&H bagels. From the sounds of it, it more resembled a group therapy session.
Per the West Side Rag, about 25 people showed up, “stood in a circle, and collectively yearned for a simpler, more neighborhood-y time. Then everyone went off to play with their dogs.”
But! Marc Fintz, the company’s national business manager, was in attendance, and hinted at the possibility of H&H opening a new storefront elsewhere in the neighborhood. He was coy about the potential new location, much like H&H owner Helmer Toro was coy about withholding taxes. He did say that in order to pay monthly $67,500 rent the landlord is requiring, the store would have to charge $2 for its bagels, which are already an eyebrow-raising $1.40.
And as Grub Street points out, there are plenty of people who wouldn’t pay even half that for an H&H Bagel. But who does sell bagels that are worth (sorry) the dough?
A few years ago we had to rate bagel-lox-cream cheese sandwiches from several stores across the city, and came away in love with Absolute Bagels, which, coincidentally, is only a few blocks away from H&H. Russ & Daughters came in second, and we’re of the conviction that no bagel is better than one with Russ’s whitefish salad smeared across it.
A couple of years ago, Serious Eats declared the Bagel Hole their favorite, and Grub Street notes that New York’s Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld are partial to Brooklyn’s Kosher Bagel Hole.
“Bests,” however, are all subjective. That said, we’d argue that there’s no worse bagel than one that has been scooped, an act that robs both bagel and eater of their dignity. Even Helmer Toro and the IRS could probably agree on that.