OK. OK. So it ain't a restaurant. Heck they won't even toast a bagel for you, not even if you beg and plead. What they are -- simply -- is the best bagel in New York City, and by extension, the world.
It's sort of like even though we don't invite other people to compete in the NBA finals, we call the winning team the World Champions. The best bagels in New York, by default, end up being world class. I'm sure the folks at H&H would gladly compete on the world stage, but really they don't have to. They don't have to toast your bagels either, but they will sell you some cream cheese, a bottle of juice or water, and a plastic knife for you to make your own breakfast, lunch, or dinner as you wander the city.
What makes a perfect bagel? Well, we won't even address those horrible breadlike excuses for bagels that are not boiled before they are baked. But among those who can claim true bagel-ness, perfect means a slightly tough outer skin, a chewy, medium-dense inside pockmarked with bubbles, and a lightness to the overall object that is not too dry, but not overly moist and leaden. Bake it fresh hourly, and add to that excellent seasonings of your choice, and you have reached the epitome of bagel.
H&H is all that. You can take my word for it, as someone who has eaten a lot of bagels in his day, or you can take it on good authority from my Jewish relatives, who swear up and down about the infidels who think there are better bagels to be had in the city. Or you can simply listen to the thousands of New Yorkers who have, year after year, heaped praise on this simple bakery which hasn't bothered to change anything about the way they've been making bagels (or decorating their store) since, well..... the beginning.
H&H was founded in 1972 by Helmer Toro and his brother Hector Hernandez, and has operated in its original location on Broadway at 80th street for the 32 years since it opened its doors. Recent expansion of its shipping business has led to the addition of a plant on 46th to handle the excess demand.
They're a New York Institution, certainly, but lucky for the rest of us, they'll ship their bagels overnight to anywhere in the US, and many places in the world. So next time you're in the city, or next time you have a desire to nosh a little Brooklyn style wherever you are, look them up. You can even order on the Web.
How Much?: A couple of bagels, a block of cream cheese and a plastic knife will cost you about $5
2239 Broadway (@ 80th)
New York, NY 10024
There are also stores in Midtown on 2nd Ave and at the aforementioned 46th street location. Store hours: fresh bagels early to late every day.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Wine and Beauty Explained San Francisco's Lost Sommeliers Finding Pirate Treasure With a Corkscrew Vinography Unboxed: Week of March 1, 2015 Vinography Images: Sonoma Spring Siduri Wines: Rewarding the Search for Flavor Vinography Unboxed: Week of February 22, 2015 Vinography Images: Frost and Fog The Glory of 2013 Napa Cabernet: Tasting Premiere Napa Valley A Dose of Claret: Visiting With 2010 Bordeaux
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune