According to a report published by Statista, over 202 million Americans ate bagels in 2020.
Although bagel lovers are passionate about what makes a good one – most will cite a crispy exterior and soft, doughy interior – there is diverging consensus on who does it best. Whether the secret is in the tap water as many New York City bakers claim or the wood-fired oven required for Montreal-style bagels or any other factor, everyone knows when they’ve found their favorite bagel spot. (Enjoy bagel sandwiches for breakfast? Here is the best breakfast sandwich in every state.)
In honor of National Bagel Day, recently celebrated on Jan. 15, 24/7 Tempo has reviewed data collected by the lawn care site Lawn Love for their report on 2022’s Best Cities for Bagel Lovers to compile a list of the ideal places to enjoy this iconic breakfast bread.
In the report, 158 of the most populous U.S. cities were ranked based on an index consisting of the number of establishments serving bagels per square mile, number of highly-rated establishments serving bagels, average consumer rating, average monthly Google search volume for bagel-related terms in the past year, and the total number of reviews. Data for Lawn Love’s index came from Google Ads and TripAdvisor. (24/7 Tempo added population data from the 2019 American Community Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau.)
Brought to North America by Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe, bagels carry a cultural heritage that took root in New York City in the 19th century. Today, New York has hundreds of bagel shops and the bagel is daily fare for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of locals. It’s not surprising, then, that Gotham is ranked as the best city for bagel lovers by far, with an overall score of 87.74 out of 100 – miles ahead of No. 2 San Francisco, scoring a mere 39.75/100. (No wonder the bagel represents New York in our list of signature dishes from 50 New York cities.)
Recent years have also seen a bagel boom in California, with artisan bakers popping up in many neighborhoods. Indeed, four of the 25 best cities for bagels are in California. Other states with multiple bagel-loving cities are Florida, Illinois, and Virginia.
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