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Best Bagels

The Bagelry
Four locations

READERS' PICK: Sure, there are other things you could do with cream cheese. Big, important things. Things that would mean a lot to the common folk in Bob Dole's America. In fact, you could smear Bob Dole with cream cheese and he might have a chance of winning the presidency, because the common folk would be too busy laughing their asses off to vote for Bill Clinton, no matter what the incumbent's smeared with. Anyway, for years folks in Tucson have preferred to smear the good stuff on The Bagelry's fine products, and this year is no exception. But might we suggest a liberal/conservative smear of The Bagelry's ever-popular salmon cream cheese on both candidates, since their platforms have holes in 'em anyway, and a fine salmon spread might even make these guys smell better.

READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: If you enjoy the bustling frivolity of university life with your Jewish food, then you'll surely love Bruegger's Bagel Bakery, 1064 N. Campbell Ave., a new, deli-style shop near the intersection of Campbell Avenue and Speedway. Those big, soft bagels that are popular now (if you haven't tried the small "cement donut" version, really, don't bother) are Bruegger's forte. They're fresh, cooked in the traditional boil-and-bake manner, and they have all the classic toppings--cream cheese, onions, capers, and smoked salmon. They also have the anti-traditional, like blueberry bagels and honey-walnut cream cheese. But hey, we're not stuffy purists--have it your way.

STAFF PICK: A local reviewer once noted Tucson has more sushi bars than bowling alleys. Now it's safe to say we have more bagel bakeries than sushi bars here in this desert land. Unlike most of the competition, who turn out a "fluffy" product, Chesapeake Bagel Bakery (with two locations, 994 E. University Blvd. and 4485 N. First Ave.) makes those dense, chewy bagels we can really sink our teeth into. The neon "Howl about a bagel?" coyote gazing at a neon moon is an interesting take on the New York meets Southwest concept. But we digress. Whether you're craving sweet or savory, there are a variety of flavors poised for perfection: sourdough walnut raisin, pesto, jalapeño, lemon, rye, onion or chocolate chip. There are, of course, a parallel variety of cream cheeses and spreads. The Chesapeake staff go out of their way to provide friendly service; so don't hesitate to request that special batch of salt-free bagels to take home. The day-old bagels are always a bargain, as is the lunch special, which includes a cup of homemade soup and a pizza bagel.

Case History

1998 Winner: Bruegger's Bagel Bakery
1997 Winner: Bruegger's Bagel Bakery

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