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Best Bagels

Bruegger's Bagel Bakery
Seven Locations

READERS' PICK: Hey, New York people--lighten up! Okay, so maybe we Southwesterners don't know what it's like to taste a real bagel, but if you have to live in New York to find out, what's the point? We do know that we like bagels, especially with cream cheese. And we'll bet you never would've thought to put jalapeño peppers in the cream cheese, now would you? Bruegger's makes good bagels. They're fresh, they're hot, they're chewy, and they come in lots of different flavors. What more could we simple Tucsonans want? It may not be just like Uncle Abe's deli on 42nd and 7th, but at least here we don't have to worry about getting run over by a crazed cab driver when we step outside of our local Bruegger's (with seven corners to step from citywide).

READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: Hot Bagel Bakery (three locations: 7114 E. Broadway Blvd., 1110 S. Park Ave., and 2829 E. Speedway). It seems there are many curious levels of bagelosity, from the grocery store variety to the highly lauded New York bagel, which apparently came straight down from Heaven, like manna. To Hell with those bagel snobs who say, "That's not a real bagel! That's just round bread!" Damn them, and the subway they rode in on! The fine citizens of Tucson once again have given the nod to a long-time fixture that's served generations. See that dancing Russian on the sign? That's tradition!

CLUE IN: The surest way to bring a sedentary fellow to his feet, fists up, is a good bagel brawl. Everybody knows the best place, and everybody is damn sure of their pick. So we offer Einstein Bros. Bagels, 4708 E. Sunrise Drive, knowing full well the trouble we risk. But consider: How about a cinnamon raisin bagel with a steaming cup of Mel's Neighborhood Blend coffee? Or maybe an asiago cheese bagel--similar to a shredded parmesan--with a jalapeño salsa cream cheese, accompanied by a sweet coffee roast--say, the hazelnut vanilla? Look, we're talking here about 18 kinds of bagels, 11 varieties of cream cheese, coffee brewed every hour and by gub, it's all good. This Einstein's has been open for two years, with a brand-new location at Oracle and Ina roads.

Case History

1997 Winner: Bruegger's Bagel Bakery
1996 Winner: The Bagelry

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