Chicago is dubbed “The Second City.” It’s compared in countless ways to the “First City” New York City: sports (Chicago wins), art (NYC wins), and public transportation (we’ll call it a tie). But when it comes to food, the two are neck-and-neck. They have their own unique takes on American staples like pizza and hot dogs, but did you know that Chicago offers some absolutely delectable bagels? Check out this list to find some of the very best bagel spots in Chicago, IL.
520 S Plymouth Ct, Chicago, IL 60605
We hope you’re hungry because Gotham Bagels is serving up some massive, New York style bagels with all the fixings. Start by picking your bagel from options like onion, everything, asiago, egg, garlic and more. From there, you can decide to go classic and just do a smear, or load it up and go for the breakfast sandwich. We tried the Brighton Beach bagel that comes loaded with lox, cream cheese, tomato, red onion, arugula and topped off with some capers. It was basically heaven. Go ahead and order online so your bagel will be waiting for you when you arrive.
953 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60614
If you’re craving a bagel sandwich, this is your spot.
It’s a hip place that feels like a college town restaurant in every way except for proximity to a college. It’s littered with 4/20 references and quirky drawings on the wall and has an undeniably fantastic aroma. The bagels themselves are decent, but it’s the different sandwich (or “steamwich”) options and toppings that make this place a must.
The Sausage Fest is a kosher person’s worst nightmare: egg, bacon, sausage, and American cheese. You can also get lunch options like the Honey Badger (chicken salad, swiss & gouda, bacon, jalapeños, lettuce, tomato and honey) and the Bluegrass (turkey, pepperoni, salami, onion, italian dressing, provolone & smoked cheddar on a bialy).
2461 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60614
This cozy coffee shop has embraced its geography and introduced the world to the “Chicago-style” bagels. For a more authentic meal, get The Fisherman bagel sandwich, topped with house-made plain cream cheese, capers, pickled red onions, sliced tomato, and thinly sliced smoked salmon, or lox. Or their classic Bageler includes a slice of Muenster cheese, 2 slices of thick bacon, and a fried egg topped with chipotle mayo.
2607 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
What’s the only thing better than a wood-fired pizza? A wood-fire bagel, of course! Reno just happens to serve both, so you can get your wood-fired craving satiated no matter the meal! You can get their (vegan) bagels in a variety of flavors ranging from classic (sesame, everything) to bold (Old Bay, olive & herb). Step it up a bit and try one of their fully-loaded sandwiches such as the Cowboy Killer with maple fennel sausage, fried egg, bacon, bechamel, and rajas, or the Nando which is loaded with housemade chorizo, scrambled egg, and white cheddar.
6338 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60660
Sauce & Bread Kitchen is the love child of two iconic Chicago foods: Co-op Sauce and Crumb Chicago. They merged their two passions to create fantastic results. Normally a bagel is best enjoyed with cream cheese and lox, or maybe as a vessel for a breakfast sandwich, but you’d be remiss to get Sauce & Bread’s beloved Everything Bagel without considering making it a pizza bagel. Add their sauce with some classic pizza toppings and make sure you’re sitting down because boy, is it good.
22 E Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60604
Another classic spot for bagels in Chicago is Hero Coffee Bar. This location is small but mighty with a very cool, industrial feel inside. You’ll know you’ve arrived when you see the word “coffee” in bright lights outside. Stop in and order yourself any one of their delicious bagel sandwiches like the Usual Suspect that comes with bacon, egg, cheddar cheese and cream cheese on any bagel you please. Another favorite here is the Bulls Eye with sriracha cream cheese, tomatoes, grilled onions, avocado spread, bacon and a fried egg. All that with a latte makes for a fine morning indeed!
For more recommendations on the best eats in the city, check out our Chicago page to find all of our favorite restaurants around Chicago, IL!
Editors Note: This article was originally published on January 20, 2022 and last updated on November 7, 2022. Please refer to restaurant websites and social media pages for the most up-to-date information.