Where to get a decent bagel in Madison, WI

Let’s roll out the knead-to-know info + rise to the occasion for a good breakfast.

608today gotham bagel

We try not to cast aspersions when it comes to bagels, but why eat something else when you could have this?

Photo by 608today

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Let’s drop the pretense, Madison’s bagel scene leaves a little something to be desired. Never in terms of quality, but accessibility. On Tripadvisor’s Top Bagels in Madison, three out of five locations are national chains.

We’re here to rise to the occasion + identify some of the 608’s most beloved shops still hand-rolling traditional bagels.

📚 First, some breakfast theory

Two of the three listed bake shops on this roundup sell “New York bagels”. What does that really mean though? According to the New York Times, they’ve got to be hand-rolled + boiled before baking to achieve that perfect, crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside bagel.

🥯 Now, let’s eat

Bagels Forever | 2947 University Ave. | Mon.-Fri., 6:30 a.m.-8 p.m. + Sat.-Sun., 6:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
This Madison classic bake shop opened its first location on University Avenue in 1973 + has been making bagels the old-school NY way ever since — hand-rolled, boiled, and hearth-baked.

Gotham Bagels | 112 E. Mifflin St. | Tues.-Sat., 8 a.m.-2 p.m. + Sun., 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
Owner “Joey Bagels” is putting an end to the New York bagel water myth by creating that same top-notch, city-quality product right here in Madison. Pro tip: Don’t leave without a bagel sandwich piled high with lox + the works.

Origin Breads | 931 E. Main St. | Tues., 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Thurs., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. + Sat., 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
Origin crafts naturally leavened sourdough goods using organic grains grown + milled in Wisconsin. Try a unique kind of sourdough bagel in flavors like plain, sesame, and everything.

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