NYC: Where’s The Pizza And Bagels?

What foods to you think of when you think of New York? Survey says!…


screenshot of Family Feud Game from this website for cheaters

I was surprised hot dogs beat out pizza, but it’s just by one vote so okay. The cheesecake answer I get also. New York style cheesecake is seriously the best, but you can pretty much get it anywhere. Cheesecake Factory? I know it’s a chain but it’s good stuff.

Personally, when I think of New York foods, foods that are better in New York than anywhere else, I think of pizza and bagels.

Except no. Because, problems.


This might sound sacrilegious but New York has too many damn pizza places. Why is that a problem? Because 90% of them are crap. I’m sorry but they are.

Here are some hints that you might be about to get crappy pizza:

1. The pizza is too cheap. Like $1 a slice, or two slices and a soda for $3.

I like a good deal but at those prices, you are not getting real cheese. You are getting an oil-based substitute. Which is great if you’re lactose-intolerant. Seriously, go for it. But it’s just not real New York pizza.

Disclaimer: I’ve never been to this specific pizza place and can’t speak to its quality.

2. It’s from a deli.

Yes, there are delis all over the city that just sell a little bit of everything. Sandwiches in the front. A weird little pizza stand in the back. I don’t even think they cook the pizzas in house.

$1 + they also sell hot dogs. Beware x 2 credit

$1 + they also sell hot dogs. Beware x 2
Disclaimer: I’ve never been to this specific place and can’t speak to its quality.

Those are the two main clues. Other hints might include if it’s in Times Square or Penn Station, or from a chain. Just saying, keep an eye out.

Sbarro in Times Square. Beware x 2. Disclaimer: Eh, Sbarro is actually kind of decent. credit

Sbarro in Times Square. Beware x 2.
Disclaimer: Eh, Sbarro is actually kind of decent.


Where the fuck are they?

There are too many fucking pizza places in New York and not enough bagel places! A bagel place is a store that mainly specializes in bagels. It may also sell deli products but it should not primarily be a deli. I can’t stress this enough.

A deli specializes in sandwiches. They might also sell bagels, but they are purchased from elsewhere.

A bagel place bakes and perfects the bagels in house. They should have millions of kinds of bagels and as many kinds of cream cheese.

Also, and I can’t really explain why this is important: you can tell a real bagel place because the bagels are in baskets behind the food prep area. Not in a glass case under the counter.

print this out and bring it with you (in case you can't remember) original photos: credit / credit

print this out and bring it with you in case you can’t remember
original photos: credit / credit

When I lived in Brooklyn, there were a couple real bagel stores in Williamsburg. But in Manhattan? Forget it. We’d have to walk at least a mile to get to the nearest bagel place, which was tiny and usually closed. I work in midtown now and I can’t even tell you where the nearest bagel place is. It’s just, like, the economy, man…

In summary:
1. Look out for shady pizza places.
2. Let me know if you find a real bagel place.

Leave me any weirdly specific tips you might have.


  1. I know exactly why the baskets are important. Because if all of the bagels are in the same case, then all of the bagels taste like Everything Bagels. And if I’d wanted an Everything Bagel, then I wouldn’t have ordered a salt bagel, now would I?

    I live in L.A. I really miss good bagels. Does it show?
    Tragic Sandwich recently posted…Jobs I’ve HadMy Profile

    • You are so right. I once worked at a client where we had to bring in bagels once a week and they had a strict no everything/onion/garlic policy. They ran a pretty tight ship.

      No good bagels in LA? I hate to say it, but it’s easier for me to get bagels on Long Island than when I lived in the city.

  2. I think I’d be scared to eat a $1 slice of pizza. There might be some free toppings on it. And not the edible kind…
    Carrie Rubin recently posted…The Introvert WhispererMy Profile

  3. Truth. I haven’t had a proper NYC bagel/pizza in over a year (damn you, paleo), but before that – The Bagel Store (in W-burg) was my jam. French toast bagels OMFG. Also, I refuse to ever consume a $1 slice. Typically if it’s <$2.50 it's fakefakefake and craptastic.

    • The french toast bagels are Tom’s favorite too!
      I hate to say this, because I also just admitted it about bagels, but I have an easier time getting a good slice of pizza in Huntington than Manhattan.

  4. You’re clearly very upset about the bagel situation and I can empathize. Our local donut shop closed years ago and was replaced with an Advanced Auto Parts. Fuckers.
    Stephanie ( recently posted…The Most Official Review of I Just Want to Pee AloneMy Profile

  5. Living right here in the foodie land of NYC I am surrounded by great bagel and pizza shops.

    #1 – never eat at Ray’s Pizza – all 238 of them.
    #2 – never toast a bagel. Real New Yorkers do not toast a good bagel.
    #3 – never eat in Times Square or at Penn Station

    My bagel place down the street (Bagel Express) is awesome and they deliver! I never have to go out in the cold and rain on a Sunday morning. My bagels, juice, and cream cheese are delivered hot to my door. Life is good.
    Phil Holtberg recently posted…Looking for something to do near NYC? A quick day trip to Tarrytown.My Profile

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