Best bagels in town: Panera flavors first place

By Katelynn McGinley

If you find yourself tiring of going ten rounds with the GLAR toaster oven, or doing rock, paper, scissors with someone to see who gets the last cinnamon raisin bagel – you’ve got options.

The Free Press took on the oh-so grueling task of breaking down the best places in Westminster to get your bagel fix and came up with the following results.

You have the default grocery store bagels – both Safeway and Food Lion’s prices range from about $.55-.60 per bagel – and a Safeway employee told this reviewer that they weren’t above a little haggling (depending on how many bagels the customer was purchasing, of course).

As far as variety goes, the choices are pretty standard – though the thought process behind eating an onion bagel for breakfast might be a bit skewed. If you are planning on buying your bagels from a grocery store, get there early in the day so you won’t be disappointed when you get there and find that they are sold out of lemon poppy seed bagels.

Sam’s Bagels is another popular spot for students to get grub. It’s within a reasonable walking distance from campus (located on 1 E Main Street) and offers a decent variety of bagels (not to mention a plethora of sandwiches, salads, and righteous chocolate chip cookies) at a reasonable price. The ambiance is not unlike that of a quaint coffee shop, the people who work there are extremely nice, and it’s a fun alternative to GLAR – as long as you don’t mind rubbing elbows with the townies who will probably try to sell you crack on your walk back.

A personal favorite, however, would have to be the one and only Panera Bread. The sit-down restaurant part of Panera is relatively inexpensive, and the bakery definitely offers the best bagel to dollar ratio of the bunch. A bakers dozen (13 bagels) costs $7.75, while a “Bagel Bunch” (18 bagels) costs $9.75. Another good investment at Panera would definitely be the hazelnut cream cheese ($1.30).

The only problem with Panera might be that they are a bit too ambitious with their flavor choices. Cinnamon Crunch, Blueberry, and Dutch Apple & Raisin were all big hits with my roommates (whom I so generously shared the assignment with) – not so much the case for the French Toast (should your bagel taste like syrup?) and the Chocolate (I’m suspicious of breakfast food that smells like it was made by Willy Wonka).

On the whole – if you’re in the mood for bagels of a slightly higher quality, Panera is your best bet.

The Free Press wishes you happy bagel hunting!