Roundup: Bagels, new & old style

Nicholas Dekker, Columbus Alive contributor
Companion Baking Co.

It's easy to take bagels for granted. They're everywhere, and like doughnuts, they're still bouncing back from the low-carb phase of the late '90s. But with a recent resurgence in popularity, we're finding old-school bakeries still producing them in fine form, and new bakeries experimenting with the classics. Old school or new school, you can't go wrong with these favorites.

CompanionBaking Co.

Where to find them: Clintonville Farmer's Market, Worthington Farmer's Market, companionbagel.com

Bagel to try: Castlevatrano & Peppercorn

Based in Old North, Companion Baking features three signature bagels: the everything, serrano and date, and castlevatrano and peppercorn. The emphasis is on the savory, but you can discover sweet specials when you find their tent at the Clintonville and Worthington Farmer's Markets. While at the market, you should also try their bialys, sourdough focaccia and black bread made with activated charcoal. The castlevatrano bagel features tangy Italian olives and smoked peppercorns that have been brined in sherry. The downside is the bagels are a little harder to find, but if you're in Clintonville, you can sign up for their Bagel CSA. Half shares get you three bagels a week; full shares get you six.

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Block's Bagels

Where to find them: 3415 E. Broad St. in Bexley, blocksbagelsdeli.com

Bagel to try: Sesame. New York water bagels are chewy but a little crispy when you toast them, and the sesame is a perfect blank slate for sweet cream cheese spreads or savory scrambled eggs and pastrami.

Block's is perhaps Columbus' oldest bagel baker. The Block family came to Columbus from New York in the late '60s, and perceiving a complete lack of true New York style water bagels, they began making their own. Block's bagels are certified kosher; they're served out of two East Side locations that feel charmingly old school (read: haven't been updated in years and don't need to be). Block's features over 20 flavors and can be relied on for the easy wins (everything, egg, sesame) and the more savory and hearty types (pumpernickel, black Russian, caraway rye).

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Sammy's New York Bagels

Where to find them: Everywhere, also sammybagels.net

Bagel to try: The Everything. Salty, crunchy, best when toasted and slathered in cream cheese.

Sammy's Bagels are such a contradiction: they're everywhere, but they're nowhere. By everywhere I mean they compete with Block's as a major supplier of restaurants around Columbus. Sammy's boasts some big accounts like Ohio State and Nationwide Children's Hospital and classic spots like Katzinger's and Spinelli's delis. By nowhere, I mean there's no storefront. They wholesale and they deliver. Their bagel delivery is, to me, one of the hidden secrets of Columbus. You can order Sammy's online and they'll deliver to your home for free (with a minimum order of $10). Just place an order by 3 p.m. the day before, and boom, you wake up to a bag of fresh bagels on your front porch.

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Barry Bagels

Where to find them: 5760 Frantz Road in Dublin, The Anderson's General Store in Dublin

Bagel to try: The pungent and salty asiago cheese bagel

The Barry Bagels near Tuttle Mall is the first location of a Toledo-based chain to hit Central Ohio. The chain itself has been around since the early '70s, and their cafes walk the fine line between traditional and innovative. Bagel fans will find a variety of cream cheeses, bagel sandwiches and the like. Purists may balk at flavors like cinnamon vanilla or cheddar jalapeno, but they'll be pleased by traditional items like everything, salted and onion.

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Izzy & Mo's Luncheonette

Where to find them: 247 King Ave. in Victorian Village

Bagel to try: The Izzy Bagel sandwich with a bialy

Chef Magdiale Wolmark has been recreating his childhood favorites at Izzy & Mo's (aptly named after his parents). This includes "kosher-style" goodies like sufganiyot (jelly donuts) and three types of bagels: a traditional water bagel, a Jerusalem bagel (shaped more like a pretzel stick) and a bialy-style bagel that's puffier like focaccia bread. Cozy up in the luncheonette and order an Izzy Bagel sandwich. A tall bialy is sliced in half and loaded with gravlax salmon, capers, tomato, onion, caviar cream cheese and hot sauce.

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Nicholas Dekker writes about breakfast, beer and Columbus at http://BreakfastWithNick.com. He authored the breakfast guidebook "Breakfast With Nick: Columbus" and leads tours for Columbus Food Adventures and Columbus Brew Adventures.