Melany Perez

With New York City just a train ride away, writing an article defending New Haven’s bagel selection feels like a lost cause. Nevertheless, as an ardent bagel enthusiast —and someone who understands that it would be impractical to go to New York City for the sole purpose of getting a breakfast pastry every day — I have intimately familiarized myself with New Haven’s bagel market. Lucky for you, readers of the WKND, I am ready to share that coveted knowledge. Read on for intel on the best and worst bagels in town. 

First, Book Trader Cafe. I will die on the hill that this is the best bagel spot in New Haven. For under five dollars, you can get a delicious bagel and a quality cup of coffee to accompany it. Book Trader gets crowded during the day, but if you go early, you can snag a spot in the greenhouse-style main room — an ideal place to procrastinate your work by people-watching through the massive windows. Although I would love to convince everyone who reads this article that Book Trader is supreme, in the interest of staying impartial, I will disclose that the spotty WiFi and loud crowds make this a difficult spot to do anything productive. Also, although the bagels are from Pepperidge Farm, you can pretend that they are homemade if you don’t watch the barista pull them out of the bag.

Next up, Olmo. When a Yalie suggests going out for bagels, they’re probably going to drag you to Olmo. The cafe, which was established in 2018, claims to “have given New Haven its own style of bagel.” They have. And it’s bad. I’ll be the first to say it: I don’t understand the fascination. Maybe Olmo’s underwhelming coffee selection taints my view of their bagels. Maybe the trek down Whitney Avenue is too demoralizing, especially in the cold New Haven winters. Maybe I’m the one with bad bagel taste. But, to me, Olmo’s bagels are always stale and disappointing. Supporters will try to justify Olmo by telling you that it just won “Best of the Fest” at the NYC BagelFest, but, as someone who was not on the award committee, I can tell you that I have my suspicions about this honor. 

If you are still reading after I bashed Olmo, thank you! I appreciate it. As a reward, I’ll reveal another gem of a bagel spot: G Cafe. If you are looking for something beyond the regular bagel, head over to G Cafe, where you can purchase the pragel — a delicious hybrid between a bagel and a pretzel. Eating a pretzel can feel a bit strange in the early hours of the day, so I’d recommend G Cafe for when you’re craving a savory afternoon snack. While they only have two options, plain or everything, G Cafe has mastered the basics and is consistently delicious. 

Regrettably, I feel that I must address the bagels at Koffee. I like Koffee. Or, rather, I want to like Koffee. From the eclectic music selection — you never know whether you will get Faye Webster or death metal — to the fashionably clashing couches, Koffee exudes a certain coolness that keeps me coming back. Unfortunately, I do not harbor the same enthusiasm for Koffee’s bagels as I do for its interior design. If G Cafe is consistent, Koffee is the exact opposite, handing customers different bagel renditions based on how the barista is feeling that day. Did he just break up with his girlfriend? If so, your bagel might be overstuffed with cream cheese. Did he have a fight with his parents? You’re lucky if you receive your bagel at all. 

I’m unsure about this last recommendation given the ridicule it might garner. Still, I cannot deny that Gheav’s bagels are my go-to. Open 24 hours a day and located near central campus, it’s no secret that Gheav is convenient. Gheav knows it’s convenient, too, which is why a single bottle of Pure Leaf iced tea costs almost five dollars. However, I recently discovered that Gheav bagels cost only three dollars — a revelation that has drastically changed my late-night snacking habits. While they aren’t the best in New Haven, their price and accessibility secure Gheav’s bagels a place on this list. 

There you have it, one girl’s (correct) opinion on five New Haven bagel spots. Whether you follow my advice is out of my hands, but, before you bagel, do keep these thoroughly researched evaluations in mind. 

Emily Aikens is an Associate Beat Reporter covering faculty and academics at Yale. Originally from Pennsylvania, she is a sophomore in Trumbull College studying English.