Cover image from the article "The State of the Bagel" by Hannah Goldfield of The New Yorker

The New Yorker examines “The State of the Bagel”

We concur with the new yorker: bagels are on the rise

We love seeing bagels get the journalistic attention and critique they deserve, especially from New Yorkers, arguably the community with the most ardent bagel opinions. That’s why we are delighted that not just any New Yorker, but The New Yorker profiled “The State of the Bagel” (and the hard-working folks that make them) in the upcoming December 28, 2020 Issue

In particular, Hannah Goldfield examines two relative newcomers to the bagel scene: Mark’s Off Madison near Madison Square Park, and Edith’s in Greenpoint.

We love this profile for a few reasons.

Highlights modern takes on old classics

First and foremost, we love that these shops exist. 

We’re always excited by newcomers in the bagel game who put their own, personal, creative modern twist (pun intended) on a highly traditional food. In fact, both shops specifically call back to the bagels of generations past:

Proprietor Mark Strausman of Mark’s Off Madison (M.O.M.’s) calls his wood-fired, hand-rolled bagels “Not Your Grandfather’s Bagels” with the “Not” crossed out.

Edith’s is named after proprietor Elyssa Heller’s great-aunt, Edith. As stated in the New Yorker article, Edith’s “offers what you might call your great-great-grandmother’s bagels—hand-rolled but also twisted, as in Old World Poland”

This plays into our central thesis of what makes bagels so great: bagels are the canvas that allows for the ultimate expression of creativity. 

the high-end bagel niche

But, while these shops do pay homage to the traditions before them, they are unmistakably of the higher-end, high-falutin, trendy, new-generation shop variety. This archetype of shop tend to utilize the bagel merely as an ingredient – a vehicle for other accoutrements, typically fish – rather than the star of the show itself. 

While this style of shop/Jewish deli has been around for a long, long time – it’s not our cup of tea. Personally, we prefer a big, fluffy, double-sided-toppinged monstrosity slathered in cream cheese to a petite, wood-fired bagel.

Nonetheless, we recognize that everyone has different tastes, and so long as these bagels are high quality*, we welcome M.O.M.’s and Edith’s variations of a timeless classic with open arms.

*regarding the difference between quality and taste, we recently had an “aha” moment that delineated the two from Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard, founder and owner of Patagnoia:

Webster's defines quality as "a degree of excellence," and of course the best quality would be the highest degree. Some people believe that quality is subjective, that excellence for one person may be mediocrity for another. But then again, they may be thinking of taste, which means "individual preference." My design chief and I finally had to agree that quality is absolutely objective and definable; otherwise we would never even be able to establish our design criteria.

Let My People Go Surfing, p. 88

Taste is a matter of preference. Quality is objectively definable and measurable.


In conclusion, while these shops may not provide our ideal bagel experience, we can appreciate quality in whatever shape or form it comes in.

As the old saying goes, a rising tide floats all boats, so we are pleased that someone is giving the growing and innovative bagel community the exposure and thoughtfulness it deserves.

Want to read our full shop reviews?

Frankly, we hadn’t even heard of Mark’s Off Madison goes until this article. But we are excited to try it out as soon as we can! Stay tuned.

In the meantime, we’ve already had the pleasure of reviewing Edith’s. To summarize, and to be brutally honest, the bagel itself doesn’t stand up very well on it’s own. However, what they do with the bagel – their lox sandwich and pizza bagels, for example – is interesting enough to make Edith’s a worthwhile visit. Read the full review here:

Bagel sandwiches, shakshuka bun, and latke from Edith's in Greenpoint


Edith’s is a Jewish deli popup operating out of Paulie Gee’s pizza in Greenpoint They’re making wood-fires bagels in the same oven used to cook Paulie’s famous pizzas – some of the best in Brooklyn. They started as a temporary popup, but have since decided to stick around indefinitely. Instead of the usual litmus test,

Read More »
What do you think?

The unequivocal best part about bagels are the strong feelings and strong opinions they elicit. There are infinite opinions about what constitutes the “best” bagel, or the “right way” to eat a bagel. We could debate ad infinitum without ever reaching a resolution.

That being said – we want to hear your opinion!

Have you visited either of these shops? What did you think? Agree or disagree with our analysis? Let us know in the comments below, hit us up on social media, or send us an email. We want to hear from you!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on reddit

Leave a Comment