Not Your Grandma’s Deli

Well, OK, it kind of might be your grandma’s deli. They’ve been around since 1950, so I guess some of you whipper snappers might have grandparents that could have frequented The Bagel. My sister is a huge fan and will use any excuse to get a bit more Jewish food in her life. One Sunday, we found ourselves near Montrose Harbor. (My sister put together a team for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.) And, always the cagey one she says, “Hey, we’re kind of north. On our way back home, we should stop at The Bagel for lunch.” Uh, huh. That was her plan all along. Forget charitable causes… she saw the walk as an excuse to eat a platter of free pickles.

(Before she starts yelling at me, full disclosure time: My sister is very charitable and really does want to end Alzheimer’s disease. She gathered my cousin, Mr. Moo, and myself together so that we could raise awareness and donate cash for a cure.)

At any rate, the four of us ended up at The Bagel in the city (there’s a location in the ‘burbs as well).

What We Ate

When you sit down, the wait staff brings you a large plate of dill pickles along with the basket of bread and bagel crisps. This is how you know you’re in for a ton-of-food-treat. Platter o’ pickles.

We shared a bowl of mish mash soup—chicken broth with matzo ball, kreplach, noodles, rice, and kasha. It’s a half-gallon of soup served in a huge glass bowl. Seriously, it’s a giant bowl of chicken soup with all the right goodies. And, I’m not exaggerating. It’s really a half a gallon. (If you’re not familiar, kreplach is a dumpling filled with ground meat. My sister and I split the kreplach as my cousin is vegetarian.)

Of course, since all diners in our party had a bit of Polish blood running through their veins, we shared a plate of potato pancakes (served with sour cream and apple sauce, of course). Now, I am not a potato pancake connoisseur, but I wasn’t such a big fan of these. A bit too doughy and not enough onion flavor. But, in all honesty, it’s a slab of fried potato—it’s still pretty darn good.

They have a decent, but not extensive children’s menu. The Moo opted for a scrambled egg with bacon and a side of fruit. He pretty much devoured it along with a half a pickle, two rolls, half a potato pancake, and all of the leftover applesauce from said cakes. He seemed happy.

Finally, we all had turkey reubens. For those of you paying attention, yes, they’re that good. My vegetarian cousin ate turkey. This isn’t a sliced Oscar Meyer kind of turkey. It’s a real turkey sandwich with real sauerkraut and melty Swiss cheese. Dressing on the side so you can make it as lovely and goopy as you want.

What We Drank

Coffee and tea. But, they have a selection of fountain and bottled sodas if that’s your thing.

If I lived closer, I might weigh 900 lbs—what with making The Bagel my daily habit. But, alas, it is not meant to be. (Now, if only I lived north of North Avenue… they deliver!)

Location: 3107 N. Broadway, Chicago. Parking is miserable, but there’s a free lot behind the building.

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