Picture this: The weekend rolls around, you’re too incapacitated to get ready for a full brunch, but you still want something delicious to munch on. Bagels it is, then. The JAPs of Penn may disagree over which New York bagelry boasts the most authentic experience, but Philadelphia also has some gems.
3602 Chestnut St.
Nestled on the intersection of 36th and Chestnut streets is Spread Bagelry. A Sunday brunch staple for many Penn students, Spread is home to Montreal–style bagels, which means they are “artisanal, hand rolled, [and] boiled in honey water.” The delicate care involved in making these bagels shows, and Spread has an impressive selection of homemade spreads available, including seasonal sweet berry, hummus de jour and smoked nova salmon. If you’re in the mood for something a little heartier, they also offer bagel sandwiches. Check out the wood oven tuna melt, with melted gruyere, tomato and homemade tuna salad, or the roast chicken cheesesteak, with spinach, mushroom, grilled red onion and melted provolone. Pair that with a poppy or cinnamon raisin bagel, and you’ve got yourself an eggcellent Sunday.
TL;DR: Check out Spread for the most convenient Sunday bagel spread after a rough weekend out.
DON’T MISS: Hot Carnegie Deli NY Pastrami
Hours: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
3601 Market Street Suite 5
Located right across from SHS sits Schmear It’s first brick–and–mortar location. It’s a tiny bagelry that shares a space with a PWS, meaning there aren’t a lot of seats available, but it does have the best selection of savory and sweet concoctions. As a bonus, the staff is also very friendly.
A bagel with spread starts at a price of $3, with customizations priced at 50 cents each. If you want something a little more filling, egg sandwiches start at $4 with egg and you can add tuna, whitefish, or salmon salad for a dollar. Their custom bagel sandwiches fall on a spectrum ranging from the Fruit Smoothie, topped with strawberries, apples, bananas and mangoes to the “Dragon,” with jalapenos, walnuts and red pepper. On their website, you can even submit your “dream Schmear It” idea, and who knows, maybe they’ll make it for you. If, for some reason, you’re not feeling bagels that day, the store also offers a variety of oatmeal and yogurt parfaits.
TL;DR: The first physical storefront of a Penn–favorite bagel institution located right across from SHS.
DON’T MISS: S’mores (cream cheese, marshmallow fluff, graham crackers and chocolate chips) for a sweet treat, or the Philly Roll (pictured here, with cream cheese, lox, cucumbers, wasabi and soy sauce) for something savory
Weekdays: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Weekends: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
725 Walnut St.
Knead Bagels is definitely the coziest of the bagleries listed, with the most seating available. The aesthetic is warm and welcoming, and it’s the perfect place to get a quick bite to eat on a weekend morning. Knead Bagels has more savory than sweet bagel styles, but quality above quantity, right? Some of the sweet pairings can satisfy even the pickiest eaters. They do offer some “non–traditional” bagel flavors—from black sesame to fennel and sea salt. I opted for Lavender bagel with Vanilla Honey Cream Cheese. It’s a weet, crispy bagel with a hint of honey that leaves a somewhat strange aftertaste. While the small space offered a few salads, I’d recommend sticking to their namesake.
TL;DR: A cozy place to sit and enjoy some exotic bagel flavors away from the Penn scene.
DON’T MISS: 12–hour Brisket, with smoked cheddar, coffee BBQ, pickled onion (Togarashi)
Tuesday–Friday: 6:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Saturday–Sunday: 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Chestnut Street Bagels
1705 Chestnut Street
Chestnut Street Bagels is a tiny restaurant near the Liberty Place shops in Center City. It’s not really a place to sit and eat, but the place does have fast service and a good selection for those early morning bagel runs. A bagel paired with a spread is only $2.40, making Chestnut Street Bagels the most budget–friendly place on the list (though it is a bit of a trek from campus). The store also makes the famous rainbow bagel, which pairs great with the raisin apple cream cheese for a sweet surprise. There are also traditional breakfast sandwiches available and a few specialty sandwiches, including the Nutella Banana Honey (with bananas, honey and Nutella) or the Turkey Cali (with turkey, avocado, pepper jack cheese and sprouts). As a side note, they also have the best coffee out of all the other shops.
TL;DR: Check out Spread for an insta–worthy bagel before a day in Center City.
DON’T MISS: The Godfather, with prosciutto, mozzarella, basil, tomatoes and balsamic vinegar.
Every day from 6:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.