Great Bakes: Bagels

Sliced, seeded, or steamed, three places to get your schmear on around Indy.

What makes a great bagel? They tend to be measured by the revered metro–New York version: shiny and crackly on the outside, dense and chewy on the inside, and humungous and often pleasantly misshapen. While Indy’s standout bagel bakers may riff off their New York counterparts, their own glorious specimens defy that tidy categorization. And that’s part of what makes them great for bagel lovers here in the Circle City.

Bagel Fair
1300 E. 86th St., 317-846-0950

Two generations of a family originally hailing from New York have been using the same recipe for 100+ years.

HOURS: Mon–Sat 7 a.m.–2 p.m., Sun 7 a.m.–1 p.m.
CLAIM TO BAGEL FAME: Burnished, blistered beauties that live up to their Big Apple lineage—just in a more petite size, which is probably a good thing.
DON’T SKIP: The cinnamon raisin bagel with a schmear.
INSIDER TIP: You can score a bialy—a cross between a bagel and an English muffin dressed up with onions, poppy seeds, and salt—on Sundays if you show up early enough. 8:30 is about right.
WHO KNEW? Ripple Bagel & Deli works their sammie magic with bagels sourced from Bagel Fair.

Sidedoor Bagel
1103 E. 10th St.

Owner Josh Greeson, who didn’t know bagels other than Lender’s existed growing up in Arkansas, sharpened his skills working at Amelia’s. He sold his bagels hand over fist via online orders before opening grab-and-go Sidedoor on Christmas Eve 2021. He has been featured in Bon Appétit, among other local media, for being one of the best bagel-makers around.

HOURS: Tue–Fri 7:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m., Sat 8 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
CLAIM TO BAGEL FAME: Sourdough bagels made with locally grown, stone-ground organic flour.
DON’T SKIP: The rosemary sea salt bagel.
INSIDER TIP: Available flavors change daily on no set schedule, so check the online ordering menu to see if your favorite is on offer before you head down.
WHO KNEW? The name comes from Greeson’s original Covid-scuttled plan to sell his bagels directly from the side door of Amelia’s.

Shapiro’s Delicatessen
808 S. Meridian St., 317-631-4041

Family-run for four generations, the first iteration of this locally famous spot was in the delicatessen business in Russia.

HOURS: Mon–Fri 10 a.m.–7:30 p.m., Sat–Sun 9 a.m.–7:30 p.m.
CLAIM TO BAGEL FAME: Sizeable and soft rings of dough, airier than their East Coast equivalent but still plenty chewy, encrusted in toppings. They take more than 30 hours to make.
DON’T SKIP: The marble rye bagel, a cousin of Shapiro’s house-baked, crusty, seeded rye sandwich bread.
INSIDER TIP: Arrive no later than 11:30 if you want to score a classic flavor, like poppy or sesame. Onion, in fact, is usually the first to go.
WHO KNEW? They’re the oldest single family–owned Jewish deli in America, in operation since 1905.