Unlike barbecue, there's not a lot of competition for best bagel in Kansas City. So, whether my expectations were lowered or I'm finally starting to show my East Coast bias, I think we've got a real contender in Bruegger's Bagels.
The Vermont-based chain opened its first area location (13713 Metcalf) last Thursday in Overland Park's Corbin Park development. On Saturday, the wait was as long as 20 minutes, and the metal bins behind the counter were empty as soon as a new batch of kettle-boiled bagels was ready.
The scene in the middle of the week was a lot calmer. Bruegger's has a good system: Customers order at the far right of the counter, grab a cream cheese package from a refrigerated case in the center of the counter, then receive and pay for their bagels by the door. The space is slightly tight, so it's probably better to get an order to go rather than trying to eat them there.
If the bagel bin has a hot sign on the front, buy one. Hot bagels, like hot donuts, are simply better. These bagels are also properly sized -- a lot of stores tend to offer oversized, breadier bagels, a trap that Bruegger's has avoided. And they're reasonably priced -- a half-dozen bagel bundle with a tin of cream cheese is $7.69. But what really sold me was the way the folks there packed up my bagels: The garlic and everything bagels were segregated in a smaller bag to prevent toppings from rubbing off onto other bagels.