38-year-old former video game producer Mike Varley accomplished something no New Yorker has ever attempted before—conducting the most comprehensive bagel survey of New York City ever carried out.
Over the span of 13 months Varley devoured a whopping 202 bagels from all five boroughs in an effort to find out who truly makes the best New York bagel.
In this project, dubbed “Everything is Everything,” Varley ordered an everything bagel with scallion cream cheese from 202 different bagel stores, allowing each store creativity and variety in preparation while still being among one of the most popular bagel orders for NYer’s. He then rated each bagel on a scale of zero to five judging it in three different categories: store, bagel, and spread.
In addition to the zero to five scale, each store was then given an icon grade, which can be seen on the interactive map. These icons are described as follows:
Marks of distinction were given to the standouts of each category, along with “Best of Borough” honors. What makes a store, bagel, or cream cheese rank a five, though, and possibly take the title of Best of Borough?
For a store to rank a five, Varley paid attention to:
- The store’s presentation
- Product freshness
- Order management
- Bagel staff skill
For a bagel to rank a five it needed to have:
- Peak freshness
- A strong chew
- Compelling flavor and texture
- An ability to enhance the applied spread via radiant heating, texture complement, or otherwise
For ranking the cream cheese, Varley noted:
- Application technique
- Dairy perspective
- Scallion texture and flavoring
- Interplay with the bagel
When all the research was said and done, it was concluded that P&C Bagels in Middle Village serves the best bagels in New York City.
Varley pointed out that due to many reasons such as multiple entries of the same chain, COVID closure, and no Google search presence, certain stores may not be covered in this survey, so if your go-to bagel spot didn’t make the list no one will judge you for continuing to make them your bagel of choice!
You can click here to see the full interactive map and the list of bagel stores that made the cut.