Bagel lovers from Emory’s sizable New York population should hold their breath on East Atlanta Village’s newest vendor of the Big Apple staple. Emerald City Bagels opened Jan. 24 about a 15-minute drive from campus. The shop is nestled in the middle of Glenwood Avenue SE, between restaurants, shops and graffiti.
A bustling queue greeted me and my friend as we entered the shop. The interior mimicked an ’80s- or ’90s-era bakery. Employees wore vintage baking shirts, folded paper hats and yellow neckerchiefs.
Baskets hanging against the back wall displayed a variety of bagels priced at $2 each and $24 per baker’s dozen, and a deli-style counter and refrigerated display case offered a wide selection of butters, jams and spreads. Standard spreads, including plain, veggie and herb, cost $1.50 on a bagel and $5.50 for a tub, while “Gold Star” spreads, such as toasted almond fig and a lox platter, cost $2 on a bagel and $6.50 for a tub. The shop offered traditional bagel flavors, like plain, sesame and poppy, as well as unique flavors, like rosemary sea salt, jalapeno cheddar and olive oil-sea salt. Add-ons, such as capers and sprouts, were also available.
After a 30-minute wait in line, I ordered a jalapeno cheddar bagel with garlic herb spread. My friend ordered an everything bagel with dill spread and tomato slices, a 50-cent add-on. Unfortunately, the store’s toaster had yet to arrive, leaving us no choice but to eat the bagels cold. A kind lady who worked at the store recommended that I try the jalapeno and cheddar bagel since it typically outsold the store’s other options. Sadly, it was just doughy and cold. The jalapenos looked dry atop the frozen cheddar, and even the garlic spread was tasteless. Though I applaud Emerald City Bagels for the soft and creamy texture of its bagel spreads, someone applied the garlic herb spread much too generously. Without adding on extra ingredients to salvage a semblance of originality, it was the kind of bagel one could eat in their dorm room. My friend and I purposefully elected for relatively flavorful options yet were still underwhelmed with the plainness of our meals.
Though my friend and I tried to appreciate the bagels, we couldn’t escape the thought that the DUC-ling offered equally delicious bagels for a mere meal swipe. The uptown, bougie crowd around us didn’t flinch at the overpriced bagels, toppings and spreads. All in all, the bagels were not worth the money.
We managed to grab seating outdoors, but our time in the sun was hampered when an employee began to wipe the windows. The harsh, soapy smell completely removed our appetites, which had already dulled from our long wait in line. The experience was all-in-all disappointing and I’d likely not recommend it to my friends.