The Collegian
Friday, June 21, 2024

Richmond round-up: The best and worst bagel places

<p>A rosemary sea salt bagel from Nate's Bagels in Richmond, Virginia, topped with scallion cream cheese, tomato and bacon. <em>Photo courtesy of Holly Lundeen</em></p>

A rosemary sea salt bagel from Nate's Bagels in Richmond, Virginia, topped with scallion cream cheese, tomato and bacon. Photo courtesy of Holly Lundeen

When making the trek down Interstate 95 from New York to the University of Richmond, there is one thing senior Nicole Schonander’s parents never forget: bagels. 

“In my apartment, since I live with one girl from New Jersey and one from Connecticut, our parents always make sure to bring us bagels from home,” Schonander said. “They know how much we miss them.”

New Yorkers boast quite the reputation as bagel snobs, but what makes a New York bagel so special? 

“Crispy on the outside and doughy on the inside,” said senior Alex Friedman, who is also from New York. “There’s really nothing like a New York bagel.”

According to New Yorkers themselves, here is the best and worst place in Richmond to get a quality bagel when you’re craving the carbs.  

Nate’s Bagels

Nate’s Bagels, located in The Fan district at the corner of Cary Street and Allen Avenue, has quickly become a favorite breakfast destination among UR students.

UR students aren’t alone. The Nosher rated Nate’s as the best bagel in the state of Virginia. 

Senior Allie Davidge, another New Yorker, and Shonander both said they preferred Nate’s to other options because of the wide assortment of bagels it offered, including rosemary sea salt, sea salt and pumpernickel.

Friedman said it was definitely worth the twenty-minute drive from campus, but recommended placing an order ahead of time so you could skip the line that typically wraps around the store. 

“If I’m feeling very New York and want a taste of home, I order an everything or sesame bagel with scallion cream cheese from Nate’s,” Friedman said. 

Davidge said she ordered the cinnamon raisin bagel. Although she thinks this is the best bagel in Richmond, Nate’s bagels are a little fluffier than a New York bagel, she said.

Enjoy what you're reading?
Signup for our newsletter

“It still doesn’t compare,” Schonander said of Nate’s bagels. “It’s a good try, but it doesn’t compare.”

Turns out, Nate’s isn’t actually trying to emulate the New York bagel.

“We are a Richmond bagel, first and foremost,” according to Nate’s website. “Nate spent 2 years serving and asking what Richmonders were looking for, all the while traveling back and forth to New York, New Jersey, and across Virginia, getting advice from the best bagel makers out there.” 

Einstein Bros. Bagels

Einstein Bros. Bagels, another bagel place frequented by UR students, got less than stellar reviews from the New York crowd.

“I don’t think Einsteins is very good at all,” Davidge said. “It’s very thin, it doesn’t really even taste like a bagel.”

Einstein is a chain with six Richmond locations. The closest shop to campus is located in the Libbie Place Shopping Center. Its menu has an array of bagel choices including cheesy hashbrown, green chile and spinach florentine. 

“I went sophomore year, and every time I ate it I was like, ‘I don’t know why I’m eating it,’” Friedman said. “It’s not even close to a New York bagel.” 

Without much hesitation, the New Yorkers said they preferred their bagel place at home. 

“Why change up what’s already good?” Schonander said. 

It seems that there are two types of students at UR, those who think the bagels in Richmond are good, and those who are from New York. 

Contact contributor Sydney Charlton at

Support independent student media

You can make a tax-deductible donation by clicking the button below, which takes you to our secure PayPal account. The page is set up to receive contributions in whatever amount you designate. We look forward to using the money we raise to further our mission of providing honest and accurate information to students, faculty, staff, alumni and others in the general public.

Donate Now