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From plain with cream cheese to loaded with lox, bagels now abound in the Holy City

From plain with cream cheese to loaded with lox, bagels now abound in the Holy City
August 2023

Discover some of our favorite spots in the Holy City for hot, fresh bagels

Blondies Bagels & Cafe on Daniel Island.

Bagel Nation
One of the few stalwarts, this spot has been satisfying local cravings for nearly 30 years at various locations around town. The long-standing James Island store is a popular go-to for bagels like the cinnamon-and-sugar-encrusted Frazzle. But for a hearty breakfast sandwich, the Southern Belle is hard to beat. Choose your base, and they’ll pile it high with egg, cheese, sausage, tomatoes, and green peppers with a dusting of Cajun spice for a kick. At lunchtime, the sandwich menu changes to hearty offerings that range from the hot corned beef and pastrami Manhattan to the veggie-heavy San Francisco Sprout. 520 Folly Rd., James Island & 1975 Magwood Blvd., West Ashley;

Blazing Star Cafe
Owner Bettina Fisher turns out all sorts of delicious vegetarian and pescatarian fare at this West Ashley eatery with a focus on Jewish specialties. And while she has babkas, bialys, and challah coming out of the oven regularly, it’s the daily selection of handmade bagels that will bring you back again and again. Blazing Star’s version have the perfect balance of chew and crust with all the classic toppings. We recommend branching out and trying more unusual flavors like the cherry cardamom and cinnamon or the Middle Eastern za’atar. As for cream cheese, opt for the excellent preserved lemon, which gets a bit of heat from the addition of Calabrian and Aleppo peppers. 874 Orleans Rd., West Ashley;

Blondies Bagels & Cafe
This Daniel Island spot, named for two (blonde) sisters, serves up bagels and cream cheese for breakfast along with classic deli fare for lunch. Here, you can make your own bagel sandwich, choosing a combo of meat, egg, and cheese. Or stick to a classic salt or garlic bagel toasted and spread with a house-made cream cheese, such as horseradish-bacon or jalapeño-cheddar. At lunch, a bagel topped with homemade chicken, egg, or tuna salad makes for a satisfying meal. 245 Seven Farms Dr., Daniel Island;

Charleston Bagel Co.
The menu is a perfect mash-up of North and South, spanning both bagels and biscuits. You’ll find country ham on a homemade biscuit, as well as the Jersey bagel (Taylor pork roll with egg and cheese) with a side of grits for a true culinary crossover. There’s also a large sandwich selection, ranging from a basic egg and cheese to the deluxe Double Decker with corned beef, bacon, egg, cheddar, pastrami, and Swiss. Be sure to save room for baked treats like cannoli, sfogliatella, Danishes, and cinnamon buns. 656 Long Point Rd., Mount Pleasant;

Holey City Bagels on Cannon Street and the lox breakfast sandwich.

Holey City Bagels
The line is always long at this popular downtown shop. Co-owner Greg Odachowski started perfecting his bagel-making skills in 2017, first at the Charleston Farmers Market and then via a food truck before opening the brick-and-mortar in 2022. Bagels and spreads range from Asiago to sesame, plain butter to Nutella. Tops on our list are the rosemary-salt bagel with whitefish spread and the Lox Deluxe with smoked salmon, capers, onion, tomato, cucumber, chive cream cheese, and dill on a salt bagel. Holey City’s coffee program gets just as much attention as the bagels, and the coffee bar with a separate entrance makes it easy to grab an espresso or a honey lavender latte and be on your way. 43 Cannon St., Downtown;

A freshly baked assortment from Ruby’s Bagels on Coleman Boulevard.

Ruby’s Bagels
The transplanted Northeasterners behind this East Cooper favorite promise “a taste of Brooklyn in the Lowcountry.” Stop in on a busy Saturday morning, and the small shop will have a line out the door with the crew moving fast enough to make a native New Yorker proud. In addition to classics like sesame and onion, you’ll find some standouts here, like the pumpernickel everything and the chocolate chip sea salt. (They also make egg bagels, which have a softer texture.) Prefer savory? Take your pick, and top it with the bacon-scallion cream cheese. 280 W. Coleman Blvd., Mount Pleasant;