Why do people love Tompkins Square Bagels?

Tompkins Square Bagels
Tompkins Square Bagels
165 Avenue A (between 10th and 11th St)
New York, NY 10009

My go-to bagel spot is Ess-A-Bagel on 1st Ave and 21st street. And one really only needs one bagel spot in their life. This is why I had yet to venture to Tompkins Square Bagels, even though many East Villagers have told me about how great it is. Seemed like TSB is a lot of people’s bagel spot. One weekend, I decided to cheat on Ess-A-Bagel (yikes) to see if TSB was really all that.

Tompkins Square Bagels
It is a cute open spot on Ave A, with plenty of seating in the back.

Tompkins Square Bagels
The bagels are made in-house everyday. There are a ton of sandwich combinations on the board for you to pick from. Ess-A is a little more no-frills  (no “Jessie Jane Roast Beef” type of sandwiches at Ess-A, you just tell them what you want in your sandwich and they make it for you).

Tompkins Square Bagels
LAW and I shared the cream cheese and lox ($8.00). Really nothing special. The lox was very mild, and almost not salty enough for the cream cheese and sesame bagel. This needed at least some capers or something to get rid of the blandness.

Tompkins Square Bagels
LAW and I also shared the BLT, which was better than the lox but still was lacking. The saltiness from the bacon helped add flavor to the overall blandness of the bagel. Iceburg lettuce was fresh and gave the sandwich a nice crunch. I think it needed more mayo, because the whole thing was just so dry.

Tompkins Square Bagels
My favorite, if I had to pick one, is this scallion cream cheese with cucumbers and tomatoes on an everything bagel. The cream cheese is NECESSARY because the bagel is just so damn dry. The salt crystals on the everything bagel is also necessary because the bagel is so damn bland. Tomatoes and cucumbers were average. Nothing to write home about.

Tompkins Square BagelsClose up of the bagel. Looks lame, yeah? Am I missing something?

5 thoughts on “Why do people love Tompkins Square Bagels?

  1. Essa Bagel’s dough is overly salty and has sugar added to it. If that’s your thing , more power to you. That said, to say TSB bagels are bland is kind of laughable. Different? Maybe. Bland!? C’mon now.

    1. Hmm interesting.. maybe I do have a stronger need for salt. And I do like the sugar. If TSB is not bland, but is less salty and sugary, then what is it? How would you describe it?

      1. I should add, TSB sweetens their bagels with barley malt instead of sugar. This is a very old fashioned and more traditional way of adding flavor to the bagel. B-Malt is a bit pricier than white sugar and as a result, few places still use it today. It can be a shock to the pallet if you’re not used to it. Kind of like going from a drink sweetened with HFC to cane sugar or fruit juice. All this aside, both places make great , above average bagels. TSB hand roll, kettle boils , and bakes on premises. Both places, if I’m not mistaken, bake in a Cutler oven. The Cadillac of bagels ovens. Quite expensive as they are no longer produced.

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