Breakfast at Union Bagel Company

I’ve been joking around with my mom that I’m going to need an expense account to support the research that goes into this blog. Luckily for me, she was visiting this weekend and happily sponsored this week’s tasting at Union Bagel Co. I had walked by their shop many times on my way out to the East End, but just hadn’t found time to stop in. Located on the corner of Smith and Cumberland, they are close enough to walk to, but also have ample street parking for anybody driving. They are also open early at 6am for anybody needing a quick and delicious breakfast on their way into work.

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I think that I should preface this review with the confession that I have always had a tenuous relationship with bagels. I find typical bagels to be too large and their dense and doughy texture to be off-putting. When I eat bagels, I reserve them for lunch time when I am looking for a heavier meal to hold me until dinner time. I do however, have random cravings for bagels that are stronger than my feelings about ludicrous portions and I am glad I followed this one.

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When my mom and I arrived at Union Bagel Co. we were thrilled to find perfectly sized bagels. Not too small and not too large (I am the Goldilocks of bagels), they were just what we were looking for. Hand rolled, boiled, and baked fresh every morning and finished off with your favorite schmear. My mom ordered their plain bagel with cream cheese and I ordered the everything bagel with chive cream cheese. As we lingered for a few minutes at their counter space and enjoyed our bagels, we noticed that nearly every customer that came in was addressed by name. That familiarity from the staff speaks volumes to me. That tells me that their customers come often enough to have built a relationship with the people working there. That’s good food and good feelings under one roof!

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After we finished, I mentioned to the man who sold us our bagels that I would be writing an article about their shop and he immediately introduced himself as Toby and welcomed me into their exposed kitchen to chat with the bakers, Paul and Gibbs. We spent another fifteen minutes there just chatting with the three of them about the bagel business and of course, some bagel gossip. I promised I’d keep the details off the record, but let’s just say that they swear they have the best bagels in town. I highly recommend stopping by to see for yourself.

Check in next week for a tutorial on bread making!

Kelley Ruhl

About Kelley Ruhl

A new baker in town, getting to know the local bakers and bakeries. Always searching for the perfect cupcake, bread, cookie or pie. Eager to share my insights and reflections on what it takes to be a baker and what Portland has to offer the baked-good obsessed.