Have you ever eaten a bagel and thought, “Hey, this is delicious, but I keep getting cream cheese everywhere?” Well, first of all, it might be a good idea for you to reevaluate exactly how you’re eating bagels. Next, head down to West Village’s Bantam Bagels, where the cream cheese is securely contained inside the bagel, keeping it at a safe distance from your face, shirt, loved ones, etc.
That’s right, at Bantam Bagels your toppings are tightly ensconced within the bagel, which is conveniently doughnut-hole-shaped. Round balls of the chewy dough are stuffed with traditional fillings, ranging from flavored cream cheeses to lox, but the fun really begins when you start thinking outside the breakfast box.
In addition to the plain ol’ bagel and cream cheese combo, the month-old storefront dishes out inspired offerings like cookies and milk (a brown sugar walnut bagel with a sweet chocolate chip cream cheese filling), the box lunch (a riff on PB&J topped with crushed peanuts), and the ultimate cure for a rough morning, the aptly named Hangover—a cheddar cheese and egg bagel, filled with bacon cheddar cream cheese and drizzled with maple syrup. Bantam also brainstorms a monthly special. For October, look for a pumpkin-spiced bagel filled with pumpkin cream cheese and topped with “spooky” sesame seeds. And it's called (what else?) the Jack.
What inspired human being saved us from cream-cheesy fingers? That would be one Nick Oleksak, who had a dream (literally) about the bite-size bagels. After cooking up a test batch to rave reviews from friends and family, Oleksak and his wife Elyse, graduates from Columbia University, quit their fast-paced Wall Street jobs and started slinging bagel balls full-time. They both also have the proper street cred to contend with purists decrying anything not in traditional bagel form. Elyse’s grandfather came from a long line of Jewish bakers in Brighton Beach and, as a kid, Nick spent hours in the kitchen with his Italian grandmother. And at just $1.35 a pop, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to settle on a new replacement for your go-to bagel fix. Your wallet, stomach, and pants (or wherever you wipe your fingers) will thank you, we promise.