So, I recently received a note on one of my social media accounts from a new reader who wanted to know if I ever plan to review some of Philly’s more well-known breakfast and brunch establishments – places like Sabrina’s, Green Eggs Cafe, Honey’s, Girard, and others. The short answer is “absolutely”. As my first year as a Philadelphia newbie comes to a close, I’m certainly feeling less intimidated by the fact that I’m the new guy here, and that many other people who write way better than I do have already visited and reviewed many of the bigger breakfast and brunch spots in town. And you know what? That’s ok. I’ll get to them, and I’ll keep doing what I do. But as I eat my way there, I jump at every chance I get to check out the little local shops too, both in the city and throughout the suburbs, and I seriously enjoy telling you guys about as many local eateries as I can find. So….now that I’ve unpacked that, I’ll leave it right there. Let’s talk about Brooklyn Bagels in Huntingdon Valley.
Brooklyn Bagels is a shop located in a strip near the corner of Huntingdon Pike and E. County Line Rd. It’s deceptively large inside. The space is quite roomy and even the 8-10 tables they have scattered in the front half of the store seem to get swallowed up by the openness. A friend and I stopped by recently to check them out for breakfast. Now, if there’s one thing I’ve learned around here, it’s that deli/sandwich/hoagie/bagel shops are a dime a dozen, and so you’ve really got to bring your A-game to stand out from the masses. Brooklyn Bagels had a decent look, but the real test lies beyond the aesthetics.
One thing I noticed right away was that nothing was labeled. The three giant menu boards that hung over the counters did a nice job of presenting their offerings, but there were no prices…anywhere. The bagels were nicely displayed just beyond the counter over the prep area, but 3/4 of the baskets had no signage, no labels to inform the customer of what type of bagels were available. I thought it was kind of weird, but hoped we would get some help from the guy at the counter. Unfortunately, we didn’t. Now, I’ve been to places where the help was preoccupied, or were just too busy to chat or make small talk, which I’m ok with. But this guy seemed like he’d rather be anywhere but here. No smiling welcome. No customer service. Just a “Hey, what would you like?”.
We basically just winged it based on what we saw was available and figured we’d let the check be a surprise. We placed our order and shuffled over to a small table along the far wall. I asked the counter guy if I could help myself to the coffee station, and he agreed. My friend went to the cooler to find a bottle of juice and unfortunately found that those were missing prices as well. As we waited for our food, I found a paper menu and we were finally able to see what our breakfast was costing us. Prices were decent, but I’d still much rather know up front. The menu seemed to have a major focus on lunch and deli sandwiches (including cheesesteaks, panini’s, wraps and more). It seemed a little odd. In fact, they actually only offered a really limited breakfast sandwich menu, but did offer fried eggs and omelet plates, too.
It only took a few minutes for our sandwiches to be made, which was nice. I ordered a pretty basic Egg, cheese & pork roll on an Onion bagel ($4.25).
The bagel itself was actually really nice. Soft, chewy and huge. I wasn’t originally going to go onion bagel, but I couldn’t tell if my first choice (Cheddar jalapeno) was available since….yep, no signage. I know, I easily could have asked counter guy, but I figured he seemed like he’d rather be at home binge-watching Voltron on Netflix right now anyway, so I wouldn’t make his life harder. Anyway, the sandwich was actually pretty tasty.
Lots of gooey White American cheese helped to ease my disappointment of the fact that there were only 2 paper-thin slices of pork roll on my sandwich. I wasn’t too worried about that though. Too much pork roll can be pretty salty. Overall, it was decent.
My buddy, who is a self-proclaimed chicken salad connoisseur, saw the girl (oh yeah, there was a girl behind the counter too. She was silent the whole time we were there) finishing up what would be that day’s chicken salad and delivering it into the deli case, and asked if it was too early for him to get some. He opted for the Everything bagel with chicken salad ($5.25) as his breakfast sandwich. It was pretty cool that they let him order it before lunch time. (BTW…see that bottle of juice in the background? We found out that it was a $3 bottle of juice when it was time to pay for it. Surprise!!)
They put a pretty decent amount of chicken salad on his sammich, along with some lettuce and thinly-sliced tomato. He described it as “just ok – not great but not terrible”. It looked really good to me. I’d probably try this if I go back again.
Sometimes when checking out new places, you find a real gem. Sometimes you find a place that was “just ok”, but they put out decent enough food that you might stop in again if you were in the area. That’s kind of what Brooklyn Bagels feels like to me. At least food-wise. Customer service-wise, they’ve got some work to do.
Brooklyn Bagels is located at 1051 County Line Rd, Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006 (MAP). They’re open Tuesday – Friday, 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM, Saturday 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM, and Sunday 7:00 AM – 4:00 PM. For more info, check out their Facebook page HERE.