I remember my first New York Ess-A-Bagel like it was yesterday. Nothing will ever compare to that first bite. As it was still warm to touch, I’ll never forget that perfect doughy consistency on the inside, with the perfect crust texture and salty, semi sweet taste on the outside. And of course the pounds of cream cheese and smoked salmon took my bagel over the edge, making it one of the best food experiences I’ve ever had.

No bagel has since compared to that experience at Ess-A-Bagel in Gramercy. Which is why nothing makes me more sad than hearing of its closing this coming weekend.

The Closing of an Neighborhood Gem

After nearly 40 years of bagel-baking and crowd pleasing, Ess-A-Bagel will close its Gramercy location, on 21st Street and 1st Avenue, at the end of January.


But, for all those looking to fill the bagel shaped hole in their heart, another bagelry is moving in to the same beloved spot. Manhattan upstart Tal Bagels will share the newly divided space with a Bank of America branch.

What they are saying about Ess-A-Bagel

As recently as last week, owner David Wilpon — whose aunt, Florence Wilpon, founded the business — was holding out hope that he might stay, but his landlord declined to renew his lease, according to Town & Village. “There’s a lot that’s up in the air,” Wilpon told Town and Village. But the landlord has confirmed the new tenants, according to the Daily News.

It was a true neighborhood gem and routinely made it on “Best-Of” lists. Even CBS Local once called it New York City’s reining bagel shop. “Ess-a-Bagel is hands-down considered to have the best bagel in NYC,” the site enthused. “They’re enormous, tough-skinned, dense almost to the point of breadiness and have a malty kick.”

Will Tal Bagels be able to live up to that kind of reputation? Based on online reviews, it doesn’t look promising, but I’m willing to give it a bite.

Meanwhile, Ess-A-Bagel’s landlord is blaming their tenant for the lease snafu.  A statement from Wilpon’s landlord, an outfit called East 21 Retail LLC, claimed that “we’ve bent over backwards to come to a mutually fair agreement with Ess-A-Bagel’s owners. Our offer would have allowed Ess-A-Bagel to remain — and even gave them the option to expand — in the space they are in currently. Unfortunately, it takes two sides to make a deal, and Ess-A-Bagel’s owners repeatedly refused to meet us between their below-market rent and current market value.”

There’s always two sides to one story… with the third side being mine and I just want my bagels to stay!! Is that so wrong?

*There is confirmation that Ess-A-Bagel will be relocating to somewhere in the same area, and once decided, I’ll be the first to let you know!



You can always stop by the 3rd Avenue Ess-A-Bagel location to try and fill the void while we patiently await a Gramercy relaunch. Check out the Ess-A-Bagel Website for more information.


New Call-to-action

About The Author

Healthy Eater

Southern girl at heart, minus the fried food. Fresh on the NY food scene, hungry for a healthy way to live in this food capital.