We live in the South, where biscuits get lots of attention, but Bagels are a classic breakfast food increasing in popularity. We all know nearby Joey’s New York Bagels, but what how do other area bakers stack up? Including Joey’s, the Wingspan staff rated three other establishments: Fletcher Village Bakery, Bruegger’s Bagels and Panera Bread. To begin, the staff had higher expectations for the independent bakers over the chains. To keep it fair, the staff compared toasted blueberry bagels with regular cream cheese. The search for the best bagel in Hendersonville is over.

Joey’s New York Bagels

Joey’s New York Bagels, located at 1500 Haywood Road in Hendersonville, has always been a West favorite when it comes to food. Easily the best known bagel restaurant on our list, Joey’s New York Bagels has a very mixed atmosphere with a down-to-earth deli. The service was relatively quick and the workers were friendly. The bagel was not fully toasted and tasted faintly like blueberry, but it was overpowered by the cream cheese. The bagel was hard to enjoy because of the mountain of cream cheese that was put on my bagel. Over all, I would have to say that the best thing about Joey’s is its close location to West and its overall convenience. They offer a variety of bagels and are recommended when in a pinch and craving a bagel. 2/5.

Fletcher Village Bakery

Fletcher Village Bakery, located at 235 Saint John Road in Fletcher, is a hidden gem when it comes to bagels. The actual bakery was quite small, but it had an overwhelmingly warm and inviting atmosphere. The service was amazing and quite personal. The bagel was well toasted and had a strong blueberry taste that was not overwhelmed by the cream cheese. The bagel, in comparison to Joey’s, rose to the occasion and overshadowed the West favorite. I would have to say that the best thing about the Fletcher Village Bakery was that they seemed to really care a lot about the customer. The Fletcher Village Bakery offers a wide variety of bagels but also offers other amazing baked goods and is well worth the search for this wonderful bakery. 4.5/5.

 Bruegger’s Bagels

Bruegger’s Bagels, located at 160 Hendersonville Road in Asheville, was the first chain on my list. I did go in with low expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised. The overall atmosphere was that of a large sandwich shop. The service was rather disconnected, but still friendly, more than I would expect from a chain. On the other hand, the bagel surprised me. The bagel itself was very flavorful and was toasted just right to keep the inside soft, but it was well toasted on the outside. The flavor of the bagel was almost overpoweringly blueberry and the cream cheese faded in comparison to the actual bagel. The best thing about Bruegger’s Bagels would have to be the wide variety of bagels and other breakfast sandwiches. The fact that Bruegger’s is a chain is most likely why it has such a large selection. If you are ever in the Asheville area, Bruegger’s Bagels is definitely worth considering. 3.5/5

Panera Bread

Panera Bread, located on 1843 Hendersonville Road in Asheville, was the second chain and final location on the list. It had a very calm and laid back hipster feel and was family friendly. It was more of a lunch kind of place, but the restaurant offered a number of breakfast choices. The offerings focused on the fresh and healthy. The service was quick, but not friendly, as they seemed too busy to help you. The actual bagel had a very subtle blueberry flavor, and much like Joey’s, was overpowered by the cream cheese. The bagel was toasted to the point of a chewy inside and a crunchy outside, and the bread had a fresh flavor. It was obvious that they focused on bagel quality over cream cheese, unlike Joey’s, which focuses more on the cream cheese than the bagel itself. Overall, Panera had a very comfortable feel, but was not the kind of place where I would go and sit for long periods. 3.5/5

Overall, the best bagel you can get in the Hendersonville area was the Fletcher Village Bakery because of the friendly employees and great food. The bakery offered a wide variety of bagels, pastries and other baked goods. Fletcher Village Bakery had a great atmosphere. That being said, all of the restaurants on my list offered great, inexpensive bagels, and I would recommend them all for anyone with a craving for some bagels — a good choice when Bojangles’ gets old.

By Bobby Slagle

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