By Kumar Bloomstein
Above the center of the Village on Yale St. is a decently big storefront belonging to 42nd St. Bagel. With some outdoor tables and wide glass windows, the bagel/casual breakfast and lunch joint is inviting and seems pretty together when you walk in. Modeled after an NYC bagel shop, but without the character or great food to back it up, 42nd is a dainty Inland Empire take on a classic East Coast staple. I visited 42nd at about 11 on a Tuesday after my class and decided to get a bacon egg and cheese, and an onion bagel for later. There were only probably about 5 customers in the shop, but it felt strangely claustrophobic in the layout of the tables and belts directing cashier traffic. The woman taking my order seemed rushed, despite the low activity and quiet scene around us. The price for a bacon/egg/cheese and an extra bagel was ASTOUNDINGLY HIGH. It was something like $11.50! Insanity. I couldn’t believe the price for 2 bagels and no cream cheese, although I suppose there were some fixin’s on one of them. The breakfast sandwich tasted pretty good, but I think that’s mostly due to the great eggs, decently quality bacon, and the huge amount of cheddar they melted on those rather terrible bagels.
If you grew up anywhere in the US where there were decent bagels available you’d probably agree with me. It isn’t so much that the bagel is bad as it is not very good for the high price. Most people would enjoy the bagels from 42nd St, but the joint can’t be taken seriously as a competitive bagel spot. The onion bagel didn’t exceed the low expectations either. And for some strange reason, this place gets a bunch of hype around town because of its niche fit on “hip” Yale St. In the end I was hungry. The overly crispy, low-yeast bagels of 42nd St. really did hit the spot.
The salty food felt great and definitely left me feeling full and satisfied….until I looked at the receipt and realized how much I spent. The one outstanding mention 42nd St. gets is its coffee station. The flat fee of 2.50 gets you bottomless cups of hot coffee, with multiple blends, small mugs, the whole cream/sweeteners setup, and REALLY big to-go cups that you can fill up when you leave. If you inhale coffee like I do, this coffee station is pretty impressive. You could bring your work and get hyped up on caffeine while busting out your homework. Overall, it was an average at best bagel spot, but its lackluster bagels, which is the centerpiece of this food eatery, and its high prices make it unfeasible as an affordable and consistent breakfast joint.
Overall score: 5/10