A lot of elements go into the perfect bagel: the crust, the chewiness factor, the toppings. It’s almost as if we need to try every bagel in town to find the best one. And then, of course, we’d have to go back to taste every variation--sesame, poppy, the works. It’s too much for a girl to handle. Don’t worry: We’ve gone ahead and ranked our city’s best bagels for you.

CBA1

7. Chicago Bagel Authority

There’s a time and a place for a bagel with just cream cheese. This is not that place. CBA’s staggering list of bagel sandwiches will leave you grappling with some tough decisions. And while we can’t rightly tell you whether a Sausage Fest trumps a Chia Bagel (it depends on the day), we can promise this: You won’t choose wrong.

Locations here

manny

6. Manny’s Deli

Ah, a true Chicago classic. Open since 1942, the old-school Jewish deli knows its bagels and lox. Our suggestion? Stop by for a fully loaded sandwich on Saturday and take a bunch of bagels to go. On Sunday morning, you’ll wake up to easy-to-prep awesomeness.

1141 S. Jefferson St.; 312-939-2855 or mannysdeli.com

wheats
Wheat’s End Cafe/Facebook

5. Wheat’s End

If there’s one thing that can kill a good bagel buzz, it’s a gluten allergy. Hedge your bets at this cute Lakeview spot, where all the artisan goods--we’re talking biscuits, doughnuts and even fresh pasta--are gluten-free. The vegan bagels come in flavors like onion, everything and cinnamon-raisin, and you can even have them delivered. (That’s what lazy Sundays are for.)

2873 N. Broadway; 773-944-0332 or wheatsend.com

NYCbagel

4. NYC Bagel Deli

The Second City hates to be second at anything, but there’s no denying that New York makes a mean bagel, and this spot brings a little East Coast love to the Midwest. The kettle-boiled goods come in flavors like garlic, whole wheat and egg. But we put our money (and cream cheese) on the pretzel-salt bagel.

Locations here

onceuponbagel

3. Once Upon a Bagel

The name of this spot says it all: These bagels are straight out of a fairy-tale--crispy on the outside, chewy inside. The North Shore institution might be a bit chaotic on weekend mornings, but we’ve done far crazier things than waking up a little extra early for deliciousness.

Locations here

snaggletooth

2. Snaggletooth

Let’s be clear: Fish is the main focus here. At the cute new café, you’ll belly up to a case of jasmine-cured trout, pastrami trout or whatever’s on tap that day. (Yep, the menu changes daily.) Complete the order with a griddled bagel and a flavored spread from the--wait for it--on-site schmear bar.

2819 N. Southport Ave.; 773-899-4711 or snaggletoothchicago.com

reno
Reno/Facebook

1. Reno

This hipster spot is doing exactly what it should be doing: putting a great twist on a classic. At Reno, the bagels are--wait for it--wood-fired, which gives them a smoky bite you never knew you needed. The My Everything bagel is our actual everything.

2607 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-697-4234 or renochicago.com 

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