South Orange, NJ 07079
- Cost: $
- Alcohol: None
- Parking: Street, Metered
- Take Out: Yes
April 11, 2011
I tasted my first bagel growing up in Somerville, my first bagel and lox at my college’s “Kosher Kitchen,” and the best tasting bagel from New York’s legendary H&H Bagels. After moving back to New Jersey from Brooklyn, I thought New York-quality bagels were too much to ask for. We tried a couple local places, the ones that were the easiest to find, and they were just ok. Right shape, wrong taste. For five long years, we were resigned to inferior bagels in New Jersey. Then, friends of ours unaware of our bagel suffering, casually mentioned Sonny’s in South Orange, “You’ve got to try them, they’re the best bagels in New Jersey.”
At first, we couldn’t find the place. There’s barely a sign on the small South Orange Avenue storefront. But once you find it, your New Jersey bagel perspective will change forever. Sonny’s Bagels have that perfect bagel taste – dough flavored with salt, malt and yeast; hand-rolled, boiled and baked to chewy perfection.
At 6:15 am on a Sunday morning as the sun comes up, enter the the steamy shop and you’ll see fresh bagels scooped out of boiling water and placed in neat rows on well-worn, wooden racks carved for bagels, in a rotating oven. After the large oven cycles through once, the bagels are turned over by hand, lightly sprinkled with any toppings (poppy seeds, sesame, garlic, salt), and sent through once more before they hit the baskets at the counter. Eat a warm Sonny’s bagel, with butter, cream cheese, or just plain, and you taste a bagel as good as the best around. Better take home a baker’s dozen.