NYC - Murray's Bagels
Whoever Murray is, he's done goooood.
I called NYC my home for just over a month, and almost every days of that month I would go into my office on the Lower East Side, work until early afternoon, then head home via Murray's.
The line was always long and the tables full of students, business people, twenty-somethings, all with their laptops out, friends around them, or an earpiece in. It was bustling and it was obvious why!
They're menu was extensive, with so many options of bagel toppings, soups, coffees, and special sandwiches of the day. Their permanent menu had been scrawled on the biggest blackboard I've ever seen on the back wall, and the specials could be found behind the counter on a roll of brown butcher's paper. Not to mention the huge array of spreads and cream cheeses, displayed behind a glass screen in the way in which ice cream shops show off their gelato.
With the fast moving line and the ever-increasing menu, you're forced to quickly make a decision..
"Blue berry bagel
Simple, I know, but so, so good. You can watch them make the bagels, toast the bagels, spread the bagels, all behind the same glass cabinet. It's easy to make conversation with the guys too. I came to discuss my days with them, where I was from, what I was doing, why I didn't speak Spanish (like EVERYONE else in NYC...). They put so much care into their bagels, and look after their customers from the moment they walk in, until the moment they leave (followed by a chorus of goodbyes by the staff). It's a true New York experience, and although it doesn't look like a lot from the outside, its so warm inside, you feel like you've found your New York family.