Fair Lawn, NJ - In the town of Fair Lawn, one thing rings true: if you are looking for a bagel store, do not look any farther than home. With over 20 bagel stores in the surrounding area, nine of them reside within Fair Lawn’s borders, making for quite a lot of competition
Fair Lawn students can often be found debating with friends which bagel place is best. While friendly competition is commonplace among Fair Lawn’s bagel spots, the age-old question remains: which one is the best?
The quest to find the best bagel in Fair Lawn can seem never-ending for some locals, but the top spots in the running for this prestigious, unofficial title tend to boil down to three, separate locations: Modern Bagel Cafe on Fair Lawn Avenue, River Road Hot Bagels, and Hot Bagels on Saddle River Road. While these stores are only about two miles from each other, each bagel spot has its respective customer base due to location, taste, or habit.
However, to truly know which bagel spot the students of Fair Lawn High School favor, a blind taste test was conducted during student lunch periods on December 14, 2018.
The study included 12 subjects total, all of whom were Fair Lawn High School students ranging from freshman to seniors. They were not told where each bagel came from and were asked to select their favorite plain and everything bagels based solely on taste.
Astoundingly, almost all of the students chose Hot Bagels on River Road in both the plain and everything categories. Some students commented on the texture of the different bagels while making their final decisions
“Definitely very doughy. I like my bagels doughy,” said a junior at FLHS about the plain bagels at Hot Bagels on River Road.
Mrs. Wheeler, an English teacher at FLHS, finds that Hot Bagels on River Road is exceptional for more than just their bagels.
“Chewy, doughy and hot…best customer service. Efficient and friendly,” Wheeler said.
Students often made comparisons to other recognizable bagel brands during the taste test to better explain what they were sampling.
“This one tastes like a Shoprite bagel,” said a sophomore at FLHS, referring to one store’s plain bagel option.
Interestingly, most students who previously said Modern Bagel Cafe was their favorite bagel store ended up picking River Road Hot Bagels in the taste test.
However, many students explained, following the reveal, that they enjoy Modern Bagel Cafe due to its close location and homey nature. This is potentially why it placed second as some students in the study were actually able to pick out which bagel came from where during the taste test.
“I like the atmosphere and it’s closer to me,” said a freshman student of Fair Lawn High School.
A close finisher, Hot Bagels on Saddle River Road fell just short of Hot Bagels on River Road and Modern Bagel Cafe. Some students claimed that it was their favorite bagel spot, but their answers in the taste test said otherwise.
“[This one is] a little more salty and the crust is harder,” one FLHS student said about the Saddle River Road Hot Bagels’ plain bagel.
The results were not very surprising given that many students claimed River Road Hot Bagels as their favorite spot prior to the test. This location proved a favorite for the majority of FLHS taste testers, who said they enjoy River Road Hot Bagels for the doughy texture of its bagels.
“Chewy, hot, and so much flavor,” said a Fair Lawn High School sophomore.
Thumbnail Credit: Zabar's Bagels
Header Credit: Sally's Baking Addiction