Considered by many to be the crown jewel of Atlanta delicatessens, Bagelicious is where I headed for this edition of Better Know a Bagel. The godfather of metro Atlanta nosh factories has many fans, a great number of whom told me I couldn’t write about any other deli before I went to Bagelicious.

So even though I grew up in East Cobb and I’ve eaten there hundreds of times, I found myself sitting at Bagelicious on a Sunday with my brother and dad, the invited bagel critics.

Atmosphere

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A toasted everything bagel is at the heart of this deli feast.

Bagelicious has operated for nearly 25 years in East Cobb, building up a loyal following of bagel seekers and brunch goers along the way. This authentic delicatessen is a true throwback. New York sports memorabilia lines the walls, and the tables and chairs haven’t changed since at least 1995. Bagelicious still does not accept credit cards and does not have a website, which goes to show how word of mouth and a devoted customer base can sustain a business even in 2015. Bagelicious is also well known in Atlanta for shop co-owner Carol Carola’s catering service. Diamond Caterers brings the deli’s authentic bagels, lox and schmear to hundreds of events each year. When we arrived at Bagelicious, there was a line out the door, and we had to wait 45 minutes to be seated.

Verdict: 3.5/5 bagels

Bagels

Creative Loafing called Bagelicious “an authentic New York deli experience in Atlanta,” and the bagels are exactly that. Firm on the outside and soft on the inside, these house-made discs aren’t oversized like some of their competitors, and they go down easy. Available in a variety of flavors, including blueberry, jalapeno, everything and sesame, these bagels are enjoyed best with the house-made cream cheese or loaded up with kosher pastrami, corned beef or salami from the deli counter. In true New York tradition, the deli’s specialty bagelwiches are named after local personalities and landmarks. Try the Beau Bock Bagel, which comes with kosher salami, turkey breast, lettuce and mustard.

Verdict: 5/5 bagels

Spreads

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The Bagelicious cream cheese display looks more like a gelato shop.

Looking into the display case at Bagelicious, the cream cheese looks more like a decadent gelato than a creamy bagel topping. It’s easy to mistake the walnut raisin for chocolate, and the strawberry looks good enough to eat in an ice cream cone. I have found in my many years of eating at Bagelicious that when you order cream cheese as a side, you get more than enough for two bagels. Coming in varieties like garlic, honey almond, jalapeno and lox, the schmear here is light and airy but heavy on flavor. Bagelicious also cuts its lox fresh in house, which gives it that authentic deli look, feel and taste.

Verdict: 4/5 bagels

Overall

This beloved bagel institution has always been a terrific spot to chow down on fresh bagels, lox and classic deli fare. For out-of-town bar mitzvah guests and locals alike, I highly recommend a stop at Bagelicious. If you can deal with the crowds and long waits on weekends, this authentic deli will not disappoint.

Verdict: 4/5 bagels

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