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Eating with Emma

The best bagels in Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch

Foodies know the difference between boiled and baked lumps of dough.

To the bagel that gives the tri-state area a run of its money.
To the bagel that gives the tri-state area a run of its money.
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My dad used to find comfort riding the peaceful bike trails around Sarasota while my mother gets rejuvenated bobbing and talking with her friends in the pool. My sister seeks solace by reading books under the umbrella on the shores of Longboat Key and my husband discovered relaxation driving the boat on the glass-like Gulf waters.

Me? I find my body rests best after biting into a bagel.

So, with added stresses to my life that have been out of my control, I was bound to find the best bagels that make me feel “hole.”

Jersey Girl Bagels

5275 University Parkway, Unit 103, Bradenton; 941-388-8910;

From French toast to onion, cheddar cheese to daily specials, you can't go wrong at Jersey Girl Bagels.
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Jersey Girl Bagels makes over 2,000 bagels a day.
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To the bagel that gives the tri-state area (That's New York, Jersey and Connecticut in my book) a run for its money.

You’re my everything: All the bagel dough here is made from scratch daily. This process of love makes me feel right at home. As a tri-state area born-and-raised foodie, let me tell you, it's not often you find a baker who boils bagels like this. It’s been said that Jersey Girl makes over 2,000 bagels daily, including flavors from French toast (to die for) to onion, cheddar cheese to daily specials.

Knead this in your life: While you could order an egg and cheese with a choice of bacon, sausage or New Jersey Taylor Ham ($7.99), I have to give it up to the simple beauty of an individual sesame bagel ($2) or specialty asiago bagel ($2.50) with flavored cream cheese like scallion or soon-to-be-back pumpkin.

Palm Avenue Deli

1297 N. Palm Avenue, Sarasota; 941-263-3742;

Party like a lox star at Palm Avenue Deli.
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To the bagel that reminds me of something Jerry, George, Elaine or Kramer would order.

You’re my everything: Opening just a few weeks ago in our culinary-chic community, this New-York-inspired deli is where you will find me every time that I am homesick. Open daily from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., with dinner coming soon, this nostalgic eatery with iconic Big Apple deli flavors puts family and food first!

Knead this in your life: This place knows how to party like a lox star! From a Nova Lox platter ($16) to Nova Lox bagel ($11) with all the NYC fixings to Nova Lox egg and cheese ($12), these bagel and salmon pairings have me wanting to “start spreading the news.” But the lox train doesn’t stop there! Enjoy Nova Lox avocado toast ($18) or the lox, egg and onion frittata ($16).

Lox n' Egg and Brooklyn Bagels & Deli

4065 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; 941-924-1797;

6970 S. Beneva Road, Saraota; 999 Cattleman Road Unit H, Sarasota; 941-993-1577;

Feels like I’m being welcomed to New York.
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To the bagel and schmear that leaves me begging for more room in my tummy.

You’re my everything: Prepare to experience bae-goals. Lox n’ Egg and both Brooklyn Bagels & Deli locations offer the most beautiful bagel box ($30), besties. The dough-filled delivery includes 12 regular bagels and two containers of fresh cream cheese (one plain and one flavored besides bacon and lox).

Knead this in your life: Both spots serve specials that make me feel like I’m being welcomed to New York even as I sit in a booth in Sarasota. Choose from over 20 lunch options or be like me and challenge yourself to a cream cheese contest. There are over 10 fresh cream cheese choices, including honey walnut, jalapeño and bacon, to spread onto a dealer's choice of bagels — from pumpernickel to spinach Swiss and more.

Postal 98 Cafe

1240 Yoder Avenue, Sarasota; 941-260-8862;

Guatemalan coffee served with everything bagels at Postal 98 Cafe.
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To the bagel coffee pairing that has me questioning if a better duo exists.

You’re my everything: Although the two choices are plain or everything, you surely won’t be disappointed with how you style the holey breakfast baked good. Whether it’s a bacon egg and cheese ($8.59) or simply plain or with strawberry cream cheese, your taste buds will be treated right.

Knead this in your life: Guatemalan coffee in a variety of different flavors leaves me feeling caffeinated and carefree. Feeling banana? Order the chunky monkey frappe ($5.09 and up). Missing fall? Order the maple cinnamon swirl latte ($5.09) — or stop by to see what specials are being served. Not into coffee? The tea selection is just as tasty with options like heavenly honey lavender fog ($3.69 and up) made with Earl Grey.

Meshugana Deli

4001 Clark Road, Sarasota; 941-933-0244;

To the bagel that puts me in an Empire State of Mind.

You’re my everything: When I told my boss I was writing a story on bagels and was featuring this spot, she informed me that not only had she had my selection for dinner the night before, but “Meshugana” means crazy. Let me tell you, I’m crazy in love. This specialty deli delivers delicious New York flavors with carryout, pickup and catering options. Or try a luncheon with your closest bagel-loving besties.  

New York, New York! Bagels from Meshugana Deli are superior.
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Knead this in your life: Bring home a baker’s half-dozen ($10.25) or a baker’s dozen ($19.50) of sensational salt bagels, phenomenal plain bagels, gorgeous garlic bagels, out-of-this-world onion bagels and more. This deli brings authentic flavor into each bagel bite. I am blown away that it's happening right here in Sarasota.

Morton's Deli and Market

1924 S. Osprey Avenue, Sarasota; 941-955-9856; 205 Canal Road, Sarasota; 941-349-1474;

To the bagel platter of my dreams.

You’re my everything: Morton’s is my family’s favorite caterer (they catered my grandmother’s 90th birthday!), my husband’s sweet treat spot and my parents' favorite “I’m going to bring lunch over” joint. Fun fact? Morton’s has been family-owned and operated for four generations since 1969.

Knead this in your life: When prepping for my wedding morning (before the hurricane swept our plans away) I planned a huge brunch for the females in my life that I needed by my side. While the wedding plans changed, the assorted bagel platter with butter and cream cheese ($4.99/per person) from Morton's never altered. I put a shmear on any bagel my hands could touch and savored each bite.



Emma Burke Jolly

Emma Burke Jolly has worked at Observer Media Group since 2018 as the digital fulfillment specialist. Originally from Connecticut, this Gulf Coast transplant loves being by the water, reminiscing about what Longboat Key looked like in 1990, navigating life with her husband and their two Maine Coon cats, and sharing her foodie findings with you.

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