In honor of National Bagel Day, this Miamian-favorite bagel shop shares its most popular bagels
By Jesús F. Jiménez, assistant director of digital content
Jan. 15 is National Bagel Day, and no Miami Experience is complete without a visit to Bagel & Deli.
One of Uptown Oxford’s most popular restaurants among Miamians, this bagel shop is popular for its creatively named specialty sandwiches.
In recognition of National Bagel Day, Miami alumnus and co-owner Gary Franks ’92, MAT ’93 shared the six most popular bagels as well as their origin stories.
Gary, who grew up in Perrysburg, Ohio, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in botany and a master’s in secondary science education, started working at Bagel & Deli his junior year and continued through graduate school. He left Oxford for a couple of years and then returned in 1996 to become a partner with Ned Stephenson, who founded the place in 1975 on High Street.
So, if you’re in Oxford and looking to taste something new, check out the top 6 bagels below, or see the full menu.
Ingredients: Cream cheese and cinnamon on blueberry. Not in the mood for a sandwich? This is the perfect snack. Also great for the little ones.
Origin story: This is one of the first named bagels. When the shop started, there were no named sandwiches – people just ordered their own combinations. In 1987, a student group doing a project on the shop suggested that they name the sandwiches, and co-owner Ned Stephenson implemented the idea.
“We of course needed a Miami Bagel and this sweet creation was it,” Gary said. “This was the first bagel I ever had when I was a freshman back in 1988.”
Ingredients: Cream cheese, smoked cheddar, avocado, lettuce, tomato, spinach and mustard on bialy. Created by a former Alexander House cook, this is one of the tastiest veggie bagels.
Origin story: A very regular customer named Greg with the last initial O made this one up in the early ’90s. He worked Uptown and was in the shop quite frequently.
“I would say this bagel, followed closely by the Chia, which is quite similar, has been our bestselling veggie bagel over the years,” Gary said. “The cream cheese, cheese, avocado trio makes for a really satisfying sandwich.”
Tonya Harding Club
Ingredients: Turkey, ham, bacon, half Colby and half Swiss on plain. A nice, big, meaty sandwich that is a favorite among the guys late at night.
Origin story: This bagel was created as a bit of a joke that poked fun at the Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding Olympic scandal. Created by Seamus Ragan ’94, another former employee, and he may have had some collaborators.
“We’ve made a lot of bagels that make fun of current events, but the vast majority of them fade over time,” Gary said. “This one did not and is still a favorite. We are at a point now where the students weren’t even born when the event happened, and we often have to explain the joke behind the sign.”
The Original Breakfast Bagel
Ingredients: Scrambled egg, bacon and American cheese on an egg bagel. The shop’s most popular breakfast sandwich.
Origin story: Not much to this one. It’s a classic combination found anywhere you find bagels.
“Way back in the early days, we made it with a sliced hard-boiled egg, which was a bit unique, and we still get the occasional alum asking if we still do it that way,” Gary said.
Ingredients: Turkey, Colby, cream cheese, avocado, lettuce, tomato, spinach and honey mustard on bialy. Created by a former employee who liked it messy.
Origin story: Another former employee, Katie Matthews ’02, created this bagel. She was Uptown quite a bit and would often stop in the shop late at night and order this or make it during her shifts. Another employee, Noah Armstrong ’02, who was a graphic design major, did the artwork for it. It’s a great sign and a great bagel.
“As with many of our bagels, it’s really an adaptation of another one – take a Greg-O, swap the smoked cheddar for Colby, swap the spicy mustard for honey mustard and throw on some turkey and you have a Messy Katie.”
Crunch and Munch
Ingredients: Turkey, smoked cheddar, lettuce, Doritos, parmesan peppercorn dressing and honey mustard on combo. Bonus feature! You get the rest of the Doritos bag with the sandwich. Very popular with the late-night crowd – or any crowd, for that matter!
Origin Story: Former employee Riley Thimons ’07 created this one. She worked at the shop for quite a few years and still keeps in touch. Over the years, several people tried to create bagels with chips on them, and none of them ever caught on.
“Riley worked a lot for us one summer, and I think she suggested it to a lot of incoming first-year students who were in town for orientation, and once they tried it they were hooked,” Gary said. “We still keep in touch, and she’s amazed that this bagel has become so iconic. Riley has lived and worked in quite a few places around the world, and everywhere she’s been, there seems to be someone who knows about Bagel & Deli, and they are always amazed to meet the creator of the Crunch and Munch. I personally think pairing parmesan peppercorn ranch dressing and the honey mustard dressing is the secret.”