The story goes something like this: Back in the 1960s, a Brooklyn-born baker in search of an untapped market decided on Cleveland, picked up a phone book, scanned it for Jewish-sounding last names, and started calling around, asking where he should open up shop. For more than thirty-five years, Terry Skolnick, and later on his descendants, ran the best bagel shop around—a shop that twin sisters Rachel and Sarah Gross grew up visiting frequently, visits that inspired them to open their own place. That never happened, which was all for the best, because in 2017, they ended up buying Bialy's, carrying on a tradition of making some of the best New York bagels west of the Allegheny. The everything (here, known as a Mish Mosh) and sesame especially aren't just dead ringers for the original article—they're often better.
The direct route from New York to Cleveland is over seven hours of mostly lonely, mostly bagel-less road, and yet, stepping into either of Dan Herbst and Geoff Hardman's heavily-subscribed shops on a weekend morning, you feel as if you have covered almost no ground at all. (Herbst lived in New York long enough to know how a classic bagel shop looks and acts, and it shows.) Bagels here are made the classic way—no bull, nothing overly fancy, just good technique.
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