Photo by Allison Stockwell
A glass case displayed every bagel, each of them mockingly plump and wholesome, flaunting their clearly fresh sesame seeds and cinnamon as if bragging about their New York roots.
These bagels sit tucked in a blue-grey house just off of 39th street, in a place called Meshuggah’s. Clearly Meshuggah’s was a home converted to be a bagel place, the narrow rectangular shape blended in with other Westport homes in neighborhoods behind it.
I walked in through the side door, casually as if welcoming myself into my neighbor’s house. Music played from a Jambox speaker and the welcoming humm made it feel like home with regulars popping in and out, referring to one another by first name.
I stepped up to order and learned that all of the bagels are freshly made in New York and shipped straight to Meshuggah’s every few days. Still the bagel is just $1.50 and $7.50 for a dozen, which is cheaper than Einstein Bros.
I don’t usually opt for the most expensive bagel…but after the cashier told me the salmon is caught and immediately shipped within just a few hours to Meshuggah’s, I had to try the lox bagel.
He set the bagel in a brown paper bag with my name on it as if making me a sack lunch. Before I walked away he pointed to it, laughed and said, “So, that was probably swimming yesterday!”
The bagel itself was fluffy, yet still chewy to the point that I didn’t feel like it was a donut. It didn’t have a thick salty flavor, or a glaze of sweetness. It felt real, fresh, homemade. I was hooked.
Not only the filling taste, but the detailed atmosphere made me love it. Fresh sunflowers sat in white jars on all of the tables which made the joint homey. It was arranged like a dining room with one large table in the center and smaller tables surrounding it; the inside was very wooden and farm-esque.
Enjoying my bagel, I listened to the banter between a 12 year old boy and the cashier, who clearly knew their order: one cinnamon bagel with butter and one coffee.
This led me to grabbing my own coffee, self-serve, in a niche just off the dining room. One fridge full of apple juices and waters sat next to an array of coffee brews, which were not stellar, and more expensive than the bagels themselves.
As wonderful as the fresh bagel was, the coffee was sub-par and had an almost dry taste to it. However, it was still necessary to balance out the lush plain cream cheese with lox.
I would say this is a great local place to meet people, chat, maybe not for go-to coffee, but they’ve got their bagels down to a science. New York taste, Kansas City local. Does it get much better than that?