Ess-a-Bagel first opened in 1976, chartered by Gene and Florence Wilpon and Florence’s brother, Aaron Wenzelberg. Part of a family of Austrian bakers, they tapped into that heritage to inspire their hand-rolled, certified kosher bagels. Their rising popularity led to a second location, and praise hasn’t stopped since: [New York Magazine](http://nymag.com/listings/stores/essabagel02/ said the bagels “rank among the city’s best: a flavorful gnaw-worthy crust with a pillow-soft inside.” Diners can have oat bran, pumpernickel-raisin, and other varieties of bagel loaded with toppings such as apple-cinnamon cream cheese and sundried-tomato tofu. The shops boasts a sizeable selection of salad sandwiches—including curry chicken salad and a chopped herring salad—as well as deli sandwiches made with meats such as kosher salami and honey-mustard chicken. Nova, belly lox, and baked salmon can be piled onto sandwiches, arranged on platters, or purchased by the fourth-pound for at-home snacking. There are also plenty of side options, including whole pickles and sour tomatoes.