NEW H&H BAGELS IS OPEN! CAN IT ‘RETAKE THE UWS BAGEL CROWN’?

hh-midtown-1

An exciting thing happened today! A new H&H Bagels opened at 526 Columbus Avenue between 85th and 86th Street. This particular H&H is actually called H&H Midtown Bagels East (which is confusing because it’s on the Upper West).

Here’s the story behind the name: H&H Midtown, which has another store at 1551 2nd Avenue, was originally owned by Helmer Toro, who also owned the famous H&H at 80th and Broadway that closed in 2011. After a bankruptcy filing, someone else took over the East side store. But Toro sued and a judge made the 2nd avenue location change its name in 2000.

hh-midtown2

The new H&H Midtown on Columbus has high ceilings and a long central table. It hand-rolls its bagels and sells prepared sandwiches. It will even put the spreads on the bagels for you, unlike the old H&H.

Kathleen, who sent in the photos above, gave the following review. (Remember, it’s just the first day!)

“Our order of 2 coffees, a toasted bagel with cream cheese, and a bacon egg and cheese came to just under $17. It was tasty, but operations were a bit of a mess. Maybe expected during the first week as they iron out logistics, but the three people in front of me received the wrong order, the cash registers were out of paper by 8:30am resulting in orders needed to be taken by hand, and I had to ask for my order 3 times before receiving it piecemeal.
The space is modern and clean, but somewhat poorly planned. The counter is too high to pass food over it and there isn’t a dedicated pick up area – which caused a traffic jam next to the cashiers. There’s an odd bar on the side as you walk in that isn’t quite clear what it’s for – not enough space to stand and eat at. There also weren’t any trash cans visible at all. Even with all of that, something new and needed in the neighborhood – and I’m hopeful it will be a valuable addition!  I will go back, but maybe in a week :)”

We also asked Matt Godson, who sent the photo below, for a review. And how were the prices?

“Reasonable. Sub $3 for a bagel with plain cream cheese. Another dollar if you want it toasted.  And they were delicious. Crispy and well balanced. I was nervous before they opened but I think they’ve retaken the UWS bagel crown.”

Update: an H&H manager tells us that there should not have been any charge for toasting, as that’s not their policy.

hh-midtown3

So if you were up late watching the news or whatever and you’re feeling stressed out (or happy), you can at least get a nice fresh bagel.

FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 44 comments | permalink
    1. UWSHebrew says:

      Looking forward to going! However, I am in love with the sesame bagel at Orwashers. It is the best bagel I’ve ever had.

    2. WombatNYC says:

      $1 additional for toasted bagel ? Pass !

    3. Doug says:

      I will never patronize this establishment. Please remember why they originally went bankrupt. They raised the price of bagels every six months so they could sustain their IRS criminal fraud by pocketing the withholding tax from their employees rather than sending it to the U.S. Treasury. I’d eat a bagel out of a dumpster before I’d eat here.

    4. UWSScaffold says:

      a) a dollar to toast a bagel?
      b) who toasts a fresh bagel? that’s like ordering a beautiful rib-eye well done.
      c) Absolute is still the best…

    5. SB says:

      i don’t normally toast my bagels unless it’s frozen Lenders.. but seriously.. $1 to toast your bagel? that’s like the nail salon charging $1 for the quick dry.. what a rip off!!!

    6. Maryjane says:

      question for Matt Godson-Why were you nervous before they opened?

    7. UWSBagelBoycott says:

      First Trump, now a dollar to toast a bagel?? What is this world coming to?! We truly are doomed!

    8. Elizabeth M. says:

      I agree. $1.00 to toast a bagel? Ludicrous. I agree with wombat.

    9. Jack meofff says:

      Absolute bagels are the best bagels in the city!

    10. Michal says:

      One tiny bright spot for an otherwise awful day… I hope the bagels taste comparable – definitely giving it a try.

      So sad to see the teeny hats-and-bags storefront next door shuttered. I hope it gets another tenant someday.

    11. NYC Mike says:

      It’s unfortunate for us all that stores don’t have rent stabilization. Think of all the places that might still be open.

      • Juan says:

        Think of all the building owners who would go bankrupt as they deal with rent stabilization while also facing increasing labor costs, real estate taxes, etc.

    12. UWSHebrew says:

      I just came back from H&H. Long line. Sorely disappointed in the bagel, well below average in quality.

    13. Steven Sussman says:

      Absolute, 107th and Bway..absolute best!

    14. jerry says:

      This is a serious question –

      How much does it cost if you just want to buy a bagel and have them put it in a bag?

      Is there a discount for a baker’s dozen?

      Thanks

    15. Matt Godson says:

      Ok…Its possible I got the dollar toasting charge wrong and that I was charged extra for something else. I presumed it was the toasting…

      Apologies to H&H if i got that wrong.

      I do understand how this has become the big issue of the day though!

    16. UWSMomma says:

      We went this morning. It was pretty tasty, but I think Orwashers has them beat for best bagel in the neighborhood.

    17. B.B. says:

      IIRC this H&H is owed by the same (distant relation) to the one on Second Avenue between 80th and 81st on the UES.

      As such, yes the price structure is odd and bordering on insane. There is one price for a bagel out of the bin, another for it to be toasted/warmed, toppings or whatever add yet more.

      For what they charge you are better off often just buying the bagels plan and adding whatever you want at home from your fridge.

      The H&H on Second for decades was open 24/7; but recent scandal has seen them close down over night. No more walking in at 2AM for a fresh hot bagel and coffee.

    18. Christine E says:

      They have a menu on line: https://www.hhmidtownbagelseast.com/menu/. Bagel is $1.30. With butter is $1.95. With plain cream cheese is $2.95. Not sure about the toasting. Too bad only plain coffee. I guess an espresso is too much to ask from a bagel joint.

      • Cato says:

        Absolutely! I mean, really, what’s a bagel without a skinny pumpkin no-foam two-pump extra hot (but not too much) latte’?

        Horrid! Obviously barbarians….

    19. jeff Berger says:

      Hi. I live in the building next door and we have been subject to all the noisy construction for almost a year now. I went in yesterday and introduced myself and welcomed them to the neighborhood. I joked about all the construction we endured. They gave me a free bagel as an “apology” They seem like they want to be good neighbors and deserve our support.

    20. ron shapley says:

      The good news is, according to Yelp reviews, this fake H&H is quite good, even if its name is a lie.

    21. jorge says:

      Awesome, thanks fir the info

    22. steve says:

      I checked it out today.

      They need to smooth out the system. For example, a dedicated place to pick up orders should really be on the other end of the bar away from the cashiers. It wasn’t even that bust when I was there and it was a bit of a mess for people to have to maneuver through each other for both purchasing and pickup at the cashiers.

    23. Mr. Smith says:

      Can confirm, ordered a bagel toasted and was not charged; manager knew about this article and said that’s absolutely not their policy.

      The bagel was not great, but the decor is nice and quite spacious compared with other coffee and bagel shops/ delis in the neighborhood. If I needed to take a pal out for a coffee and bagel somewhere around here, I’d probably bring them here. If we were taking it to go, I’d stick to Barney Greengrass, where we normally go.

    24. LMN says:

      Checked it out this morning. A bit chaotic still. I heard a few “remake” orders being called. The redo of the space is nice. As for the bagels… They’re ok in my opinion. Not the best, not the worst. One thing though, I got a bagel with cream cheese and was surprised when I got home that they didn’t spread it; it was an uncut bagel with a side container of cream cheese. This is fine since I took it home, but if I had grabbed it to be on the go that would be counterproductive!

    25. Liz says:

      I am confused as I thought Toro WAS the owner as he would seem to be the only person legally entitled to use the name H&H; can someone please confirm ?

      • B.B. says:

        He does or maybe did….

        Helmer Toro and his BIL founded H&H Bagels (Helmer and Hector)when they purchased Broadway Bagels. At one time there was an outpost on Second Avenue, but that store was sold to new owners in 1979.

        Then came a nasty and bitter court battle between the UWS and UES stores over use of the “H&H” name/trademarks.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2000/03/10/nyregion/judge-splits-decision-in-bagel-dispute.html

        Of Mr. Toro’s recent legal worries the less said better (bankruptcy, wage theft, IRS liens, etc…) but as a consequence just who owned the “H&H Bagels” along with several other trademarks became a matter of hot disputes.

        Mr. Toro commenced a lengthy and complicated series of maneuvers including legal action against the IRS to retain said trademarks. The federal government had sized them during the fall out of H&H’s spectacular bankruptcy.

        Things were getting heated as bagel maker from Long Island, Randy Narod had planned to open an Original H&H Bagels store on Fulton Street with many other outlets across the City. After legal proceedings and bad feelings Mr. Narod did open his store after all but not with the H&H name.

        Long story short it does seem as if Mr. Toro was successful in getting the H&H Bagels and associated trademarks back from the IRS (lien released) and now has full ownership.

        http://trademarkalertz.com/trademark/75166204-H-H-BAGELS

        Since the store is an offshoot of the UES store and using that name (H&H Midtown…), not sure if Mr. Toro has anything to do with said store.

    26. Juan says:

      I believe the H&H at 80th and Broadway was $1.40 a bagel when it closed, so this is actually cheaper, 5 years later. The old one raised prices a lot before it closed – I think it was under $1 only a few years earlier.

      I went in and the line was long and not really moving so I left – I miss the simplicity of the old one and would be willing to sacrifice the option to dress up my bagel in exchange for being able to get in and out quickly and dress it up on my own.

    27. Robin Kovalevich says:

      Who doesn’t love a good fresh bagel, who does’t miss going to the old H&H on 80th and Broadway early in the morning and grabbing a fresh bagel and eating it just as it came out of those old metal baskets they kept them in, basket, mouth, yum. Well now you can recreate that old feeling again on the upper westside, H&H bagel has reopened, new location, new owners, same tried and true recipe, from their upper westside location.
      First impressions, nice golden brown color, firm to the touch, just enough give, inside nice and soft, (that is how they are supposed to be, boiled then baked,) size is perfect, fits in a toaster without having to flatten it to death, they don’t need to be toasted, that is for 2 or 3 day old bagels. My conclusion excellent bagel and the baked salmon salad is more like a mousse, but good, 2 bagels and a 1/2 pound of baked salmon salad $13.10. Buy your bagels here, $1.30, but not your smoked salmon $40 a lb, if you’re taking them home , get your fixings at Fairway!

    28. Trump supporter says:

      Best bagel I ever had was in Des Moines, Iowa. Location makes no difference. East Coast liberals once again…

      • B.B. says:

        Actually the location does make a difference, and is why you cannot get a true “New York” bagel elsewhere.

        The key is New York City’s tap water. That clear, clean, soft and wonderful tasting fluid that come out of our taps. Elsewhere in the USA quality of tap water varies from stuff so hard you can chip a tooth, to so full of sediment and minerals it turns things orange.