‘Dough is Me!’ Sudden Closure of Absolute Bagels Leaves Upper West Siders Distraught


Oh Absolute, you are our everything (bagel)! Photo by Abasciuto.

Tears were schmeared across the Upper West Side this weekend, as locals were in-caper-ble of going to Absolute Bagels to Pump-a-nickel into the cashier’s hands to perform their favorite hole-y ritual. Lox of luck indeed.

The famed bagel store on 108th and Broadway was closed suddenly, and Upper West Siders wrote to us in desperation asking “Why? Why?”

It turns out the Department of Health temporarily closed the place down on Thursday, because of evidence of critters and other violations. The box score of violations is below. A worker told us on Sunday that the exterminator is there and they plan to reopen on Tuesday. The Health Department will have final say over that.

The timing was particularly bad because the store had just gotten some very good press. Grubstreet ranked it the second best bagel shop in the city (damn you Utopia Bagels of Whitestone!), calling it “a filthy little store with sublime bagels.” Hmm.

Sanitary Violations
1) Hot food item not held at or above 140º F.
2) Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.
3) Filth flies or food/refuse/sewage-associated (FRSA) flies present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Filth flies include house flies, little house flies, blow flies, bottle flies and flesh flies. Food/refuse/sewage-associated flies include fruit flies, drain flies and Phorid flies.
4) Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.
5) Facility not vermin proof. Harborage or conditions conducive to attracting vermin to the premises and/or allowing vermin to exist.

Some people, by the way, didn’t care one bit about what the health department had to say.

This isn’t the first time in recent memory that health inspectors have closed Absolute because of health violations.

Please leave your lamentations and bagel puns in the comments.

FOOD, NEWS | 50 comments | permalink
    1. UWSHebrew says:

      Great bagels, but yes, the store is filthy. Last year a woman tied her huge dog (the size of a pony), to the door (which was opened, against the wall), and the dog would lunge at people walking in. I said to the owner how can she let this happen in her store, and she sort of shrugged. They do not care about cleanliness or a sense of civility in the store at all, as long as you’re spending money, you can do whatever you want. It’s a big turnoff, and I stopped going there regularly because of it (the occasional obnoxious foreign tourists or cutting-the-line Columbia students don’t help).

    2. Sean says:

      Dirty filthy and disgusting!

    3. ron shapley says:

      Beyond Yuck !!

    4. ron shapley says:

      Those aren’t capers……..

    5. Scott says:

      This is neither here nor there but the Filth Flies is a great band name.

    6. Joe Rappaport says:

      Absolute should be clean, of course. But I have to say I’ve always found the staff there efficient (though I’m not sure the set-up is so efficient) and helpful, and even friendly on occasion, especially given the volume of customers. So no problem with civility, from my point of view at least. Hope they’re back in business soon, and cleaner, of course.

    7. GY says:

      H&H bagels were the absolute best. I’ve become “used to” Absolute Bagels.

    8. wtcurran says:

      I get the sense the writer thoroughly enjoyed putting this article together as much as I enjoyed reading it. Great job. Keep the puns coming!

    9. Simone says:

      I don’t even care. After the loss of Amsterdam Tavern I can’t emotionally handle another closure. Here’s to them re-opening quickly.

    10. K. Hohllenbach says:

      Gothamist credits West Side Rag in the first line of their piece on this, but their headline puts the story in a different framework, http://gothamist.com/2017/10/29/absolute_bagels_closed_by_health_de.php. one that seems to be borne out by the comments I’m reading on this page. Further south, but Murray’s is quite good and I’ve never observed any cleanliness issues. Polite service, too.

    11. Paul says:

      Hmmm, maybe there is accounting for taste….

    12. Lois says:

      Think Whitefish is dirty?

    13. jbucko says:

      in the mean time, venture over to Bo’s Bagels on W116th between 7th & 8th – as good or better than Absolute, especially the za’atar and black russian bagels!

    14. LucyF says:

      I beg-el you, please no more puns! This news does not surprise me. What DOES surprise me is people who order anything other than just bagels at Absolute. Their cooked or prepared food, blech!

    15. RoxyGal says:

      Not that I’m any huge fan of this place (the service is horrible) but the bagels at Nussbaum and Wu on 113th and Broadway are just as good.

    16. Rodger Lodger says:

      I’ll have an onion bagel with cc and lox and lettuce and tomato and rodent droppings — to go.

    17. Bloomingdaler says:

      Absolute has always been great, but being closer to Lenny’s on 98th, I’ve been a loyal customer ever since it opened. And honestly, I’ve like their bagels more – especially the Oat Bran w Everything. To DIE for.

      Of course, it’s just one man’s opinion. A long hoof for those north of 106th St, but at least we’re not totally bagel-less in the interim.

    18. M. says:

      BEST BAGELS in NYC have flown under the radar for years. They’re made / sold at Broadway and W. 98th St, NW corner, at Lenny’s Bagels.

    19. Steve says:

      It’s amazing that anyone could overlook filthy conditions and just want the bagels….. When there is a serious Food Borne illness then the ignorant folks posting will call for stricter enforcement.

      Mice, not holding hot food above 140, flies….really.

    20. Liz says:

      I was there for the first time last weekend and can understand why it was shut down. The finished bagels weren’t covered in any way, and there were flies buzzing around over them, and who knows what over the the raw bagels sitting on a slab uncovered waiting to be cooked (and none of the employees seemed to notice or care). And, as far as the bagels go, meh. Lenny’s on 98th and Broadway are much better.

      • WombatNYC says:

        Lenny’s is good as well but just as dirty as Absolute . Both places are FUNKY and need some TLC

    21. Giina says:

      Ms France’s say don’t care how dirt
      the place is the Bagels are good anyway.
      The violations were significant, people
      Put your health first, that’s why people
      get bacteria in their digestive system
      and, if you see critters in a food eatery
      report it to management if the are
      decent people they will take care of
      it, places like that reopen but never
      last long because God only knows
      what’s going on in the back room.
      Average folks care about cleanlyness.

    22. DL says:

      We need a Murray’s! They are they best!

    23. MG says:

      In my opinion the best UWS bagels are still Fairways, surpassing H & H. They make their own.

    24. Jan says:

      Zuckers at 74 Columbus for great homemade
      Bagels is a good alternative. We are lucky to
      Have Zuckers here

    25. JohnP says:

      I think Rita’s closed last week–the ice cream place on Broadway at 92nd Street.

    26. Jimbo says:

      That place was a filthy,dirty,rotten store for a long time.The best in the area was Columbia Bagels.Does anyone remember it?

      • UWNostalgic says:

        YES! What a classic New York place it was!!
        And big Nicks!!!! Can someone please return Big Nicks?????????

    27. Tony says:

      Unfortunately, they absolutely waited until they got caught. Choosing cheap over clean. You know, of course, they knew they had a problem. Not surprised, the place was always funky, even funkier than I thought.

    28. eric says:

      No love lost they were nasty employees and owners.

    29. geoff says:

      my guess: new new yorkers love a fad, a rush of popularity. they can write home about their regular spot being nationally recognized. absolute bagels is written about everywhere. same with levain bakery. you know, those cookies. ridiculous.

      it takes a long time to become a new yorker. a decade, you’re just beginning.

    30. LunaTek says:

      I bread through this hole list of comments, but there was only 1 pun so far…
      Rather, it sounds like Lenny’s fans are behind this shmear campaign!

    31. Stacey says:

      Gross! I’m a fan of Broadway Bagel on 100/Bway. I like Lenny’s too but Broadway’s bagels are bigger and chewier! And the employees are so cheerful and lovely. It’s a pleasure to give them my money.

    32. WombatNYC says:

      Absolute and Lenny’s = Great Bagels but very dirty stores. it would not take much to create a cleaner , newer environment . Especially Absolute. The place is a CASH COW

    33. Paul says:

      Right after a place reopens after being shuttered bo BOH is the best time to go. It will be spotless.