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Lower East Side food: Kossar’s Bialys

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Around the corner on Grand Street from The Pickle Guys is Kossar’s, one of the last bialy stores left in New York. For those unfamiliar with the bialy, think of a cross between an english muffin and a bagel, with an indented center traditionally filled with onions. Bialys are baked not boiled, and have floury exteriors and a soft crumb. Brought to New York by Jewish immigrants from Bialystok, Poland, the bread’s full name is ‘Bialystoker Kuchen’. Little known outside New York in the United States (maybe little known even IN New York!) the bialy is a worthy breakfast contender and a delicious alternative to the ubiquitous (and usually middling at best) bagels found in nearly every New York deli.

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Originally opened in 1936, Kossar’s closed last fall for a refurbishment and modernization. Newly-opened again in February, what the newer store lacks in historical charm it makes up for in expanded options. A number of new bialy flavors are on offer, including sun dried tomato and whole wheat, and it’s now possible to have your bialy toasted and topped with butter or a thick spread (a ‘schmear’) of flavored cream cheese. We quickly ordered three different flavors of bialy, toasted and topped with a mix of butter and cream cheese, and settled into the counter running along the front window to eat. Our favorite was the garlic bialy, its center filled with soft roasted garlic and a liberal sprinkling of poppy seeds. We liked it so much that we left with a half dozen to enjoy for breakfast in the coming days. Rarely have I so looked forward to waking up!


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June 1, 2016

[…] day. Typically, we stop by a park to play on the playground, first picking up breakfast (often bialys or doughnuts), and coffee. To that routine this past weekend we added a new destination: the Hua […]


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