Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

July 7, 2023

Friday Food Insider: Two Maine bagel shops receive recognition from Bon Appetit

Alexis Wells Rose Foods is at 428 Forest Ave. in Portland.

For some people breakfast may consist of traditional fare like eggs, bacon, hash browns or maybe pancake or waffles. But for others, breakfast is simple: it's the open-face bagel smothered in cream cheese; maybe it even has some avocado, tomato and lox. 

While Maine may be best known for its seafood and high-end Portland restaurants, two Maine bagel shops were ranked “The Very Best Bagels in the US (outside of New York City)” by Bon Appetit, published on June 30. 

Ciara Wells
Rose Foods

Rose Foods at 428 Forest Ave. in Portland and Rover Bagel at 10 West Point Lane in Biddeford are among the 25 bagel spots recognized by Bon Appetit. Bagelsaurus, a Cambridge, Mass., shop noted for its classic nova bagel sandwich, was the only other honoree from New England. 

Rose Foods, which opened in 2017, is an independent and family-owned bakery and restaurant. Owner Chad Conley specializes in Montreal-style bagels, spreads, sandwiches, matzo ball soup, latkes and more. (Montreal-style bagels have a crusty exterior, while a New York-style bagel is known to be chewy.)

Bon Appetit writer Wilder Davies notes, “Owner Chad Conley ships lox, sable, whitefish, and Dr. Brown’s up from New York, offering geshmak no other bagel joints nearby can match. Other delicatessen staples, like latkes, chopped liver, pastrami, and bialys, prove enticing enough to lure long lines of locals and visitors through these doors.” 

Rover Bagel, a take-out window owned by Alec and Kim Rutter, makes wood-fired bagels and homemade spreads. It has a variety of bagels, of course, bagel sandwiches, pastries, tea, coffee and more. The veggie special is perfect for a hot day and is nice and refreshing with the carrots and cucumber. 

Alexis Wells
Rover Bagel

Joe Ricchio, a Bon Appetit contributor, said the bagels were the best of both worlds. “The pleasant chew of a New York–style bagel and the outer char and crunch of those favored in Montreal. All are made using a sourdough starter and a combination of locally sourced flour from Maine Grains and the old standby King Arthur.”

Both shops have already received national recognition. Rose Foods was named as one of Bon Appetit’s  “Top 50 Nominees for America’s Best New Restaurants 2018.” Rover Bagel was part of the “Best Bagels in America” list by Bon Appetit in 2021.

Is anyone else in the mood for bagels?

Do you have bagels on your mind right now? Well, I do too and your pal the Friday Food Insider has got you covered. Here is a list of other Maine bagel spots to check out. Maybe there should be a bagel crawl; I know I would go. 

Starting this bagel crawl off we have the one and only Mister Bagel, which has locations in Westbrook, Windham, Gorham, Falmouth, South Portland, Brunswick and Portland, where there are two. The spot has been serving up bagels since 1977 when Rick and Gail Hartglass moved to Maine from Brooklyn, N.Y., and opened a New York-style bagel shop on Forest Avenue in Portland. Rick decided to broaden his market and opened locations in different Maine towns. 

Their menu has something for everyone including muffins, pastries, breakfast sandwiches and burritos, yogurt parfaits and fruit salad, plus a wide variety of bagels and different cream cheeses and a tofu cream cheese. 

Forage Market, at 123 Washington Ave. in Portland and 180 Lisbon St. in Lewiston, is known for its hand-rolled bagels that are baked early in the morning in a wood-fired oven. They offer a variety of bagel sandwiches for the morning or lunchtime. 

Renee Cordes
Scratch Baking Co.

Scratch Baking Co., at 416 Preble St. in South Portland, opened in 2004 and is named after the owner's dog named Scratch. The artisan bakery has breakfast pastries, homemade bread, sweet treats, desserts and of course their bagel selection.

The Maine Bagel at 172 U.S. Route 1 in Scarborough is different than most of these shops; although it sells bagels and pastries it has a convenient drive-thru and no dine-in. Whether you are looking for their special recipe bagels, lunch, or a good pastry this spot has got you covered. Their cinnamon rolls look divine. 

Heading north we have Bagel Mainea at 190 Western Ave. in Augusta. This spot serves up award-winning homemade cream cheese with their New York-style bagels that are baked fresh daily. There are specialty Boars Head sandwiches, soups made from scratch, salads and more. On Sundays, there's live music and a mimosa special. 

Bagel Central, at 33 Central St. in Bangor, is a cozy bagel shop that serves sandwiches, soups, vegan treats and different breakfast options. 

Bagel Cafe, at 25 Mechanic St. in Camden, with bagels baked and boiled daily, has a wide variety of cream cheeses and spreads, as well as bagel and breakfast sandwiches.

Java Joe's, at 154 Main St. in Farmington, is the perfect spot for college students or those visiting the area. It has a variety of fresh bagels, specialty cream cheese, sandwiches, wraps, baked goods, and locally roasted coffee from Carrabassett Coffee Co. I highly recommend their blueberry bagel or their "everything" bagel with veggie cream cheese.

Water's Edge Kitchen & Bakery, at 399 Dunham Point Road in Deer Isle, has freshly baked bagels, sourdough English muffins, pizza and more. 

Time to head to York County, shall we?

Starting off in this beach spot Beach Bagels, at 34 Old Orchard St. in Old Orchard Beach, is the perfect spot to grab a bagel and chill out before a long day at the beach or grab your bagel and head down to pick out the perfect place to sit on the sand. 

KPort Bagel, at 2 Morning Walk Lane in Kennebunk, is new to my bagel radar but it definitely looks like a great spot to check out. One feature is the homemade sourdough bagel.

Bagel Basket, at 280 York St. in York, has been cooking up bagels since 1944 and sells 18 different varieties of bagels and different kinds of spreads. They also have salads, sandwiches, frozen drinks, coffee and more.

Choo-choo and last but certainly not least for our bagel tour is Bagel Caboose, at 176 State Road in Kittery. It serves bagels out of an authentic train caboose. There is a wide variety of bagels, homemade spreads, breakfast sandwiches and locally roasted organic fair trade arabica bean coffee. 

Ciara Wells
Pictured here is a Rose Foods everything bagel.

For my gluten-free pals, a few of these spots offer gluten-free bagels so you can enjoy a nice morning bagel without feeling left out. I also highly recommend getting a baker's dozen and freezing them it’s a great way to wake up in the morning. 

What is your go-to bagel of choice? The Mainebiz Food Insider wants to know! Contact Alexis Wells at

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF