Nate’s Bagels doesn’t bother with espresso drinks and they don’t brew their own special blend of coffee. But that’s because every person behind the counter is either making bagels fresh or serving up one of the hundreds of sandwiches they put out every day. Plus, that does mean you have both an activity and a drink to bide your time with as you wait for your bagel to come out.
Nate’s slogan is “finally, a good bagel in Richmond” and while I can’t speak to the history of bagels in this city I can confirm that it is, in fact, quite delicious. The bagels are well seasoned, reasonably proportioned, and deliciously chewy. They lack a little bit of the crunchy exterior you might expect from a New York bagel, but you’re not in New York, and the prices reflect that – with sandwiches starting as low as $5 (and lox for as low as $9).
The prices aren’t what makes Nate’s great though: that would be the inspired sandwich menu – see: breakfast Bahn Mi with pork belly or a Cubano on a Rosemary Sea Salt bagel – and the fact that while the line can be long, the wait is never bad.
There’s a lot that goes into making a wait manageable – Nate’s staff is incredibly friendly and super efficient and – essentially – the playlist is always fantastic. But if you’re like me, and you always need a little snack with your coffee, you can snag a house-made rugelach to keep you company while you wait for your bagel. They’re a dollar a piece and worth every penny, especially if you ordered a hot breakfast sandwich on a rainy Sunday morning while they field 271 online orders.
Nate’s bagels are really good and their coffee, even if it’s the best standalone cup in the city, really holds its own. It’s not a perfect restaurant, but it delivers on its premise and on its promise – the best bagel in Richmond.