As a New Yorker, I (used to) believe there are but two types of bagels: those found in New York, and total, complete, abhorable garbage.
Maybe it's the water! Maybe it's the tradition! Maybe it's just a misguided sense of East Coast urban superiority! (It's probably a mix of all three).
But as I get older -- and my horizons expand along with my waistline -- I've realized the rest of our fair nation does indeed have quality bagel options… as long as you know where to look. And if you don't know where to look, look here, at one of these 12 spots. While some of these bagel shops do an admirable job of mimicking the "New York" style, others try (and succeed!) at blazing their own, distinct, breaded path to breakfast food glory.
And while this list may represent the best of the best, it only proves that great bagels don't depend on water, tradition, or location. All that matters is that bagel makers have passion, use quality ingredients, and actually care about the product they produce.