Okay, let me get right to the point. I’m from New Jersey and grew up about twenty miles from Manhattan. So, I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect bagel ever since I moved to New England 12 years ago, and have been pleasantly surprised to find a few Massachusetts chain restaurants that actually have great bagels.

I’m also always on the run driving to various events or tournaments across the state. Regardless of what county I am in, a good bagel and coffee breakfast is something I am always looking for. Time is usually of the essence so my preference is typically a quick grab-and-go.

I’ve compiled a short list of bagel chains that really deliver. To clarify, this list excludes any local bakery or privately owned single bagel shop. Many of those remain among my favorite places to grab an everything, extra-toasted, and lightly buttered. In fact, this past weekend I even tripped across one that cooks a “New Jersey Pork Roll” bagel sandwich. The proper term is Taylor Ham, but back to the point.

Bagel-ology

The bagel restaurants selected here don’t have to be specific to Massachusetts only. They do, however have multiple locations throughout the state. So, If I’m en route to an early morning lacrosse tournament in Devens and stop in to grab breakfast at a Newton franchise, I can expect their other location in Milton will have a similar offering, when I’m there for a sunrise hockey game in the winter.

In full transparency, Dunkin’ Donuts is not on this list. With all due respect,¬† it’s called Dunkin “Donuts” for a reason. Throw a sausage, egg, and cheese on one of their bagels and I’m OK, but I’m still not going out of my way specifically for their bagels. However, if this were a coffee chain feature, Dunkin’ would be standing strong towards the top.

Without further ado, let’s hop in the car, roll down Route 3, 24, or take a sharp exit off 93, and pull into a few Massachusetts small chain restaurants that are cooking up some great bagels.

  • #4 Gunther Tooties

    There are five Gunther Tooties locations from Foxborough down to the South Shore. The owner of this chain worked in a New York bagel shop before taking over the first location in Pembroke. Moreover, a few of their spots offer drive-through. The “French Toast” bagel listed under the New York Style portion of the menu is always hard to resist.
    Assorted variety of different flavored freshly baked bagels in a full frame background on burlap

  • #3 The Bagel Dudes

    Sometimes known as “The Bagel Shop” (like their Chatham location), this is a family operated chain business that has a significant presence in eastern Massachusetts and in Florida. Everything is baked fresh onsite. If you’ve ever wondered what Chocolate Chip Cookie flavored Iced Coffee takes like, they have 22 different variations here. And it tastes as good as it sounds.

    Two everything bagels on a cutting board with butter.

    Getty Images

  • #2 Cafe Fresh Bagel

    There are five Cafe Fresh Bagel restaurants all within about 30 minutes of each other. This is my bagel breakfast sandwich spot. I  keep it simple when I go there, with a classic: bacon, egg, and cheese on an everything bagel.

    A bacon, egg, and cheese cooked well on an everything bagel with a glass of orange juice

    Getty Images

  • #1 Bruegger's Bagels

    There are 14 Bruegger’s in Massachusetts. Each one is a combination of its own character and consistent taste. The menu is the same everywhere, which is a good thing because their bagels contiguously deliver an essential bagel flavor whether you are in a Bruegger’s on School St. in Boston or stopping in on your way to their Route 3a South Shore location on your way to the highway. Plus, their bagels are relatively small, so you can eat two.

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