Best Of 2017

Best Artisan Bagels: Lil’s Bagels

Best Artisan Bagels

Before Julia Keister of Lil’s Bagels started baking and selling her “made with chutzpah” small-batch bagels at Covington’s farmers market (and Findlay Market, Hotel Covington, Covington Coffee Company, Trailhead Coffee, the Coffee Exchange, Bouquet…), Cincinnati experienced a dearth of these East Coast-style breakfast staples. Using a “sponge” starter (which makes the bagels satisfyingly NYC-chewy), Keister hand-rolls, boils and then bakes every bagel herself with interesting flavors including za’atar, everything and fruit bagels. She makes her own spreads, too, like pimento cheese, muhammara and a beet-based garden variety called Judy Garden. Every month, MainStrasse’s Crafts & Vines hosts a Lil’s bagel bar in which people can make their own bagel sandwiches. Here’s hoping she opens a brick-and-mortar deli soon. Lil’s Bagels, lilsbagels.com.