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The dean of Boston-area bagel makers wanted to be a dentist; no, his name isn't Hermey

The Chelsea Record interviews Richard Katz, owner of the eponymous bagel place in Chelsea, who recounts his youth, his shop and where his customers come from:

I see people from Indiana, Michigan, coming down to take bagels down to Florida because the bagels from Florida suck.

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isn't that the whole thing about NYC Bagels. Its not the method.. its the NYC water.

There is something special about NYC water unlike other muni water systems.

Also I wonder how Katz compares today.. City has been replacing many old pipes around the city. It could affect it.

I miss their bagels, and I'll have to plan a trip to get some. The last time I was in Chelsea I stopped by, but they were closed. They used to be open until 3 am or so!

When I first moved here in 2009 they were open very very late on weekends. Not sure what happened, but knowing my hood, I can't imagine what business he would do overnight. At that hour and it being in Chelsea, it would be more of a destination trip. Not something you'd do often.

Now He's only open days.. 7 till 3 I think. Closed Mondays.

They were open very late during the worst of the crime days in that area... I suspect it's an age thing. I still know people who would visit at midnight if he was open. It was a great way to be ready for brunch the next day.

Marc Rosenfeld (R.I.P.) founder of Rosenfeld's bagels in Newton left college to bring right bagels here because he and his college roommate couldn't get good bagels in Boston when they were students. 40 years strong. Thank u ....and when he was my landlord back in the 80s I never knew!

Props for Hermey. I still know many who swear it was Herbie but we know better!

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Mr Katz sounds like a mensch, especially selling off the building to first-time homebuyers and still making the bagels downstairs. I should take a trip on the 111 or to go visit the new Commuter Rail station after the holiday.

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...of someone who has only ever encountered meh bagels.

Its closer. Get off at Park & Hawthorn. (the stop AFTER Katz, 4th stop after getting off bridge). Bang a right as you get off the bus and you're there in 20 seconds. (this is also my OB bus stop)

The CR is a ~10 min walk to there. Meh.. not a pretty walk.

I live spitting distance from this place. I rarely go. I usually go when I have guests, but thats about it. They are good bagels but a pricey to do often. Its a good treat tho, especially the Pizza Bagels.

A couple of tips from a local tho

1. Bring and use Cash. (just do it, don't ask why, Mr Katz just appreciates it)
2. Don't go at 7am. There's a line, every day. You'll wait. And often he doesn't have all the kinds ready. He's fully done around 8am so all kinds are there. Unless he's exceptionally busy, he has most kinds until mid-morning.
3. Avoid Sundays... line stretches up the block, especially on long weekends
4. If you are getting more than 3 dozen and want specific kinds, call ahead. He does phone orders, especially appreciates them a few days in advance. He'll have it ready for you, no wait!
5. Know what you want when you get to the counter, nothing frustrates him more
6. Expect "new york" charm, this isn't Starbucks, so he can be a bit gruff. Don't be put off by it.
7. Not a bagel person? Try the pizza bagels, pigs in a blanket or the black & whites.
8. Get cream cheese there, its fresher and nothings worse than ruining a good bagel with that Philadelphia store bought stuff.
9. They freeze very very well!
10. It's pronounced "Kates" not "catz".. so not like that stroke inducing cartoon "Dr Katz" from the 90s. (I just learned the pronunciation a few months ago)

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I go every couple of weeks on a Saturday or Sunday.

As an early riser, I can confirm arriving at 8am ensures a wider selection than at 7am, and knowing what you want as you are called upon is definitely the preferred order of business here. Although the price modestly increased this year, they are still a great bagel for less than a $1 a piece when bought by the (bakers) dozen.

When you get your warm bagels home, open that brown paper bag so they don’t steam, and then once they cool, slice and freeze, they toast up incredibly well from frozen.

Their cream cheese with lox is definitely one of our favorites. (If you’re doing a platter, or just like a more robust snack, Costco has a double pack of thin sliced Norwegian salmon that’s tasty and a good value, pair it with Katz’s plain or scallion cream cheese)

Happy thanksgiving!

I like to freeze them whole but then in the morning dip the bagel in water , wrap it in wet paper towel and microwave it to thaw. Then I cut and toast it. The water helps give the bagel some bite back and makes it more pliable.

Also , bagels make for great sandwiches,!

Grew up in walking distance, albeit on the EB side of the creek, and can't say I've ever had better, including some very good (but not as good) bagels in Brookline. Now, out in suburbia, what passes for a bagel, (Bagel World?!) I wouldn't feed a pigeon. Cash is a good idea, as stated above, and I always found it easiest to know what I wanted before going in, and to get a bag of bagels and a tub or two of cream cheese. You want them toasted? Best to go home and toast them and spread yourself silly.