If the phrase “bagel sandwich” conjures up visions of a soggy mound of microwaved eggs topped with neon orange cheese plopped in the middle of a bread puck that is a bagel in name only, a visit to St. Paul Baglery in Roseville can change your outlook.
You could drive right by this family-owned shop in the Lexington Plaza strip mall (even if you’re looking for it), but it is always bustling with neighborhood regulars who drop by for a morning bagel and coffee or duck in to grab a sandwich for lunch. The bagels are made onsite, “with love,” as they say, to the tune of 3,000 a day. Sisters and co-owners Peggy Teed and Dodie Green, who grew up a few miles from the shop, use all natural ingredients and no preservatives in their bagels.
And it is definitely the bagels and not the ambience that draws customers. The staff is friendly and helpful, but the space is on the Spartan side. You order at the counter and claim a seat at one of the comfy booths that line one wall. The opposite wall is devoted to the ordering counter and bagel display as well as a case full of assorted flavors of cream cheese to go. Somewhat incongruous, but charming, is the turntable and stack of LPs that are tucked next to the soda station, which staff spins at their whim, and which provides an unexpectedly eclectic selection of music to dine by.
At breakfast, the offerings are pretty run-of-the-mill. Order a bagel with cream cheese and lox, or try one of the breakfast sandwiches. You can get a typical egg and cheese or egg, cheese, and meat combo. If you want to single-handedly test the World Health Organization’s recent warning about processed meat, try the Luther Vandross, a bagel with egg, cheese, sausage, bacon, and ham.
The sandwiches get more creative at lunch. The MacGyver uses hot roast beef, Swiss cheese, garlic herb cream cheese, green peppers, and red onions. Taking a cue from wine pairing suggestions on fine dining menus, their sandwich board recommends certain bagels as a base for certain sandwiches (the MacGyver is apparently best on an Asiago bagel).
The kickin’ turkey sandwich sounds dangerous, what with the pepper jack cheese, jalapeno cream cheese, and jalapenos (and the recommended jalapeno bagel), but the spice level was just enough to make things interesting. The lettuce, tomatoes, and sprouts that topped the turkey helped to cool things down. The homemade tuna salad for the tuna melt included crunchy vegetables and enough mayo to hold things together without overdoing it. There’s not much in the way of accompaniments for your bagel sandwich; you can get a bag of chips and a soft drink or coffee, or take advantage of the fact that St. Paul Baglery shares a space with a Maui Wowi franchise and opt for a smoothie.
The shop is open until 2 p.m. every day, and if you have your heart set on a particular sandwich or type of bagel, you best get there early. On a recent late lunch visit, they had run out of sauce for the pizza bagel, as well as several varieties of bagels. And plans to take home some caramel apple bagels for the next day were foiled by a customer who stopped in for two dozen bagels to go, including all the remaining caramel apple.
On any given day, you can find more than a dozen types of bagels, both expected and surprising: plain, poppy seed, and everything, but also seasonal flavors like pumpkin and cranberry. There are equally as many choices of cream cheese. Purists can opt for plain or smoked salmon. Or try one of the many sweet or savory versions like apricot almond, cinnamon sugar, garlic herb or garlic veggie that round out the ample choices. If Roseville is a bit far for your weekend bagel run, don’t worry – you can find St. Paul Baglery products at co-ops and grocery stores around the Twin Cities. You won’t find all the varieties, and you won’t get to taste them the same day they’re made, but they’ll still be made with love.
1702 Lexington Ave. N., Roseville
Monday – Friday, 6 a.m. – 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.