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Bagel-Liscious offers hearty fare

June 03, 2011

By ANNE CHOVEY

Special to The Herald-Mail

It is an interesting concept: Take all sorts of tasty ingredients and instead of putting them on boring bread, use a bagel.

That is the thought behind Bagel-Liscious, the little deli at the end of Wilson Boulevard. I stopped in recently to pick up an order to share with my friends, Pap Ricka and Mack Aroni.

The choices are endless, with just about any combination of turkey, roast beef, chicken, ham and cheese with select condiments.

Different combinations have different names: some are named after patrons like Paige's, while others have clever names like NY or Bust. Most cost $5.99 to $6.99.  The menu also has sandwiches, wraps and salads. And of course, bagels. Bagels of all different flavors are available, along with flavored whipped cream cheese.

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The shop is small with a few tables and chairs. Orders are placed at the counter. Period items decorate the walls like Coca-Cola memorabilia, vintage glassware and old-fashioned kitchen gadgets. It gives the room a cozy feel.

After I got to Bagel-Liscious, I took my time checking out the menu. Mack Aroni is a notoriously picky college student and won't eat anything even vaguely resembling a vegetable. Pap will eat anything, but needs a lot of it to be happy. Fortunately, I had a huge selection from which to choose and I was sure I could find just the right thing for each of them.

After much consideration, I decided to get a Berry Maine for me. This is a wrap with turkey, spinach, cream cheese and cranberry sauce. Pap got a Bagel-Liscious Reuben with pastrami. For Mack, it was certainly easy, as a hoagie called the Grinder had his name all over it. Just to round things out, I also chose a Ruth's, a vegetarian option that Pap and I could sample.

I placed the order and sat down to wait. There was a notice on the order board that said each order was prepared individually for each customer and that it might take some time to fix.

"We don't do fast food!" was clearly spelled out.

As my order included three items that were hot, I figured it would indeed take awhile to prepare. While I waited, I decided to use the restroom. I went back a small hall, which had boxes stacked in it, then through a door into a back room, which also had boxes stacked in it. When I finally got to the restroom, it was large and clean, but I don't believe anyone with mobility issues could have accessed it.

My order arrived and was packed up. Each sandwich had its own container, along with pickles and chips, except for the Grinder, which was sold without any sides. The clerk had written the names of each sandwich on the container so we could tell them apart.

I brought them home and spread them out. Wow! The Berry Maine was a beautiful wrap with dark green spinach, white cream cheese and ruby-red, whole-berry cranberry sauce. I used to hate anything sweet or fruity on a savory sandwich or salad, but as I have gotten older, I really enjoy the contrast in flavors. This wrap was nicely done. It had plenty of turkey and just the right amount of dressings.

Mack was thrilled with the Grinder. It was huge and packed full of salami, ham and pepperoni. Cheese was melted all over it and it was topped with hot peppers. (Sweet peppers had also been an option, but I figured Mack would prefer hot and I guessed right.) Pap and I took chunks of the Grinder before Mack protested.

Pap's Reuben was great, as well. Plenty of pastrami was topped with melted Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing, all on a pumpernickel bagel. It was a good choice. Sometimes, when you get a traditional Reuben, the bread falls apart, as the ingredients have a tendency to be wet. The bagel was sturdy enough to handle the stuffing without becoming a soggy mess.

Perhaps our favorite was Ruth's -- a sandwich of grilled vegetables on rye bread. Grilled onions and mushrooms with spinach, tomatoes and black olives were complemented by melted cheese. What really made it spectacular was the spicy horseradish sauce. Who misses meat when your mouth is full of such powerful flavor?

"Well, guys, what do you think?" I asked them.

"All of these are excellent," was Pap's reply.

"Where is this place and how much did the Grinder cost?" was Mack's.

Thumbs up all around to Bagel-Liscious.

Anne Chovey is a pseudonym for a Herald-Mail freelance writer who reviews restaurants anonymously to avoid special treatment.

Restaurant review

Bagel-Liscious

Food: 4 stars  (stars are H and then turned to zapf digbats)

Service: 2 stars (the restaurant is designed to be self-service)

Ambiance: 3 stars

Value: 3.5 stars

Overall: 3.5 stars

Address: 761 E. Wilson Blvd., Suite C, Hagerstown

Phone: 301-739-4363

Hours: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Food: Sandwiches on bagels, wraps, hoagies and salads. A number of vegetarian options.

Bathrooms: Clean but very difficult to access

Parking and handicapped accessibility: Ample parking in the lot outside the restaurant. No accessibility issues inside the restaurant, other than the restroom, which is not handicapped-accessible.

Reservations: Not required.

Website:  None, and not on Facebook

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