‘Best bagel shop I’ve visited in my life’

Annie Shih is a big fan of Macon’s newest place to get bagels


Two Annies — Annie Shih and Annie Putzke — enjoy the atmosphere at the new Macon Bagels on Third Street

Make it custom or order from the sandwich menu. You can get sweet or salty, although it’s a tough decision. Accompany it with fresh orange juice, cold brew, or iced tea. Get a cookie, pastry, scone, muffin, or coffee cake from the rotating menu before it’s gone.

Buy your favorite spread, hot sauce, and perhaps become an early bird to buy your dozen of freshly baked bagels because they are gone in less than an hour after opening. 

It is not your average bagel shop, but it is Macon’s new go-to.

Located on 470 Third Street, Macon Bagels, founded in 2021 by Lauren Bone and Patrick Rademaker, provides downtown with a novel and unforgettable experience. 

It is almost impossible to find a parking spot and people line up outside and around the corner. That’s not entirely negative since you will need time to think about your order. It is hard to narrow down.

Every time someone opens the door to continue the line inside, the warm and crisp smell of bagels rushes outside. 

It is crucial to arrive as close as possible to 7 a.m., or the bagels may be sold out quickly. Once you enter and slowly get closer to the counter, the line seems to move quicker as the cashier is speedy, the employees behind the cashier are rushing to make tens of bagels, and customers are sitting down with their families, eating their bagels and smiling. 

People of all ages are enjoying their bagels, from babies on strollers to the elderly. Jazz music plays in the background, pictures of Macon from decades ago enhance the light teal wooden walls, and vintage magazines and books decorate the tables near the leather couches decorated with bread loaf pillows. 

Its fame grew exponentially since it opened in July. It is common to hear its name everywhere, including Stratford. The staff has catered Macon Bagels, and many students who live near downtown are frequent customers.

The first time I went, the shop was surprisingly empty. Weird, I thought. It was until an employee told me that the bagels were sold out that it clicked.

Macon Bagels is the best bagel shop I’ve visited in my life, even better than those I’ve visited in New York.”

— Annie Shih

I woke up early the next day in search of that first impression. I ran with my two friends to get a parking spot and secure a spot in the line close to the door. There were about 10 people.

Once we got in, I did not look down once because my eyes were fixed on the menu. I scanned the options and struggled to narrow them down. I wanted to try everything, but I could only order one thing. I knew I would be coming again soon.

Between The Sweet Thing, The Kentucky Derby, and an Everything Bagel with cream cheese —the classic. I wanted an Asiago bagel, but they didn’t have it. At first, I felt slightly sad, but then they told me they have a double cheddar bagel, so I decided to order a Kentucky Derby with it. Since I enjoy trying new things, I was excited to try this double cheddar bagel because no other bagel shop I know has that bagel.

Consider the number of people ordering for takeout and those eating inside, the wait was short. I waited less than 10 minutes while sipping from a cold brew.

They called my name and gave me my bagel in a paper bag. This made me enjoy my bagel even more because they aren’t using plastic bags which are harmful to the environment. 

I quickly opened my warm bagel neatly split in half and took a bite. The avocado and tomato were very fresh, the bread was warm and soft, and the cream cheese was the perfect amount: not too little nor too much. 

Macon Bagels is the best bagel shop I’ve visited in my life, even better than those I’ve visited in New York.