Bagel connoisseurs know New York City sets high standards for bagels. I was intrigued to find out if the South could compete with them.
The cafe Proper Bagel is located on Belmont Boulevard in Nashville, Tennessee. I have personally walked past the cafe many times and almost always see a line out the door.
The outside decor has a modern look with slick black siding and the title Proper Bagel bold in white. It has a charming front porch with striped umbrellas simply welcoming you to come in.
The inside has more white accents and a farmhouse feel. The atmosphere is typically buzzing with chaos from the amount of people inside. Through all the noise, I did notice the workers are very sincere and polite to every customer which I respected a lot.
On the bright side of waiting in a long line, you have a long time to decide what flavors you are really craving. The options offered are extensive ranging from different freshly baked bagel flavors to different fish, to creative cream cheeses, and so much more.
My go-to order is always a sesame bagel, so I decided to try something different and taste their sourdough bagel.
The cream cheese selection was my hardest decision. There were sweet flavors like: cookie dough, strawberry shortcake, and birthday cake and savory flavors like: roasted garlic, scallion, and fresh veggie. The combinations you could choose are endless!
No matter what bagel you order from there it will be ample which makes it the perfect comfort food. I was ready to dive into the classic combo, a crisp bagel with a thick cream cheese schmear.
My sourdough bagel was toasted nicely with a satisfying slight crunch without taking away from the pillowy dough underneath. I saw they had a vegan scallion cream cheese that I was excited to order to taste for people with specific dietary needs. The flavor was exactly what I was looking for with the scallions having a mild but slightly sweet taste close to onions but less pungent. The consistency was creamy perfection. Since their vegan cream cheese was this good, I cannot imagine how good the regular is as well! The bagel does not skim on the cream cheese schmear! It completely fits up the hole of the bagel and overflows out the sides.
A complaint about Proper Bagel besides the long wait, is the expensive pricing which is one of their very few downfalls. With that being said, I believe it is one of the closest things Tennessee offers that could compete with a New York bagel.