Nancy's Bagel Grounds
1 star
Nancy's Bagel Grounds
2101 Frankfort Ave.
(502) 895-8323

A friendly and very casual neighborhood gathering spot, Nancy's Bagel Grounds offers a lot to like, enough so that we drop by fairly often, even when I'm not reviewing, simply to relax over a coffee drink and a snack and maybe catch up on The New York Times and other publications that are always lying around.

The service is generally friendly, too, and the limited selection of bagel-sandwich fillings (from $2.75 to $3.95), homemade soups of the day ($2.50 to $3.50) and desserts are generally appealing.

But there's just one little thing that invariably drives me into a mouth-frothing rant: Just what in the heck are these things that Nancy's calls "bagels"?

You would think an establishment whose middle name is "Bagel" and that boasts an industrial-style bagel-making line in the back room would make a bagel-like product.

But dagnabbit, these gummy little pale-tan rolls don't bear a very close resemblance to anything that resembles the bagels I used to enjoy in New York City, or even from other Louisville bagel-makers. A proper bagel should be good-size and firm but tender inside, with a characteristically chewy-tender, malty-golden and slightly sweet crust. It should be evenly shaped and round, thin enough to fit into a wide toaster slot if you slice it with care. And unless you're dealing with an unusual affectation like pumpernickel, it should be made with white flour, not this odd brownish material that appears to be a blend of white and whole wheat.


Please pardon the rant, but I've been holding this in ever since the good folks at Heine Brothers Coffee, another favorite spot for a snack and The Times, switched over to Nancy's bagels recently, eliminating a previously available real-bagel option.

So here's what I ask, and it doesn't seem that unreasonable: The next time one of you goes to New York on business or pleasure, would you please bring back a fresh real bagel and show it to the folks at Nancy's? Maybe they could do better with a model.

Yes, I do keep going back anyway. A couple of bagels, a generous schmear of the excellent lox-and-cream-cheese or the healthy low-fat veggie spread and a couple of espresso drinks or hot tea never come to more than $10, including tip. It's not a bad place. We like it. But I do wish they could master that bagel thing. $

(February 2003)