Bageltowne vs. Bethesda Bagels: A clash of bagel titans


The debate of the go-to bagel spot in Rockville is storied and complicated. On one hand there is Bageltowne Deli, a sit-down restaurant located in Traville Village Shopping Center, and on the other hand there is the classic Bethesda Bagels that currently boasts five locations. Bagel aficionados across the city of Rockville have long debated which shop serves up the best bagels, and I aim to help narrow down the decision.

Beginning with the taste of the bagels, Bethesda Bagels has a New York style bagel, giving it a crispy exterior and chewy texture. Meanwhile, Bageltowne offers a bagel style familiar to this area, but nonetheless both are delicious. Both bagels are homemade fresh everyday and it is stellar from the first bite. “Grocery store bagels can’t compete with the fresh taste Bageltowne makes. I love ordering an egg and sausage bagel to start my day,” senior Saurav Khetan said.

However, taste is not the only aspect that should be considered when comparing the two. Bageltowne provides a homely atmosphere with more seating available and friendly staff, while Bethesda Bagels has a fast-paced, grab-and-go atmosphere. “I prefer Bethesda Bagels because of how convenient and quick it is to get your food if you don’t have time to sit down and eat,” senior Ethan Kuan said.

As for the menu variety, both shops offer an extensive sandwich and lunch menu, but Bageltowne does have more items.  Bageltowne has a kids menu and a section dedicated to sandwich and garden salads. The menu also includes a plethora of original Jewish sandwiches, such as “The Bubbe” (Jewish grandma) and “The Mitzvah” (a good deed). While Bethesda Bagels does offer more generic sandwiches, they also offer unique items on their lunch menu, such as a New York style pizza and a Bagel Dog. “I have never tried pizza from Bethesda Bagels, but now I definitely want to see if it compares to some of the chain restaurants nearby,” junior Zo Singh said.

Bethesda Bagels is family-owned and originated in Bethesda in 1982. They currently have five locations scattered throughout the D.C. metro area and their latest addition was Fallsgrove early in 2022. The owners, Steve and Fran Fleishman, came up with the idea in the early ‘80s while visiting a friend attending Georgetown and they soon learned the skill of making bagels in New York under apprenticeship of a baker located on their street. According to Bethesda Bagels, , “[We are] the oldest original tenant that started on Bethesda Row.”

Whether your preference is Bageltowne or Bethesda Bagels, both will give a community atmosphere with an expansive breakfast or lunch menu. If you’re searching for a sit-down brunch, then Bageltowne is the place for you. However, Bethesda Bagels is a better option if you are on the go and enjoy their connection to the MoCo community.