Oklahoma City, OK
Old School Bagel Cafe is a local chain of restaurants that mainly tries to find different ways to use bagels–plain with cream cheese on top, as the bread in sandwiches, as a pizza crust, or as breakfast with eggs, sausage, and other ingredients inside. They also have salads and regular sandwiches (not made with bagels).
The bagels are New York style, meaning that they are water-boiled. Their web site explains the process they use, and I can say that they are quite different than most of the bagels I encounter (such as the ones they sell in Sprouts, Whole Foods, etc.). There used to be a Jewish deli in El Paso that made bagels like these, but otherwise I rarely find this type of bagel.
The bagels here are crunchy in a good way, and are excellent. On two separate occasions I tried a bagel, one of which I thought was a little better than the other. They have a large selection of flavors and I think this is one of the draws of the place. To me it is well worth it to try the bagels here even though they are pricey–especially when you get them with cream cheese. They really seem to do bagels the right way, and I do not know how to put a price on this in places like Oklahoma where real bagels are not readily available.
The Pumpkin Bagel is one of the flavors that is good on its own (and of course the cream cheese makes it even better).
I thought the Blueberry Bagel was even better. With this one I got an order of cream cheese that had a lot left over after I slathered the bagel with it. For this my solution was to get a package of bagels from Sprouts which all of a sudden were disappointing to me compared to the ones from Old School, but the cream cheese made them a lot better.
I wanted to try one of the lunch items, so I chose the Reuben. There is a choice of bread (or bagel) so I chose the wheatberry. I thought this was a good choice even though I do not think this was the traditional way to order a Reuben. The meat on this sandwich was very good and there was a lot of it, so this made a good lunch. There are two places in town where I really like the Reuben so these provided a good yardstick with which to compare Old School’s version. One of these places, Ingrid’s, has a very good sauerkraut and I thought the one at Old School was not quite as flavorful. It was fresh, however, and this was the most important factor. For the dressing I think you cannot beat the one at Someplace Else Deli, and I thought the one here was not quite as impressive.
There are several other sandwiches on the menu as well, and I would expect that they might be particularly good eaten on a bagel.
In a Nutshell
This is pretty much a fast food restaurant that only serves breakfast and lunch. I think they deliver on their promise to give you New York style bagels, and these are well worth seeking out.
I think there are better places in town for sandwiches, but the Reuben I tried was a small sample size of what they have to offer and may not be representative of their other lunch items. Probably breakfast is the most promising area for items that I have not yet tried.