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The Bagel Bar

Not sure what to serve at your reception brunch, shower, or a corporate event? A bagel bar can be simple, fun, and easy to pull off – with flavors and combinations anyone can enjoy.

Start with bagels. Plenty of plain, salt, sesame seed and whole wheat, and a scattering of pumpernickel, poppy seed, cinnamon raisin, onion, and everything will ensure that those who like variety find it at your buffet, and those who like the toppings to stand out will be able to enjoy every bite.

Savory, sweet, hot, chilled, spicy or smooth – the toppings options are innumerable. You can include proteins like cheese, fish, and meats; veggie options galore; fruits aplenty; and spreads and schmears of every kind.

Bagel bars make it easy on the host, fun for the guests, and quick on the cleanup. For best results, have two long tables set up with bagels laid out at the starting end. These should be sliced, and halving or quartering is an option if you think your guests will like to sample many different flavors. Plan on 1½ bagels per person.

While you should definitely start the topping section of the table off with the traditional lox/smoked salmon and cream cheese with red onions and capers, there are so many more possibilities! Add different flavors to cream cheese and have individual serving pots with their own spreading knives. Chives, fruit jams, garlic powder and peppers are only a few of the mix-ins you can try. Add some jalapeno jelly for those who like some kick, with a small spoon for dolloping.

Roast beef, honey ham, smoked turkey breast – thin sliced deli meats can make your bagel bar hearty and filling. Add a platter of pre-cooked bacon and some sliced cheeses like Provolone and pepper jack as well as cheddar and Swiss. Don’t forget mustards, ranch dressing, creamy mayo and pickle relish. Some softened butter is also a good idea. Bagels topped with stacks of meat and cheese go down easier with some spread. You can also provide peanut butter, Nutella, apple slices, honey, hummus, and other healthy options.

Include thin sliced vegies – lettuces, tomatoes, onions, pepper – as well as some finger sized sides such as carrots and celery, or broccoli florets. Individual bags of gourmet potato chips complete the effect. All you need is a punch bowl, bottled water, and perhaps some coffee to make your bagel bar a success!