Growing up in northern New Jersey, bagels were more than an easy to-go breakfast. They were part of our culinary landscape. My hometown of Bloomfield had three unbelievable spots in the space of five square miles. Hot beds of conversation, cream cheese, and spongy, chewy goodness, Jewish bagel joints defined my upbringing. Yes, I’m a bagel snob.
Since moving to Austin, I’ve bemoaned the lack of quality bagels in the capital city. But after discovering Biderman’s Deli on Far West, I’m done complaining. Purveyor of sandwiches, Jewish cuisine, and bagels that rival the best in my hometown, this neighborhood deli is more than a place to get your lox and cream cheese fix. It’s become a place where strangers become friends and people call home.
Editor’s Note: As of October 2018, Biderman’s Deli has opened a second location downtown at 800 Brazos St.
Inspired by New York, Born in Austin
While the spirit of Biderman’s is distinctly East Coast, its soul is Austin through and through. Curious why his hometown didn’t have an authentic Jewish deli, Zach Biderman dropped his old life in the coffee business and–along with business partner Gabe Sims–embarked on a journey of carbohydrate-laden goodness.
“At first, we weren’t sure how far we were going to go with the deli concept,” shared Biderman. “What we found was our core business was absolutely delicious big sandwiches and bagels with a Jewish flair.”
After careful planning, the pair settled on a site in Austin’s Northwest Hills neighborhood, previously occupied by New World Deli. The space is cozy and inviting, with tons of shady outside seating. Even when there’s a full house, it’s easy to relax and hold a conversation.
Bagels and Lox and Cream Cheese, Oh My!
The tent pole of Biderman’s menu is the authentic, New York-style bagels. The best of the genre play a delicate game of tightrope between chewy and tender. Biderman’s offerings achieve that balance to near perfection. The initial bite has a satisfying toughness, revealing a spongy dough beneath. The result is a bagel with the firm chew and soft center required to make it legit.
Biderman’s offers all of the traditional bagel styles you’d find at Katz’s or Carnegie Deli, with a few you could label as outside the box. While the old school plain is always a good go-to, for me the “everything” is king. Poppy and sesame seeds provide welcome texture, while the hits of garlic and onion add a pop of sweetness.
And what would a bagel be without some “shmear”? All the classic cream cheeses are brought to the party, but my favorite turned out to be the pickle & dill variety. Notes of brine and salt with a dill nose intensified anything I paired it with. And don’t pass on the peanut butter and Nutella spread. There’s no shame in getting your Nutella on with your morning coffee.
Which brings me to the exceptional bagel sandwiches. While you can snag a standard bacon, egg, and cheese, Biderman’s serves up delicious combos. Most recently, I tried the corned beef, egg, and cheese. Fluffy eggs adorned with lean corned beef provided a savory yet salty texture, while a strong, sharp Swiss tied it together with a hint of nutty richness.
And what Jewish deli would be complete without lox? Growing up, the deluxe sandwich at a Jewish deli would be cream cheese and lox, with onions, tomatoes, and capers. The minute I saw that exact sandwich on Biderman’s menu, I knew they were the real deal. With thinly sliced onions, hearty tomato, and fresh lox, all served open face, the dish hits all the check marks with style.
➡️ Keep reading: 5 Bagel Joints in Austin That Are Anything But Basic
There’s So Much More
Why stop at bagels? Biderman’s serves up a great lunch, as well. While I didn’t get a chance to try any of the sandwiches during my visit, locals swear by the Reuben. Made in the classic style with corned beef, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut, slathered with Russian dressing and pressed between two slices of toasted rye, fans say this is a sandwich-lover’s dream.
Biderman’s also serves up Jewish fare like noodle kugel, potato latkes, whitefish, and chopped liver. But the star of the deli case was the insanely good cakes and pastries. My little guy devoured the homemade banana walnut bread.
And even though it was 10 in the morning, cheesecake had to happen. Biderman’s take towed the line between airy and decadently rich with incredible ease. With a velvety texture, just the right amount of crust, and a savory/sweet flavor bursting with freshness, I can confidently say it’s the best cheesecake I’ve had in Austin.
But like the New Jersey delis of my youth, it’s not all about the food. As I chatted with Zach Biderman, nobody left without saying goodbye. Biderman’s front of house manager Chris knew everyone by name. The shop ceased to be a place to grab a bagel and run. It felt integrated into the community, an integral part of neighborhood where friends and family could meet up, share an open faced deluxe, and feel at home.
By bringing both the flavors and feeling of a classic Jewish deli to our beloved city, Biderman’s Deli has succeeded on two fronts. Bagels and sandwiches I’d bring my East Coast family to enjoy, with the sort of come-as-you-are comfort that’s distinctly Austin. Enter a stranger; leave a friend; and enjoy the best bagels and shmear this side of the Mississippi. L’Chaim!
3742 Far West Blvd. – Website
@BillTuckerTSP wants to know:
Where do you go to grab a bagel in Austin?