A bagel-lover’s hunt for the best bagel in Ames


Courtesy of Vicky Ng via Unsplash

Bagels are one of the best carbohydrate products of all time. But, they can be hard to get right. One food reporter took an adventure to try all the bagels in Ames, so you don’t have to. 

Taylor Maerz

As an avid carb consumer, a bread enthusiast, if you will, I know a thing or two about a good bagel. This week, I decided my mission was to discover the best bagels in Ames to inform you all about the softest, tastiest bread circles around town. Here are the top 5 that I would recommend trying ASAP. 

Van Hemerts’s Dutch Oven Bakery- $2.75

A hidden gem near Downtown Ames, Dutch Oven Bakery has to be one of the homiest places. When you walk in you, feel like you are at your grandma’s house being welcomed with a warm plate of cookies. The smell is sweet, with a mix of coffee being brewed behind the counter. After resisting my temptation to buy everything else behind the counter, I decided on their asiago bagel with veggie cream cheese. Donuts, cupcakes, dutch letters, sugar cookies, cakes, pastries, you name it, and they have it! When I took my first bite, I knew that this bagel would trump all the others that I tried. It was crisp on the outside but fluffy and airy on the inside. It wasn’t too dense and was filled with flavor. I will definitely be coming back to try one of everything at Dutch Oven Bakery. 

Bookends Cafe in Parks Library- Parmesan Herb bagel: $2.75

Bookends is doing everything right with their bagel game; their selection for both bagels and cream cheeses is large, and you can create so many different combinations between the two. My go-to combo is the parmesan herb bagel and the chive cream cheese. I discovered this concoction last semester when I was at the library studying, and I have been addicted ever since. The flavor is spread throughout the whole bagel, unlike some that only have seasoning on top. The chive cream cheese elevates it by 100 percent, too. If you can’t tell, I am extremely passionate about this bagel… maybe a little bit too passionate considering I get one at least twice a week. 

Café Diem- Blueberry and Cream Cheese: $4

I have to be honest; I was not super impressed with the Café Diem bagel. I think it was just out of a package you can buy at the grocery store. Their selection wasn’t huge, and they only had plain cream cheese. It was a very average bagel, but I can’t be too hard on a place that specializes in coffee and not baked goods. The environment in Café Diem made up for it too; it is so homey and comfortable. Also, aside from their bagels, you should definitely try their Chai tea. It is a million times better than Starbucks.

Dunkin Donuts- $2

Now, what isn’t a million times better than Starbucks is Dunkin’, but we can debate that at a later time. The Dunkin’ in Ames is just a catastrophe. The drive-thru line stresses me out to the max (who would make a drive-thru that backs up onto Lincoln Way?), and I feel like you never really get what you want there. The only bagel they had left when I went there was multigrain, and I got it with the veggie cream cheese. Expecting the worst, I took a bite, and my attitude took a complete 180. It was actually really good. I felt really humbled. The Dunkin’ bagel was soft on the inside but toasted to perfection on the outside. They gave you enough cream cheese to go on both sides of the bagel, too, which is a game-changer. Plus, it was super cheap- only $2!

Cabin Coffee Co.- $5.25

I had never heard of this place before, but when I searched “bagels near me” on Google, Cabin Coffee Co. showed up! I made the trek to the east side of Ames to try it out, and it did not disappoint. Cabin Coffee Co. has bagel sandwiches along with bagels and cream cheese. I got the bacon, egg and cheese bagel and it was absolutely phenomenal. The bacon was crisp and fresh, and the eggs were delightfully fluffy. I will definitely be coming back here to enjoy a bagel and study!