Kossar’s Bialys: A Blizzard of Brick Oven Baked Goods

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Bakery New York City

Kossar's Bialys is a key part of Lower East Side Jewish culinary traditions.

In many ways, New York’s Lower East Side is a culinary time capsule. People continue to eat many of the same food staples that they consumed at the turn of the 20th Century…from some of the same places. Establishments like Katz’s Delicatessen and Russ and Daughters continue to thrive, and Kossar’s Bialys, founded by Isadore Mirsky and Morris Kossar in 1936, manages to coexist with modern ringed food proponents like the Doughnut Plant.

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My very first visit to Kossar’s coincided with the beginnings of a blizzard, though people continued to pass through the front door, raiding bialy and bagel bins.

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Kossar’s limited their compact menu to bagels, bialys, onion discs, sesame sticks and something called a bulka, which looks like a hoagie roll and hosts onions and poppy seeds.

Bialy New York City

The bialy was an airy, chewy disc that wasn’t as dense as a bagel, and I could see eating them pretty often if my life revolved around the Lower East Side, though I expected a bigger indention, and more onions.

Kossar’s website pretty much gives everything away about the preparation, which primarily involves “old-style care and craftsmanship.”

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Dough balls (tagelach) inevitably end up baking in Kossar’s brick oven.

They even divulge the ingredients: “high gluten flour, the best brewers yeast, New York tap water, fine salt, and freshly ground onions.” Really though, this bialy was more than the sum of its parts, and they clearly know that at Kossar’s.

Bagel New York City

Kossar’s doesn’t specialize in bagels, but my pumpernickel bagel was still very good, with chewy edges, a soft core and balance from high gluten flour, salt, and brewers yeast.

Kossar’s Bialys was a good first stop on my most recent trip to New York, fortifying me for the burgeoning blizzard. More than that, the establishment also gave me some perspective on the past, which made it easier to look forward.

Kossar’s Bialys: A Blizzard of Brick Oven Baked Goods


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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