There's nothing quite like a steamed bagel sandwich in the morning—or in the afternoon, for that matter. The Chicago Bagel Authority, or CBA, as the regulars call it, boasts a huge menu and some of the finest concoctions ever served on a bagel.
Located a mere stone's throw away from the Armitage L stop, CBA has a local feel through and through. The decor is homey, right down to the bell that jingles when you open the door. Grab a seat at a table near the front, sit at the ledge in the middle or try the outdoor patio in the back. Dozens of pictures dot the walls, featuring images of regulars and a few hand-drawn pictures from kids who love their bagel sandwiches. And make no mistake, the folks behind CBA love their Ohio State Buckeyes. You'll find lots of OSU paraphernalia all over the place. But the real attention-grabbers are the enormous chalkboard menus hanging on the wall behind the long countertop where you order. Each selection is handwritten, so you best heed the advice and order by name. These quirky monikers range from the Tonya Harding Club to the Wrigley Fielder to the Muenster Mash, and include options for both breakfast and lunch (if you don't feel like a bagel, tell them to make yours a sub instead). While the sandwiches take slightly longer to make than at most places, they're well worth the wait. Most bagel sandwiches will run you between five and six bucks, and subs are a little more at about $6-$8. If you grab chips and a drink, you can approach the $9-$10 range very quickly.
This place gets mighty busy during the breakfast and lunch hours, as it fills up with DePaul folk and Lincoln Park regulars stopping by for their daily fix.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: John Kristoff