Best Of 2005

BEST BAGEL: St. Pete Bagel Company

BEST BAGEL

It’s hard to make a really bad bagel — even those frozen Lender’s jobs can come through in a pinch. And it’s equally difficult to make a really good bagel, let alone a perfect one. But St. Pete Bagel Company comes deliciously close, turning out pumpernickel, poppy and cinnamon raisin delights that rival anything you’d find in New York. They’ve got great coffee too, and their egg and cheese sandwich is the real deal (no microwaved circles here folks). But it’s the bagels that make this spot worth the trip. Baked daily on premises, they pass the ultimate test: You can eat ’em without butter or cream cheese and they’re still damn good. 5835 Memorial Highway, Tampa, 813-889-7710; 7043 Fourth St. N., St. Petersburg, 727-522-3377.