For the longest time, it really came down to Blue Sky Bagel vs Sarah’s Bagel Cafe for the title of “Best Bagels in Boise” (and the surrounding area.) But there are some new kids on the block that are making a serious play for the title. 

The very first Blue Sky location opened in Downtown Boise in 2002. About four years later, they opened their location on Fairview in Meridian. Two more Boise locations followed one on Chinden and one on State Street. 

Sarah’s Bagel Cafe opened in Nampa in 2014. A Meridian location followed in 2016 and they opened another location in the old Andy’s Deli in Downtown Boise in 2018. 

Sure, you could get good bagels at Panera (a national chain) or the bakeries at WinCo or Albertsons, but as far as local bagels go Blue Sky and Sarah’s Bagel Cafe were really the gold standard. 

Freedom Bagel Bakery Wows Meridian

That was until 2022. The first new player to enter the bagel battle was Freedom Bagel Bakery on Eagle Road in Meridian. They held their grand opening in April and almost immediately won over the Treasure Valley. It was the vision of John Heintzberger, a Boise State alum who has over twenty years of experience in the agriculture industry. His goal was to treat Meridian to artisan, all-natural, made-from-scratch bagels that can rival the ones you'd find in New York City.

Facebook/Freedom Bagel Bakery
Facebook/Freedom Bagel Bakery

They’ve got some really creative flavors like rosemary & sea salt, churro and hot honey. And their “Loaded Idaho Potato” cream cheese? We dream of it. They’re constantly rotating in cool new flavors, sandwiches and soups and recently added a menu of Peets Coffee specialty drinks. 

Goldstein's Bagels & Bialys Brings a Taste of NYC to Boise

The second new kid on the block? Goldstein’s Bagels & Bialys moved into the old Kiwi Shake & Bake location in Downtown Boise. This one was the vision of Jamie Goldstein. Jamie has fond memories of spending time at her grandparents’ apartment in Brooklyn. She has some really special memories of her grandma’s cooking and the laughter and quality time her family enjoyed around the table. In addition to authentic New York bagels and bialys, she wanted to recreate that environment in her new restaurant. 


Judging by some of the reviews Jamie and her team have received in the ultra-popular Boise Food Finds group on Facebook, her grandma would be proud. We even saw someone say that they were headed to get their dad bagels at Goldstein’s to help cheer him up after the Buffalo Bills loss. Sometimes, a taste of home is the cure-all you need. 

Good Times Bagels Enters the Conversation

And now a THIRD new kid is about to enter the chat. Good Times Bagel on Main Street originally hoped to open in Spring 2022, but it took a little to get things up and running. A social media post tipped us off that Kale and Ashlee Irwin have officially their bagel bakery. 

The Irwins are baking up hand-rolled, Montreal-style bagels, which Daily Hive explains as having a harder exterior because they’re boiled in honey and water before being baked in a wood-fired oven.

Image via Google Maps
Image via Google Maps

According to their website, they source their products from local farmers and producers as much as possible, helping to support local farmers and small business owners. In addition to bagels and cream cheese, their menu includes a selection of sandwiches, salads, specialty coffee/tea drinks, and a selection of wines by the class. The beer menu is listed as “TBD.”

Right now, Good Times is open Wednesday-Sunday 7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. They’re working to increase the number of bagels they roll so they don’t sell out of bagels before lunch service. That said, they’re hiring if you know someone who wants to join the team. 

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