Best Bagels (Orthodox)

Valentine's Bakery

Did you ever, ever, ever think you'd see the day when a salt bagel grew in St. Louis -- maybe not even St. Louis, but within the 636 area code? Well, may miracles never cease. Not only can you pick up a salt bagel and an onion bagel and a tzizel bagel (wuh?) at Valentine's Bakery on Clarkson Road, but they taste as if you picked them off the craft-services table on a Woody Allen set: dense, pungently flavorful and completely New York. Owner Richard Valentine, who was baking for Straub's until he started his own business two and a half years ago, only started making bagels because he inherited the equipment from the bagel bakery that occupied his Chesterfield space before him. While Valentine describes his bagels -- which also include more adventurous flavors like asiago, blueberry and cinnamon -- as "a cross between Einstein Bros. and Bread Co.," we see them as a thick slice of (Old Testament) Heaven.
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