Review: Marx Hot Bagels


The Better Half, having lived in New York for a while, is a bit persnickety about his bagels. Most Midwestern bagels don’t rate: too doughy, not chewy enough, too big. Bruegger’s are okay, but when he recently went to an event at the Mayerson Jewish Community Center, he was served some bagels that were a little closer to what he was used to: chewy, with a good crust.  Now, he realizes that a lot of what makes a New York bagel a New York bagel involves the water (NYC water is very different than Cincinnati water, and the boiling is a big part of bagel making), but these are very close.  When I informed him that the bagels were probably from Marx, and that they were easy to get, the next week he made a trek up to Blue Ash (not much of a trek, really) for our annual holiday season bagel breakfast.  He was concerned: “So, I guess I’ll pick up smoked salmon at Kroger?”  I blanched.  “No, Sweetie.  They have the best lox in town. Just get it there.”  He was not disappointed.


Marx Bagels is probably the best-known Kosher-friendly restaurant in town.  It’s overseen by the local Va’ad Hoier: fish is available, but no meat, making the bagels vegetarian-friendly.  Beyond bagels, they feature the aforementioned smoke lox, whitefish salad, tuna salad and egg salad.  Terry picked up a couple of “everything” bagels, a pound of lox, some egg salad and whitefish salad.

The bagels are just as good as I’ve always remembered: chewy, with some crispiness in the crust.  They’re small, not airy or mushy.  Just perfect.  The lox is also great– a nice amount of smokiness, and a melt-in-your-mouth texture.  The egg and whitefish salads were also good: I particularly liked the egg salad, as it didn’t have too much mayonnaise.  Terry is a huge fan of whitefish salad, which was a little too smoky for my tastes, but he enjoyed it.

If you go in, you have a good chance of getting yelled at by the owner, John Marx, who takes pride in the character he brings to the store.  Know your order, or he’ll tell you to get back in line.  And for the love of God, don’t talk on a cell phone in line– that’ll get you a verbal spanking.  If you want a bit less character, go on Saturdays– he’s off then.  But what would the experience of a NY-style bagel shop be without character?

Marx Hot Bagels on Urbanspoon

16 thoughts on “Review: Marx Hot Bagels”

  • I have always enjoyed my meals at Marx. I used to work in the same plaza and would treat myself to a chocolate chip bagel with chocolate cream cheese every now and again. And yes, John was often intimidating–until you got used to him. 🙂

    Haven’t been over there for awhile, and now I’ve got a hankering for one of those bagels…

  • I miss having Marx around the corner. They used to have several locations. Highly recommend trying out some of the different homemade cream cheeses too! The veggie, the blue berry and the chocolate were favorites. A word to the wise though – they’re MUCH MUCH better if you get them at the store, rather than Kroger. They seem to get stale so quickly! Fresh Marx bagels are amazing, but day-old ones are barely good enough for the birds, in my opinion!

  • I grew up in Roselawn, where the original Marx Bagels lived for many, many years. Every one of my fond memories of bagels (yes… I have fond bagel memories) involves a hot Marx bagel.

    My mom and I lived with our back yard connecting to the Valley Shopping Center parking lot, and she had me, as a six-year-old, walk through the lot and buy a dozen bagels on more than one occasion. As a kindergartener at Roselawn School, we did a walking field trip to Marx and the neighboring library.

    I love Marx Bagels.

    I do not, however, enjoy John. He once berated my grandmother for possibly insinuating that the tuna salad MIGHT not be fresh. She never went back.

    • I am sorry if you or your grandmother felt insulted.  Sadly my dad never had parents to teach charm.  He works hard and tries his best to have good products for customers.  I know if he realised how upset he made you all he would feel awful. 
      I am his daughter, I do understand, I have lived with him, worked with him, loved him (and at times hated him) but when it comes down to it he tries really hard…..and well, he just did not have the up bringing that I am so greatful he was able to give to me! 

      I hope you stop in sometime and try us again!

  • We’ve gone to Marx ever since I as little and they were in their previous location. I can’t remember where that was – I was seven or eight and I was riding in the back of a Caprice Classic. But I digress. If you want to see a different side of John Marx, go to Bellermine Chapel for an evening Sunday Mass. Nice guy, good heart and a clever schtick.

  • Marx are the only genuine bagels sold in this entire region. I laugh when I see those soft, doughy buns with holes so called bagels that are sold at the grocery store. I really miss the Marx Buttermilk Pike location, I used to eat their delicious tuna salad (love the carrots in their tuna) on a poppy seed bagel for lunch at least 3 times a week. I buy them at Bigg’s these days, they’re not as good as getting them directly from the source, but Blue Ash is way out of my area. Here’s a hint if you buy them at the grocery store-freeze them as soon as you get home, you preserve whatever freshness that the bagels have left, and you can just pop them in the toaster when you want to eat one. It’s an imperfect solution, but it beats anything else that you can get around here.

  • Like Marx but can’t stand John. I used to go all the time but haven’t been in years because of his obnoxious behavior. I was part of a group of five women who met there once, sometimes twice a week for lunch. We grew so tired of his harrassment and sometimes sexist comments we stopped going.

    • I hope you are able to come back someday.  He only harrasses people he likes.  Not that it is ok, but like I say all the time, he did not have parents that taught charm.  He likes riling people up and that is why he picks may have sounded sexist when he comments about marriage and family.  But if you were a group of guys he liked he would be yelling at them to be nicer to their wives.

      Either way, stop in on a Monday, he is usually off then 😉

  • Gee thanks Julie. Having read your post I’m now really jonzing for some Marx Bagels, but I rarely ever get anywhere near Blue Ash these days. Marx makes the best bagels I’ve had outside of Manhattan.

  • Like the bagels, but as stated above, John needs to eff right off. The soup nazi was funny as a TV character – not so much in real life.

    • Sorry if he offended you.  He grew up on the streets and just works hard to provide good products.  He is not trying to model after the soup Nazi.  If anything you could say he was around Izzy Kadetz to much.  I hope you can stop back in somtime!

  • Agree with everyone else that John is a dick, but he makes an excellent bagel and the taste of the tuna salad is forever etched in my memory.

    Honestly, Marx compares favorably to a lot of bagels I’ve had in NYC. Most resemble the gigantic, bready bagel we all ridicule.

  • Thank you for the article, I love it!  (but just so you kno Monday’s are his day off if we can get him to take it)!

  • Marx bagels are the absolute best.  I live on the west side and nothing nearby can compare.  Say what you want about John but once when I wasn’t holding my bag of 2 dozen securely and it ripped, sending bagels all over the floor, he ran out to help.  He showed me the best way to hold the bag and replaced the bagels for free.

  • We tried Marx for first time last Sunday, while driving through Blue Ash looking for a quick, good lunch. It was good, tho more NYC than I prefer having grown up in Milwaukee. Too much cream cheese to salmon, and some bagels were kinda hard late in the afternoon, but all in all we liked them. John is a bit abrasive, but in my Jewish family while I was growing up, most sounded that way – yelling all the time, but never at someone – just about something. People are just so PC these days and so much more easily offended by anything they are not used to. (& btw, someone came in and complained about something they did not like. John had them replace it and add a doz free bagels to boot.)

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