13 Great BECs In NYC
Where to get a New York City classic when you're willing to go somewhere other than your bodega.
Despite what your friends in Ohio may believe, the BEC is more quintessentially NYC than any tall green statue or Frank Sinatra song. You can get a BEC at just about any bodega, and it'll probably be good—but we're looking for the top examples in the city. We teamed up with NY Forever and asked for tips on where to find the best BECs, and we put together this initial list of our favorites. This is a never-ending search, so stay tuned for updates, and let us know if you have sandwiches you think we should eat.
Court Street Grocers
Yes, you can purchase a solid BEC at just about any bodega, but most bodegas don't have Balthazar ciabatta. Court Street Grocers does, and that's a big part of the reason why you should go out of your way to get a BEC here. The ciabatta bun is crisp and chewy, and it comes stuffed with soft scrambled eggs and a generous amount of quality bacon. There's also a little arugula in there. It doesn't bring much to the table, but it's always nice to know that you're consuming a vitamin or two with your breakfast.
Everything at Edith's is a made with a bit of flair. Their house pastrami sandwich comes smothered special sauce and sauerkraut, and they have a signature coffee-tahini slushy that's essentially a breakfast milkshake. You should come for both of those things, but the headliner here is the BEC&L. As the name hints, this sandwich comes with a crispy latke stuffed in the middle. It looks unwieldy, and it is—but there are times in life when you need to eat something excessive and unnecessary (when you're hungover, for example). The bagels are especially dense and doughy, and they're unlike any others in NYC.
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Baz Bagel and Restaurant
Edith's isn't the only place putting latkes on bagels. At Baz in Nolita, you can pick up an egg sandwich stuffed with latke hash, with shreds of crispy potato that perfectly compliment the mess of American cheese that spills out the side. Add optional bacon, and you have yourself one of the city's top BECs. This sandwich sounds excessive, but it works surprisingly well. It helps that Baz makes one of the city's top bagels.
Modern Bread & Bagel
If you don't eat gluten, it can be hard to find a great BEC. It can also be tough to find a gluten-free bagel that's good enough to remind you why bagels are one of our staple food groups—but you can get both of those things at Modern Bread & Bagel. Stop by for a BEC packed with scrambled eggs and cheddar. The bacon is vegan, and it doesn't taste like much, but the big, chewy bagels make up for this. If you want, you can get your whole sandwich vegan.
Rex (Hell's Kitchen)
Rex is the premier destination for a BEC in Hell's Kitchen. You can customize your breakfast sandwich in a number of ways (avocado, spinach, hot sauce, etc.), but don't be afraid to go the classic route. Get your BEC on a surprisingly dense and buttery brioche bun, and enjoy a perfect, compact sandwich fused together by melted white cheddar. If you need something more substantial, you can opt for the messy breakfast Cubano with pork, pickles, and eggs. But we prefer to keep it simple.
On any given weekend afternoon, half the people at this West Village cafe will be in workout clothes or PJs. The line will probably be out the door, but it moves fast because most just want something with caffeine. If you don’t get offended by nontraditional BECs, get Merriweather’s version with an over-easy egg, white cheddar, and crispy prosciutto on brioche. With its tangy harissa, avocado, and tomato, the sandwich gets messy, so don’t start eating without a stack of napkins nearby.
John’s Deli in Windsor Terrace is exactly the kind of place where you’d expect to find an excellent bacon, egg, and cheese. You’ll see decades-old wood paneling, shelves stacked with boxes of pasta, and a few gruff guys behind the counter slinging sandwiches. The ratios here are golden: Exactly the right amounts of fried egg, oozing American cheese, and very crispy bacon are contained within the bouncy confines of a hard roll. The uninitiated might ask, "What’s so special about this sandwich?" If you have to ask, you’ll never know.
Have you been let down by overcooked eggs, partially melted cheese, and un-sauced bread on a breakfast sandwich? That will never happen at Southside Coffee, a tiny coffee shop in South Slope where people line up for sandwiches, cinnamon buns, pie, and Counter Culture coffee. Your first order of business should be the New School sandwich. The soft and buttery scrambled eggs, bacon, and sriracha-miso-tahini spread on a crusty seeded hero will undo any malaise caused by a subpar bodega BEC.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
Imagine the best plate of thick-cut bacon and fried eggs you’ve ever had. There’s a crunch in every bite of crispy pork, and the yolk is still runny when you cut into it. Now envision that topped with a blanket of melted cheese and served on a freshly-baked poppy seed roll. That's the BEC at Daily Provisions. It’s a perfectly-executed breakfast sandwich that you’ll probably finish in just a few bites.
If you didn’t believe in the miracle of hash browns in your breakfast sandwich before, we invite you to try Golden Diner’s Chinatown Egg Sando. This excellent BEC comes on a cushiony sesame scallion milk bun from a local Chinatown bakery, with at least half a carton of eggs scrambled and then layered with American cheese, and a big crunchy hashbrown to top it all off. The hashbrown is key. It’s almost a full inch thick, and the crispy texture contrasts perfectly with the soft bun and eggs.
Gertie does breakfast well. That's why this Williamsburg restaurant gets packed on weekend mornings, and it's why you should go out of your way to eat an egg sandwich here. You can get your BEC on an English muffin, but we aren't sure why you'd do that when Gertie makes their own bagels. Those bagels are great—but the MVP of the sandwich will always be the pickled peppers. They're like a sweet, tangy cheat code.
A thin, chewy Greenberg's bagel is the ideal vehicle for the thick pillow of eggs and nearly-crunchy bacon in this BEC. But to really make this sandwich memorable, add a hash brown and hot sauce. The hash brown provides an extra-crispy crust on top of the eggs, and the hot sauce mixes into the melted cheese to create a hot cheese sauce that seeps into the eggs.
Technically, you can order the aptly-named New Yorker sandwich from Norma’s Corner Shoppe on any style of bread—but for a BEC worthy of this guide, you need to get yours on a scallion cheddar biscuit. This Ridgewood cafe's biscuits are crispy on the outside and buttery on the inside, and they're the perfect vehicles for a soft baked egg, thick slabs of spicy bacon, and a generous portion of cheddar that’s broiled in the oven.