From a local’s perspective, there is a breakfast staple that can’t be excluded from your Black Hills visit. It’s quick, convenient, fresh, and oh so delicious. Whenever I have family or friends in town, this grab-and-go option is always our preferred breakfast when we’re eager to make a break for the Hills. I’m talking about Black Hills Bagels.
This beloved bagel shop in Rapid City serves up 28 varieties of made-from-scratch, preservative free, cowboy sized bagels—perfect for breakfast, lunch, or a snack. I recently had the pleasure of meeting with Black Hills Bagels owner, Debra Jensen, to gain a behind-the-scenes tour on how these hollowed, delectable discs of dough are made…
Soon after my arrival, Debra introduced me to one of the full-time mixers named Wolf, who showed me the ropes in the kitchen. He began with a summary of the steps that it takes to make a bagel. First, to no surprise, the dough must be mixed. Once the ingredients were measured, it was time to combine them together in a huge commercial mixer.
During the mixing process, it was interesting to learn the extent to which Black Hills Bagels sources local ingredients for their bagels, including flour and honey.
Once the dough had achieved the desired state, the next step was to cut it into pieces to be run through the magical “former” machine. The former is a massive piece of equipment which utilizes several conveyor belts that roll each piece of dough around a tapered rod to create the iconic bagel ring shape.
After being formed into the proper shape, the bagels undergo a humidifying process to help them maintain the utmost rise later on in the baking stage. After a few intervals, the bagels are then wheeled into the walk-in refrigerator where they rest overnight. Though, when I say “overnight” I mean a very short night…the first baker arrives between 2 – 3 a.m.! Unlike traditional bagel making methods, Black Hills Bagels does not boil their bagels, they simply bake them. This allows the bagels to maintain a softer, more bread-like bite without endless tearing and chewing.
Hot out of the oven, the bagels rest yet again before being distributed into their appropriate bins before the store opens. My sneak peek of the bagel baking at Black Hills Bagels will forever leave me in awe of the craftsmanship behind each one. What better way to show my appreciation? To indulge, of course!
To accompany their wide selection of bagels, they blend 18 unique flavors of cream cheese made with real fruit and fresh veggies. They also construct breakfast and lunch sandwiches that feature fresh meats, cheeses, and veggies.
For years my go-to has been a White Chocolate Chip Bagel with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting (hello, sugar!), but as of late I’ve been branching out and ordering off their sandwich list. My new favorite is the “Hogs & Chicks” signature sandwich, complete with bacon, eggs, onion & chive cream cheese, and American cheese. I order it on a Cheddar Cheese bagel. (Trust me, it’s amazing.) Moving into the cooler fall and winter months, I’m looking forward to their soups and chili served in a bagel bowl. It’s a whole new level of comfort food!
Don’t forget to top off your order with a selection from their coffee bar featuring locally roasted Dark Canyon Coffee. Their full coffee menu includes espresso, lattes, cappuccinos, and more—the perfect complement to any bagel item.
If time permits, enjoy your meal within the cozy and laid back atmosphere of the Black Hills Bagels building. A charming facade welcomes you into a structure that feels like a large one-level mountain cabin, complete with rustic decor, tables, chairs, and even comfy couches. There’s no dress code here. Whether you’re grabbing bagels on your way to the office or sneaking out of the house in your PJs, anything goes.
You can find Black Hills Bagels in downtown Rapid City at 913 Mount Rushmore Road or visit their drive-thru only location at 1720 North Haines, near Interstate 90. Both locations are open seven days a week.