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A couple Midtown mainstays offer the best bets for bagels

When Marty's New York Bagel Deli closed last year, it left some Anchorage eaters complaining about a hole created in the center of the city's toasted and smeared dining scene. Well-rounded diners didn't panic, though. They knew the city had long been home to bagel joints that cater to early-risers looking for oh-so-worth-it carbs to accompany their morning coffee or eggs and lunch crowds that want a sandwich built on something substantial.

Here's a pair of Anchorage's most established bagel restaurants.

Just off 36th Avenue between A and C streets, Bagel Factory has been an Anchorage institution for more than 27 years. Its bagels are made fresh daily ($1.25 apiece, $5 for a half-dozen, $9.50 for a baker's dozen) and available in more than 30 flavors, including bacon cheese, raisin cinnamon, sourdough and banana nut. House-made cream cheeses come in 4 or 8 ounce sizes ($3.25-$5.85). A highlight is the delicious H.A.R.V. (honey, almond, raisin and vanilla).

The menu runs from basics like toasted bagels with "shmears" ($2.95-$3.95) to breakfasts such as eggs on a toasted bagel with sides ($5.95-$9.25). There are also specialties like the Bagel Benedict (Canadian bacon, poached eggs and hollandaise, $9.95) and huevos rancheros (tortilla topped with two eggs and ranchero sauce, $8.95). The restaurant's long list of scrambles and omelets ($8.50 - $11.50) includes the Spanish omelet (chorizo, peppers, tomato, cheese and Spanish sauce, $10.50).

Naturally, the restaurant opts for bagels over bread with its open-faced sandwiches ($4.50- $14.95). The menu features creations such as pastrami and Swiss ($8.50), smoked turkey, cream cheese and chutney ($8.50) and tuna, cheddar and tomato ($8.50). It also has a menu of salads ($3.95-$9.25) and rotating soup and quiches specials.

The Alaska Bagel Restaurant has occupied its home on Northern Lights Boulevard for about 17 years, serving up more than 30 varieties of bagels made fresh daily, including flavors such as spinach cheese, French toast, pesto and chocolate chip (95 cents apiece, $5 for a half-dozen, $9.50 for a baker's dozen). The restaurant also has mini bagels. About the same size as a hockey puck, they must be special ordered in advance and run the same price as normal bagels. Shmears are available in 2-, 5.5- and 8-ounce sizes ($1.50-$5.95).

Diners can keep it basic with a bagel and shmear ($2.15-$4.50) or opt for a bagel scramble, a sandwich made with scrambled eggs and available with cheese, bacon, Canadian bacon or a sausage patty ($6.50-7.75). There are several omelets ($5.95-9.75), including the hearty Trappers Omelet (reindeer sausage, veggies and cheddar cheese). Other specialties include cheese blintzes ($7.50) and a serving of lox, onions and scrambled eggs ($8.95).

The Alaska Bagel Restaurant also has open-faced bagel sandwiches ($4.25-$13). The deli-style meals feature Alaska-inspired names like the Brooks Range (herb/spinach cream cheese, tomato, cucumber, sprouts and onion, $8.75), the Tundra (hummus, tomato, cucumber, sprouts, $8.75) and Cook Inlet (shrimp, avocado, cheddar ($9.25).

Had your fill of bagels? There are also pasta of the day specials ($7.50-10.50), salads and daily quiche and soup specials.

By Spencer Shroyer

Daily News correspondent