Kenny & Zuke’s Bagelworks

Kenny & Zuke's Bagelworks, Portland, Oregon

Two years ago, I volunteered with a local organization that brought empowering outdoor spots experiences to at-risk teenage girls. It was tremendously fun, as we’d learn to snowshoe and rock climb and mountain bike together. It hardly felt like volunteering, frankly.

One weekend, we packed up two buses full of teenagers and volunteer women and we headed over the hills to Central Oregon, where we spent two days learning to rock climb at Oregon’s gorgeous Smith Rock State Park. It couldn’t have been more perfect — our guides were earthy chicks who knew what they were doing and encouraged all of us as we scrambled up the huge hunks of rock. We all left the rock that day feeling great about ourselves because we’d accomplished something. It was easy to see the way this confidence boost was needed in some of the girls. Beyond tired, we drove the buses back to our camping spot and set up camp before someone lit a campfire and we settled down to prepare s’mores.

The type of adult woman who volunteered with this group was mostly affluent, educated, athletic and adventurous, and certainly had the best of intentions. And yet, somehow a woman was put in charge of buying chocolate for the s’mores and she thought she’d get fancy. She purchased expensive bars of artisan chocolate with different additives and cacao percentages. The problem was, no one knew that because it was pitch black outside as we prepared our s’mores. So the girls broke off chunks of this fancy artisan chocolate, and then around the fire, they all made weird faces as they tried to figure out what had gotten into our s’mores. Most of them had never tasted 88% cacao, and if you have, you know it’s no Hershey’s.

No one said anything at the time, but on our way home we passed out a survey to the girls and every single one mentioned the s’mores. “Those s’mores were nasty,” one said. Another: “Why didn’t those s’mores have normal chocolate in them?”

Kenny & Zuke's Bagelworks, Portland, Oregon

Sometimes it’s best to stick with a classic. At Kenny & Zuke’s Bagelworks, they have taken the classic, done it really well and made a fun neighborhood eatery at the same time. They offer some of the favorites from the original downtown deli (like the reuben and sliders), but mostly they focus on excellent fresh bagels. Try the garlic with chive cream cheese and you’ll be a happy camper, minus the weird s’mores.

Kenny & Zuke's Bagelworks, Portland, Oregon

Kenny & Zuke’s Bagelworks is one of three Kenny & Zuke’s locations. It’s the more casual neighborhood joint that’s all about the bagels. Located at 2376 NW Thurman St. The other locations are in the West End district and on N. Williams Ave.