It's been over four years since H&H Bagels cruelly shuttered its beloved Upper West Side bakery, leaving neighborhood residents with naught but Zabars and long lines at Absolute Bagels uptown. Nothing has been or tasted quite the same since that fateful June when H&H left us, and the spark of hope sourced by the West Side Rag headline, "New H&H Bagels Set To Open On The Upper West Side" was, in a way, a false one—indeed, an H&H bagel store will open this winter, but no, it is not the H&H we once knew.
That being said, the H&H that West Side Rag reports will debut at 526 Columbus Avenue, between 85th and 86th Street on an undisclosed date does have a connection to the H&H that once was. The shop is an outpost of H&H Midtown Bagels East, which, confusingly, is located on 2nd Ave between 80th and 81st Streets—that store was once owned by Helmer Toro, the proprietor of the dearly departed UWS shop and its 46th Street wholesale bakery.
It was, however, taken over by different ownership in the mid-1980s, and it is not the real H&H. West Side Rag points out that this H&H "puts the toppings on for you," and everyone knows that asking for cream cheese on your bagel at the real H&H would prompt workers to sigh and point you towards refrigerated tubs of Philadelphia. Yes, you'd have to purchase a whole tub. Yes, it was your fault for even asking.
Still, Yelpers say this H&H is excellent, which is good news indeed. Nothing will replace the real H&H, of course, but one should never sneer at expert bagelmaking.