Fast Casual Review: Einstein Brothers Bagels Honey Wheat Bagel Thin with Light Cream Cheese

Einstein Brothers Bagels doesn’t just want to help you stick to your New Year’s Resolution and shed some pounds by promoting their new fresh-baked Bagel Thins with Light Cream Cheeseschmear, but apparently the fast-casual breakfast chain also wants to starve me and exhaust my dwindling income.

Once upon a time there was a day where you could count on Einstein’s to serve up a solid, 4-once-ish bagel for a buck. The coffee selection – always bottomless – was decent if not intriguing, while the variety of seasonal flavors for bagels and coffee left you waiting for each fall or spring. Now, you can pay extra for “signature” or “gourmet” bagels, and get all of two “classic” bagel flavors (much slimmed down, may I add) for a buck. You can also pay more for that coffee, and get a lot less by choosing one of their “healthier” Bagel Thins.

Priced at .99 cents for just the thin, these Bagel Thins used to be made by Thomas’, and were actually pretty good despite their small size. That was until recently, when EBB began to bake them on their own, resulting in a thinner product with considerably less chew. What you’re left with is one of three flavors (Plain, Honey Whole Wheat, Everything) with a considerably small size to work as a vehicle for a brand new, even “healthier” Light-Cream Cheese schmear, which has 50% less fat than the Regular plain cream cheese schmear. It also has considerably less whipped texture (like EBB’s reduced fat schmears), as well as an odd tang which makes it taste like sour cream. And eating sour cream on a relatively unsweet and flavorless Honey Wheat Bagel “Thin” is not good eats. I swear, the old “Low Carb” bagel has more flavor than these!

EBB is touting this product for it’s 225 total calories. That’s great for the fat lady singing, but at $2.49 (the price of the bagel thin and schmear) it’s one of the worst breakfast buys you can make. Its not only unfulfilling and won’t keep you full, but it lacks any kind of nuttiness or sweetness. I can see it working better if used as a vehicle for other cream cheese schmear flavors (like, for instance, my favorites in the smoked salmon schmear or the sun dried tomato basil) but using a coupon for a recent purchase (available on facebook until 2/20), I was only allowed to get the plain “light” schmear. And don’t even think about getting it to go. It cracks up and stales quickly, while the non-whipped schmear becomes gummy and makes the slices stick together like a lid on a pickle jar.

Do yourself a favor and avoid this product altogether. It is, without a doubt, the greatest failure to date of my once-beloved breakfast stop of choice, and an incredibly poor value which will leave you wanting more, both in your stomach and your unsatiated mind. Awesome job, EBB. There was a time when I used to ask every relative I knew for gift cards to your stores, but those days are long gone. With so many independent grocery store bakers and mom and pop bagel shops around offering an array of larger and more flavorful products at cheaper prices (my local bagel shop offers 15 flavors at 59 cents each) why the heck should I even bother stopping in anymore? Want to get a better deal and better taste for 225 calories? Get yourself a small glazed donut from the grocery store. Trust me, your brain and your wallet will thank you.

Taste: 3.25/10
Value: 1.50/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 7.00/10
Price: $2.49

Overall GrubGrade: 2.75 (GrubGrade Hall of Shame)

More Info: EinsteinBros.com
Nutrition Facts:
instein Brothers Bagel Thin with "Light" Cream Cheese
Calories: 225
Carbs: 29
Total Fat: 7 grams

12 comments on “Fast Casual Review: Einstein Brothers Bagels Honey Wheat Bagel Thin with Light Cream Cheese

  1. Jay says:

    The grocery store bagel thins (Thomas’, etc) are ok for what they are, but they’re definitely not bagel-y at all. Aside from the hole. They’d be better off calling them “Crusty bread with a big hole!” If someone wants a lighter bagel, they’re better off slicing the middle out of a good bagel themselves. Save the middle for some awesome bagel french toast later on!
    When I first saw Einstein would start making their own bagel thins I hopes but maybe I’ll just skip it.

  2. Brent says:

    I’m glad someone else besides me is calling out Einstein Bros. This chain has become one of the biggest ripoffs around. It is the closest place to my office so I stopped in the other day to get a breakfast sandwich, and I was floored at the cost compared to how small my bagel was and how not fresh my bacon and cheese were. I could have literally got the same thing from McDonald’s that would have been much more affordable.

  3. it feels like i’m eating nothing at all! nothing at all! nothing at all.

  4. Rachel says:

    I had light cream cheese at Bruegger’s a few months ago and it was wretched … cream cheese is something that, if you are going to eat it, you need to eat the full fat version. Otherwise it’s pointless.

    That “diet” bagel looks pitiful. Like a giant Wheat Thin. There’s nothing wrong with Wheat Thins, but I don’t want a giant one for breakfast!

  5. Crusader says:

    Come on people, get on the health bandwagon! Less carbs, more veggies and NO meat!

  6. I read your blog review of Einstein Bros. Honey Wheat Bagel Thin Singles and to be frank, was disappointed that it didn’t live up to your expectations. We value your business and your input so wanted to take a moment to address some of your points, and thought your readers might be interested in some more background too.

    First you may wonder: Why did we do this? As a regular customer, you probably have seen many of the innovative menu items we’ve created. The idea behind our Bagel Thin Singles is simple: provide an option to customers who are looking for lower calorie, lower carbohydrate breakfast options. And it must have that Einstein Bros. freshly baked bagel signature taste.

    It may sound simple, but our bakers spent a lot of time getting the Bagel Thin Single recipe right. After over a year in development, we created a proprietary recipe that is the only freshly baked bagel thin product available today. Based on early response we believe that this product is a great fit for customers who want lower calorie / lower carb options.

    Of course, at just 225 calories, Bagel Thin Singles are a great way to cut calories without cutting taste. But we also know that “better for you” options aren’t for everyone. If you’re looking for something more filling, we also offer a wide range of breakfast bagel and bagel thin sandwiches. And don’t’ forget that our Darn Good Coffee not only tastes great, but is a super value because it’s bottomless.

    By the way, the coupon you used was for light shmear, which we intentionally offer as a lower calorie alternative. However, you can always order a Bagel Thin Single or any of our freshly baked bagels with your favorite such as smoked salmon shmear.

    So, I’d like to personally extend an offer to invite you to come back to our restaurant and show you that Einstein Bros. is a great place for delicious bagels and much, much more. Thanks for the opportunity.

    Sincerely

    James O’Reilly
    Chief Concept Officer
    Einstein Noah Restaurant Group

    • Adam says:

      “So, I’d like to personally extend an offer to invite you to come back to our restaurant and show you that Einstein Bros. is a great place for delicious bagels and much, much more. Thanks for the opportunity.”

      James,

      I go to EBB almost everyday for coffee and a bagel, so it’s not like I don’t know these things. Yet over the last year I’ve seen bagel sizes shrink and prices rise. I am all for lower carb options if that’s the direction EBB wants to provide some consumer, but the cost is too high. For instance, the 2.99 Fruit and Yogurt Parfait is $2 higher than McDonalds’. I continue to be disappointed that the chain has so many come and go menu items. When I said the “low carb” bagel of a few years ago was better, I was not kidding – I actually kinda liked it and would buy it from time to time. Likewise, several new menu items, including the new Chicken Sausage Bagel Dog, really do look good. Yet why should I pay so much for a healthier menu option when the Subway across the street can offer me a 12-inch low fat roast beef sub for just five bucks? Likewise, why pay $4+ dollars for a bagel egg white sandwich when I can go to Subway and get an egg white English muffin sandwich for just 2.50 WITH COFFEE!

      With all due respect, what does “personally” extend mean? I’ve spent hundreds of bucks in my lifetime at EBB, invested and lost money in the Co., and what have I seen in return but my favorite products leave the menu (Sun Dried Tomato Bagel) and prices increase?

    • Chefprotoss or dan says:

      Lol, I wish taco bell left replys like this. In all seriousness though EBB’s everything bagel with lox and lite cream cheese is delicious and really friggin’ healthy. Starting my day off with lean protien, carbs and a ton of omega 3 fatty acids is fantastic. It is a tad pricey but considering the cost of smoked salmon I have no problem with that what so ever. Anyone can see that the bagel thins are just plain dumb. EBB is a pretty decent place to grab some morning time grub if you want to splurge or keep it healthy. This though is clearly a strike out. Not every idea can be a home run. =P

      Will companys seriously stop test marketing and focus grouping every friggin’ idea! Go with your gut. You didn’t become successfull by asking every random joe if he approves of your business decisions. You had faith and pride in your product then and I as a consumer expect it now or else all we have to look forward to is more mcdlt-salad-ribbish crap that no one cares about.

      Man I want some lox now lol

  7. Steve says:

    Yea that doesnt seem like a good idea on any front.

  8. sophia says:

    What are you doing with a low-carb, low-cal thin bagel anyway? I crusade for the real dealz! :-)

    I love Einstein bagels. Or Noah’s as we call it on the west side. But I don’t think I would ever go for the thins. I’d rather have half a real bagel in that case.

  9. Chuck says:

    Must say, I’m disappointed Einstein’s. However, their pumpking and honey walnut cream cheeses are amazing so we’ll call it a draw.

  10. JD says:

    I like the honey wheat bagel thin. I get one with the turkey chili, a bowl of soup and a bagel for 3 bucks. You’re not going to like every item on every menu, but if you think going to McDonald’s is better I don’t think your food opinion is worth a whole lot anyhow. Thanks, but no thanks. You can go to McDonald’s if you want, I think I’ll stick with real food made fresh.