For years, Jake's Bagels and Deli has been a popular stopping place for breakfast and lunchtime diners in the Fox Valley area.
It's located in a highly convenient spot on North Broadway Avenue in downtown Aurora, virtually steps away from the Aurora Transportation Center's Metra station, the Two Brothers Roundhouse and walking distance from the heart of the city's downtown. River's Edge park, the city's popular summer outdoor concert venue, is just to the north, also within walking distance on the Fox River Trail.
The interior of Jake's is spacious, with a large counter and display, and a self-serve coffee and tea bar to the right. The display case is divided into two sections, one for the multitude of bagels offered and one for the variety of cream cheese for sale.
I decided to order a roast turkey sandwich on an onion bagel, with lettuce, Swiss cheese, mayo, mustard and tomato, and an iced tea on the side.
Promptly made, I took my bagel and drink outside to the large two-level patio to enjoy the lovely late spring weather. My sandwich was loaded with juicy slices of turkey, crisp lettuce, and a thick slice of tomato. The mayo and mustard were present and tasty, but weren't so heavy that they squished all over my hands while I was eating.
But the highlight had to be the famous bagel. I'm typically not a big onion bagel person. I usually just eat a plain bagel or a wheat bagel, but the onion bagel was tasty, and cooked well, with a slight hint of onion – nothing overwhelming or cloying. I also liked the flakes of roasted onion coating the top of the bagel.
My iced tea was delicious. I think it was plain black tea, but whatever it was, it was flavorful, crisp and refreshing on the hot day. I also appreciated the self-serve nature of the coffee and tea bar, something I'm sure is helpful to train riders as they grab a bite before boarding.
As I said previously, I was enjoying my lunch on the outdoor patio, surrounded by families conversing, coworkers on their lunch breaks, and enjoying the sunlight. It was a relaxing, and wonderful environment.
I also enjoyed a bag of flavorful Chicago-style popcorn from Jake's, as well as a chocolate chip cookie and a sugar cookie. The cookies were enormous, filled with chocolate chips and coated with thick granules of sugar. While the cookies were large, they were also thick, something I liked because there was still a good ratio of chocolate chips to dough.
Something doesn't have to have ingredients nobody has ever heard of to be delicious. Sometimes, the most delicious thing is a simple and classic deli sandwich from a business that's been around for almost 30 years.
• The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at the Record Newspapers. The diner’s identity is not revealed to restaurant staff before or during the meal. The Mystery Diner visits a restaurant and then reports on the experience. The Mystery Diner is not intended to be a restaurant critic, but does highlight the parts of a dining experience that he/she can recommend.