Special for the AJT //
In these modern times of ‘here one day, gone the next’ overnight business fads and shaky economics, it’s comforting to know that certain staples endure. As one of Atlanta’s oldest continually running restaurants, Goldberg’s Bagel Company & Deli is rich in history and tradition and serves as a point of consistency in our ever-growing city.
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The company, originally named Goldberg & Son, started in 1972 as a small true father-and-son-run Atlanta deli serving six varieties of authentic New York-style boiled bagels and one very popular Po’ Boy sandwich. The location was small but mighty, as a traditional New York deli can be difficult to find in the South.
Current owners, Wayne Saxe and Howard Aaron both emigrated from South Africa to the U.S. at an early age. While they loved their new city and new surroundings, they also found themselves pining for the comforting, authentic cooking of their Jewish grandmothers back home. They searched all over Atlanta for those specific, special flavors of home until friends pointed them in the direction of Goldberg & Son, where they discovered bagels as delicious as those they grew up with in Johannesburg. Along with their discovery came an opportunity to make Goldberg & Son so much more. With Saxe’s background in accounting and Aaron’s expertise in food service, they formed a partnership that has proved pure magic.
Renaming the restaurant Goldberg’s Bagel Company & Deli, they built a New York-style delicatessen empire that has blossomed to six deli locations around the metro area. Today, Goldberg’s is a mainstay in its founding city – so much so that the Atlanta Braves have chosen to partner with Goldberg’s in the creation of the Atlanta Braves All-Star Grill at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. Goldberg’s now boasts three additional locations at Hartsfield, including a partnership café with The New York Times located in Concourse E. Those perfect Goldberg’s bagels and famous Po’ Boys have remained, while the culinary options have expanded tenfold to offer a menu of New York City proportions.
When Wayne Saxe and Howard Aaron took over Goldberg’s in 1992, they expanded the bagel offerings significantly. Today, more than 32 varieties – from salt, to asiago cheese, to double cinnamon can be smeared with any of a dozen flavors of house-made cream cheeses, nova or hummus. Each location bakes more than 500 dozen each day, and the Roswell Road location cooks up still more to send to Goldberg’s four outposts at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Using an Old World method, the handmade bagels are given a swift boil and are then set upon redwood boards, where they bask in a rotating, 500-degree oven until browned to an ideal crispness. And Aaron is known to get in on this process himself, turning bagels in the boiling vat or pouring seeds over the glistening rounds of dough.
The famous Po’ Boys haven’t changed since 1972, either. Each Goldberg’s location prepares three or four dozen every morning, layering the salami, bologna, corned beef, turkey and mustard on fresh-baked French bread. Nearby, towers of hand-formed pastries proof in the kitchen before cooking, then appearing in the pastry case within hours. Every day, the Goldberg’s kitchen buzzes with the boiling of matzah balls, slicing of local produce and cracking of eggs.