By R.M. Grossblatt
The New Broadway Cafe opened for breakfast Monday, July 13. Broadway, which makes homemade, kettle-boiled bagels, is the first kosher restaurant to offer a full breakfast menu since Bagel Break on Roswell Road closed in August 2009.
Opening morning, customers at the counter watched manager Avi Alzadeh and his team smear cream cheese on a variety of New York-style bagels. Alzadeh’s sister, Ariella Kaplan, was the first customer to buy a bagel and cream cheese in the renovated dairy/vegetarian restaurant in the Briar Vista Shopping Center in Toco Hills.
Alzadeh’s grandparents Judy and Ed Bloom opened Broadway Cafe in 1993 across the street from its present location. Before that, the Blooms and Alan Alzadeh, Avi’s father, owned Wall Street Pizza. Now Alan owns his own bagel shop, so, following his father, Avi felt it was natural to enter the restaurant business.
An athlete, Avi Alzadeh played baseball throughout school, including college, then in rookie pro ball. He considers managing Broadway Cafe a new chapter in his life.
“In the beginning, I just came to help out,” he said in his gentle, calm manner. Then he had a vision to combine the idea of his father’s bagel shop with his grandparents’ established restaurant. The Blooms, who now work behind the scenes, were receptive, especially because it would give them more time for Bijan’s, their catering business.
Besides breakfast, Alzadeh’s vision was to liven up the place and make it more fun. His cousins Josh and Alexis Alzadeh helped with the renovations. They replaced a huge mural and the rest of the walls with wooden scraps and planks, which created an artsy ambience.
Some customers miss the mural with faces of famous Atlantans and theater billboards painted by artist Judy Merlis and her daughters. “We may take a picture of it,” Alzadeh said, “and reduce and frame it.”
Part of the fun for customers is choosing ingredients from a salad bar, pouring their own gourmet coffee, sitting in colorful booths and writing messages on a chalkboard near the washing station.
The new manager has other ideas brewing, including prepping food such as lasagna and baked ziti for customers to grab from a case. “The possibilities are endless,” Alzadeh said.
Without table service, everything moves faster, and the cafe is still baking pizza, a specialty of new chef Tony, whom Judy Bloom always wanted to hire.
Johnny Farazmand, who with wife Dinah ordered pizza for lunch the first day, said it was great, “like the pizza Broadway used to make.”
Besides pizza and bagels (served all day until they run out), French toast and omelets are available for breakfast, plus waffles on Sunday. Many other favorites at Broadway remain on the menu.
“You can still come here to get a good piece of salmon,” Alzadeh said.
Hard work and long hours are put in by everyone, especially Alzadeh, who arrives at 4 a.m. to bake bagels for the cafe’s opening at 7. Breakfast is served until 11.
Whether rolling out dough for bagels, scrambling an omelet or working the cash register, “it’s a team effort,” said the former baseball player, who hopes that the New Broadway Cafe has a winning opening season.
Photos by R.M. Grossblatt