Friday, September 25, 2020

[EXCLUSIVE] Brooklyn Bagel to Replace Panera Bread in Ansley Mall

Brooklyn Bagel Bakery & Deli, a popular New York-style bagel joint, is expanding intown.  According to a Facebook announcement Monday, the restaurant's second outpost will be at Ansley Mall, 1544 Piedmont Avenue. “It’s official! We are opening a second location in Ansley Mall shopping center!”  While the announcement did not specify an exact location, the online Ansley Mall property flyer indicates that the local bagel joint will open in place of Panera Bread.  Despite the Ansley Mall Panera Bread showing as "open" on all online platforms (including the Panera website), a phone call to the eatery confirms it is permanently closed.  

The roughly 4,300 square foot space, situated between High Country Outfitters and Ansley Wine Merchants, had been home to Panera since 2011.  The closure of the Ansley Panera marks at least the fourth closure in metro Atlanta for the St. Louis-based chain in just the past two years.  In late 2018, Panera Bread outposts in Lenox Square and Perimeter Mall closed followed by another unit in Peachtree Square on Peachtree Road in south Buckhead in late 2019. 

The opening of Brooklyn Bagel at Ansley Mall will mark the return of a local bagel joint to the longstanding neighborhood center after a more than two decade absence.  Many native Atlantans still fondly remember the legendary "The Royal Bagel" which held court in Ansley Mall from 1974 until its closure in 1997.  Coincidentally, Brooklyn Bagel opened their doors in 1997, and in the two plus decades since, has become a popular neighborhood spot for OTP bagel lovers at their eatery on Haynes Bridge Road in Johns Creek.  

It's worth mentioning that Brooklyn Bagel shouldn't be confused with and is not in any way related to "BB's Bagels [also known as Bronx Bagels]," another popular OTP bagel joint with one location on McFarland Parkway in Alpharetta.  

Brooklyn Bagels' foray ITP, if successful, could provide those who yearn for the days of The Royal Bagel, The Highland Bagel  Company and Bagel Palace, all once popular intown bagel joints, some relief.  

Bagel Palace closed at Toco Hills shopping center in 2018, saying at the time plans were to reopen nearby in the future.  More than two years later, those remain the plans.  ToNeTo Atlanta spoke Friday afternoon with Bagel Palace owner Manny Klein who indicated that he has essentially hit the "pause button" on a planned reopening at Shamrock Plaza.  That reopening, which ToNeTo Atlanta was first to report on this past May, would have put the bagel shop in a portion of a former Blockbuster Video in the Publix-anchored center across from North DeKalb Mall and would have also been quite expensive, as it would require extensive build-out to become a restaurant.  

Klein tells us that he still has equipment in storage and would still like to reopen, but does not want to rush into anything.  As Klein sees it, COVID-19 is still very much a real threat to the restaurant industry and so for now he is sitting on the sidelines waiting for things to improve and hopefully for the right space to be available.     

In addition to the aforementioned bagel joints, several others exist around metro Atlanta, more today than perhaps ever before.  

Goldbergs Fine Foods (fka Goldberg's Bagel Co. & Deli), easily the largest and perhaps most well-known local shop, has seven locations across metro Atlanta (plus three at Hartsfield-Jackson).  Other smaller operators like Bagelicious, The Bagel Hole and Emerald City Bagels have each found their own niche and their own supportive neighborhoods in East Cobb, Cumming and East Atlanta Village, respectively.  Other popular joints include 101 Bagel Cafe, with locations in Duluth and in Atlanta near Cumberland Mall, and The General Muir, near Emory University. 

While Jews won't be able to "break the fast" of Yom Kippur at Brooklyn Bagel Ansley on Monday, in view of the fact that they are taking over an existing and relatively new bakery, Brooklyn Bagel should easily be open before the end of the year.  

Are you excited for the return of a local bagel joint to Ansley Mall? What is your favorite bagel eatery in metro Atlanta?  What is our favorite bagel/cream cheese combo?

Please share your thoughts below.  

1 comment:

Jim said...

Excellent! I miss Panera but this is a welcome addition to my local strip mall.

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