Tuesday, February 6, 2024

[EXCLUSIVE] Better Bagels are Bound for Busy Midtown Building

Midtown residents seeking good bagels will soon have better options than the area's two Einstein Bros. Bagels and Panera.  Dear Friend, Bagels, from Spiller Park Coffee owner Dale Donchey, is coming to 999 Peachtree in the heart of Midtown.  

Although it is not named specifically, window coverings indicate that "BEE-YOO-TIFUL THINGS" are coming to the former Eco Denizen space along Peachtree Street.  The style and characters on the graphics are consistent with Spiller Park and a real estate source confirms that Dear Friend, Bagels is in fact the coming tenant.  

According to City of Atlanta records, no permits have been filed for work on the space so it's unclear how soon the shop could open.  

Dear Friend would mark the first non-national chain bagel shop in the Peachtree Street corridor in ten years, since the 2014 closure of Goldberg's at Colony Square.  

Donchey, a veteran of Steady Hand Pour House, a short-lived Emory Village coffee shop, among other stops, joined Hugh Acheson and opened the original Spiller Park Coffee in Ponce City Market in 2014.  Sometime around 2019, Acheson seemingly exited his stake, and the business is today operated solely by Donchey.  

Having tinkered with bagel recipes for years, Donchey introduced bagels at Spiller Park's then two locations in June 2020 as a way to keep his employees working and his businesses afloat as he was forced to pivot to takeout only during the early months of the pandemic.  

Dear Friend, Bagels is one of at least two new bagel shops that have sprouted up in metro Atlanta in recent months.  Bronx Bagel Buggy, from business and life partners Steven Novotny and Julie Dragich, launched at farmers markets in 2021 and debuted their first brick-and-mortar location this past December on Peachtree Road in Chamblee.  

Also worth noting, Emerald City Bagels, which opened in Atlanta's East Atlanta Village in early 2018, still intends to open a new shop along the BeltLine at the ground level of the new Citizen apartment building in the Old Fourth Ward.  The opening, originally slated for summer 2023, has been pushed to late spring / early summer 2024, according to a source familiar with the shop's timeline.  

Not all planned bagel shops have come to fruition.  The Good Wurst Company, a Charlotte area restaurant that features, among other things, Montreal-style bagels, was to have opened in Chastain Park in late 2022, but never opened, and a new coffee shop called Mend plans to open in its place later this spring.   

As for Donchey, he confirmed plans in July 2022 to open as part of South Downtown's historic Hotel Row along Mitchell Street but while the shop was to have opened in early 2023, it has not opened and its status is unclear.  (A group led by entrepreneur David Cummings acquired the multiple parcels that make up South Downtown this past December.)  

999 Peachtree occupies a prominent location at the corner of Peachtree Street and 10th Street but the building has changed hands several times in recent years.  Opened in 1987, the building was originally known as First Union Plaza and was home to the headquarters of First Union National Bank. Ponce City Market owner Jamestown purchased the 622,000 square foot tower for $127 million in 2007 before flipping it to  Franklin Street Properties for about $158 million in 2013.  Piedmont Office Realty Trust subsequently purchased it for about $224 million in late 2021.  

Lawfirm Eversheds Sutherland and architectural firm Gensler are perhaps the property's most well-known office tenants.  

According to real estate sources, Piedmont is looking to enhance their amenities, and viewing a popular bagel and coffee shop as an amenity, is reportedly providing Donchey a very tenant-friendly deal to woo him to the project.  

Signage at the space suggests that Dear Friend, Bagels will offer breakfast and lunch options in addition to coffee and tea, among other offerings.  

At 999 Peachtree, Dear Friend will join Lazy Betty, the Michelin-starred restaurant that is relocating from Candler Park to the former Empire State South space later this spring. The short-lived MidiCi Neapolitan pizza shop space remains vacant.    

Midtown has proven to be among the most challenging of intown markets for restaurants to thrive with several - BK Lobster, Mi Cocina, Cathy's, City Tap, Caravaca Market, Newk's, and others - having all closed in the area in recent years, some after being open only a short time.  

Agora, a nearby restaurant that recently expanded, rebranded and added brunch, AltaToro, a new Latin restaurant, and soon, Lazy Betty and Dear Friend, Bagels look to defy the odds and thrive in the market.  

Are you excited about the arrival of Dear Friend, Bagels in Midtown?  Have you been to the new Agora Midtown?  What other types of restaurants would you like to see open in Midtown?

Please share your thoughts below. 


Anonymous said...

bronx bagel buggy charges $3 per bagel. Ouch.

This midtown owner experiments with bagel recipes? Oy. Good luck.
Midtown has not had great bagels since Royal Bagel was open in Ansley Mall.

Anonymous said...

Since you’re such a fan of correcting others… in Midtown, it’s Peachtree Street not Road.

Anonymous said...

What are you talking about? Brooklyn Bagel Bakery in Ansley Mall has what I think are the best bagels in Atlanta. There are huge lines there every weekend. Bronx Bagel Buggy is disappointing. Their bagels are small and hard and rather flavorless. I don't get what all the fuss is about.

Atlantan99 said...

@Anon RE: Peachtree Road,

Indeed you are right! We correctly referred to it in two instances but somehow that third one slipped through the cracks. Thanks for the catch! We definitely know better!

Anonymous said...

Bronx Bagel Buggy’s bagels are huge? What the hell are you talking about?

Anonymous said...

I tried the bagels in the Costco bakery area and they are plenty good and are less than $1 each.

Anonymous said...

Yes and you have to buy 12, not 1.

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