Goldbergs Fine Foods celebrates a half-century in Buckhead.
In 1992, Wayne Saxe and Howard Aaron moved from South Africa to Atlanta with an interest in starting a business.
“Someone told us to look at Goldberg & Son because it was a great product, but they didn’t know how to scale the business,” Saxe says. “They had a phenomenal product, and they wanted out at that specific time.”
The brothers-in-law soon became business partners and owners of the original 1972 bagel shop on Roswell Road in Buckhead. At first, Aaron did the baking, while Saxe managed finances. Their hand-rolled, boiled and baked bagels were a hit, and they expanded the offerings from six to 21 varieties and included deli salads and sandwiches.
Over the next 30 years, one location became nine, including space at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and The Battery. Today, Goldbergs makes more than 15,000 bagels a day, including catering and food truck offerings.
Eventually, Saxe’s son, Bradley, joined the business and helped drive innovation and evolution (think frozen foods, take-home meals and prepared foods for two of the largest airlines). This prompted the creation of the spinoff company Mainline Foods, focused on wholesale manufacturing.
“We are about a multitude of food products,” Bradley says. “We didn’t want it to be a Jewish deli because we are not kosher: We are a multipurpose food store.”
Still, as Goldbergs celebrates 50 years in business, its name remains most familiar to Atlantans. “Goldbergs is an iconic brand,” Wayne says.
We spoke to the Saxes about their work and what they do when they need a break.
What are your current roles?
Wayne: I’m CEO of the group. I help empower the people I put in place to run the business. We are a family operated company. We run the business as a team. Our most important asset is our employees. A typical day goes from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. My phone is on all day and night.
Bradley: I’m CEO of Mainline Foods. I run manufacturing and supply.
How are you celebrating the company’s 50th anniversary?
Wayne: We’re working on a new menu design and recipes for winter that look back on our history. For example, we might take an item that was popular 25 years ago and use it in a new way that is forward looking.
What are your plans for the future of Goldbergs?
Wayne: There are a lot of different areas that could use a concept like Goldbergs. We’ve held off because we want to perfect the concept. At the Battery, we started to introduce alcohol—beer, wine and cocktails. We’re looking at a nighttime factor and how we’ll bring that into our business. The biggest challenge is people relate us to breakfast and lunch.
What do you do for fun?
Bradley: I don’t get a lot of downtime. I love food and frequenting restaurants on Buford Highway. It’s fun to go adventuring there. I enjoy exercising—biking, lifting weights, hiking and taking my dogs to the river. I have a Great Dane and a Mini Goldendoodle.
Wayne: We are workaholics. What’s our hobby? Goldbergs. What do we do for fun? Goldbergs. We are very dedicated to what we do. That’s why we are successful. I have a wife and three kids. I love to play golf (in theory). I have a weekend place in Ft. Lauderdale.
GOLDBERGS FINE FOODS
Foodie Tastemaker Columnist at Simply Buckhead. Contributing Editor at Atlanta Magazine. Restaurant Aficionado and Mother of Two.