CHAMBLEE, Ga. - There's a new bagel shop opening its doors in Chamblee, and it's offering an authentic New York bagel experience. The Bronx Bagel Buggy started as a hobby during the pandemic for the owners. Now it's become their full-time passion and full-time job.
Steven Novotny and Julie Dragich never thought their future held opening a bagel store. Novotny owned a hair salon, and Dragich worked in tech. Then the COVID pandemic hit. Dragich and Novotny did what many people did with a lot of time at home and decided to pick up a new hobby.
"I'm not very good at sitting around. My sister-in-law sent me a recipe for bagels and Steven and I have always complained we didn't feel there's a really great bagel experience in Atlanta, so we started playing with recipes," Dragich told Good Day's Lindsay Tuman.
It became a weekly project.
"We started really playing around and inviting friends over every weekend to try the bagels," Dragich said.
What started as a free breakfast for friends became a new opportunity.
"The more we spoke about it, we said 'Why don't we go to the farmers market and see if we could sell there?' So we were really surprised when we sold out in 20 minutes," she said.
At first, they thought it was a fluke, but they sold out again and again.
"At the farmers market people would come up and say ‘Hey, your bagels are great, where is your store?’" Novotny said.
That's when their side hustle became their full-time job. At the beginning of the year, they found this space in Chamblee, and started putting together their shop.
"It's been quite a journey to take this space from just four white walls and a concrete floor and really turn it into what we feel is a unique, New York experience," Dragich said.
They also wanted to make sure the bagels offer that New York experience. They even brought in equipment from New York.
"We felt that if we were going to do this, we wanted to do it the old way, the only way it should be done. The kettling, the boiling, the mixing the dough." Novotny said.
It's not just bagels, they are making pizzas, breads, and bialys from Dragich's grandmother's recipes.
"I think that it's really important to us to have those family recipes, to have food that's authentic, to have natural food, not preservatives," she said.
Now after career changes, learning, planning, and perfecting their craft, they are ready to open the door to their new business and new future.
"I really don't feel like I"m working. I really do love doing it. I love the process of it," Novotny said.