Eddie Siino and wife Anna moved to Atlanta from New Jersey where they owned a bagel shop. The had absolutely no intention of opening a bagel store when they arrived, but Eddie did take a job as head baker at a popular Alpharetta bagel house.
A few years later, the owner passed away due to health complications. The new owner wanted to change everything including the method in which Eddie made the bagels. Siino quit.
On his way home, Siino passed a small defunct diner on McFarland Rd. and noticed a “For Lease” sign — the rest is history.
Today, BB’s Bagels (770 McFarland Pkwy, Alpharetta Tel: 770-475-1818) remains the only bagel place (that I know of) in the Atlanta area to hand roll, water boil and bake the bagels. In fact, you will be hard pressed to find any other place give you two out of the three.
That’s why when I lived in-town I made the daunting drive twice a month just for bagels.
It is people like the Siinos who belong in the restaurant business because their deep abiding love and passion for their craft goes beyond money. For them, it is all about doing things the way they should be done — no shortcuts.
The Siinos are the kind of passionate people that make us stop and take notice, and they gain our admiration and respect.
I was lucky enough to catch up with Eddie and Anna for a quick Q&A and here is what they had to say.
Q: What did you do in New Jersey before coming to Atlanta?
A: we had a bagel shop back home in New Jersey.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge with BB’s?
A: A very old building, which is really just a trailer and parking.
Q: You are one of the few — if not the only one — to actually hand roll, water boil and bake your bagels. Can you please explain to all of us what all this actually and what each process does for the bagel?
A: Hand rolling puts that special twist in the product so that when you break it apart, it pulls apart like a pretzel rather than breaks in half like a piece of bread. Dropping it into a kettle of boiling water engorges the bagel and gives it that light airy texture and that shiny crispy crust, it is then baked at 500 degrees to that perfect golden texture in a rotating oven.
Q: I’ve been dying to ask this questions for years. How are the southerners handling the authentic yet aggressive New York personalities of you and your staff?
A: We’re more than a little rough around the edges for your traditional southerner, but they’ve grown to love our northern hospitality.
Q: I’ve also been longing to ask this one. How many bagels do you sell a day on weekends? And, how do you do so much in such a small space?
A: A s*** ton, the bake starts at 4am and stops at 12 noon that’s why there are no bagels by 2 o’clock. Whatever might be left is donated daily to feed the hungry.
Q: Who came up with the Ten — uh, I mean — Sixteen Commandments on the back of the menu? And, how did that come about?
A: It was a collaboration of the entire staff but we “borrowed” the idea from our favorite burger joint.
Q: What can we expect from BB’s in the near future? …a new location? ….food truck?
A: Not sure, possibly a BB’s by the beach?!?!