Goldbergs Fine Foods on Roswell Road in Buckhead is celebrating its 50th anniversary April 1 with half off anything on a bagel. (Goldbergs Fine Foods)

Goldbergs Fine Foods on Roswell Road in Buckhead is celebrating its 50th anniversary on April 1, with a gift to customers — half-off anything on a bagel.

Hungry diners can choose from more than 30 varieties of New York-style bagels topped with lox, brisket, eggs or just a schmear of plain cream cheese. When the original Goldberg’s deli opened in 1972, customers selected from just six kinds of bagels. Today’s menu also includes much more than bagels, from avocado toast to fried chicken and waffles to plant-based burgers.

A photo of a Goldbergs deli in New York that hangs on a wall of the Buckhead Goldbergs restaurant. (Dyana Bagby)

“Not many restaurants can say they’ve been open 50 years,” says co-owner Howard Aaron during a break this week after the morning rush. “It’s a big milestone.”

The history of Goldbergs located in the Roswell Weiuca Shopping Center near Chastain Park is about more than an expanded menu. From the one, tiny deli, co-owners Aaron and Wayne Saxe, have opened eight more Goldbergs restaurants throughout Metro Atlanta, including in Dunwoody, at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and The Battery in Cobb County.

Aaron and Saxe emigrated from South Africa to Atlanta nearly 30 years ago. They bought the walk-in deli, then called Goldberg & Son, in 1992 from the Goldberg family.

“We have now owned it longer than the Goldberg family,” Aaron said.

Most restaurants shutter by their fifth anniversary. The Covid-19 pandemic was grueling, Aaron says, but the restaurants survived with online orders and delivery. A shortage of workers also makes the food industry a tough business. But one Aaron loves.

“I think it’s a passion,” says Aaron, who works seven days a week. “I think if you love what you do, it’s not really work. And you meet wonderful people.”

Wayne Saxe, left, and Howard Aaron bought Goldberg’s deli in 1992. The restaurant is located at its original site when it opened in 1972 on Roswell Road in Buckhead. (Goldbergs Fine Food)

Ouida Lanier of Brookhaven has been eating at the Goldbergs in Buckhead two to three times a week for close to 15 years.

“The food is good, the people are fabulous,” she says as she prepares to cut into a thick waffle. Her favorite bagel when she gets one? Whole wheat.

The walls are covered with all kinds of bagel-centric art. A gorgeous “Goldbergs” neon sign glowing red, green and gold lights up the back of the dining room.

“This is more than just a place to eat,” Lanier says.

Diners enjoy a late breakfast at Goldbergs Fine Foods on Roswell Road in Buckhead earlier this week. Once a tiny space on Roswell Road, the deli added a dining room in the mid-1990s. The restaurant celebrates its 50th anniversary April 1. (Photo by Dyana Bagby)

Richard Davis, 37, a native Atlantan, remembers eating at Goldbergs when it had only walk-in service. When he graduated from Georgia State University, his father told him the Goldbergs on West Paces Ferry was hiring. He got the job and worked there for seven years. He’s been at the Buckhead site for eight years and is now head server. In 2018, he was named Restaurant Employee of the Year by the Georgia Restaurant Association.

To see the Buckhead location grow from a “hole in the wall to what it is today is amazing to see and be a part of,” Davis says.

Aaron says making people delicious meals creates happiness and this is the reward for hard work over the years.

“We appreciate the wonderful support. Having come from South Africa almost 30 years ago and how we’ve been welcomed into the city and become an integral part of the city — it’s been it’s been an amazing journey. It’s been a lot of fun,” he says.

Dyana Bagby

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.