101 Bagel Cafe Rises to Meet Demand

101 Bagel Cafe Rises to Meet Demand

Owner Robert Miller is lining up franchisees to serve traditional breakfast, lunch and deli food.

After 37 years with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and now with the AJT, , Jaffe’s focus is lifestyle, art, dining, fashion, and community events with emphasis on Jewish movers and shakers.

The rainbow bagel with cream cheese makes for a colorful social media post.
The rainbow bagel with cream cheese makes for a colorful social media post.

There’s an art to the business of making quality bagels. Florida native Robert Miller, who plans to operate and franchise more 101 Bagel Cafes in choice Atlanta neighborhoods, has the recipe for both.

Miller waited tables and bartended during college, but launched his real career with the opening of a coffee shop in Dania Beach, Fla. After a few other successful business ventures of his own, he met his Atlanta “partner-in-dough” and moved to the peach state to operate 101 Bagel Cafe, making New York-style bagels, sweets, sandwiches, melts, omelets and wraps in all sorts of customizable combinations.

101 took over a previous bagel concept location in Akers Mill in 2018, opened in Duluth in 2019, and then COVID hit. Miller went to work strategizing an app-driven delivery and pick up model, resulting in lines out the door. New locations are slated to open in East Cobb, Dunwoody and Crabapple.

Miller says that all of their bagels are boiled and baked daily, never frozen, with any leftovers donated to charities. He outlined the secret steps: Mix, boil, and bake in special stone ovens daily, with 15 flavors, some rotating seasonally. “Really, a good bagel is all about the water, which we create in-house by adding vitamins and minerals just like New York water, never cutting corners,” Miller explained.

South Florida native Robert Miller is a hands-on owner.

Fun seasonal twists like green bagels for St Patrick’s Day, heart-shaped for Valentine’s Day and everyone’s yummy favorite “s’mores.” Everything bagels are the top-seller, with jalapeño cheddar a close second. Oh, and don’t forget desserts: black & white cookies and muffins.

Then there’s catering, with egg and tuna salad, nova, whitefish, bagel bites and all the trimmings. Miller has an obvious love of bagels and likes to have fun. “We are now starting back (post-COVID) our special giant sandwiches prepared for a group and requiring a 48-hour advance order. Great for social media posts! Then we will have a Pizza Bagel Eating Contest for 8 to 10 folks at a time, spanning ten minutes,” he said.

According to Miller, all of his 101 staff cross-train at the bakery, back prep, kitchen and register. “It’s all about the experience,” he said. “We want all customers to have a 5-star experience! We offer board games while you dine in for no cost to challenge your friends, family or even a team member.”

To support the community, in some locations, Miller allows artists and musicians to use his space for events in the late afternoon and evening. “We’ve had furniture made from recycled materials, woodworkers, hand soap purveyors and musicians use our space,” Miller said, “and we take no commissions. In March, watch for Java ‘n Jokes at Duluth (3126 U.S. Hwy 23).”

The cafe is busiest from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and then again during lunch. Weekends are busy also. “We are always looking for qualified franchisees,” Miller says. “We offer 24/7 support and will always have their backs from start to finish. Actually, the first 10 will be grandfathered in at generous rates. We may have five to 10 locations here, maybe 25-30. We are not limited to Atlanta. It’s all about finding the right spot, preferably suburban.”

The Dunwoody location is just seven minutes from the MJCC (and their member’s Perk Page has a free bagel and cream cheese offer). East Cobb will be located at 4811 Johnson Ferry Rd. The Crabapple location, which will open later in the summer, will feature the team’s first drive-through. Franchisees in Georgia will buy their bagel dough, muffin mix and cream cheese from 101’s commissary. Out-of-state operators will have their own commissary. All food is prepared fresh at each location.

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