Every Friday, Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series called Foodie Friday.
BB’s Bagels has become legendary in suburbia. They’ve been reviewed hundreds of times, have been on television and have even appeared in a rap video. The owners of this game-changing restaurant are taking advantage of this down economy and have opened a second location. Look for them on State Bridge Road between Jones Bridge and Kimball Bridge.
This review isn’t really about the food at the new location as it is nearly identical to the McFarland location. You can read one of the many reviews to learn about their grub. Years ago on Yelp I described their water-boiled bagels as being “better than sex with a Democrat.” I stand by that assessment.
So let’s talk about how the State Bridge location is different from McFarland. First, it doesn’t have the diner feel. If you’ve been to the McFarland BB’s on a Saturday morning you’ll know what I’m talking about. The place is loaded with ex-pats from New York, many who come from all over metro Atlanta to eat there. It is electric with energy. The staff are helpful if a bit surly at the same time. It all adds to the character of the place.
If you’re looking for that same character at the State Bridge location… you won’t find it. At least you won’t find it now. Maybe things will be different once more people find this new location.
The flow of the place is what I like to call a work-aurant. You order at the counter, get a number, sit down and get your own drinks and silverware. However, you will get table-side attention in a way that is similar to a well-run Chic-Fil-A. They will refill drinks table-side and remove plates as you finish. All in all, I don’t mind this flow. The take-out counter is right next to the main cash register, which makes entering the restaurant a little confusing, especially to newbies.
The space itself is very open and provides a good view into the kitchen. The water kettle and oven are visible through a glass wall. What might appear to be a patio dining area is really the dough prep space. My kids and I found a table next to this and watched them roll dough into bagels. It was more interesting than I thought it would be. The large hunks of dough resemble a side of beef. The men use knives to carve off baseball bats of bagel “meat”. They roll and shape in one motion. Very cool. The viewing windows kind of remind me of what Dutch Monkey Doughnuts has for kids to see behind the scenes. It kept my little monsters occupied for a long time. That’s a win.
All in all I liked the new place. If the State Bridge store is more convenient to you then by all means hit this place up. Will they make it here? I think so. The bagel business is getting very competitive, especially in east Alpharetta and Johns Creek. The second location of Bagel Boys is right around the corner. Essex Bagels (a cousin of BB’s) is not far away on 141. And there is also Brooklyn Bagels in Johns Creek and the ubiquitously disgusting Einsteins. I don’t think they all can survive in this market. Are these places even in the same league as BB’s? Fuhgeddaboudit!