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Dale Donchey, owner of Spiller Park Coffee, is kicking off a new business venture that explores another side of himself.
Spiller Park is sporty, fun, competitive, and maybe a bit cocky (“Coffee so good we drink it ourselves”), but in an endearing way.
Dear Friend, Bagels will be more romantic, tells a story, and is about enjoying and caring for other people.
“It will feel warm and cozy,” Donchey said during a phone interview with What Now Atlanta on Thursday, “like you want to bring the person into your home and feed them.”
He’s currently looking for a space for the new bagel shop, possibly in the downtown area, but he’s open to any location in Atlanta if it’s the right fit.
“The perfect place will let itself be known,” he said.
Donchey is tentatively hoping to open in early 2022.
Spiller Park Coffee has been and will continue to be a great business journey for Donchey, who became the majority owner in 2019. Dear Friend, Bagels is just another hobby he wants to turn into a business, and a way for him to explore his Jewish heritage.
“I’m learning of my ancestry through food,” Donchey said. “It’s been a unique and fun journey.”
Donchey has been baking bagel creations at home for some time. He shared them with friends and family often enough that he thought he could evolve into making them professionally.
Through his humbling experience with food and his journey learning about his heritage Dear Friend, Bagels was born.
“It’s not about a story I’m trying to promote, it’s about a story I’m trying to tell (through food),” Donchey said. “I’m just a Jewish kid who lives in the south and wants to have his own bagel.”
He’s melding fresh milled rye and wheat together for an unusual and distinctive blend.
“It’s a unique take on a bagel,” Donchey said. “My take is just a little different.”
The shop will also feature a variety of creative sandwiches.
Corn and beef sandwiches, matza balls, and, of course, a bagel with lox. But not just the traditional bagel with lox, the Dear Friend, Bagels version also has capers, pickled carrots, onion and more.
“Those great flavors and textures commonly associated with classic Jewish comfort food,” he said. “And I make a mean matzo ball.”
The schmears will also be unique. For the flavored schmears, Donchey uses labneh instead of cream cheese. It’s more like a strained yogurt, he explained. It’s less heavy and better for the digestive system than cream cheese, he added.
“It’s how I want to eat my lox on a bagel,” Donchey said. “That’s how I tackle everything, ‘How do I want to eat it?’”
Donchey said he hasn’t felt this excited about a project since first going into coffee.
“I’m not trying to sell bread products, I’m a bagel man,” Donchey said. “I’m passionate about it and I want to share it with as with many people as I can.”
Bagels are currently served at Spiller Park Coffee on Fridays at the Ponce City Market location and Sundays at Toco Hill.