In expanding to Sag Harbor, taking over the old Golden Pear space on Main Street, the Goldberg bagel empire has added a new teammate, Sag Harbor native and chef Dan Mitchell. Mitchell has teamed up with fellow full-time Sag Harbor resident Paul Wayne, a partner in several Goldberg’s Famous Bagels stores across the town of East Hampton.
Mitchell, a graduate of Pierson High School, was a regular customer of Goldberg’s in East Hampton on Pantigo Road, which is how he met Wayne. The two became close through their children, who play team sports like basketball and baseball together in Sag Harbor.
Wayne’s father, Marty Goldberg, was one of four sons of Izzy Goldberg, whom Wayne calls the original “bagel maven.” Marty Goldberg changed his last name to Wayne, after his favorite actor, John Wayne, during a brief pursuit of an acting career. He soon returned to the bagel world and passed on his love for the business to his son, Paul Wayne, who now has partnership in Goldberg’s Bagels shops in Wainscott, East Hampton, on Napeague Stretch, and two in Montauk, along with the new store in Sag Harbor.
Wayne, who greets his customers at the Pantigo Road store in East Hampton, has a knack for recalling how they like their bagels. (“Pumpernickel, lox, slice of onion, slice of tomato, capers, and tofu spread?” he asks one, assuredly.) Mitchell works in the “back of the house.”
Mitchell’s first job was as a dishwasher at the Corner Bar in Sag Harbor at 14 years old. “I gradually worked my way up to prep cook, then on to line cook . . . got all my way up the line to grill.” Mitchell left to go to college, then returned to work in the Corner Bar kitchen, before leaving again, this time to attend Johnson & Wales University College of Culinary Arts in Charlotte. Since graduation, he has served as chef at both Edgewater Restaurant in Hampton Bays and the Corner Bar.
“I have always been a ‘back of the house’ guy,” Mitchell said. “The challenge for me is to be more up front.” He said that it “is not always easy to break out of your comfort zone. But I am getting there. I am working on it. You can’t just jump onto the stage the first day,” he said, laughing.
Mitchell and Wayne have a common vision for the new store. They see it as more of a sit-down deli than simply a bagel shop, a place where a family in Sag Harbor can go for an affordable breakfast or lunch. After opening a few weeks ago, they are already doing a brisk business in brisket, pastrami, and corned beef. The fresh homemade chicken soup and matzoh ball soup are very popular, as well. In the morning, of course, it is eggs and more eggs, cooked to order by Veronica Leon of Sag Harbor.
Mitchell said The Hobo sandwich, consisting of bacon, egg, cheese and hash browns on bread, a roll, or a bagel, is popular with high school students. The homemade chili is a big seller with that demographic as well.
“When I was a kid, every Saturday, Sunday morning, I always woke up early to have my dad take me to The Paradise across the street. Back in the day, The Paradise was your luncheonette diner, old school, with milkshakes, real mom and pop, with counter booths,” said Mitchell.
His father would have coffee with his friends, while young Dan would sit in the corner drinking a chocolate milk with a bowl of cereal. Then his father would take him down the street to The Ideal stationery store to buy a comic book. “That was the biggest deal in the world to me. I want to have that place for my kids. Goldberg’s on Saturday and Sunday mornings,” he said.