ruby, rachel, noahOn Wednesday, Hillel hosted a discussion with local entrepreneur and founder of Noah’s Bagels(the first was on College Avenue), Noah Alper. There were doughnuts of plenty, an appropriate choice since they are essentially just the fried, frosted bastard children of the bagel. But we digress.

Noah is exactly how you’d picture him: a short, animated little Jewish fellow with a newsboy cap, an argyle vest and a whole lotta personality. The man has a serious knack for starting businesses but claims not to have much interest in the whole running part. He founded the first official health food store (now part of Whole Foods), then moved on to gourmet housewares before discovering bagels.

His only mistake was founding Holy Land Gifts Co., a company with the goal of “selling Israeli-made goods to Christian fundamentalists,” inspired by his first trip to Israel. He then jumped on the bagel bandwagon at a time when carbo loading was the new diet fad. When people realized that they actually had to run the marathon to lose weight, he explains, he got out of the bagel biz. read more »

It’s probably occurred to all of you at some point or another that if Noah’s New York Bagels was instead called Noah’s Berkeley Bagels, it wouldn’t be nearly as successful. As it turns out, the first Noah’s Bagels was started by the semi-mythical Noah Alper on College Avenue way back in the golden age of the 1990s before selling it for a cool $100 million.

And this Wednesday, Feb. 24 between 7 and 8 p.m., Noah himself is coming to Berkeley—specifically, at the Berkeley Hillel Chapel at 2736 Bancroft Way. Before you ask, yes, there will be free food—though if bagels count as a dessert, we’re not sure. The Facebook description: “The founder of Noah’s bagels and free desserts, what else could you want? Anyone is welcome!”

Image Source: Thomas Hawk under Creative Commons
Getting to Know Noah [Facebook page]