Goldbergs Kosher Bakery and Deli Restaurant Review
The name of the organization I attended and used to work for is called Goldberg’s Kosher Bakery and Deli. The person I interviewed is called Dan Knudsen and his wife. Dan mainly did all the talking. I felt lucky to be able to contact them because he hadn’t seen them in about two years.
His new bakery still has the same name, but is located in Hillsboro in a shopping complex. The original Goldberg’s was a fine-dining restaurant located in the Lloyd Center Mall in Northeast Portland. The owner’s father died and passed the business on to her daughter and her new husband, who worked for her father in the 1960’s. The new owners opened in Hillsdale and just baked and operated a deli. They were no longer a fine dining restaurant. People were always asking “Is this the same Goldberg’s from the Lloyd Center?” The answer would be “Same family just different operation”.
After owning a bakery in Hillsdale in the late ’70s, they moved a mile away to a location in southwest Portland. His marketing concept was simple; they wanted to have an old-fashioned Jewish bakery because the family was Jewish. The decor consisted of pictures of the original family, including the father (owner), hanging in the bakery. The bagels that were served were rolled by hand and boiled before being baked. That is clearly the old way. All the sandwiches were made with bread baked on the bakery side of the establishment.
On Fridays a certain braided bread called “challa” was baked. I guess it’s Jewish tradition to eat this every Friday. That would be the busiest day. It was clear who the clientele was for that day of the week. There would be fresh roast turkey put on the sandwiches which were very popular. It was like baking a Thanksgiving turkey and putting the meat directly on top of a sandwich. People would come from miles around. They were regular customers and once again it became clear who the clientele was. The food was kosher and Jewish customers are not allowed to eat any other type of bread and bagels unless they are certified.
There was a lot of competition, especially during the holidays. Customers would search all over town for the perfect dinner roll. There were many other bakeries in the city. These included the bakery department at Elephant’s, Grand Central, Noah’s, and Albertson’s. I think customers chose Goldberg’s because they had been going there for many years.
The products were mainly loaves, bagels, sandwiches, and items such as ficcocia bread. There would be an option to have the bread sliced or not sliced. The price was reasonable. It was $2.50 for a loaf of heavy bread. There were always four types to choose from wheat, white, light rye, and dark rye. I never found out how much the other local bakeries charged for their breads.
The location wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t the worst either. It was located in a small strip mall in a neighborhood. There was a Jewish community center less than half a mile down the street. He knew, as did the owners, that this had to generate additional income. The main promotion would be a bagel, cream cheese and a coffee for a dollar. That might have been a lost item for the establishment, but I never asked. I’m sure if there was a profit involved, it was a lot.
One more marketing ploy they had was a sign saying a free bagel and cream cheese if it was your birthday. But that was minor compared to not having a billboard in front of your building. I think they just didn’t have the money for it.
The male owner who did most of the cooking suffered a brain aneurysm. He was unable to work and the place had to close for about a year and a half. They never reopened at that location. Instead, they reopened in Hillsboro and are now tucked away in a shopping complex. His main source of income stands out in Portland selling his products. They only use the shopping complex to bake their products and transport them to the stands.
When I recently visited the owners at the new location, I noticed a handwritten note on the door that read “We are open again and the tradition continues.” I thought it was awesome. I honestly don’t see them expanding much more than that. They are getting old.