By Tony Cagala
Expect lots of changes to come at Big Apple Bagels on Main Street, now that it is under new ownership.
Bob Davidson, who purchased the franchise in February, brings 45 years of experience in the bagel industry to Ramona. He’s hard at work turning the store around as he looks to increase its staff, hours and menu choices.
Starting May 2, Big Apple Bagels will expand its business hours from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, keeping the same business hours of 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays.
The bagel store at 1925 Main St. now also offers free wireless Internet to its patrons.
Davidson said his career began at the age of 15, all because of a girl working in a bagel store in Chicago, where he grew up. He was offered a job at the store and has been at it ever since.
Davidson owned his own bagel shop in Dallas, Texas, from 2001 until he came to Ramona. Having lived in San Diego in the late-1970s and early-’80s, he was familiar with Ramona and said the community and the weather are the reasons he purchased the franchise.
With his extensive experience in the bagel industry, Davidson knows what type of bagel works best in most parts of the country. California seems to like everything soft, he said, adding that this is why the franchise does so well out here.
“We do them a little different here,” he said. “I’m used to baking them the old-fashioned New York-style where you boil them, put them on boards, put them in the oven and bake them. This is more of the modern (style). They’re a little softer, they’re better for the sandwiches. The bagels are steamed in a rack oven, which is a little different. It doesn’t put that hard crust on it like a New York bagel.”
Big Apple Bagels is a nationwide chain.
Since Davidson took over the Ramona store, sales have increased by 40 percent, and more and more people are learning about the additions to the menu.
He is incorporating new foods such as Reuben sandwiches and adding bagel chips, cupcakes and cookies, and corn beef and pastrami to the selection of meats.
“We have a lot more to offer, we’re right on the street and there’s plenty of parking,” Davidson said. “Ramona’s a perfect little town for this.”
Davidson makes his own cream cheese selections from recipes he’s picked up along the way, starting with a block of cream cheese, whipping it and adding flavorings such as salmon, chives and onions.
Everything is baked fresh on site three to four times a day, depending on how much is needed.
Until the expanded hours start on Monday, the store is open weekdays and Saturday from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The phone number is 760-788-1800.