Noah's Bagels was founded by Noah Alper on College Avenue in Berkeley in 1989. Photo: Ben Knobel
Noah’s Bagels at 3170 College Ave. in Berkeley. The chain was founded in 1989 by Noah Alper. Photo: Ben Knobel

Noah’s Bagels, which was founded by Noah Alper on College Avenue in Berkeley in the summer of 1989, is celebrating its 25th anniversary Aug. 6 with a “today-only” offer of a 25-cent bagel and shmear at participating stores.

Noah’s has several stores in the East Bay, including three in Berkeley — on College, Telegraph and Solano avenues — and two in Oakland, on Lakeshore and in Montclair.

The bagel purveyor specializes in New York-style bagels (although bagel aficionados inevitably like to argue over how authentic they are). The chain is a business success story. Six years after Alper opened the first store in Berkeley, Noah’s Bagels had expanded to dozens of outlets and was sold to Einstein Bagel Bros. for $100 million dollars. Since then, Noah’s stores can be found across the nation.

Balloons and a 25-cent offer at the Noah’s Bagels on College Avenue today. Photo: Ben Knobel

Alper, a self-described serial entrepreneur who early in his career sold rustic salad bowls out of the back of his VW bug, also started East Coast natural foods chain Bread & Circus, which was bought by Whole Foods.

In his 2009 book “Business Mensch: Timeless Wisdom for Today’s Entrepreneur, written with Thomas Fields-Meyer, Alper shared the lessons he has learned in his colorful life and career.

As Berkeleyside reported in an interview with Alper in 2011, the book is part memoir, part motivational manual, and part homily to the Jewish traditions that have informed how Alper lives his life and conducts business. The book stresses the spiritual values, such as honesty, integrity, and ethics, that Alper — who survived a nine-month stint in a mental institution following a breakdown during his student days — holds dear.

Read Berkeleyside’s interview with Noah Alper and the origins of Noah’s Bagels.

Noah Alper: founder of Noah’s Bagels. Photo: Tom Lux

Alper is happy with how Noah’s Bagels has developed and is also pleased to observe the current local bagel renaissance. He told Eat Drink Play this week that he was encouraged by artisan bagel initiatives in the Bay Area, especially Baron Baking bagels, the wood-fired, Montreal-style bagel shop based in Oakland whose wares are carried at Saul’s Deli in Berkeley, among other places.

The 25-cent offer of a bagel and shmear is available at all Noah’s Bagels stores today, Aug. 6, and applies per person, per transaction per visit. No other purchase is necessary.

Authentic Bagel: A New York meets Bay Area recipe (02.27.14)
From psych ward to bagel mensch: interview with Noah Alper (02.25.11)

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...