By Cathy B. Koplen Contributing Writer
The Daily Star
---- — There are several choices for those who want to eat breakfast or lunch on Main Street in Oneonta.
For those looking for a good meal at an affordable price, the Oneonta Bagel Company may be just the place. Located at 171 Main St., the restaurant offers soups, sandwiches and salads, as well as a full breakfast including eggs, breakfast meat, potatoes and bread.
The Oneonta Bagel Company also serves fresh squeezed orange juice, a large assortment of bagels and spreads, and about a dozen different types of coffee. A recent addition to the menu is fresh fruit smoothies in several flavors.
“I come in here at least once or twice a week,” said Rhett Mortland of Oneonta. “It is really convenient and they have good coffee. I usually get coffee and a bagel and fresh squeezed orange juice.”
In addition to serving the community breakfast and lunch, The Oneonta Bagel Company also serves the community by teaching a special needs segment of the population food service skills.
The bagel shop is affiliated with Rehabilitation Support Services, a non-profit organization that helps individuals by providing services and opportunities which promote social, vocational and educational growth. The training is intended to help individuals gain the skills necessary to transition into the workforce.
“Bill does a great job with the training,” said Eric Mastrogiovanni, Program Director of Rehabilitation Support Services. “He is great guy.”
Bill Roberts has been the food service director of The Oneonta Bagel Company for 11 years. He is committed to using fresh, locally grown produce and products whenever it is available.
“We try to find as much locally grown and locally produced foods as we can,” Roberts said. “We use McCoy’s honey and Heidelberg bread. We get local eggs and maple syrup, and we shop the farmers’ market.”
Roberts decorated the walls with artwork from area artists — including many drawings from local elementary schools and The Arc Otsego.
The Oneonta Bagel Company has implemented a heart-healthy workplace initiative following the criteria of American Heart Association.
“We have heart-healthy meals on the menu and we encourage our employees to take walks, I even have a tread mill in the office that everyone is welcome to use,” Roberts said. “The recommendations include encouraging managers to have meetings while they take walks. We have introduced the fresh fruit smoothies and we have lots of salads. This is something that I have taken a personal interest in.”
Whereas The Oneonta Bagel Company is a not-for-profit organization, it is fiscally self-sustaining. The paid employees earn their wages and the various bills associated with running a restaurant come from food sales. One of those paid employees is Roberts’ daughter, Jennifer Roberts.
“It is great working with my daughter,” Bill Roberts said.
Roberts has a food service background from an early age. His parents owned a restaurant and when Roberts was of age, he opened the Drift Inn in Richfield Springs. Later he managed the Pepper Mill in Cooperstown.
“I graduated from the school of hard knocks,” Bill Roberts said. “These days you need a food service degree to manage a restaurant. I learned by doing it.”
In addition to training clients of Rehabilitation Support Services, Roberts helps several non-profit organizations with food donations.
“Hanford Mills wants soup for 1,000 people again this year,” Bill Roberts said. “Last year we gave them French Onion. I think I might do something different this year.”