15 Sep 2014
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Meet the Owner: Keith Goldberg of Baguetteaboudit

Cafe and bakery owner talks about his menu, the 'ghost' of Tillie's and his secret to business success.

Meet the Owner: Keith Goldberg of Baguetteaboudit

It's a name that even Baguetteaboudit owner Keith Goldberg admits isn't loved—or understood—by everyone.

"It is pretty hard to spell," the aforementioned cafe and bakery owner told Patch on a torrentially rainy Monday morning earlier this year. "Even the guy drawing up my business papers didn't get it right at first."

Goldberg helms what some consider the successor of the beloved, yet departed, Tillie's of Brooklyn. For starters, there's the location: Baguetteaboudit opened last fall in a different part of the same building at Vanderbilt and Dekalb avenues.

Baguetteaboudit even has a popular sandwich, the Vegan Vanderbilt, à la Tillie's.

And then there's Khephram, a 12-year-old veteran Tillie's barista who now works for Goldberg at Baguetteaboudit.

"It's good. I grew up in the neighborhood so it's good to see some of the same people," Khephram said. 

However, that's where the similarities seem to end between the laid-back Tillie's and the somewhat more caffeinated environs at Goldberg's place around the corner.

"We're looking to expand, grow and change with the neighborhood," he said.

Here's our Q&A with Goldberg:

Patch: You opened in a neighborhood with a lot of customer loyalty. How has your business settled in?

Goldberg: We've been welcomed by a lot of people. People have appreciated the fresh baked bread, coffee and handmade salads that we offer. It’s been a really warm welcome and I’m really happy about it.

Patch: How did the closure of Tillie’s affect your business?

Goldberg: It hasn’t affected us that much. We have installed another bathroom, put in WiFi and we've opened our first show featuring local artists. There are former Tillie's customers who have come to us to find that safe neighborhood place .... but when we opened in September we really expected Tillie’s would stay open. My business plan didn't change at all.

Patch: Do you have anything to say to people looking to start their own business in a tough economy?

Goldberg: Yeah, it’s really simple: I haven’t had a day off since Thanksgiving. For this to work, you have to be there, all of the time. You can’t just leave it to your staff to run things. You have to do it yourself.

Ed. note: A version of this story appeared on May 22 on Fort Greene-Clinton Hill Patch.

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