From pandemic pop-up to downtown storefront, Columbia bagel shop spreads out

This story was republished from the Columbia Missourian.

Goldie’s Bagels is moving into the downtown Columbia location of the former Harold’s Doughnuts, shifting from a pop-up restaurant to a permanent, brick-and-mortar establishment.

Pop-ups, or small restaurants operating out of temporary locations, became increasingly popular during the pandemic with the closure of many restaurants. More than 110,000 restaurant locations closed either permanently or temporarily during 2020, according to the National Restaurant Association.

Goldie’s is a prime example of the success possible for pop-ups in Columbia, starting out as a once-weekly endeavor for owner Amanda Rainey.

The bagel shop started in August 2020 in Pizza Tree, a local restaurant co-owned by Rainey and her husband, John Gilbreth. While there, Rainey used the pizzeria’s equipment to make bagels. Every Monday, Pizza Tree would become Goldie’s, selling bagels instead of its usual menu.

The two businesses then merged together, with Pizza Tree starting a breakfast menu featuring Goldie’s bagels every day except Monday, which was still reserved solely for Goldie’s.

Signature menu items for the pop-up included the plain bagel, the everything bagel and classic toppings such as cream cheese and dill or lox. For lunch, Goldie’s offered the pizza bagel, a bagel topped with cheese and pepperoni made with ingredients from Pizza Tree.

With its move to the new location, Goldie’s hopes to expand its lunch menu.

Rainey, in cooperation with chef Jill Rostine and her other employees, was able to find a customer base for Goldie’s, and with this was able to expand the shop. Rainey wasn’t actively looking to expand, but when the opportunity arose, she jumped on it.

“The location here was just presented to me,” Rainey said. “I got a call from Michael (Urban), who was the Harold’s Doughnuts owner and just asked if we’d be interested in subleasing it.”

Urban started Harold’s with the downtown location in 2014, and the shop expanded with a second location on Nifong Boulevard. In March, The Strollway Market opened in the downtown location. A collaboration between Harold’s and the Middle-Eastern restaurant Beet Box, Strollway was a deli serving soups, salads and sandwiches. Since then, both the new location of Harold’s and Strollway Market have closed, making way for Goldie’s to take over the downtown location.

In the former Harold’s and Strollway location, Rainey found a space that could work for Goldie’s. The equipment was there, the tables and atmosphere were there, and she doesn’t plan to make big changes to any of that.

This is similar to the circumstances surrounding the start of Pizza Tree. A local pizza restaurant was closing down, so Rainey took the opportunity to open her own.

With the expansion of Goldie’s, Rainey is looking to bring more workers to the bagel shop. She hopes that, in addition to the initial two employees she is bringing over from the pop-up location, the new location will hire three to eight more employees.

Rainey announced the new location Thursday, but she has yet to announce when the shop will open.

Nickie Davis, executive director of The District, downtown Columbia’s Community Improvement District, commends the shop as an example of the expansion possible for small businesses.

“It’s a concept that (business owners) want to see if they can make it work, and when it starts to work, they are able to expand to an actual brick-and-mortar, full business with more services,” Davis said.

Davis noted that during the pandemic overall turnover for businesses downtown remained similar to previous years. However, two of the four pop-up restaurants or ghost kitchens that Davis is aware of starting during the pandemic have since come to a close.

Rainey encouraged other small businesses to follow suit, drawing a comparison from Pizza Tree to Goldie’s.

“If anybody has a business idea, try to do the incubation in another business,” Rainey said. “Pizza Tree also did that. We were in Mojo’s and Rose Music Hall for a year before we opened downtown.”

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