Goodness Gracious is two years old, and they're having a party

Allow your mind to wander back to Auckland circa 2013. This was an Auckland without a bagel spot. Rather, an Auckland without a dedicated bagel spot. This was an Auckland with cafes and good coffee, sure, but where the holy goodness of the bagel was treated akin to toast as a breakfast option, albeit with more fancy optional spreads like salmon.

 

The Auckland of today is blossoming with bagel delight. You’ve got your Best Uglys, your Vulcan Lane, and your one-of-a-kind Goodness Gracious. The latter is celebrating its second birthday this week, so we decided to catch up with owner Greg Cornes and find out what makes his take on bagels an integral part of Auckland v.2016’s fabric.

 

Goodness Gracious - Shoot 10 (Bearded Clam) Web-32

Photo by Josh Griggs

First things first, I’ve literally been going to Goodness Gracious for the two years it’s been open and never known that Greg was the dude who ran the joint. He’s always working on the cafe floor, clearing tables, whipping up a well decent flat white, and of course serving his fine fare. There’s a humility to the guy which has arguably emanated throughout every facet of Goodness Gracious, informing the chill atmosphere, smart as hell service, unprecedentedly good food, and minimalist on-point aesthetic.

 

Like any classic tale of kiwi success, it was born out of hard work. Shifting throughout the hospo industry for 13 years, “always with the aim of having my own business,” Greg found his chance nigh on two years ago when he decided it was time to commit to the dream. It began with a search for ‘burbs in Auckland lacking in quality cafes. When he first laid eyes on the spot (2A New North Road, for those not paying attention), it was something like love at first sight. The crescendos of other folks telling him a cafe wouldn’t work in the oddly-shaped, previously-thought-to-be-bizarrely-positioned site only spurred on the romance (I’m painting an epic Montagues and Capulets story here, keep up). Pile on the issues with financing, compliance, and contractors, and you’ve got your diamond in the rough, the little hitter that came out swinging with a knock-out success in its first few weeks of operation.

 

Goodness Gracious LQ-42

 Photo by Josh Griggs

 

Funnily enough, bagels weren’t the only option initially on the table (in an alternate universe, there are waffles being flipped at this very cafe), but as soon as 2A New North Road was locked in against all odds, they quickly became the golden goose. As Greg says best, “I was looking for something that could be a low price point for customers, a ‘grab n go’ style of food made fresh and quickly to order, and could be prepared in a small kitchen.” He didn’t want a fad, but Antipodean food that himself and his customers would be comfortable with - with a point of difference. Recalling the bagel stacks he’d stumbled upon working in Melbourne over 10 years ago, and realising they’d never jumped the Tasman, he had his formula.

 

Goodness Gracious - Shoot 10 (Bearded Clam) Web-21

Photo by Josh Griggs

 

With social media granting genie-in-the-bottle-level audiences to the tune of “word of mouth, but 10-fold,” Goodness Gracious has been solidified in the hearts and minds of Aucklanders who only three years ago had no idea what they were missing.

 

To celebrate the journey so far, this Friday GG are collabing with long-time mates, The Bearded Clam (who placed an inspiring second in Metro’s Burger Cook Off Comp - and Auckland’s crowded burger scene - last year). The origin story is one of myth: Greg, sharing in the camaraderie of the humble game of futsal with Ryan, one-half of The Bearded Clam bros, and teammate on the futsaljahs, floated the idea that they produce something cool together. I’m not personally sure what’s cooler than parents of great burgers and great bagels, respectively, producing a brainchild. Go eat their children on Friday night (4.30 - 9.30pm; we also hear there'll be beersies).

 

Goodness Gracious - Shoot 10 (Bearded Clam) Web-9

Photo by Josh Griggs 

 

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