Others have come and gone at Belvedere Square. Greg Novik of Greg's Bagels has stayed put—out of sheer stubbornness, he says. It paid off. The market is thriving, and Novik is having the last lox, er, laugh.
Where did you go to school?
I graduated from Hopkins '68 with a degree in economics! And now look at me. What a joke.
What book or film most changed your life?
The book is called The Mask of Dimitrios written in 1939 by Eric Ambler. I never brought it back to the library, and I have been a wanted fugitive ever since.
Who is your favorite Baltimorean, living or dead?
My wife, Kathy, who is also my business partner.
What is the best advice you ever got?
When I was 14, I was alone in an elevator with Dean Acheson, former Secretary of State for the U.S. and he gave me a piece of profound advice . . . which I promptly forgot.
What's the bravest thing you've ever done?
Opening this bagel store in 1989. It was unknown territory. At that time you had only the Bagel Shoppe in Northwest Baltimore. This was East Baltimore. A non-Jewish neighborhood. This was before the bagel wave of the early 90's.
What is the greatest problem facing Baltimore today?
An ever shrinking Sunpaper.
Why did everyone leave Belvedere Square and why did you stay?
They left because they were smart.
I stayed because I was stubborn. I was told by an interim management group: Get out, this place is never coming back. But we had a core group of regular customers that kept us afloat. Now, the shopping center is very successful.
Assuming you think the bagel is the perfect food, why is that so?
Because you can either eat it, throw it as a projectile weapon, or use it as a seat cushion for a small child.
What's your favorite way to eat a bagel?
Toasted and buttered.
What's up with you not having a computer, TV, or cell phone?
Three reasons: 1. No time! I work, I sleep, an occasional drink, an occasional girl. (Ha, my wife's going to love that!) 2. The aggregate money that you would spend on those things takes us to Belgium or Luxembourg every year. 3. I do not find the world to be a happier or better place as a result of modern technology.