SOUTH PORTLAND — In a society that values service and convenience, Dennis Yesse can’t believe someone didn’t think of it sooner.
Restaurants deliver lunch and dinner. Why not breakfast?
That’s exactly what Yesse, better known to his customers as the Bagel Guy, does. He delivers freshly cooked bagels to households and cafes in Portland, South Portland and Cape Elizabeth.
The cost, including delivery? A dollar per bagel and a minimum of six bagels.
The variety? Whatever you want.
Yesse’s day starts at 3:45 a.m. Before making his coffee, he makes his way into his Clinton Street garage, which has been converted into a modest bakery, and turns on the oven.
Once pre-heated, he boils and bakes the bagels, which have been rolled out the day before and allowed to settle overnight.
At roughly 5:30 a.m., the bagels are cooked, and Yesse sets out on his delivery route, often hanging bags of bagels on door knobs and taking cleverly hidden payments in return.
“I love my bagels, but it’s really a service I’m selling,” the 57-year-old said.
Much like a mail carrier, he delivers in all weather – rain, snow, sleet or hail – and by 7 a.m. seven days a week.
“It’s 7:30 a.m. and it’s a blizzard outside,” Yesse said. “Do you want to get out of your bed and go get bagels? Or do you me to get out of my bed, bake them and put them on your door?”
And the work doesn’t end with the last delivery, said Yesse, who returns home and begins making the next day’s bagel orders.
Yesse has been cooking bagels in his home for about five years. The New Jersey native had a hankering that could not be satisfied by local bagels, so he found a recipe he liked and began making them for himself and his family.
“I’m the kind of guy who cannot find something, I go after it,” he said.
Soon, Yesse’s friends caught a whiff of his hobby and wanted bagels, too. Then, his freinds’ friends heard about the home baker and also wanted in on the action.
The rest, Yesse said, is history.
“This has been completely word-of-mouth advertising,” he said. “The most I’ve done is made T-shirts.”
Meanwhile, Yesse said he also delivers to between 50 and 60 private homes and has catered numerous business meetings. Many of his private clients order a week’s worth of bagels at a time, he said.
The growth of Yesse’s business forced him to convert his 10-by-12-foot garage into a small bakery.
Only into his first year in his expanded bakery, Yesse said he is already thinking about expanding into a new space, one that will allow him sell his bagels to walk-in clients. But not before he can pay off his expansion, he said.
Any new bakery, however, would have to be in South Portland, Yesse said.
“It fits in with the neighborhood and the people,” he said. “It’s a nice lifestyle.”
Yesse said he typically offers more than a dozen varieties of bagels and is willing to make special orders.
“If you have had a bagel you can’t find, I will create it for you,” he said. “It’s a world of choices.”
But the cream cheese and lox? That’s up to you, he said.
Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Dennis Yesse, 57, also known as the Bagel Guy, in his South Portland bakery on Monday morning, rolls fresh dough for bagels to be delivered Tuesday morning.
A mound of dough and wide array of spices await Dennis Yesse, a 57-year-old stay-at-home dad, who makes and delivers fresh bagels daily from his South Portland home.