Why Bagels? Why Nashville?
Justin, and his wife Heather, moved from sunny Upstate New York to Nashville in 2012. After carefully navigating the upcoming Nashville culinary scene, Justin quickly realized… well, let’s be honest, Heather actually realized… there were no authentic, handmade bagel food trucks in Nashville! What a shame!! So Justin called a guy - his Geneseo College best friend, psychologist-turned-chef, Robert. After hours of business plan development, Justin convinced Robert to pack up the Italian restaurant dream and head south into Bagel stardom!
On April 12th, 2014, the Bare Naked Bagel truck was born… in a trailer. Yes, the now 26-foot Bare Naked Bagel truck started as a trailer (nearly embarrassing, we know). Fortunately, this was the little-trailer-that-could. Justin and Robert hit the streets! Literally, the first day they hit a street curb trying to park the trailer – those things are difficult to maneuver. They attended local food and music festivals and parked outside office parks. Slowly, but surely, Nashville grew an appetite for bare-naked bagels.
The years flew by… at least the first three years did. And Justin and Robert realized it was time to grow the business. So again, Justin called a guy – this time his snobby, older brother Ryan. Now Ryan couldn’t tell a bagel from Cronut, but he had spent his long and storied career working with some of the best chefs and restaurateurs in the world, including, but not limited to, Marcus Samuelsson, Jean Georges Vongerichten, and, most significantly, Daniel Boulud. (And yes, famed Cronut-chef Dominique Ansel, too.)
Today, Bare Naked Bagel has expanded its menu beyond bare-naked bagels to include breakfast foods, bagel sandwiches & wraps and New York style-deli foods. What’s next… Matzo Ball Soup? (Hey, that’s not a bad idea.)
Sure, there are other good bagels in Nashville - we like competition - but Bare Naked Bagel will forever be Nashville’s first handmade bagel food truck! Now, on to a brick-and-mortar store…
So Who are these bagel guys, anyways?
Justin Buttner - Robert Kane - Ryan Buttner
Justin was born and raised in Ithaca, New York. He attended Geneseo State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a Marketing and Management Concentration. Here, he met friend and future business partner, Robert. After college, Justin moved to Nashville where he entered the corporate world and eventually joined Alliance Oncology as Director of Business Development. Justin is experienced in creating strategic partnerships and structuring joint venture relationships to execute on growth plans (...and eating bagels). When he is not at the office or helping on the bagel truck, Justin is making time for his wife, Heather, son, Cason, and new baby daughter, Cohen. Justin’s favorite bagel is The Lox – smoked salmon, chive cream cheese, tomato and pickled red onion!
Robert was born and raised in Binghamton, New York. He started at the local pizzeria as a prep cook in high school and continued working in restaurants throughout college. Robert also attended Geneseo State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. After the college, the allure of the restaurant industry was too strong and Robert returned to his home to Binghamton where he became manager of local catering company, The Red and White. After visiting Justin a few times, Robert relocated to Nashville in 2013. Together, Robert and Justin founded Bare Naked Bagel as a food truck in 2014. Robert is now an integral member of the Nashville food truck community and an active member of the Nashville Food Truck Association. When not working on building a bagel empire, Robert can be found playing with his dog, Odin, or exploring Nashville from the music scene to the Nashville Zoo and beyond. Robert’s favorite bagel is The California - turkey, bacon, avocado, tomato, spring greens and chipotle mayonnaise!
Ryan was also born and raised in upstate New York. Like many, he started his restaurant career at a young age behind the dishwasher. Unlike many, he loved it… all of it. He was promoted to prep cook, then line cook, then server, and then manager and without hesitation, his career path was clear. With a goal to get the best hospitality and restaurant education possible, he attended Cornell University’s internationally renowned School of Hotel Management where he concentrated in Food & Beverage Management. Again, he loved it.
After Cornell, he immediately moved to New York City and began his career at the historical Café des Artistes on the Upper Westside, at that time New York’s third oldest continually operating restaurant. Building upon his aptitude and passion for wine, he joined Marcus Samuelson’s Restaurant Aquavit as Wine and Beverage Director.
In 2001, Ryan opened Daniel’s Boulud’s then third restaurant, db bistro moderne, in Manhattan’s theatre district as Assistant General Manager and Sommelier. In 2005, he joined Restaurant Jean Georges as Chef Sommelier and helped the restaurant retain its New York Times four-star rating and earn its first ever Michelin Guide three-star rating.
Later, Ryan returned to the Daniel Boulud family as Director of Private Events at Restaurant DANIEL, also a New York Times four-star and Michelin Guide three-star restaurant. He was promoted to Assistant Director of Operations for the Dinex Group, the parent restaurant company of Daniel Boulud, and traveled the globe from New York to Singapore opening and operating restaurants.
After over 12 years with Daniel Boulud, Ryan moved south the emerging restaurant market of Atlanta, GA where he is now an independent restaurant consultant. He is excited to being developing two new brands, Bare Naked Bagel and Kona Espresso Bar. When Ryan is not thinking about restaurants, he enjoys exploring the Southeast, drinking coffee and spending time with his wife, Brooke, and two boys, Alec and Evan.
Ryan loves a simple toasted sesame bagel with scallion cream cheese!