HIDDEN GEMS, WYOMING’S BEST EATS: This Cheyenne Bagel Shop Will Have You Coming Back For More

Bill and Stephanie Snow teamed up a year ago to buy Mort's Bagels, a popular bagelry in Cheyenne since 1993, from founders Mark and Chip Morton. The Snows wanted to run a restaurant so they could spend more time together while earning a living. (Wyoming Truth photo by David Dudley)

By David Dudley

Special to the Wyoming Truth

CHEYENNE, Wyo.—I discovered Mort’s Bagels almost by accident. Strolling along Carey Avenue one morning, I heard the peal of church bells, and I caught the enticing aroma of fresh bagels.

My curiosity piqued, I entered a quaint red-brick shop to find a bright, airy dining space that seats about 25. Seven customers stood on line, but it was moving quickly. I couldn’t decide what to order, as Mort’s offers countless combinations of freshly made bagels (blueberry, Italiano/everything, honey wheat, to name a few) and cream cheese spreads (honey vanilla, lox spread, and chive) to choose from—all made in-house. Bagels cost $4.29 with plain cream cheese and $4.79 for flavored.

If that wasn’t enough, the bagel sandwich selections are impressive and adventurous. The Mort’s — your choice of bagel topped with ham, cheddar cheese, avocado and Mort’s sauce ($8.79) — called my name. The Tom Horn ($8.99), with turkey, bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato and mayo, looked delicious. And the Lake Minnehaha ($8.89), with albacore tuna, red grapes, water chestnuts, lemon-dill mayo, swiss cheese, tomato and lettuce, looked tempting as well.

Overwhelmed by the plethora of choices, I chose the plain bagel with lox cream cheese and a coffee.

Bill Snow washes one of the large pots in which the bagels are made at Mort’s. (Wyoming Truth photo by David Dudley)

Thankfully, William “Bill” Snow, co-owner of Mort’s Bagels, brought it out quickly. Snow, 58, dropped off the bagel, then disappeared behind the counter to continue mixing dough, washing giant steel pots, and doing all that it takes to run a bustling bagel shop.

As those who know bagels will tell you, they’re fairly simple to make. All you need is warm water, yeast, bread flour, brown sugar and a bit of salt. Simple enough, right? But because active yeast is involved, bagel makers are always one wrong choice from mediocrity or worse.

Fortunately, Snow and his wife, Stephanie, know their business. My bagel’s crust was crisp, while the inside was soft and warm. The lox cream cheese, filled with salmon morsels that were subtly sweet, savory and smoky, melded perfectly with the dough.

I meant to eat slow so I could savor it.  But the bagel was gone faster that I care to admit.

What’s in a bagel?

Because the bagel was so delicious, I thought the Snows must be veterans of the business. But I was wrong.

Mort’s has been in operation in Cheyenne since 1993, but the Snows bought it from the Morton brothers in June 2022. Their goal: run a restaurant so they could spend more time together while earning a living.

Mark and Chip Morton trained the Snows over a five-week period before handing over the keys to the kitchen.

An Italiano bagel—also known as a bagel with everything on it—is Mort’s bestseller. (Wyoming Truth photo by David Dudley)

That was before Snow retired from his job teaching eighth-grade science at McCormick Middle School. So Stephanie, who spent 18 years as the Kids’ Director at Cheyenne Hills Church, did the bulk of the work during their first year as Mort’s owners.

As a child, Stephanie, 53, learned to cook and bake from her mom. “It’s like a science, chemistry,” she said of bagel making. “If it’s cold outside, you’ve got to adjust. If it’s humid, you’ve got to adjust.”

When asked for specifics, Stephanie furrowed her brow, going deep into thought.

“Even the Morton brothers couldn’t articulate it clearly,” she said. “When it’s right, you just know.”

A vision of success

Though Snow helps mix dough for the bagels, which sell at a clip of about 1,500 a week, he follows Stephanie’s lead.

“She’s the mastermind behind the food,” he said. “I’m the people person.”

Born and raised in Cheyenne, Snow is the X-factor. For the past year, he’d come in at 3:15 a.m. to mix dough and slice avocados. At 6:15 a.m., he’d rush home to clean up before heading to school. Every afternoon, he’d return to the shop to help clean up.

Since retiring last June, Snow has joined his wife full time. While pursuing their shared mission to make the perfect bagel, the couple also strive to offer top-notch customer service. Toward that end, they have eight employees, two of whom are their daughters, Jessica, 18, and Danica, 16.

“We want everyone to feel welcome here,” Snow said. “We love to see repeat customers come in and push the tables together, talk for hours, play chess, sip coffee and tea.”

That last bit, Snow said, is how he defines success.

When customers do that, the Snows remember their names—a sure sign that customers will remember Mort’s Bagels.

Mort’s Bagels, 1815 Carey Ave., Cheyenne, Wyoming; (307) 637-5400. Open Tuesday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Saturday 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Closed Sunday and Monday.

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