Wasatch Bagel Cafe switches hands
November 18, 2006
Most people move to Park City because something about the town draws them. Some like the liberal views. Many like the skiing. Most like the general enthusiasm for the outdoors and friendly nature of the town.
Mark and Melanie Morgan liked the bagels.
Their daughter moved to Utah to attend school, ending up as a massage therapist in Park City. When the Morgans came to visit they walked into Wasatch Bagel Café for some bagels and a couple of cups of coffee and that’s all it took.
"We are from Duluth, Minnesota," Mark Morgan said. "I retired last year from my former job as an airline mechanic and had been thinking for years about buying a small business and my retirement gave us that opportunity."
"When we first were in the place, it was two years ago and we were just customers," he continued. "We’ve always liked bagels and coffee in the morning and we’ve been in a lot of places around the country. When we sat down in Wasatch Bagel Café our first thought, for both of us, was, ‘Wouldn’t this be a great place to own and operate, or at least work in?’"
The couple moved to Park City and signed the papers for the bagel shop on Oct. 2. They officially took over on Oct. 9.
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"It’s a been a pretty steep learning curve," he said. "It’s exciting. There’s a lot of great people to work with and a lot of great people to serve that have made it really fun for us."
Two of those people are the former owners, John and Jeanne Lambert, who purchased the shop in January of 2004. They are still partners in the business and help when things get hectic.
"They needed some time to do other things that they haven’t been able to do because of how much time a business like this eats up," Morgan said. "We’re running the day-to-day operations."
He said the partnership is working well and that there are no plans to end it anytime soon. Morgan said there is no reason to end it because both pairs are happy and the Morgans love how the Lamberts ran it.
"We didn’t want to change anything because it was such a great place originally," Morgan said. "Yes, there will be changes down the road, but they won’t be major changes. We don’t need to."
Morgan said if it would have been the type of business they wanted to make a lot of changes to, they would not have been so inclined to buy it. But, with the success of the previous model, there is no reason to fix something that isn’t broken.
"People come here because of the atmosphere, this is where the locals hang out, we welcome anybody and everybody and because we have the best tasting bagels from a pretty old recipe out of New York."
Morgan said the recipe is 100 percent natural. "There’s no preservatives or anything in it. We’re also the only place where you can get a real muffeletta sandwich."
The other sandwiches stood out in Morgan’s mind as well. Other than the bagels, he said his favorite menu items are "a really good French dip and a couple of pannini-type sandwiches that are excellent, and a really good reuben too, made the old-fashioned way in a sauté pan with butter."
"We also make Vietnamese coffee, which, I think, is a little different from what anyone else in town makes," he continued. "It’s really good. It’s sweetened condensed milk, espresso, and steamed milk. It’s like drinking candy."
Despite loving the previous model, the Morgans have thought about a few changes, mostly to the schedule.
"We’ve thought about having a little longer hours, about adding on an omelet and a kind of a brunch-type thing on Saturday morning," he said. "We’re also looking at the possibility at having some evening hours."
Even though people come to Park City for different reasons, the immediate accessibility to three world-class ski resorts is usually high on their list. Not for the Morgans.
"My wife used to ski but I’ve only skied twice in my life and it was minus 27 degrees so it wasn’t a good experience," Morgan said. "I’ve also had some injuries that keep me from being too adventurous so I don’t ski. My wife might take it up again, but I don’t know."
Although they don’t ski or snowboard, they do like to cross-country ski and snowshoe, which, as Morgan said, is just as great in Park City as the downhill skiing.
"We love it here," he said. "It’s such a warm and open community. We’ve already made friends that in Minnesota would have taken a lot longer to make. We’re looking forward to getting to know more people."
"We’re just very happy to be here," he continued. "This is a wonderful opportunity for us as older, out-of-state type of people. We are enjoying it and are going to enjoy it for many years."
Wasatch Bagel Café is open from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Saturday and from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday. The shop is located at 1300 Snow Creek Drive and can be reached at (435) 645-7778.