This week brings good news and bad news for Seattle’s many bagel fans. The good: Mt. Bagel, which was one of the most hyped bagel pop-ups of the last few years — has returned to Seattle a year after founder Roan Hartzog announced he was headed to Bend, Oregon. The bad: Hartzog’s bagels are still almost impossible to get.
Hartzog, who back in the day was the frontman for garage rock act Cabana, started Mt. Bagel via Instagram in 2019, taking payments on Venmo and delivering bagels on Tuesdays and Fridays. The hype around his bagels vastly outstripped his ability to produce them. These bagels sold like concert tickets: You had to request your bagels the second orders opened or lose out to another Mt. Bagel fanatic. Seattle Met called them the “Hamilton ticket of bagels.”
This time around, Mt. Bagel is a little less mysterious. It actually has a storefront on 26th Avenue East and East Valley Street, near the west side of the Arboretum, where you can walk up and get a bagel — ha ha, just kidding. You can get a bagel if you show up promptly when they open at 9 a.m., Tuesdays through Fridays. The first week of its operation, Hartzog tells Eater Seattle, the shop has been selling out within an hour after opening. Pre-orders are sold out “stupidly quick.”
This scarcity isn’t intentional. Hartzog is trying to ramp up production. Currently, he and his team can make about 600 to 700 bagels a day, and he wants to get that number closer to 1,200, which will be doable once they can get some equipment repaired. “Right now the absolute most we can do is what we’re doing,” he says.
Why’d Hartzog come back in the first place? The answer is that he’s not really back, not permanently, though Mt. Bagel is. His original plan was to open Mt. Bagel in Oregon, but after not being able to find suitable production facilities he changed his mind.
“My old team from the original shop was like, ‘We’d love to do this again somehow,’” he says, and then a space in the building where he started out his pop-up operation came open on Craigslist. “I was antsy to get back to work making bagels. I might be crazy but I made the decision to open a business in a different state where I live.”
The goal is for Hartzog to grow the business until he can spend long weekends back in his new Oregon home, then eventually live there full-time while his employees oversee the day-to-day operations. But for now, he’s in Seattle for the “forseeable future” trying to deal with his current problem, which is that people love his bagels so much he can’t make enough.
Not that he minds so much. “We’re very happy that people are still on the Mt. Bagel bandwagon,” he says.