CHEYENNE – An off-track horse betting and gaming chain is moving into downtown Cheyenne, and it’s hoping to take over the retail liquor license held by Dillinger’s Bar.
Wyoming Horse Racing LLC, which owns the Horse Palace chain, submitted documents to the city that showed President Nicholas Hughes had electronically signed an amendment to a lease agreement for 1601 Central Ave. on Feb. 25.
The betting and gaming company also has a location at 1802 Dell Range Blvd.
The documents were part of an application to the city for the transfer of a retail liquor license. The liquor license is still held by Dillinger’s, though owner Ryan Clement wrote in a letter to the city that the bar was “no longer in a position to utilize” the license. He requested it be transferred to the building’s owner, Prime Realty LLC, which was also the original holder of the license.
Clement and his wife, Ann, announced earlier this month that they would be leaving the Central Avenue location. They said in a March 8 Facebook post that they planned to seek out a new location in downtown Cheyenne.
The Clements previously told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle that they’d been outbid by another tenant for their spot on the ground floor of the former Grier Furniture Building.
In a March 1 letter to the city, Dan Surdam, a member of Prime Realty, reiterated Clement’s request and said it had found a new tenant for the space. Surdam wrote that this new tenant had applied for the retail liquor license to be transferred to its business.
The applications from Prime Realty and Wyoming Horse Racing were both filed Feb. 28.
Both were heard at the beginning of Monday’s City Council meeting. Mayor Patrick Collins assigned them to be considered by the Finance Committee, which next meets at noon April 4.
No one from the public or on the council commented on either application.
“This is an exciting time for downtown, and we believe this transfer is consistent with the long-term goals of the city and the Downtown Development Authority,” Surdam wrote in a letter to the city.
Paul Ryder, who is listed on the application as the general manager of Wyoming Horse Racing, wrote in the application that the retail liquor license would “compliment the operation of a historic horse racing off-track betting facility.”
“We are excited about our new location, and look forward to assisting the downtown establishments in their growth and viability,” Ryder wrote.
On Tuesday, Ryder did not return a call or email seeking comment.
Outside of Cheyenne, Horse Palace has seven other locations in Casper, Evanston, Gillette, Green River, Rock Springs and Sheridan.
Nagle Warren Mansion to reopen
The Osterfoss Living Trust, meanwhile, has applied for a restaurant liquor license on behalf of Nagle Warren Mansion LLC, as part of an apparent effort to reopen the mansion’s bed and breakfast and enable the property to host certain events.
A man identifying himself as the innkeeper of the mansion told the City Council Monday evening that it planned to reopen “within about another two weeks, and we will be staying open another 20 years.”
Councilman Bryan Cook said the planned reopening was “outstanding, and just another sign of good things that are happening not only in downtown, but all over Cheyenne.”
The application was assigned to the Finance Committee.
“The trust is very interested in re-establishing a business model that will attract a long-term owner/operator of the mansion that would continue to attract visitors to the Cheyenne area,” Steve Osterfoss wrote in a Feb. 8 letter to the city. Osterfoss is described in the application as a trustee of the Osterfoss Living Trust and the manager of the Nagle Warren Mansion.
The historic home is located at 222 E. 17th St. in downtown. Built in 1888, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Osterfoss said that although serving alcohol would not be “a major or primary function” of the bed and breakfast, “it is a necessity.” A liquor license would allow the venue to host events like weddings and dinners for social clubs.
“The license would also allow the guests of the (Nagle Warren) Mansion to enjoy alcoholic beverages on site while sharing stories of the day with other (g)uests staying at the mansion,” Osterfoss wrote.
He added that the bed and breakfast held a liquor license for “many years,” and to his knowledge, “without any incident at all.”
Steve Osterfoss’ late father, Jim, operated the mansion as a bed and breakfast for more than two decades before closing it in late 2019, according to previous reporting by the WTE. Jim Osterfoss died in January 2021.
The mansion had previously been put up for sale.
Hannah Black is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s criminal justice reporter. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 307-633-3128. Follow her on Twitter at @hannahcblack.