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Rocket: new downtown bakery set for lift off soon

By: | February 22, 2011

Partner in the business, Dave Hopley, dishes on what to expect

Martin Connelly

It’s not long now before Rocket Bakery & Fresh Food is scheduled to open. The plan is for the first week of March, and it will be located at 272 Water St., where Auntie Crae’s stood just a short time ago.

“There will be ingredients for people who love to cook,” said Hopley. “Ingredients for people who typically bring back things from Toronto in their suitcase.”

Dave Hopley, one of the five co-owners of Rocket, is well aware that the new establishment will be compared to the previous bakery, even though it will provide a few different services.

“It’s similar to Auntie Crae’s, but different. It will have a full bakery with lots of breads, pastries, cookies and there will be hot foods but an expanded menu, like stews, pastas…” said Hopley.

Hopley says Rocket will offer meals besides sandwiches and he can picture people who work downtown ordering their lunch from the new food source. There will also be prepared meals, like lasagna, that customers could pick up for supper.

He mentions they’ll provide some grocery items, mostly gourmet, such as higher end olive oils and balsamic vinegars.

“There will be ingredients for people who love to cook,” said Hopley. “Ingredients for people who typically bring back things from Toronto in their suitcase.”

Hopley hopes to provide a new source of products that has not been easily accessible in Newfoundland. He said he’s discovered a great deal of what to provide in the store through local citizens’ suggestions. The Rocket will continue to accept requests from locals in hopes of providing specifically what is missing from their grocery lists.

They will provide a place to sit and eat, but it will mostly be a take-out venue. And for anyone curious about the old third-floor event space: it will still be available to rent out.

What’s in a name?

Hopley said there are many reasons for the name ‘Rocket’. The original owner of Auntie Crae’s wanted to retire the name and Hopley said that was convenient, because they did not want to maintain a specific image and expectation attached to that long-standing business.

“It’s a fun name. We all mulled over a few Newfoundland themes but none of them worked. We all liked the image of the vintage rocket ship,” said Hopley.

Hopley points out that ‘rock’ represents Newfoundland, which is commonly referred to as ‘the rock’, and ‘rock it’ represents plans for music provided at the shop.

Rocket will be upholding Auntie Crae’s music tradition featuring local bands every Tuesday, but there will also be a session held on Sundays. Hopley says they’d like to open opportunities to younger locals, who can’t get into bars and need a venue to play their music.

From specialty foods to cake decorating classes

Hopley is not new to the food industry, being a partner in a pizza joint Pi. He and his partners thought it was important to maintain a local food source within town.

“We have talked of a bakery, with a vision for downtown. It would be a shame if a chain operation had moved into that space,” said Hopley, “We’re very positive about the whole thing.”

Hopley says that the main focus and concern for Rocket is customer service and providing a food outlet to the locals. They hope to be a source for people’s needs and its product will be a reflection of locals’ requests.

Hopley also notes Rocket will use as much local product as possible. It will all be fresh and organic, with meals prepared the day they are served.

There is a nutritionist working with the bakery, plus the staff are educated with the product and can help customers decide which product suits their needs. Eventually there will be classes on things like cake-decorating provided, and cooking classes, including ones aimed at teenagers.

“We want to help people make healthy choices,” said Hopley.

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