The Rocket Bakery

About: Bakery and then some – an institution to St. John’s gastronomy, culture and local movement scene.
Available At: 272 Water Street, St. John’s, NL
Tel: (709) 738-2015
Email: info@rocketfood.ca

It all started in 2011, when Torontonian couple Kelly Mansell and Mark McGann moved to St. John’s with their kids to open up a vintage-styled bakery with business partner Dave Hopley.  Kelly was a public relations powerhouse, and Mark a film decorator and project manager.  Dave was the local pulse with a history of creative enterprises in St. John’s.  It was a cosmic combination.

Rocket Bakery is based on three main pillars: great customer service, quality food, and friendly spaces which permeates into the coffee shop, the bakery, the fresh food cafe, catering, the Rocket Room, and the general store.   If that sounds like a lot to be, it is.  But it’s kind of a start-to-end micro ecosystem.   

Inspired by the ‘grab and go’ business model, The Rocket fills a delicious food niche in St. John’s.  From hand-crafted baked goods like croissants, baguettes, cookies, macarons, cakes, cupcakes, to healthy soups, nutritious fresh salads, pasta, flavourful quiches, sandwiches, empanadas, burritos, the Rocket uses fresh, quality ingredients and it shows.  The all-time favourites are the Rocket’s fish cakes, cinnamon buns, croissants, soups and sandwiches. Kelly says, “The folks in the kitchen and bakery who make the food take pride, and they feel happy about their work, you can taste it!”. 

The Rocket supports local, and buys local as much as possible for food supplies and goods for sale (check out Peter Burt and Ross Larkin’s sausages!).  You can find nifty cool gifts, household staples, cookbooks, and other cultural treasures.  Upstairs and down, the Rocket builds a happy, fun culture.  It’s a centre for arts and for diversity, live entertainment is a regular feature, staff tend to stay, and visitors as well as regulars feel the welcome.  Kelly says, “Rocket is all about collaboration and having fun. We have this symbiotic relationship with the community which has helped us evolve as a business, and as part of the community.  We aim to support the community, and we need community support.  It’s a good system.” 

Closing out the micro system is Rocket’s kitchen/bakery recycling practice.  Receptacles are in place for different types of waste, and farmer and staffer, Donna Smith, goes off with the organics and uses it to help in the growing of product for the Rocket kitchen on her farm in Markland. 

While Kelly is not sure what Rocket will launch next, no doubt something will be coming.  “We are learning as we go along,” says Kelly “The whole aim is to have fun.”