What do “red rocks” and “rolls” have in common, besides a catchy sounding resonance? That would be the oldest scratch bakery in Moab, The Red Rock Bakery & Net Cafe.
Centrally located on Main Street across from Eddie McStiff’s Plaza, the Bakery is truly a Moab mainstay. Well loved and visited by locals and tourists alike, the place is always jumping. The breakfast, lunch and pastries are all made from scratch and this shows in the flavor and texture of the food. But, the food is only one reason why Red Rock Bakery is such a hot spot in this very hot town.
Red Rock is a contemporary American-style bakery that offers Old World quality in its breads, soups and sweets. This blend is a reflection of Howard Trenholme, the hands-on owner, who is a young Scot trained in traditional hospitality. He acquired a Bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Catering Management from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow and spent eight years working for the exclusive Ritz Carlton hotels.
His impeccable resume belies his fun, carefree look that speaks of his interests in swimming, golfing and skiing. Working in Aspen led him to vacationing in Moab which is how he decided to bring his experience in restaurant management to our town in 1988. After two other locations, he settled Red Rock Bakery in its current place and it looks like he plans to stay. The Bakery continues to expand both in size and in reputation.
Behind the naturally-lit bakery and eating area decorated with wood furniture, large windows and local art lies a room encircled by a four-sided mural depicting Moab’s renowned red rock landscape. This room houses the eight computers that make Red Rock Bakery the original internet cafe in town.
The cafe offers high speed internet access and a discount for users who purchase food or drinks from the bakery. Checking e-mail or surfing the internet is made so much more enjoyable with a hot cup of java and a home-made eclair, which are especially light, creamy and fluffy.
Red Rock Bakery roasts its own coffee beans. For several years, Howard has been serving and supporting Fair Trade Certified organic coffee, an organization that guarantees farmers in developing countries a fair price on their crop which in turn guarantees the farmers a livable income. The coffee is grown organically worldwide and is inspected and certified to meet high Fair Trade standards. Howard shows his excitement for this type of sustainable farming when he talks about the movement, which is the fastest growing sector in coffee.
Another staple Red Rock Bakery makes from scratch is its bread. The variety includes multigrain, sourdough, oat, rye and foccacia, and all are hearty and fresh. This contributes to delicious, piled-high sandwiches, which are the centerpiece of the boxed lunches. These copious sandwiches include smoked turkey breast, Virginia ham, roasted red bell pepper, pastrami, roast beef, avocado, BLT, home-made egg salad and tuna fish. Every sandwich comes with tomato, cucumbers, onion, carrot, lettuce, and your choice of cheese. Besides the filling sandwich, the brown bag includes a drink, a home-made cookie and fresh fruit or a bag of chips. The packed lunch provides a satisfying and healthy picnic that can accompany any outdoor activity.
The bakery also offers catering and every cake is made to order. As a courtesy to locals, Red Rock Bakery gives away free birthday cakes to one-year-olds. They also make and decorate wedding cakes.
One reason the bakery enjoys such a solid reputation in town is the constant high quality of the baking. Marianne Bawden Apadaca, the store’s manager and specialty baker, contributes greatly to maintaining these standards. Originally a Salt Lake City native who ran her own catering business for eleven years, she started working at Red Rock six years ago.
She is definitely inspired by her art, evident in her statement, “Give me a new recipe, and I’ll try it.” Most of the recipes she has contributed to the bakery are either self-created or family originals, some dating back to her great, great grandmother. She bakes some of the most popular pastries in the store, including the Orange Carrot Cookies, Espresso Bars, Sugar Cookies (for which she makes her own special frosting), Eclairs, and No-Bake Cookies. These pastries are not for the faint-at-heart sweet tooth as they tend to be as big as a tea saucer and just as big in flavor.
Howard has invested himself into maintaining a successful bakery with friendly, efficient service. One way he gains loyalty from both his customers and employees is by keeping the store open year round. His impressive background in hospitality shows in how he manages his bakery. He also maintains a great reputation by offering high quality goods, from coffee to pastries to lunches, and he is willing to limit his production in order to do this. Creating a pleasant environment that exceeds customer expectations is a driving force for this otherwise easy-mannered Scot.
Howard says his ideal would be “100% repeat customers,” and considering how popular the bakery seems, it’s possible that he may not be so far off from attaining that goal. When he told me about that perfect objective, I smiled, thinking about my husband who visits the Red Rock Bakery every Friday because “they always know what I want and make my mocha exactly how I like it.”
The Red Rock Bakery & Net Cafe is open every day of the week starting at 7:00 a.m. until 6p.m (5p.m. on Sundays). They are located at 74 South Main Street and can be reached at 259-5941. Brown Bag Lunches are $9.25, sandwiches range from $4.75 to $6.25 and pastries average around $2.50. Please call ahead for boxed lunches and cake orders.
Recipe of the Month
Red Rock Bakery
Chocolate Chip Cookies
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup margarine or butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup chocolate chips
Cream the sugars, butter and eggs together. Beat until a pale yellow color. Add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter and mix well. Add the chocolate chips. Spoon cookie dough onto a greased pan and bake at 350°?for approximately 12 minutes.