Moab Happenings Archive
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Restaurant Happenings - November 2006

Red Rock Bakery and Net Cafe
by Michaelene Pendleton

Red Rock Bakery &
Net Cafe

74 S. Main Street
Moab, UT 84532
(435) 259-5941

Red Rock Bakery & Net CafeWhat with Haggis (a sheep’s stomach stuffed with oatmeal) and Rizzard Haddies (start by hanging a fish with no refrigeration for a few days…), Scottish cuisine has a bad rap. Scottish baked goods, however, are another story. Any country that can produce scones so light and fluffy they seem to float into your mouth deserves more appreciation.

Howard Trenholme, a Brit from Dundee and owner of Red Rock Bakery, is rightfully proud of his scones, as well as his breads: multi-grain, sourdough, oat, rye, foccacia, and challah. Bagels are handrolled and boiled and other baked goods are made from scratch in the renovated bakery. Howard also sells his breads to Eklecticafe’, Dave’s Corner Market, and Mondo.

Opening at 7:00am, the Bakery serves Fresh Moab Coffee from locally roasted beans, and espressos, lattes, teas and chais, and fruit smoothies. Breakfast bagels and granola are joined by muffins, cinnamon rolls and those heavenly scones, to get your day off to a good start.

The lunch menu features huge hot and cold sandwiches, with both vegetarian and meat specialties, on their own bread varieties. Seasonal homemade soups rounds out the lunch offerings. If you have any room left, dessert could be a cookie big enough to feed a small family, or a brownie or a fruit bar. You’ll never go away hungry.

The Red Rock Bakery also caters, offering a Box Lunch to tours and family picnics. A filling sandwich is accompanied by a drink, fruit or chips, and one of those monster cookies.

Howard has lived in this country for 18 years, but you can still hear a touch of Scots in Howard’s voice. This is a man who enjoys his job. You might say he grew up in the business. His father ran a pub in Sedgefield, England, for 40 years. Later, his mother operated a B&B with a twist: she served dinner as well as breakfast.

Howard didn’t start out in the food industry. In 1988, he took a Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel Catering and Management from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. In 1987, while at the University, Howard was given a scholarship to attend the prestigious Center for Professional Development at Cornell University. After an intensive 7-week course, Howard and some friends took 5 weeks to tour America. When he was offered a position with Ritz Carlton, he jumped at the chance to work here. Howard was employed by Ritz Carlton hotels in Atlanta, the Palm Beaches and Aspen. One day Howard looked around at his co-workers and realized they were married to the hotel chain, routinely putting in 60-hour workweeks. He decided that he would rather have a life and after 8 years, quit to become a bartender. In 1997, Howard moved to Moab and opened his bakery on a shoestring. After occupying 2 other locations, The Red Rock Bakery has been in the 70s Building since 1998.


Red Rock
Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup margarine or butter
2 eggs
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

Make Every Customer Happy
“Make Every Customer Happy” is the mantra of the Ritz Carlton, and is the premise under which Howard operates. He believes in keeping the menu simple and serving only the best. “Consistency is what keeps my customers coming back,” Howard says. His desire is to have 100% return customers.

“Ideas are a dollar a dozen; carrying through is another thing.” Howard admits that the first year, he “was just winging it.” Since the Bakery is going into its 10th year in Moab, he must have winged it pretty well.

Part of ‘carrying through’ is creating a friendly space where people can congregate and converse, as well as eat. Natural light brings out the warm tones of wood walls and furniture; murals line the walls and 3-dimensional art is on display, contributing to a friendly community atmosphere. Live music has been known to spontaneously combust. Politics are argued over good food.

Crucial to making a customer happy is having a happy staff. Howard has the same problem afflicting most businesses in Moab – getting and keeping a good staff. Staying open all year, Howard has a leg up on those businesses that close for the winter. His people stay and he feels blessed by having a great staff. Howard rewards loyalty in tangible ways – which is a good idea since his wife, Amanda, and stepdaughter Megan work in the business. He sees a good staff as a synergistic team with everyone focused on customer satisfaction, and communication is a two-way street.

“Never bite off more than you can chew”

Howard would like to expand the catering side of the Bakery, providing his Box Lunch to more tours, and contracting with Elder Hostel groups.

But for right now, Howard is concentrating on making Red Rock Bakery the best eatery in Moab. “I’d never baked a day in my life and I started a bakery,” Howard says.

And we’re happy he did.


Red Rock Bakery is the original Moab Internet café offering High-Speed Wi-Fi. The computer room is circled by a Nik Hougen mural of Canyonlands, and is a quiet space for checking your email or net surfing. Connection is free with any purchase.

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