After many years of separation, Montreal sometimes feels like a familiar stranger to me. I know an oxymoron, I just don’t know how else to describe it. My latest new, yet familiar discovery is Rockaberry. Familiar because I’d frequented and loved the Rockaberry located on Queen Mary back in the day. New because I’m at a Rockaberry located on the corner of Monkland and Old Orchard for the first time. It definitely wasn’t here the last time I’d walked down this street. I love this location though, smaller and cozier than the one on Queen Mary. The browns and beiges, woods and leather in the decor give the location a really warm and inviting feel. I grab a table for two and sit in the brown leather club chair beside the window that looks out onto their terrace, and beyond that Monkland street. From my vantage point I can see Rockaberry’s direct competition: Second Cup and Starbucks. I’d choose Rockaberry every time though.
I settle in. This will make a superb spot to eat, drink, read and write over the next couple of hours. Erin, my waitress came to serve me.
“What can I get you?” She asks with a smile.
I look up from my book to see a slim blonde woman wearing a black top and black pencil skirt. I notice a tattoo on each of her wrists.
“Ill take a coffee,” as if I could resist the wonderful smell of fresh roasted coffee in the air, “and a club sandwich.” I had to ask: “How long has this location been open? I’ve never seen it before.”
“3 years. Do you know the Rockaberry that used to be on Queen Mary?”
“Actually I do.”
“Well that location has moved here. There are 6 Rockaberry locations all owned by different people, but the one that was on Queen Mary, now this one, is owned by the creators of Rockaberry, the original. That’s why we’re the best.” She boasted proudly, still smiling.
Rockaberry was born in Montreal in 1989 and is known for their heavenly (or sinful, depending on how you want to look at it) fresh pies made daily in Montreal. They are decorated to break even the strongest of wills, so don’t be surprised if after looking at one you find yourself breaking your diet to indulge in a slice. Or maybe a whole pie.
Golden brown, dairy free, apple crumble is my favourite. It sits there looking like a volcano about to erupt spiced apples any minute. Unfortunately I’m a creature of habit, and always get the apple crumble, it’s just that good. But I have friends who have waxed lyrical about their Mochamisu and Straweberry Shortcake and suspect I will eventually try them out as well.
My lack in variety goes for their other menu items as well, I only ever order the club sandwich, which is delicious, and doesn’t commit any of the usual club sandwich faux pas. They toast the bread so that it’s brown and sturdy, the way toast should be. Don’t you just hate under toasted bread, or worse, over toasted bread? The chicken used is breast and is moist, I’ve had my fair share of dry chicken in my club sandwiches. The bacon is also cooked to perfection, not undercooked and slimy or sometimes overcooked and crumbling it’s so charred. Tomato and lettuce used are crisp and fresh and they bring mayo on the side so that you can add as much you want, and your sandwich doesn’t get soggy. After a delicious lunch, I sit back in my chair savouring my dessert, a luscious piece of apple crumble pie in my mouth, and enjoying a proud to be a Montrealer moment.
Have you ever been to Rockaberry? What’s your favourite location? What’s your favourite pie?