By Ryan King
Community News Reporter
PORT AUX BASQUES — Area residents will soon see a new restaurant open up in town at 34 Main Street. The takeout business is called Rosie’s Burger Bar and is owned and operated by Rose Hautamaki, who recently moved back to the area.
“I always thought I would never move home again, but I took an early retirement from work and I thought, ‘Time to move to somewhere a little more slow pace.’ So a friend of mine asked me if I knew anybody that wanted to buy her house and that got me really intrigued because I love her house. So then I started thinking and making plans and here we are,” said Hautamaki.
She said that owning her own business has been a dream since she was 11 or 12 years old.
“I’ve always thought it would be like a convenience store, but when I got here and I started looking around, seeing what was needed, that’s when I came up with the burger idea, because there’s nothing in Port aux Basques. You know what I mean? Like no designated spot just for hamburgers.”
Cooking has long been something Hautamaki has enjoyed, especially after she had children.
“I do enjoy cooking. I do enjoy trying new recipes, burgers, trying out burgers and stuff like that. It’s always been something that I’ve enjoyed. Who doesn’t love a good burger?,” asked Hautamaki. “I couldn’t cook to save my life when I was younger. No. Canned food was my go-to. But when I had kids, it was like, ‘Okay, I think it’s time to start learning a few things.’ So I remember watching my mom in the kitchen all the time, making homemade bread, and doing the fish, Newfie stuff. But it’s something I kept up with, making my own homemade bread and my own cookies for Christmas, and all that sort of thing. But I like experimenting with different spices and things like that.”
Coming out of retirement to get back into the restaurant and customer service business is something that is eagerly anticipating.
“I’ve worked in restaurants. Like I didn’t spend a whole lot of my life in restaurants, but my first job was Burger King when I was 14. I really enjoyed that. I thought it was pretty cool. So I’ve worked in a couple of smaller restaurants and fast food places. I’ve always found a great interest in it. Most of my life has actually been customer service. That’s something I’ve really enjoyed and something I’ve really missed. So this is kind of getting back to cooking and getting the fresh stuff without all those preservatives and stuff, and meeting people. Like I’m a very private person, but I like to be around people if that makes sense.”
Hautamaki said that getting the business ready did come with its own set of challenges, and she’s offered up a tip for those thinking of becoming entrepreneurs.
“The biggest challenge – you got a lot of paperwork. Oh boy there’s a lot of paperwork. But for somebody to start doing what I’m doing, before you get set on an idea, do a lot of research first, and I mean a lot of research. And also, research into grants and people that can help you and guide you along the way and that sort of thing.”
Hautamaki said that what will make her restaurant stand out is the ingredients.
“Everything is fresh. Everything is fresh made to order. So when you come in and you want that burger, that’s when it’s going to be put freshly on the grill for you and whatever you want on it,” said Hautamaki. “I’m not using frozen burgers. I’m not using frozen fries. I mean we got all kinds of fresh toppings and stuff. Every day there’s going to be a fresh pot of soup and a fresh pot of chili. Every day. So everything is going to be homemade. So we’ve tried out a few of my burger recipes with friends, family, and tenants, that sort of thing, and they all love the burgers I cook every day. So I was actually shocked that everyone enjoyed my everyday burgers more than all the creations I came up with. So that made it pretty easy.”
Hautamaki will be renovating the building at the end of March and plans to open up for customers the week after Easter if all goes well. The restaurant will be open from 11:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. and will even offer delivery.
“We got in-town delivery, because nobody delivers here in town. I mean we came home January last year is when we came, so we had to quarantine for the two weeks, and I was in shock because we had called for takeout, and they said, ‘Well you got to call the taxi stand.’ I was like, ‘What? Okay.’ But I mean if you’re in quarantine, or if you can’t get out, if you’re not able or you’re disabled or anything, you know what I mean? Or you’re just busy. But we’ll do the in-town delivery.”
Hautamaki has a number of options planned to entice local clients.
“Chili cheese dogs, jumbo chili cheese dogs, and sausage on a bun with sauerkraut. We have the kids’ meals, $5 kids meals every day. We’ll have seniors day every Wednesday. We’ll have loyalty cards as well. So if you buy nine meals, you’ll get the tenth one free. And every week or so we’re going to experiment as well with different burgers like Dorito burgers and that sort of thing. So we have a lot of ideas for different recipes, so we can do like daily specials or a weekly special, that sort of thing. Our prices are very reasonable considering that everything else is going up, but the prices are very reasonable, very reasonable. And come September what we’re going to do is in all the elementary schools here and in Codroy and Rose Blanche – like the local schools – so any kid 10 and under if it’s their birthday what we’ll do is we’ll drop off coupons at the schools, so if it’s the child’s birthday they can come in with their coupon and enjoy a free meal as a treat.”
Hautamaki says the future is wide open and unpredictable.
“You never know. I’ve been retired for five years and I’m bored,” laughed Hautamaki. “My current husband is going to be helping me and my nephew and his wife, they’re going to be on staff as well.”
While there will be no sit-down dining room available inside Rose’s Burger Bar, they do plan to remain open longer than other fast food places in town.
“I know none of the restaurants around here are open past nine, so one of the things we have planned is that say there’s a certain event going on, say like Come Home Year is coming So, then we’ll stay open later. Or if somebody is having a big get together or something and it’s going to be late, or any occasion or whatever, they can give us a call and say, ‘You know what? Can you stay open till 11 or 12?’, no problem and we can do that, cater to what the community needs.”