Nfld. & Labrador

Gander restaurant bets you want to know what a moose fart tastes like

Rosie's Restaurant in Gander calls itself the "Home of the Moose Fart" — a sweet treat with a secret recipe.

Rosie's calls itself the home of a sweet treat with a secret recipe

The 'moose fart' is the signature treat at Rosie's Restaurant in Gander. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

It's got a delicious, secret recipe and a name you can't ignore — that's the bet, anyway.

Rosie's Restaurant has gone all-in on its dessert specialty, even branding itself as the cookie's "home."

And here's their pitch to you: Want to try a moose fart?

"It would catch the attention of anybody," said Dwayne Abbott, who owns the business with his wife, Tonya. "When we have tourists come in to our restaurant, that's the first thing they says. 'My kids, they want to come.'"

Cook and co-owner Dwayne Abbott says their moose fart dessert outsells all their other creations 10 to one. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

It's a dessert ball made with graham cracker crumbs, chocolate chips and condensed milk. There are a few secret ingredients too, but you'll never know.

The cook is so committed to the secrecy, he won't even consider selling his cookie creation to other distributors like grocery stores — because that would force him to reveal his formula.

"Most of my recipes will probably go to my grave," Abbott said.

Abbott doesn't claim to have invented the treat — he didn't go "looking for patents," he said — but came up with a version of a recipe he'd heard about years ago, and when he and his partner bought Rosie's three years ago, they decided to make it a staple of their sales pitch.

Dwayne Abbott says he'll take the moose fart recipe to his grave. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

"That was one of my highlights. That was going to be our trademark, you know what I mean? 'Home of the moose fart,' hey? What better name?"

So far, so good. Abbott said the cookie outsells any other dessert on their shelves, about 10 to one.

Mounds of food 

For regulars, like Bert Peddle, Rosie's has another calling card: the piles and piles of food you'll find on your plate.

"Well, you have to dig through the french fries and the green peas in order to find your fish in underneath," Peddle says.

Freshly cooked french fries, smothered in gravy, cool inside the Rosie's Restaurant kitchen in Gander. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

Multiply that by the 400 to 600 people that Rosie's says it can serve on a busy day, and you start to get some big numbers.

"Through our summer months we go through 20,000 pounds of potatoes every month," said Tonya Abbott. "A farmer's field."

"Our supplier holds a place in the warehouse just for Rosie's inventory, which includes our potatoes."

Tonya Abbott owns Rosie's Restaurant with her partner, Dwayne. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

Twenty-four people work in the business, and Tonya Abbott says every one is a full-time worker.

"What's said in this kitchen is unbelievable," said Dwayne Abbott. "But at the end of they day, when they go home, they're like brothers and sisters. You can't argue with that."

Both Tonya and Dwayne work day to day in the restaurant; Dwayne cooks while Tonya minds the front of the house.

A cook cuts a pizza in the Rosie's Restaurant kitchen. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

"I'm not an office guy, I'm a blue-collared man," Dwayne said.

 A lot of their customers come from the communities surrounding Gander, and Dwayne Abbott said they've got one of the biggest restaurants in the region.

"Rosie's is known for its huge portions," he said. "And why not? Newfoundlanders are hearty people, and they love big plates."

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About the Author

Garrett Barry

Journalist

Garrett Barry is a CBC reporter based in Gander.

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