While the café may be new, it’s not the first time 2 Grove Avenue has been a hub of activity in Rothesay. It was originally built in 1850 as a gardener’s cottage by D.D. Robertson as part of his estate. The property was formerly a store (part of which was also formerly a cobbler’s shop) owned by Ethel Starr that lent books and sold delicate hand- knits, toys, cards, preserves and baking throughout the 1950’s. When Mrs. Starr closed her store in 1959, the building took on new life as a treasured home for many families throughout the years. Ask someone from the area and they’re sure to know the name of a family who has lived here before – its roots and heritage run deep.
In 2017, the building was purchased by Jeff and Brittany Kitchen to bring their respective businesses, Jeff Kitchen Real Estate and Vantage Build, under one roof. As plans for the heritage renovation got underway, the Kitchens wanted a way to reconnect the property once again to the Town of Rothesay – their home, and an area with a growing, bustling community. The idea for a licensed café that would be a center for conversation and commune over high-quality drinks and food quickly took hold. They approached their longtime friend and hospitality-industry expert Jessica Reid to partner with them, and together they founded Garden Grove.
A love of people and place was paramount for the new venture. The trio made the warmth and history of the town a priority when planning the café, which opened in early 2019.
Garden Grove features New Brunswick brands including Moosehead, Yip Cider and Crosby’s Molasses. Small touches throughout the space – from shiplap walls dressed with work by New Brunswick artisans and a custom art piece showcasing Rothesay’s townscape, to the New Brunswick lupin in the café’s logo – all create strong community ties. Even the café’s name, Garden Grove, is a tribute to the original gardener’s cottage and its location on Grove Avenue, a main street in one of New Brunswick’s favourite small towns.
2 Grove Avenue is now fully restored, complete with extended parking, wheelchair accessibility and immaculate landscaping. It’s been reborn as a cornerstone for the Kitchens’ and Jessica Reid’s growing businesses, and a vibrant gathering place for friends, family and neighbours.