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The Quarterly Canadian Restaurant Intelligence Report



Operators: Rob & Nicole McKim | Rogersville, New Brunswick

In the quaint town of Rogersville, New Brunswick, a culinary renaissance is unfolding within the walls of the town’s historic and charming brick post office and credit union: Alma Snackbar & Grocery, the gastronomic brainchild of a classically trained Italian Red Seal Chef, Robert McKim, and his entrepreneurial partner, Nicole McKim.

The husband-and-wife duo recently traded the pulsating rush of downtown Toronto for the Maritime charm of Rogersville in pursuit of a dream and the embrace of a more sustainable lifestyle. “I was kind of getting to my wit’s end,” Chef Rob admits, reflecting on the urban grind. “And I think it was just one day that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I knew I was done working for other people, and I knew we could make a run of it.” And so they did.

Rogersville is a small town with a “Schitt’s Creek vibe” and an Acadian beat, and Alma Snackbar & Grocery is a local oasis where the McKims are not just serving meals; they are crafting a narrative of taste, texture and community. Theirs is a pantry thoughtfully curated with the finest flours, like their signature Acadian loaf made with flour from the Speerville Flour Mill, the richest oils, the most aromatic marinades – a treasure trove for the discerning palate. The menu is a testament to their ethos, a seasonal offering of local and fine sourced ingredients, freshly baked breads, bronze die extruded pastas, and wood-fired pizzas.

In weaving this rich and ambitious tapestry, the partners’ relationship with Groupex has played a pivotal role. “Being able to source certain specialty products that are very readily available in Ontario… my GFS and Groupex representatives have been super helpful with that,” Rob explains. He appreciates more than just the products; it’s the network and support that Groupex offers that has become invaluable. “With Alma, I get to start everything from scratch,” Rob says, “and I am grateful to be able to pull on a network and on local knowledge. Groupex has helped us with their vast network and in helping me find hidden gems,” Rob states, underlining the importance of this partnership in sourcing high-quality ingredients that define the restaurant’s offerings.

Rob also notes that he was “spoiled in Ontario” by his local knowledge and the ease of sourcing specialty product, and that his Kelly McNeil, his rep at Groupex, has really helped with. “I don’t really have network here yet,” Rob shares. “There’s Brio which is a special Italian soda my GFS and Groupex reps have helped me access. I always find that the best way to learn is constantly asking questions and really doing the research and Kelly has been nothing but supportive and helpful from the very beginning—it’s kind of like a cool teaching moment.”

Amidst the success and the bustling kitchen, Rob’s focus remains steadfast on quality over quantity, relationships over transactions. “I’ve never really been driven by money. I’ve been driven by quality,” he asserts. It’s this ethos that has endeared Alma Snackbar & Grocery to its patrons, from the teenagers learning the subtle art of pasta making to the regulars who drive from Moncton and Miramichi to taste the difference fresh, local, and passionately crafted food can make.

The shift to Rogersville has been one of exploration and discovery, and with Groupex’s support, Alma Snackbar & Grocery has been able to maintain the high standard of quality the visionaries behind the business have set for themselves. This partnership has allowed them to focus on what truly matters: the food, the people, and the story they tell together. Whether it’s sourcing the finest ingredients or hosting a bustling private dining event, Alma Snackbar & Grocery’ is a culinary beacon offering artisanal Italian cuisine with the heart of a diner, inviting all to experience the joy of fresh, Maritime-style dining in a place where everyone is made to feel at home.

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The Quarterly Canadian Restaurant Intelligence Report