New Life For An Old Building: Morrissey’s Corner Becomes The Battery Cafe

A new cafe will open at the foot of Signal Hill this June

When Troy O’Shea was invited to a banquet for East Coast Trail hikers, he had no idea how it would change the course of his professional life. He is a plumber and personal trainer by trade back home in Australia, but his wife is in the oil and gas field, and a transfer for her meant a new life for both of them here in St. John’s.

His home town of Melbourne is famous for its coffee culture, and he had long dreamt of going into the business. Upon arriving here, he got a job at Rocket to learn the art and commerce of a good cup, taking any vacation as an opportunity to sample coffee roasteries in different Canadian cities.

Enter Rob Salsman, recently retired from a successful career as a project manager for the corporate IT world. Like many retirees once the glow of new freedom wore off, he began looking for something fulfilling to dedicate his time to.

He had seen the old Morrissey’s  Corner storefront empty at the intersection of Signal Hill, Battery Road, Temperance Street, Quidi Vidi Road, and Duckworth Street, and the improbability of the building occupying this many corners intrigued him, as did its proximity to Signal Hill and The Battery; popular walking routes for locals and tourists alike. He didn’t know what yet, but he knew he wanted to put a business in the 130 year old building.

Meeting at the banquet, the duo soon realized they had a future in business together. Rob as the owner and project planner, Troy as the shop’s manager, handling the coffee matters and day to day operations. They had no luck tracking down the owner of the building through traditional channels, so they went to visit Blue Moon Pottery, who had an advertisement hanging on the building’s main window.

Isabella St. John of Blue Moon knew the owner’s name was Tony and he lived somewhere on Signal Hill. The two then went door to door till they found the right house. Tony liked the coffee shop idea, and in January the renovations began. The cafe will open early June.

Besides the normal chores of starting any business, the two have the enjoyable tasks of finding local artists and photographers to grace their walls, bands for occasional shows, and meeting  many interested walkers and neighbours who pass by and are curious about what is happening with the long vacant location.

Impressed by “the raw beauty of Newfoundland,” Troy is excited about contributing something positive to his new community. Rob sees some of their services, such as the takeout window option, catering to hikers and dog walkers, as a needed addition to the neighbourhood.

The focus will be on high-end coffee, gourmet energy snacks, and a creative environment . Detour roastery out of Hamilton ,Ontario will supply the beans. Those who enjoyed Post cafe will be familiar with their products. Both men are thrilled to be doing business in the presence of so much natural beauty and so many fine people from all over the province and globe.

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  • I just finished walking the whole trail and my young son was thirsty and I went to get a bottle of water and a can of pop for $8.00-thought I was at a blue jays game–for the love of jumpins

  • Food at Battery Café might be good but I can’t say for sure because the service leaves a lot to be desired. Was THE only person in the cafe. There were four people behind the counter and not one person spoke to me or attempted to take my order for several minutes before I just walked out.

  • Looking forward to dropping by for coffee. Does anyone know when the cafe will open? I pass by regularly and continue to see the closed sign.

  • Good grief, can’t people just say Congrats and Good Luck anymore????
    Congrats and Good Luck – can’t wait to drop by for lunch!

  • I agree about the Auntie Crae coffee.
    I had it shipped, carted in hand luggage and muled by friends visiting me in New Brunswick.
    I am glad to hear it is now Trinity.
    Will explore when I travel to NL this summer.
    Sally from St. john’s

  • Should use Trinity Coffee which is local. If you do your homework, you will find that the owner Ian White has purchased his machinery from the old Auntie Crae’s business that was the most sought after coffee in St. John’s for many, many years !!!

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