Since I have been on a quest to conquer this year’s 2015 to-do list (http://thequeenoff-ckingeverything.blogspot.com/2015/03/for-year-5-2015-2016-to-do-list.html), I have been focused on places I have yet to try rather than those that are a part of my everyday life. When I am reminded of such places I am always surprised I forgot to pass it along via a blog. I suppose I figure since I know it, you know it. But only now will that be true.
Forty-five years ago a man named Buddy Lamonica purchased a plot of land in the Sheepshead Bay area of Brooklyn. He took a chance that this desolate area would soon be home to his thriving restaurant. I can only imagine how his success exceeded his wildest dreams.
I don’t remember my first trip here but I can assume it was sometime within my first few years of life. I remember going there as a kid countless times. The things I do remember is the expansion that was done to create more seating and even a time when there was no indoor bathroom. I can’t verify these things I just feel as I grew so did Roll N Roaster. The only thing I remember crystal clear is the food. It is exactly the same as back then and that’s a good thing.
Over the last few years Roll N Roaster tried to spread the cheese by opening another restaurant in Manhattan and Staten Island. Both locations opened and have since closed but the original has stood the test of time. I guess there ain’t nothing like the real thing.
Recently I feel like I have been hearing/reading about it more as the foodie culture grows. It has apparently become a cult favorite. I was just happy to see a familiar face online. To be sure I could report accurately, I went back last weekend. I had my order all ready to go: cheese fries, chicken tenders, mozzarella sticks, cheeseburger, and because I spent over thirty dollars I got a complimentary pizza. It sounds worse than it is when you consider everyone I saw had a pizza on their tables too.
Even this guy couldn’t pass this food up:
This time it was even more fun because I was bringing my niece and nephew for the first time. They are die-hard loyalists to McDonald’s and when I said we were trying a new place (new to them) I was quizzed on how far away it was and had to repeat the menu over and over again. But once they walked in and got balloons they were insistently happy with my choice.
We sat in the back and took turns trying everything. My nephew was the most impressed and ate virtually the entire pizza on top of his food and mine. It was like we struck gold. As we were pulling out he exclaimed we will have to go here every time we go out to eat. All this praise and there were no toys accompanying their meals.
I know what that love is like. The cheese wiz they use makes everything better. I usually get the burger or chicken tenders but after seeing Anthony Bourdain’s video I am going to get the roast beef with cheese wiz next. It never occurred to me to do that, despite their promising “You can have cheez on anything you pleez”. The roast beef is good I can imagine this will only make it better.
Despite Lamonica’s success he has never forgotten to give back. According to their website:
“….Roll-n-Roaster has contributed over $300,000.00 alone to "Save the Children." "Feed the Children" has also been a beneficiary of contributions from Roll-n-Roaster. Bud Lamonica hates the idea of children going to bed hungry, so through his restaurants, he feeds his loyal customers and those less fortunate.”
Now it’s hard to resist a place that wants to make you happy and make the world a better place.
In fact the only complaint I have, and hear from others, is the parking. The lot next to the restaurant has only a few strangely arranged spots. They also seem to be in need of a drive-thru. But since I know that going in you just patiently wait and stalk someone who is about to leave. Getting a spot and getting inside is well worth the effort. Just hang in there.
I realize it’s still restaurant week in New York City, though this establishment isn’t part of the deal, I feel it’s still a good time to appreciate what I ate this week as it is special and delicious. There is no one doing what Roll N Roaster does. Even if someone tries it this will be always be a Brooklyn favorite.
Here’s to the next forty-five years!
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