Labor Day I celebrated the end of the summer by driving out to Roll n Roaster in Sheepshead Bay with Kim. It's a very hard place to get to without a car, so I was lucky that Kim was curious enough about my enthusiasm for getting out there to offer to drive. Or agree to drive.
This is the front of the restaurant, not the best picture as it was taken as we were driving past.
So what's Roll n Roaster and was I so intent on getting out to it? I suggest watching this old ad of theirs (which they still run on TV), I might not need to explain anything else about it once you've seen it:
Ok, I'll still explain myself: Roll n Roaster is a one of a kind fast food roast beef place that opened 45 years ago and does not seem to have changed at all since it opened its doors, or at least since they filmed that commercial. The decor today? Just like the commercial. The uniforms? Just like the commercial. The food? Just like the video. When I first moved to the city there was a Roll n Roaster across the street from Webster Hall that I ate at a couple of times, it definitely felt like the branch of a chain from yesteryear, I didn't realize it was the lone additional outpost of an absolute classic. A year or two ago I got a bug in my brain about heading out to the original Roll n Roaster and, well, like I was telling you, that dream came true on Labor Day.
We approached from the rear. Check out that signage there by the bike rack: ride your bike to Roll n Roaster and they'll give you a free bottle of water! And they've got an air pump for filling your tires, what a class act place.
And here we have the main dining room...stepping in you might experience some very strong flashbacks to getting fast food in the 80's feelings, if that's a thing you ever did. There's even something about the smell in there that's kind of vintage (that's not a jab at the sanitation level at all, everything in there is A+), like maybe they fry in a kind of oil that no one uses anymore or something. And dig these amazing beams and chandeliers! It's too good!
Another look at the menu board. Look closely, you can order a bottle of champagne for your meal, if you'd like.
They cook everything to order and they tell you you're going to have to wait, but really the wait wasn't so bad. Some things I observed while waiting:
A wall of fame, with some repetition.
At last, our haul:
Note the dill chip-cut fries and fried chicken, because I forgot to take any more pictures of them. The fries aren't spectacular, but whatever. The chicken, however, was excellently crisp and tasty. Could stand on its own merits, Roll n Roaster could drop the roast beef sandwiches and be a chicken place if they wanted to...but...
Holy Smokes this Roast Beef!
This is some perfection right here. Well-gravied and topped with sautéed onions (if you ask for them), Kim accurately described it as more of a French dip on a roll than anything. And it's delicious.
You've also got the option of having it slathered with melted cheese, but I opted for a cup of cheese on the side, so I could cheese everything as I pleased. I'd say your Roll n Roaster roast beef experience wouldn't be incomplete without the cheese, but it certainly doesn't hurt either. A much bigger star at our table: Their house buffalo sauce which, hey, is probably just Franks with butter mixed in, but the butter is in there! (I know because our cup needed a little finishing-off mixing).
Meal complete. At the time I felt beyond satisfied and disinclined from finishing off the last piece of chicken, about an hour later I was thinking "Hmmm, maybe I should've had a second sandwich?" I think that's the Roll n Roaster greatness right there, no matter how much you eat, a little while later you'll be wishing you had had more. Strongest possible recommendation for this place, that's why I gave this post the "Best Restaurants in New York" clickbait title...you'll see me using that from now on when I A) Am trying hard to get you to read my blog and B) Have a "Drop whatever you're doing and GO!" recommendation to make.
Until next time, Roll n Roaster girl!