It’d be hard to decide when it’s not a good time of year to go to the Rolling Pin Café in Westwood. I could see the prim little space with its print curtains cheering up a rainy April afternoon. But then the quaintly cozy interior—and seductive, pervading biscuit aroma—make it prime winter hibernation territory. My friend and I split the difference and went in early October: chilly, but nothing unmistakably unkind about the weather. No surprise, it seemed like just the right time to be there.
And that’s because the Rolling Pin Café is nothing if not comfortable. Beyond a motley collection of rolling pins hung on the wall, there’s no thoroughly forethought aesthetic. It’s just warm and homey, the way your living room feels after years of settling in—a throw rug here, a pillow there. The décor seems casually gathered, and it works.
One important thing to note—cozy here means small. Meaning if you have something like a stroller and don’t feel inclined to subject it to the elements, call ahead to make sure there’s room. The dining room is narrow, small tables topped with tufted carnations banking either wall and a main window with printed curtains looking out onto this quieter part of Broadway. A small counter sits in the front, with a little display case showing off chocolate chip scones the day we were there, and a closed kitchen behind the counter where our friendly waiter disappeared to get our lunch.
Speaking of, even more than the décor, the menu at Rolling Pin is unapologetically simple. It’s comfort food with zero pretense of modern gimmickry, not even a gesture at claiming the word “artisan.” The menu consists of soups, salads, sandwiches, specials, and basic combinations thereof. The specials do rotate weekly, and that rotation is dutifully reflected online.
You won’t need a lot of time to decide, just don’t forget the biscuits. If you come here without consuming a biscuit, you’ve wasted your time. The Rolling Pin Café’s biscuits are locally famous. They’re tender and softly crumbly with just a hint of sweetness dutifully welcoming a pat of salted butter. Without a biscuit, my friend’s tomato soup with its little salty spikes of Asiago cheese would have been good, but not soul-warming. Without a stick-to-your-ribs biscuit, my mixed green salad with meaty half walnuts and nuggets of briny feta would’ve left me with the sneaking suspicion I was on a diet. (Last time I checked, beach season was well over.)
We both went the half option (half sandwich or half salad, cup of soup,and an aforementioned heavenly biscuit for $9.25). My friend awarded high marks between bites of roast turkey with roasted garlic cheddar and cranberry mayo on sourdough. My half-salad was simple, but ample. They do more seasonal toppings and dressings, dried cranberries, candied pecans and more, but I was happy to let my simple, sumptuous biscuit dipped into my cup of creamy butternut squash soup (quietly) steal the show.
That’s sort of the point of the Rolling Pin Café, or so I thought as we paid $20 for lunch for two and excused ourselves down the narrow boulevard of chatting, lunching ladies. It’s not the place to bring foodie friends looking for something to Instagram. This is where you bring a real friend, a long-lost so-and-so, someone you want to have an audible conversation with over something warm, and a biscuit.
The Rolling Pin Café is located at 341 Broadway in Westwood. They’re open from 8 AM to 4 PM Monday through Saturday; 201-666-4660Click here to leave a comment