French cries: Roll N Roaster changes iconic fries, leaving locals fuming

Roll N Roaster in Sheepshead Bay.
Roll N Roaster in Sheepshead Bay.
Photo courtesy of Roll N Roaster

For frying out loud!

Roll N Roaster has introduced a new french fry to its menu, leaving its famous round “cottage” fries confined to Brooklynites’ memories despite outcry over the change.

The iconic roast beef joint on Emmons Avenue in Sheepshead Bay announced the change on social media Thursday morning, Feb. 17, promising that the new fries, which can be enjoyed plain or smothered in “cheez,” are “fun, crispier, and even more delicious.”

But fans of the 52-year-old sandwich institution are sounding the alarm at the imminent transition. Michael Quinn, owner of Feltman’s Hot Dogs, said he couldn’t imagine the restaurant discontinuing what he characterized as a signature item which he’s enjoyed since the 70s.

The family-operated fast food joint was first opened by Brooklyn native Buddy Lamonica in July, 1970. Since then, the southern Brooklyn staple has become known for its thin-sliced roast beef, ooey gooey cheese sauce and its beloved cottage fries.

“The cottage fries are just as much Roll N Roaster as the orange-ade and the freshly baked buns. It’s their identity,” said Quinn, who has started a petition calling for the original fries’ restoration. “I understand the pandemic, we had some challenges with supply chain issues, but I couldn’t imagine discontinuing my signature item.”

Numerous other users pled with Roll N Roaster to restore the old fries, which were even featured in a commercial for the eatery filmed back in 1980. In the Facebook comment section of Roll N Roaster’s announcement, locals lamented that the new fries were just “not the same.”

“What an extreme,” one user wrote. “From delicious to horrible. Can’t win them all.”

Quinn said that the change came about owing to supply chain issues with the fry supplier, Lamb Weston, who’d discontinued Roll N Roaster’s staple side dish; an employee at Roll N Roaster confirmed that, though Brooklyn Paper was unable to speak with a manager.

“Our original fries are not available due to production issues with the specific type of potato that was used to make them,” a rep for Roll N Roaster responded to peeved patrons on Facebook.

A Lamb Weston representative did not respond to a request for comment.

As of Monday morning, more than 200 people had signed Quinn’s petition to bring back the “cottage fries,” which were also ripped away from J.G. Melon, an Upper East Side eatery known for its burgers — and apparently also its round, crispy potatoes.

“Lamb Weston must start producing cottage fries!” the petition reads. “J.G. Melon and Roll n Roaster aren’t the same without them!”