Thursday, March 4, 2010

Roly Poly!

1901 Richardson Rd.
Arnold, Missouri

Sometimes the mood calls for something lighter than a steak. Sometimes a simple sandwich and maybe some soup is all that is required. Sure we could go to Subway again, but what other options are there?
We found one, actually Adam did. He’s a student at ITT Tech in Arnold and it turns out that not far from his campus sits a little place called Roly Poly. He brought home a menu a while back. (more on this later) Angel and he even had lunch there a while back.
Roly Poly is a small chain, only 120 franchises spread out over most of the U.S. There’s three in Maryland, three in Missouri and one in Kentucky, so there may not be a convenient location near you. However, if you happen to be near one, go ahead and give them a try.
I assume the ‘Roly’ in Roly Poly comes from the fact that these are not simply deli meat and produce between two slabs of bread. They are more like wraps. Ingredients are laid on the wrap and are rolled up with it. Many of the roly’s are then grilled. You can get either a six or twelve inch roly. The soups vary four or five available at a time either in eight or sixteen ounce.
The Place:
I know, I know, after I lambasted Arnold just last week, why on earth go back this week? Well, because that menu I spoke of had been taunting me. Someone put it on the table beside my awesome recliner and this caused me to pick it up and read over during commercials. This was no small task, mind you. (more on this later).
It was in a strip mall, of course, clean, bright and unassuming. The front was small holding ten or so small tables, a small flat screen TV offered Olympic Curling. The place was staffed by exactly two young human females who seemed quite content with their responsibilities. There was no one else there so we took our time and read through the overhead menu, which was quite a bit easier to read than the one at home. (more on this later)
The food:
I pretty much knew what I wanted already. A fajita roly (which I deliberately pronounced FA-ji-tah (instead of fa-HE-tah) , because I like acting like a complete dork in front of my family, especially around strangers. They think I’m hilarious.
I asked about available soups and the counter girl pointed to a whiteboard directly in front of my face with the available soups listed in bright colors. I saw the irresistible, Chili. So I ordered a six inch roly and an eight ounce chili. (more on this less-than wise-choice later)
Angel called for an Italian Classic, twelve inch (so she could have some later) and the seafood bisque. Adam designed his own roly with turkey, ham, bacon, pepper jack cheese and cashews. He included potato soup. (more on this later).
We were handed our tall paper cups and directed toward the beverage dispensing machines. There was tea, Adam sniffed it and dismissed it. I went ahead and filled up on it as my expectations for tea in this universe have been severely diminished. They filled up with some sort of soda pop.
It wasn’t long before our soups were brought out. Angel’s first. She let me dip my virgin spoon into it and take a taste.* It was surprisingly good, cheesy, yet definitely sea-foody. It was rich, as it should be, so if you ever ask for it just get the small portion, that’ll be plenty.
My chili came, it too was cheesy. If I must say maybe a bit too cheesy. Adam dived into his soup and then abruptly stopped about three quarters into it. He said he just remembered that there are onions/scallions in potato soup. Duh.
The food was served in baskets, with butcher paper, (take note Hot Dog place!) The ingredients in the roly’s were fresh and nicely proportioned. My cheese was melty, the peppers not too strong, the texture, excellent. We were all quite satisfied with our roly’s and for the most part our soups.
My mistake was in ordering two similar things. The fajita was spiced and cheeesed similar to the chili. If I were allowed a do-over I would have gone with something more subtle than the fajita, like the roly Adam designed, (without the cashews) to contrast the chili. As it was I had a little too much of spicy, cheesy rich southwestern taste and the tea was too bland to cut it much. I don’t fault Roly Poly for this though, they have lot of options, and I should have thought it through. If you plan to go, check out their menu first. There’s scores of possible options. And if you happen to see one of their printed, paper menus, throw it away. Not that it’s inaccurate or misleading, just nearly impossible to read if you don’t have a magnifying glass. Seriously, the print on the thing is in about a four point font, a single ant could completely block out an entire word or two. In order to read it in the comfort of my awesome recliner I had to take off my glasses, cover one eye then hold the menu about a quarter inch from my face. It made my head hurt.
But the food is worth it; tons of options, well prepared, fresh ingredients.
This meal only cost us about twenty five bucks, putting it level with burger and sandwich chains. The food was really good, the place offers more ingredient options than Subway and the resulting roly is easy to eat. The soups are often unique, rivaling those at St. Louis Bread company.(which is referred to here in the St. Louis area as merely ‘The Bread Company’).
The biggest negative I can think of is that there are not more locations. I don’t like going to Arnold and Chesterfield is simply out of the question. If there was one closer I would definitely patronize it more often, for lunches or a light weekend dinner. I’ll give this place a ninety three. If they would back off on the amount of cheese in the chili a bit, and freshen their tea more often it could easily score higher. Check them out!

* Angel positively hates sharing human germs via spoons and cups. If I were to have stuck an unclean spoon into her soup she would probably tossed the bowl at me. She will not share a glass with a human. Yet somehow having a dog take a carrot out of her mouth or give her a good face licking doesn’t seem to rise to the same level of disgust.

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