Southern Brooklyn

Roll-N-Roaster: Western Cheez Burger – The Bite


THE BITE: Roll n Roaster (2901 Emmons Avenue, just west of Nostrand Avenue) is well known for its roast beef sandwiches, late night crowds and its 1970s television commercials. But it also sells Cheez burgers, fries and “freshly squeezed orangeade,” all of which are prominently touted on their take-out bags. Talking with friends, it seems that most folks don’t stray far from the roast beef and fries when they hit the restaurant. Even the New York Times picked up on this, quoting a customer “You kind of have to get the roast beef,” he said. “They looked at you weird when you didn’t get it.”

We here at the Bite are used to being looked at weird.

So, today’s Bite brings you the “Western Cheez Burger.” It’s allegedly available rare, medium or well done and sells for $5.25. So what is a “Western cheez burger,” you ask? It’s a thin beef hamburger patty, topped with their ubiquitous cheese sauce, onion rings and barbecue sauce on one of RnR’s outstanding buns. How that makes it western I have no idea. And, don’t get me started on the cheese sauce – or “cheez sauce,” as they like to call it.

Frankly, I love that “cheez,” whatever it is. Is it real cheese or some sort of evil corporate concoction that is oddly addictive? Strangely, it’s nowhere to be found on RnR’s website menu. Some people claim that it is “Cheez Whiz” which is made by Kraft and available in your local supermarkets. Others claim it’s an invention of Roll n Roaster owner, Nick “Buddy” Lamonica. I really don’t care either way. The cheez sauce is one of my reasons for visiting RnR so frequently.

And it saves the Western burger. This thin burger patty arrives burned, dry and flavorless no matter how you order it, but is covered with the  cheez sauce that brings both flavor and much needed moisture. It is then topped with a very sweet Kansas City-style barbecue sauce and a couple of perfectly cooked, whole onion – not chopped – onion rings. While the actual burger patty itself is nothing special, the toppings and the bun make this a worthy meal.

Roll N Roaster, 2901 Emmons Avenue, just west of Nostrand Avenue, (718) 769-6000.

The Bite is Sheepshead Bites’ weekly column where we explore the foodstuffs of Sheepshead Bay. Each week we check out a different offering from one of the many restaurants, delis, food carts, bakeries, butchers, fishmongers  or grocers in our neighborhood. If it’s edible, we’ll take a bite.

Comment policy


  1. What turns me off about Roll N Roaster is that I know of no other establishment that charges 50 cents for a glass of tap water. I wonder if that is even legal.

  2. Much agreed — the patty is shot. Robert, you have to ask RnR for the roast beef western style. It has he benefit of these toppings with their staple quality roast beef. You won’t ever go back.

  3. Its only 35 cents for tap water and most grab and go type restaurants don’t even offer you tap water, they give you no choice but to buy a bottle so I’ll gladly take the 35 cent filtered NY water over paying 1.50 for a bottle of filtered NY water with the word dasani slapped on it.

  4. I’ve never been refused tap water anywhere and that includes fast food places like McDonald’s and Burger King. And It’s always free.

    Something else I find suspicious. Applebee’s shows no prices for their beverages on their menu except for wines. Instead of prices, they show calories.

  5. Isn’t it an old trick to disguise poorly prepared food with spicing and toppings? Might as well make an order of toppings on a bun and forgo the burger altogether.

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