The best homegrown fast food in New York City can be found in Sheepshead Bay, no ifs, ands or burgers about it. The south Brooklyn neighborhood is home to Roll n Roaster, a roast beef (and so much more) restaurant that's been feeding the community and its visitors for over 40 years. The restaurant tried its hand at a Staten Island location and another on Third Avenue in the East Village—both have since closed—but the heart and soul of the operation was always the Emmons Avenue flagship, with its neon signage and castle-like exterior.

There are many, many things to love about this local legend, but here are seven compelling reasons why Roll n Roaster belongs on the list of iconic NYC restaurants.

(Nell Casey/Gothamist)

TIME WARP If you wanted to know what fast food joints looked like in the '70s, you'll find out here, where the decor has gone unchanged (minus a few tweaks) since the restaurant opened in the early part of the decade. The kitschy "mosaic" menus are delightful, the "antique"-looking chandeliers are definitely from your aunt's dining room and the whole vibe calls for roller skates or disco tracks.

THE COMMERCIAL As far as we can tell, Roll n Roaster has been running the same commercial since its early days, only adding a few updated photos at the end and changing the date every few years. Cheesy choreographed dancing, girls inexplicably wearing berets, a jingle that will get stuck in your head—it's the crown jewel of retro fast food advertising.


THE ROAST BEEF Though their menu includes fast food staples like burgers and chicken fingers, the thing to get here are the Roll N Roaster Beef sandwiches. Thinly sliced roast beef gets dipped into au jus and piled onto freshly baked bread—"OUR ROLLS GO STALE!!!!" the menu screams. This author likes hers rare and "double dipped gravy" (free!), but you can also add roasted onions for free or an extra side of gravy in a cup for 35 cents. And then there's the cheese...


CHEEZ As the menu heralds, "you can have cheez on anything you pleez" here, whether it's a slick on your roast beef or a ladle on your cottage fries. And make no mistake: this is primo fake cheese product straight from the pump. It's a must on the fries, a maybe on your sandwich (if you're a cheese monster like me) and an easy sell in a cup ($1) to be dispensed at will.


FREE PIZZA Rack up a bill over $35 and they'll hand you a free 12 inch pizza, no questions asked. Is it the world's best pizza? No. But it is hot and it is cheesy and it is free, so you will love it.


CHEAP BEER Alcohol at fast food joints is rare (for now) and they sweeten the pot even further here with dirt cheap bottles of beer and splits of wine. Bargain brewski lovers can score a Budweiser or Bud Light for just $2.75 or upgrade to imports of Heineken or Corona for $3.50. Wine drinkers are treated to generic "red" or "white" wine splits—half bottles—for just $3.50.

...but if you're feeling fancy, opt for a bottle of Moet Champagne for $59.95.

2901 Emmons Avenue, Sheepshead Bay, (718) 769-6000; website