The Rolo's of early 2021 isn't exactly what the team had in mind when they started the process of opening a restaurant some three years ago, but this brand-new, takeout-only cafe, bakery, and provisions shop makes for an excellent temporary "Plan B" to get through what we all hope will be the last winter of Covid.

Outdoor tables are coming to Rolo's in April -- there's enough frontage, both curbside and on the sidewalk, to seat some 60 to 75 guests -- and the multiple dining areas inside are ready to welcome all comers whenever it's safe again to gather indoors. But even before all that happens this is an exciting addition to the neighborhood, perfect for grabbing lunch, dinner, coffee, dessert, a snack, or a few supplies for making a meal at home.

Rolo's is owned and operated by four friends who met while working at Gramercy Tavern and wanted to get out of the luxury dining game. There are three chefs in the mix, Howard Kalachnikoff, Rafiq Salim and Paul Wetzel, with Ben Howell overseeing the beverage program, which for now involves selling bottles and cans of wine, beers, booze, and, very soon, pre-made cocktails. The pastry chef, Kelly Mencin, is also from Gramercy Tavern, and another partner, Stephen Maharam, was a regular customer there.

Despite the high-end pedigree of the operation, the team's greatest ambition here is to run Rolo's as a friendly neighborhood restaurant. Two of the chefs live right near the place -- Salim's kids were jumping all over him during a lull between lunch and dinner on opening day -- and as Maharam says, "we want it to be just a regular local spot that twelve years from now people will still be like 'hey, yeah, let's get a burger at Rolo's'".

The Rolo's menu right now is anchored by a half dozen sandwiches, including a gloppy Grilled Porchetta number with rabe and melted provolone; a vegan Spicy Peanut with fried tofu and grilled cabbage (the recipe for the sauce on this is from Salim's Indonesian dad, and it's lively as hell); and a first-rate, appropriately sloppy Meatball Parm. Some very good housemade ciabatta holds everything together, and the wood burning oven at the open chef's station sees plenty of action getting it all into your hands.

Slices of Tomato ($4.50), Grape and Olive ($4.50) and Kale and Currant ($5) Focaccia

Focaccia "pizza" slices play a big role here too, chef Mencin's crisp-and-chewy, freshly baked bread is topped with things like tomato and garlic, kale and pecorino, or studded with olives, grapes, and rosemary. These are all outstanding, among the very best slices in town. There are also a number of prepacked, grab-and-go sides available, such as Grilled Cauliflower or a Lentil and Herb salad.

Dinner options for now are limited to a few substantial dishes -- think Wood-Fired Roasted Chicken, and Grilled Greens -- or complete-meal specials like this week's Grilled Porchetta platter with Vegetable Fried Rice, Kale Caesar Salad, and Fennel Gremolata. Expect the menu to change often, and expand as time goes on, especially once table service starts in the spring.

Basically, I could easily eat here several times a week without getting bored.

But even if all of the above didn't exist, and Rolo's only sold Mencin's pastries, the place would still be worth getting excited about. On opening day I tried three different desserts and all were delicious: a decadent Fudgy Brownie; a delightful Monster Cookie loaded with M&Ms, pretzels, peanuts, and chocolate chips; and a penomenal slab of Banana Bread Pudding, sticky with caramel. There are loaves of bread available too, and, on the savory side, an amazing Cheddar and Onion Gougere.

As far as groceries and provisions go, Rolo's seem like the perfect place to stop and get, say, some homemade pasta and tub of sauce for dinner, or a pint of uncased breakfast sausage and a dozen eggs for a nice weekend brunch at home. And definitely don't miss Mencin's pints of incredibly rich and smooth ice cream. Based on personal experience, I can say that a double scoop bowl of Chocolate Malt and Salted Caramel is a great way to end the day.

The restaurant, by the way, is named after one of the partner's dogs, Rolo.

Rolo's is located at 853 Onderdonk Avenue, at the corner of Cornelia Street, and is currently open Wednesday through Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (718-417-6567;