The Rolling Pin
The Rolling Pin has taken over the former Espresso Room cafe (that didn't even last a year) - maybe a '50s themed bakery will draw more of a crowd. It looks like a straight buyout, as many of the same equipment and fine features are still here.
The slate grey counter top pops against cherry-red stools, wingbacks and chairs, and the Italian cafe details have been switched out for 1950s Betty Boop, Lucy and Desi Arnaz paraphernalia, and vintage baking tools.
Sounds cute, right? Very. I think they are hoping the diner-like spirit of pie slices and donuts against red and white checked fabric and Buddy Holly music will attract those looking for some sweet nostalgia.
Not sure they had maple bacon donuts, complete with maple injection tubes, back in those days (mini donuts $2.95, glazed and cake donuts $2.25, 12 for $34) but no matter - they are here now, probably to stay.
The macarons (single $2.25, six for $13) are a simple selection of vanilla, pistachio, mocha, hazelnut, and mint amongst a few others, a smooth meringue shape and piped with sweet buttercream, and they've got cookies ($1.90), muffins ($2.25), bars and brownies ($3.40 each) for those who want a small bite.
Towering cakes (like the ones I dreamed about as a child while watching Pollyanna) sat in the glass counter waiting to be released as a slice ($6.75) or a whole cake ($30). Flavours include red velvet, carrot and brown sugar caramel. Many of the same types are also available as cupcakes and come as mini versions for $1.75 ($10 for six, $20 for 12), or full size for $3 ($17 for six, $30 for 12).
Cakes, cupcakes and donuts are all having their moment, but what really caught my eye during my visit to The Rolling Pin were the pies.
When it comes to coconut cream pie, I get specific: I like the custard flecked with real coconut, prefer pain au sucre to graham cracker crust, and like meringue over whipped cream. The Rolling Pin's pie slice ($5.50) was graham, with flecked custard, and whipped topping - not the worst, but not the best I've tasted.
A whole 9" pie will run you $22, and they have many other flavours you can order ahead, like pecan, Key Lime, and seasonal fruit.
I hope The Rolling Pin is a better fit at this Lawrence location, and people respond to the vintage vibe, as the staff, the treats - the whole shebang - is rather charming.
Photos by Jesse Milns.