Kaiser Rolls


Happiness, Content

Kaiser Rolls

You might be wondering why someone would write about Kaiser Rolls in a Senior Living community blog.

I was born in Charlottesville, but moved to New York City decades ago. Growing up, I developed a fondness for what New Yorkers call, “a buttered roll.” On any street corner or deli–almost anywhere in NYC, for that matter–they sell buttered rolls. The rolls are actually Kaiser Rolls, baked fresh every day. They are crispy on the outside with soft, chewy bread on the inside. They can be cut in half and smothered with salty butter. There is nothing like a buttered roll and a cup of coffee, regular, (meaning milk and sugar) in the morning or later in the day to keep you going. Around the city, you can see long lines of customers waiting for this delicious treat on nearly every block. And if you want to speak like a real New Yorker, this is what you say, “Coffee regular, buttered roll.”

In my travels across the country I always ask people if they know where I can get a buttered roll. Buttered roll? They all seem to think I am a little off. I try to explain, but people never quite get what I am asking for: something that is reliable, that satisfies both a physical and emotional need. New Yorkers–or aficionados of buttered rolls–get this.

Now why I am I talking about this? After nearly half a century, I am back in Charlottesville (Crozet, to be exact), building a Senior Living Community. The other day, I met a lady who lives in Old Trail Village, which is the development where I’m building my retirement community. She had been a nurse for many years in Long Island, New York. While talking, we got on the subject of buttered rolls, a topic near and dear to my stomach and mind. She told me about her father, a former New Yorker who moved to New Hampshire. She says her 83-year-old dad leads an active life, driving all around the “Granite” state. The one problem he has is that he has yet to find his beloved buttered rolls. She says he loves New Hampshire, but feels bereft without his New York-style buttered rolls.

I told her not to worry because he would soon lose interest in finding a buttered roll. Of course, I knew this probably wouldn’t happen. Clearly, the longing for buttered rolls lingers. She smiled with a weird expression that begged for a follow-up question. “So, how long has your father lived there?” Her reply: “20 years!”

You see, certain feelings, smells, and tastes remain with us, no matter where we move. That satisfying taste, the scent of fresh bread, the crunch of the crust, the salty butter, washed down with hot coffee, will always stay with me. Now that I am opening my own Senior Living Community, my first priority will be to have the chef make buttered rolls every day. Here at The Lodge at Old Trail, which is in the middle of a multi-generational community, I plan on passing this wonderful taste to all those around. Children who visit, the neighborhood grandchildren of my residents walking by after school for a visit–all will get a buttered roll to store in their stomachs and memory banks. And hopefully, when my friend’s father comes down for a visit from New Hampshire, he will feel at home with a simple cup of coffee and a buttered roll.


  1. Nancy Jones

    This is a really nice post. It leaves me with a good feeling about your new community….and a desire for a buttered roll!

  2. David J Stirrup, LUTCF

    I can totally identify with your “buttered roll blog”! I was born in
    Newark, NJ. Being of Italian heritage, my parents lived with my maternal
    grandparents for the first 10 years of their marriage. I have fond memories
    of my Mom and I taking the bus to downtown Newark for shopping excursions.
    We would always wind up at Woolworth’s. We’d sit at the counter, and I
    would always order the same thing….a buttered roll and a chocolate
    milkshake. Fifty years later, I can still see my Mom & I sitting there.

    I also recall a family vacation in Canada. I think it was during the
    Montreal World’s Fair in 1964. We stopped in at a “pseudo- deli”. My Mom
    ordered some “hard rolls”. The man behind the counter said, “Madam, we
    don’t serve hard rolls! All of our rolls are fresh!”. We still laugh about
    that today.

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