Rolling Pin Restaurant

RollingPinby Steve Lancaster12/22/15
The cooks come in at 04:30 and start prep for breakfast and at 05:30 the servers and the manager come in to prep for opening at 06:00 when the first customers come in. The early customers are, for the most part, laborers and construction workers who need to be on the job site by 07:00. Some have just coffee and toast. Others eat a hearty breakfast: eggs, hash browns, sausage or bacon — some even have the John Wayne omelet of three eggs, cheese, hash browns, sausage, bacon, and enough jalapenos to take off the top of your head. It is an average day at the Rolling Pin…a landmark coffee shop/diner in Fayetteville for over 20 years.

The customers are an eclectic group; many are skilled workers, the old Democrat Party stalwarts, most of whom have been voting conservative since the 80s. There are lawyers, university professors, Baptist, Presbyterian and Methodist ministers, and assorted professionals mixed in with farmers who may or may not have finished high school. There are more Blacks today then there were 20 years ago, and more women. In the 1960s a restaurant like the Rolling Pin would be almost exclusively white male. Most of the women are professionals but a few drive trucks and have ready ability to compete in their chosen endeavors.

Back in the 70s, Arkansas absorbed a great many refugees from Vietnam, and after living in poor housing at Ft. Chaffee, moved elsewhere. Some stayed and sent their children to the University of Arkansas. Many of these Vietnamese are farmers and others are professionals. It is a little perplexing to hear a strong hill accent — turn and it’s coming from a native Arkansan of Vietnamese decent. There are also more Hispanics; the older are in the trades and the younger are professional and seldom work with their hands.

Arkansas law basically allows for open carry and at least 50% of the patrons are now openly armed; politeness and common courtesy is always the order of the day. During deer season the percentage might hit 80+%. Although there are a variety of opinions at the Rolling Pin, there are seldom harsh words. This gives lie to the misrepresentation that armed men and women are eventually going to resort to armed conflict. Twenty years ago there were always a few who had CCW. No one made a big fuss about carry and you could depend upon him or her to use discretion. Even with open carry, no one seems to be threatened. But woe to the socialist who wants to help himself from the cash register.

It is a different group than 20 years ago, yet strangely the same. People live their lives, marry, have children, divorce, and change jobs. Likely there are similar places in your town. The Rolling Pin is not the only one in Fayetteville. People gather at Lucy’s, Village Inn, and even some McDonalds. This is one of the best examples of the people peaceably assembling and one of the strengths of our culture. It is Americans doing what we do best. We meet together, talk about problems, solve them, and go on with our lives. We don’t need permission from Little Rock or DC to live our lives as we see fit.

Perhaps in your town there is a restaurant like the Rolling Pin. My guess there is. The readers on this site know exactly the place and have been going there for years. Treasure it. Embrace the atmosphere, friendship, and common life goals. If you haven’t been in for a while, do not worry…there is a pot of hot coffee and friends you may not have visited with for years. • (870 views)

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10 Responses to Rolling Pin Restaurant

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Nice essay, Steve. You’ve plated a nice slice of Americana…with a dollop of vanilla on top.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    No doubt some of those Hispanics are from the 1980 Mariel boat lift from Cuba, many of whom were housed in Arkansas (I believe in Fort Chaffee), contributing to Slick Willie’s defeat for re-election that year. I hadn’t known there were a lot of Vietnamese there, but groups from there got scattered around — there was a Wisconsin city (it may have been Wausau) that got a lot of Hmong (also known as Meos or Montagnards) tribesmen. (We bought our house from a Vietnamese family, though the parents had moved on to California. In 1995, that was still a land of opportunity.)

  3. Tom Riehl Tom Riehl says:

    Pat’s Cafe. That was it. Simple. Hot, good food. Strong coffee. But most importantly, as Steve so aptly described, it was our community writ small in the early morning. Located in the wealthiest suburb of Portland, Oregon, it had a clientele including slices of every strata of the community. Sadly, I didn’t participate in much wealth there, even though born and bred. I’d come in after graveyard shift at the local cement plant, where I worked just prior to getting the lucky #15 lottery number in the 1969 draft. Yes, oddly enough, the only industrial presence in this tony locale was a dirty, loud, but prosperous cement plant that paid off the local Chevy dealer to wash their cars daily.

    Fat City Cafe. That was the hangout for west-urban Portland city dwellers. In college I frequented it primarily because I could walk there from my apartment and the food was to die for; it was aptly named. If the time of day was fortuitous, there was an excellent local pub next door, Zoe’s. How does life get better? You get fed well, in the company of your esteemed local gentry, then later next door at the pub you can chat up either your hot Shakespeare teacher or your Science-Fiction-as-Literature teacher over some suds.

    Fast forward. Now I have the Country Cottage. I live about a mile from it. Located within what we lovingly refer to as the Raisins’ golf course, actually named the Country Club Estates golf course, it’s a course within a retirement community, so has a lot of elderly clientele. But people from all over our small city come here since it used to be located right at our I-5 interchange. In common with the other two cafes, you get good food, no BS, and the satisfying sense that you are at the center of the universe.

    Thanks for the stimulus, Steve.

  4. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Ours is a donut shop.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      My father used to frequent a small restaurant where the Powers that Be would get together and shoot the bull. He did that for years, although at times the meeting location would change, if only because businesses sometimes go out of business.

      This was before the internet. We do the meetings here now. 🙂 Or we pretend at them through the drive-thru espresso stands, getting our personal contact as we do with most things now, in Twitter-like small chunks (although I do know a few who do it well and are very friendly to all).

      Steve describes an ideal of America…and it’s a good one. Perhaps what he didn’t mention (and I did read this article, but not lately) is that a lot of the talk that goes on between real Americans isn’t blandly reduced by political correctness. It is understood between fellow guys that to be too sensitive is to be a wuss. You have to give and take. That’s the game. And that, to a large extent, is what binds us as brothers.

      • Steve Lancaster says:

        Indeed, swearing is an art form at the Pin, however, it is used most often as an adjective and not a noun; as in “that is the most preposterous load of c&&p I have ever heard”. But yes, there are those whose language would be rendered mute if limited to the niceties of PC culture. If your easily offended than your not going to like the Pin, and frankly we don’t give a damn.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Steve, you ignorant slut. No…just kidding. 😀

          Don’t get me wrong. I’m polite to customers. We even printed a homosexual newsletter a few years back. I doubt I’d print a Satan-worshipping one…or an atheist one. But guys have to stick together, including confused males. It’s what guys should do…with the intent to win them back.

          But it’s a blessed relief to get among friends and just shoot the crap, free of all PC filters. Goodness, if we recorded some of our sessions, you’d split your gut laughing. In fact, my younger brother and I have often thought about recording our own “closed captioning” or commentary comments when watching movies and putting them on YouTube. Oh…talk about politically incorrect. And funny.

          But then you have those times and those people where it’s in-between. They’re your friends but they’re deathly afraid of saying something in public that is the least PC. Me, I try to be respectful but am not afraid to call a spade a spade if it is done so factually and without undo rancor. But most people just bow to the PC gods and then get on Facebook and bitch about Obama…and wonder why we’re losing so many freedoms.

          • Steve Lancaster says:

            In many ways the America of the 1820-1850s might have been some of the best times for people to exercise their liberty. Social problems were solved, for the most part, by local action of churches and by groups of people who informally gather, solve a problem; say building a bridge, and move on. One of the glories or or country is that so many towns, and cities are named for ordinary people who happened to settle there.

            I am sure that somewhere in America is a Bradsville or Bradstown and we are better off for it. There are a whole list of Stevensvilles from Maryland to CA.

            Gunny Cox taught me that language can be harsh and caring at the same time. That was in the first 15 min at MCRDSD.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              MCRDSD = Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego? I had to look that one up.

              Men and women have become such pussies. Under the guise of “nice” we’ve become supersensitive drama queens, actively looking for offense. A man’s utopian paradise is 72 virgins, all sports packages on cable, unlimited beer, and throw in a couple more virgins while you’re at it.

              But that’s not the utopia we are heading for. We’re not even heading for the masculine dystopia of a militarized society as with, say, Nazi Germany. Although there is much talk of “social justice” and “equality” in today’s Progressive drive for perfection, those are impossible goals because they don’t take into account man’s moral nature…specifically that he is responsible for 90% of how his life turns out.

              But what one can shoot for, especially in this nanny-state female-oriented utopia, is emotional perfection. No one needs ever feel offended. This is 100% opposite to the Don Rickles Doctrine which says that unless you prick people once in a while and kick them off their pedestals, they can quite easily become little totalitarian monsters. And that’s exactly what we’re finding out. New York just passed a law whereby you can be fined $250,000 for not calling the sexually baffled (transgenders, etc.) by their preferred pronoun.

              Gunny Cox. Where are you now?

              • Timothy Lane says:

                The New York law perfectly epitomizes modern liberalism in all its lunacy. No longer is legal tolerance of the strange their demand; they now demand approval. It was obvious years ago that this was their real goal, and now they feel it’s safe to expose themselves. We can only hope that, as in Houston, this proves premature.

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