Saturday, November 14, 2015

All Hail the Tuffy's Toasted Roll



WARNING: No bourbon content.

From time to time I like to write about local and regional food specialties. I was born and raised in Ohio and attended Miami University there from 1969 to 1973. Ohio has many favorite foods, some statewide, some very local. This is a very local one.

Tuffy's was a little basement sandwich shop and hangout. It was a private business but virtually on campus. I don't remember what the classes were, but I remember having two classes with a one-period break between them. I usually spent that period at Tuffy's with friends.

Tuffy's was on the northwest corner of Bishop and High. You know the type of place, a few steps down in a basement. A counter at one end with a flat top behind it, wooden tables and plain wooden booths. Very austere, no decor to speak of. The sort of place only a college student could love. I guess they sold sandwiches but mostly they sold toasted rolls and coffee. At least that is mostly what they sold to me.

So what is a toasted roll? Imagine a large cinnamon roll, like 4" x 6". Cut it lengthwise. Slather the two cut sides with butter and throw them on the flat top until they brown. Remove from heat, dust the two grilled sides with powdered sugar, close it up, and dust the top with powdered sugar. Eat with a fork.

You could also get ice cream sandwiched between the two grilled sides, which was a 'toasted roll a la mode,' or in the sublime wit of college students, a 'roasted mole on the commode.'

The student union also served toasted rolls in deference to Tuffy's. It still does.

I must always have sat in the same booth, at least that's what is indelibly etched in my memory, a view of the whole place from a very specific seat, the counter and griddle in front of me, the entrance to my left.

I have one permanent memory of Tuffy's, a scar on my right hand from where I brushed it against the brick wall one day on my way out. It has faded with time but it's not gone entirely.


7 comments:

Edward said...

This may warrant a trip to Ohio.

Randy said...

I didn't attend Miami but my wife did in the early 80s. I do know there is a dessert shop in the student union (now called the Shriver Center) called Tuffy's. I don't know if there is any real relationship between it and the original Tuffy's you frequented other than in name, but they do sell the iconic toasted rolls. And you are right. They are indeed tasty!

Anonymous said...

Comfort food. A similar menu item we used to get at the beach while in NJ were toasted waffles sandwiching Neapolitan ice cream and dusted with powdered white sugar.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you could create a maple syrup and bourbon glaze to go over top.

Drew said...

Love it! My old man is a Miami alum ('74) and always raves about how great these things were. I graduated in '11 and they had a Tuffy's kiosk in the student center that served up an iteration of the legendary Toasted Roll. I liked them but I never had the original so I can't speak to their authenticity but definitely worth a shot next time you're in OxVegas.

Pete Schwab said...

Iremember Tuffy's very well. It was in the basement of Tallawanda Hall which at the time was a girl's dorm, but in a former life had been an apartment building. Tuffy Potter was the owner and could often be found there working or just checking on things.I was in Oxford from 1961 to 1965. It was a good time to be there. Ara Parseghian had just left. John Pont was the new coach, to be replaced in two years by Bo Schembechler. The bourbons milk runned in from the state liquor tsore in College Corner, Ind. were J.W.Dant and J.T.S. Brown. Oxford was dry except for 3.2 beer, much of it Schoenling. The toasted rolls were great. I fried up a couple last week and they're still good!

Karen said...

I attended Miami at the same time as Pete. Do you remember the legendary waitress named Alice? They may have other places now where the Toasted Roll is sold, but none that I have tasted compare favorably with those from Tuffy's. Thanks for the memory. (I did locate a picture of Tuffy standing outside his place, leaning on a cane. Also a recipe for these Toasted Rolls which may or may not be original.)