ROFL stands for laughter, love joy, happiness, according to the menu and messages on its quirky walls. The product of two Russian partners, who opened a similar spot in Moscow last April and the one on Melrose shortly after, the big, breezing cafe is part coffee bar (espressos, mochas, Chai lattes, cappuccinos etc), part pizzas and part big bites. The combinations work well at this location where hungry bargain/vintage clothing shoppers are always looking for a place to eat and hang. It also a good place to hook-up your laptop or other electronic device since WiFi is free and there's plenty of tables to spread out on.
They don’t have a liquor license yet, partner Alex Vasilkin tells us maybe in six months, and they don’t allow you to byo wine or booze, so if you need a drink this isn’t the place. But the food’s a bit quirky but very creative, not exceptional, but downright tasty.
A spicy chicken soup proved quite fiery, a Caesar salad sans anchovies was actually amazingly good, but the fried chicken sandwich maybe not so much (although Richard didn’t complain). We tried for a piece of the cheese cake on the menu but they were out of it and we couldn’t quite understand the excuse, they were also out of pea soup for a similar reason. The waiter did explain that everything Chef Govind Armstrong (Table 8, Post and Beam) created was made fresh from locally sourced ingredients.
Prices are moderate with soups at $6, salads $12, pizzas $12 to $17 and quite creative (butternut squash with caramelized butternut squash and apple puree, goat cheese, applewood smoked back and sage). There’s also one with pineapple and pancetta, another with mushrooms and gorgonzola cheese.
There’s a selection of sandwiches from the aforementioned friend chicken one to tuna melts, a short rib grilled cheese and burgers. For heartier appetites the menu lists “BIG BITES”—herb roasted natural chicken, pan roasted salmon and pastrami spiced Kurobuta pork ribs, vegetables are a la carte. Chef Armstrong doesn't own the cafe but according to Vasilkin he has complete autonomy with the menus.
ROFL is working on its web site, until then you can find them on Facebook, or head over to 7661 Melrose Avenue, or call 323-951-1536.