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The demise of the Toasted Roll

By Kerry McFaden, The Miami Student

Three students sat separately at three different tables in Pulley Diner, the most recent home of the Toasted Roll.

One, a senior, had eaten exactly one Toasted Roll in her time at Miami.

Another, a sophomore, remembered eating one at orientation, but never again after that.

At the next table over sat a first-year student who's never even heard of the Toasted Roll.

Miami is proud of its long-standing traditions. There's a whole page on the university website dedicated to the curse of the Seal, Upham Arch kisses, the ghosts of Peabody and going Greek.

And while the website didn't forget about the Toasted Rolls, many Miami students have.

Tuffy's Toasted Rolls are named after Myrion Timothy "Tuffy" Potter, who opened the eatery Tuffy's Place in 1929. He served Coke, coffee, hamburgers, ice cream and the famous Toasted Roll. Tuffy's was one of the most popular hangouts for Miami students until its closing in 1973. During the restaurant's 44-year stint, its warm, buttery, sugary rolls were one of the most popular menu items.

Now, decades after Tuffy's shut its doors, the sweet treat is being sold at Pulley Diner in Armstrong Student Center, but with much less success.

Mikayla Baker, a food service assistant at Armstrong, works five days a week, serving food to Miami students. During a shift at Pulley, she says she'll only see about three rolls cross the counter.

"I don't know why people don't eat them," Baker said. "They're amazing."

Stephen Gordon, administrator of the McGuffey Museum and Miami's de facto historian, agrees.

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"It's a killer," he said. "They're wonderful."

Gordon remembers Tuffy's from the years he spent studying at Miami before he graduated in 1975 as the place where he went on Coke dates - dates where two potential lovebirds would enjoy a cold soda.

"There were wooden benches covered with people's initials," said Gordon. "It was kinda dark in there. It wasn't exactly a nice place, but it was a fun place, a good college hangout."

He remembers an atmosphere of sadness on campus when Tuffy's closed. The rolls were still offered in Shriver Center and have since been moved a few times to different dining locations.

Gordon can't pinpoint a time when the rolls started to lose their popularity but knows that they sold many more than three a day when he was a student.

Though current students may not order them as much, Toasted Rolls are still enjoyed and celebrated by Miami's devout alumni.

The university's alumni networks across the country have held events dedicated to their old favorite snack, treating it as a nostalgic and long-lived tradition.

Alumni in Florida hosted a Tuffy's Toasted Roll Party for their fellow Miami graduates and friends last year. This past spring, during Alumni Weekend, there was a Toasted Roll Walk/Run 5K. An alumni chapter in western Ohio puts on an annual Tuffy's Toasted Roll brunch, complete with mimosas, and advertises it as a chance to "enjoy a taste of Miami nostalgia."

Chances are, Miami's future alumni won't relate to the tradition as much.