By Sam Prickett
After two years of online sales, the Homewood-based bakery Rolls finally has a brick-and-mortar storefront.
Katie Cornutt had started making cinnamon rolls, based on her grandmother’s “old-timey” recipe, for her children. But the recipe made so many cinnamon rolls that she started sharing them with her neighbors. One neighbor suggested she start selling the rolls, and in March 2019, Cornutt launched an Instagram account for her nascent business.
“From there it was kind of word-of-mouth,” she said.
The business quickly expanded.
“I was in my home, baking, and it just outgrew that,” Cornutt said, “so I rented a commercial kitchen in Hoover and hired some employees. But I was always thinking about a storefront.”
In November, she decided to take a leap of faith and signed a lease for a storefront on Homewood’s Crescent Avenue. It’s an old house, fully renovated, that Rolls shares with the Southern-style eatery Meals by Misty.
“She’s got a portion of the space, and she does like casserole things, so the businesses kind of complement one another,” Cornutt said.
The new space will carry all the varieties of rolls for which Cornutt is known, including strawberry, blueberry, orange, funfetti and “OG” cinnamon rolls.
The menu also features some savory options, which Cornutt attributes to the recipe’s “extremely versatile” dough. Take, for instance, the BBQ Conecuh Cheddar Rolls.
“It is a little crazy, right?” Cornutt laughed. “That was my first savory and was just something that I had wanted to dip into. I love Conecuh and my kids love Conecuh, and that’s just something I had on hand. We used a homemade barbecue sauce that my friend’s dad makes, and it just worked together!”
“That’s another really important thing about Rolls,” she adds. “We incorporate everything locally sourced and locally made, with no preservatives whatsoever. Everything is homemade from scratch.”
That ethos gives Cornutt plenty of room to try new recipes.
“That’s my favorite part of Rolls, experimenting,” she said. Take, for instance, the Friday Funzie, a just-launched weekly dessert special that’s a bit different. The first Friday Funzie, for example, was a made-from-scratch chocolate cookie “with an ooey gooey center,” served with vanilla ice cream. New Friday Funzies will be announced each Thursday and will be available for purchase on Fridays and Saturdays.
“I like to be a little creative and do something different, that’s not necessarily all tied into rolls,” Cornutt said. “Honestly, a lot of times it’s these things that I just think of in the middle of the night, and I like to play with it.”
A Place to Create
The new storefront opened March 17, almost exactly two years after Cornutt launched Rolls as an online-only shop. She hopes the brand will continue to expand, though she plans to keep things close to home.
“I want to stay in Homewood,” she said. “If we outgrow this space, the primary location will definitely always be in Homewood, because that’s my home and my community. I would love to have a second location in Mountain Brook and Vestavia.” Her ultimate “pipe dream,” she said, is to open a location along Highway 30A in the Florida panhandle.
“But that’s a long, long-term goal,” she laughs.
For now, though, she’s focused on the new location, which boasts outdoor seating that invites people to “linger” and enjoy the food.
“I feel like food brings joy, and food can bring all kinds of different good emotions,” she said. “I want (the new storefront) to be comfortable and happy. It’s all about community. A lot of the people that come in are people that I have known, or know, or know of. There’s a sense of community there that’s really important.”
For more information – and regular updates on new or limited-time menu items – visit Rolls’ Instagram account, see @rolls.homewood, or its online storefront at rolls-homewood.myshopify.com. The brick-and-mortar store is at 2900 Crescent Avenue in Homewood.