While staff at Rocco’s of Roc Beach spread white table clothes, packed carryout orders and served early diners last Thursday afternoon, Rockaway’s newest eatery celebrated another milestone.
On May 6, Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato joined the restaurant’s owners, crew and family members to officially cut the ribbon marking their opening.
Boasting a full menu of Italian culinary specialties as well coal-fired brick oven pizza and full bar, Rocco’s is located at 115-10 Rockaway Beach Boulevard.
“I am totally excited for them,” Amato told The Rockaway Times. “I am excited for them as a new business and as a family. You can feel the love.”
At the same time, she noted, “They have recognized this as a community, and a community to invest in. They are giving us the best they have to offer.”
Before the ribbon cutting, owners gave her a tour of the restaurant, kitchen and through the doors to their spacious, leaf-surrounded outdoor dining area.
Owners/family members Peter ‘Rocco’ Facinelli, Louis, Vincent P. and Chef Bruno were equally excited about their reception so far.
“We’re only open two weeks and everybody has been very welcoming,” said one of the owners.
“We want to give a special thanks to the community. They have been very receptive to everything we’re doing. Everything is made fresh right here. The pasta, the bread, everything.
“We also have an extensive beer and wine list, with some of the best wines from California, Italy, all over the world.”
After the ceremony Amato noted what their start meant to Rockaway’s bigger picture. Along with Rocco’s, she pointed to newly opening businesses, revitalized Rockaway Park mainstays, local refurbishing and cleanups, and the MTA’s bid to replace closed shops adjacent to the subway station.
“This,” she said, nodding towards the new restaurant’s pristine glass front and “Welcome to the Family” sign, “is really going to up the game for the Beach 116th Street area.”
Rocco’s owners also acknowledged the help of the assemblywoman’s office in dealing with a myriad hurdles on their way to opening, including city regulations and even utility difficulties. Giving a nod to the assistance of Danny Randell, who attended with fellow Amato staffer Maura Avington, they exclaimed, “He’s a rock-star!”
As the gathering broke up and Rocco’s staff and owners went back to work, resident Kathleen Morris stopped to peek in.
“It’s very exciting to have something brand new, and they’re a very welcoming team of hardworking people.”
She mentioned she and her husband Brian have sampled several of their dishes since opening.
“So,” she was asked, “how was the food?”
“Beyond words!” she said.
Photo by Dan Guarino.
By Dan Guarino
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