Rocco's Ristorante & Pizzeria Treats Diners to Original Family Recipes

By Jessica Mozo on April 28, 2011 at 2:44 pm EST

PHOTO CREDIT: Wes Aldridge

Rocco Biale comes from a long line of Italian restaurateurs‚ so it’s no surprise he opened his own restaurant – Rocco’s Ristorante & Pizzeria – in Walnut Creek in 1999.

“My family has been in the restaurant and bar business since the 1930s‚ and my dad and uncle both owned restaurants in San Francisco‚” Biale says. “After my dad and uncle passed away‚ I took a lifetime of knowledge and resources and decided to work for myself. It was in my blood.”

Biale’s father‚ Mario‚ immigrated to San Francisco from Italy as a child in 1922 accompanied by his parents‚ Giovanni and Virginia Biale.

“Most of the recipes we use originate back to my grandmother‚ especially the soups and pasta sauces‚” Biale says.

Now Biale is sharing his family heritage with his own children. Some of the restaurant’s best-selling menu items are named after his kids.

“The Dominator is a popular pizza that’s like a meat lovers‚ and it’s named for my son‚ Dominic‚” he says. “Dante’s Inferno is another house specialty named for my son‚ Dante.”

Dante’s Inferno is a pizza covered with sun-dried tomatoes‚ artichoke hearts‚ Kalamata olives‚ red onions‚ feta cheese‚ Italian garlic herb sauce and chili flakes.

Rocco’s also serves classic Italian pasta dishes‚ including Calamari Con Linguini Da Nina (named after Biale’s daughter‚ of course)‚ tortellini‚ spaghetti and fettuccine.

“Our lasagna is very popular‚” Biale adds.

The décor inside Rocco’s is a treat to the eyes as much as the food is a treat to the palate.

“A lot of the pieces on the walls I’ve picked up on trips to Italy or collector’s shows‚” Biale says. “Some pieces are one-of-a-kind.”

On Saturday nights‚ live music by local entertainers adds to the ambiance at Rocco’s. The restaurant added a full sports bar in 2006.

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