By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
Rick and Esther Rosenfield are getting ready to introduce ROCA to Pacific Palisades, offering an elevated interpretation of Roman-style street food pizza “al taglio,” which means “by the cut.”
The restaurant, currently open as a pop-up at Caruso’s Americana in Glendale, has announced a brick-and-mortar location set to open in 2022 in Palisades Village as well as Waterside at Marina del Rey.
“I am really, really excited about going to Palisades Village,” Rick said to the Palisadian-Post. “The Village has been a part of my life for a long time … my daughters approve of Palisades Village.”
Co-founder and CEO, Rick brings years of expertise with him, including his 25-year leadership of California Pizza Kitchen. CPK was launched in 1985 after Rosenfield and his business partner, Larry Flax, noticed a trend of upscale pizza in high-end restaurants and wanted to provide an affordable alternative.
Today, the restaurant is sprawled across the United States, encompassing more than 250 locations.
CPK was eventually sold to a private equity firm in 2011—now Rick and Esther are looking to fill another void and introduce a new style of pizza to the Westside.
“It was right after that that my wife and I took a trip to Italy, and we went to Rome and I discovered this style of pizza, pizza ‘al taglio,’” Rick said to the Post. “What intrigued me about it is that this Roman pizza is being rediscovered by artisan bakers … it’s been over 70 years that this process of this long fermented, cold refrigerated dough has evolved.
“It hit me as an epiphany, the right pizza to do … is this Roman-style pizza. I decided this is what I wanted to do, I wanted to get back in the pizza business. I wanted to bring this style of pizza because there are actually very few places in America that are doing it well.”
Thus, ROCA was born. The restaurant celebrates and commemorates its Roman origins with “RO” and its California-inspired ethos with “CA.”
ROCA’s pizza dough is cold fermented for 48 to 72 hours, which creates a puffy rise in the dough and when baked, a notable crunch. During the fermentation process, the enzymes in the wheat flour break down the gluten proteins, making it easier to digest, Rick said.
ROCA’s pizzas will be available by-the-cut, with half- or full-pan options. Current menu highlights include the Soppressata and Burrata, Margherita, and Potato and Porcini pizza.
Rick said ROCA’s COO and Head of Development Steve Rich is a Palisadian. He settled in shortly after moving from Detroit 15 years ago and has been a resident since. The two chose the Palisades due to its greater sense of community.
Rick said construction for the restaurant is slated to begin in the fall and will open as early as it can next year. He said the team is eyeing a January or February 2022 opening.
As the Post went to print, information about the exact location within Palisades Village ROCA will open in was not available.
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