Rick Rosenfield, the original co-founder of California Pizza Kitchen, along with his wife Esther, announces the forthcoming opening of ROCA – an elevated fast-casual interpretation of Roman-style street food pizza “al taglio,” which translates to “by-the-cut.” Rick and Esther are joined by Chief Development Officer & Chief Operating Officer Steve Rich, Director of Operations Ohad Yosef, and Executive Pizza Chef Luigi Roditis.
Opening Friday, May 28, 2021 as a pop-up experience at The Americana at Brand in Glendale, the restaurant celebrates the Roman origin of its style of pizza (“RO”) with a California-inspired ethos (“CA”), which blends creativity and commitment to premium products and ingredients sourced locally and internationally: think fresh produce from the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market, specialty cheeses, etc.; but what really sets ROCA apart is its artisan dough, perfected down to a science after more than 70 years of research and development in Rome, and discovered by the Rosenfields a decade ago.
On opening weekend, guests will enjoy a limited menu of pizzas with outdoor patio dining and cuts or pans to-go, with delivery options available in the coming weeks exclusively via Caviar and DoorDash. The pop-up serves as a prelude to two ROCA brick-and-mortar locations opening in Fall 2021 on Los Angeles’ Westside, including Caruso’s Marina del Rey development, Waterside.
“I have always been a lover of pizza—whether it’s deep dish in my hometown, crispy New York-style, and California’s creative interpretations—but when I tried “al taglio” for the first time in Rome a decade ago, I knew it was something I wanted to bring to the states and elevate with California’s fresh ingredients,” says Rosenfield. “We’re really proud of our product and have dedicated years to its development down to each individual source: the organic flour dough, the California tomatoes, the specialty cheeses.”
The kitchen is led by Executive Pizza Chef Luigi Roditis, who like ROCA, has roots in both Rome and California, raised in Santa Monica with a Roman mother and Greek father. Known for his El Segundo restaurant Il Romanista, which earned acclaim from Food & Wine magazine as one of the top restaurants in the U.S. for Roman-style pizza, Roditis brings his culinary talents and heritage to the ROCA team. To create his Roman street style pizzas, Roditis uses organic, stone-milled flour from Central Milling Company in Utah. The dough is long cold fermented for up to 72 hours, creating an airy, puffy, soft rise in the dough, and when baked, achieves a notable crunch. Each pizza is baked in highly specialized Italian-made, humidity-controlled ovens, maintaining the freshness of seasonal toppings while ensuring a delightfully crisp crust. ROCA’s dough style and cooking process creates pizzas that uniquely travels well for takeout and delivery, an ideal product for the on-the-go consumer.
ROCA’s pizzas are available by-the-cut, with half- or full-pan options as well, allowing and encouraging guests to enjoy a sampling of several different specialty pizzas. In addition, ROCA features a grab-and-go section with pre-packaged salads and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as sandwiches made from their pizza dough. In addition to traditionally topped pizzas and vegan options, menu highlights include:
·Squash Blossom Pizza – shredded zucchini, squash blossom, di Stefano ricotta, extra virgin olive oil
·Calabrian Meatball – tomato sauce, housemade beef & turkey meatballs, mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano, Calabrian chili, basil
·BBQ Chicken – BBQ sauce, Mary’s organic chicken, red onion, di Stefano smoked mozzarella, cilantro
·Asparagus & Goat Cheese Pizza – asparagus puree, asparagus spears, Laura Chenel goat cheese, mozzarella, red onion, mint
·Potato & Porcini Mushroom – Yukon gold potatoes, mozzarella, porcini mushrooms, parsley
·Kale & Almond Salad – organic kale, avocado, spicy almond dressing, Parmigiano Reggiano, crushed almonds
·Italian Chopped Salad – organic romaine, salami, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, garbanzo beans, pepperoncini, basil, red wine vinaigrette