Pizza isn’t taken lightly. It can make or break a friendship, destroy a marriage, and can be a cause for war between families. It’s the life source of all college kids, and the reason they survive four years of late-night studying. Life sources shouldn’t be taken lightly, so when I met with Chris Pantalone from Rocco’s Pizzeria in Vineyard Haven, I knew I was in for a treat — Chris takes pizza very seriously, but has a lot of fun with it at the same time.
Rocco’s kitchen team makes its own pizza dough daily, a good thing to note because most pizza restaurants don’t. I find this incredible, since it’s a huge part of the pizza-eating experience. Some pizzerias might excuse themselves from making their own crust because of space limitations or because they need such a large quantity that they couldn’t possibly keep up with making fresh dough. Thankfully, Rocco’s doesn’t have any of these limitations, and as a pizza lover, I appreciate that.
While he wouldn’t go into great detail about how or what goes into his dough-making process, Chris did give me plenty of opportunity to taste the pizza, and that’s all I needed. The crust is thin yet chewy, with a good flavor on its own. He also takes care with the sauce and the cheese, also integral parts of the pizza-making process. The sauce is simmered with herbs and spices, and the cheese is a blend that Chris keeps secret. The pizza world is full of delicious secrets, isn’t it?
Chris, along with his second-in-command Abraham, is in the kitchen all day, making not just pizzas but also pasta dinners for quick takeout. They range in price from $9.95 to $11.95; you can find penne with meatballs, baked lasagna, eggplant parmigiana, chicken Parmesan over pasta, three-cheese ravioli, and spaghetti and meatballs. Salads to accompany these are also available, and with a couple of each, you have dinner set for a family of four, or grab something just for yourself. Everything is housemade, including the salad dressings, and no shortcuts are taken; it’s like coming home to your Italian grandmother’s for dinner.
Rocco’s offers two pizza slice specials every day, and this is where they get creative. I’ve mentioned in past articles how much we love pizza made of corn and ham in the Dominican Republic. A dear friend found it on the specials board at Rocco’s and brought me a slice. Chris and his team have an undeniable creativity and a love for pizza, and that’s why I recommend you give Rocco’s Pizzeria a try the next time you crave pizza.
Follow them on Facebook for daily updates on the special slice of the day. If you want to get creative, suggest some new ideas to them; they’re open to everything and anything, within reason, of course.