Frank Rocco

The Canyon ChronicleBy The Canyon Chronicle      September 18, 2020

Share Story on:

Frank Rocco
(l-r) Kristina Rocco-Levy and husband, Jed Levy, who own and operate Rocco’s Cucina in the Palisades; Chef Vidal Arzate, Frank and Marlene Rocco. Photo By Annemarire Donkin
Iconic Topangan Frank Rocco recently passed away after a long illness. The family will have a private service but welcomes all to tell your stories about him for a book of his life that they are preparing. Respond to Michelle Johnson (, or Kristine Sloan ( and we’ll pass them on. Frank and his wife, Marlene, opened Rocco’s in the Canyon that would become Topanga’s culinary institution in the Old Center in 1978, just in time to be washed out in the flood of 1980. They reopened, featuring Frank’s homemade pizza and pasta recipes. Marlene ran the place and daughter Eve waited tables. It was a real family venture. Frank and Marlene retired in 2004, selling out to their long-time chef Lupe Melendez, who continued sharing Frank’s recipes for many more years. In 2000, their daughter Kristina started Rocco’s Cucina in the Palisades. During the pandemic, Kristina has stepped up in the family tradition of service, creating meals for Topanga’s homebound seniors, often paid for by the extended Rocco family.  Anyone who ate at the old Rocco’s remembers the cozy atmosphere and pot-bellied stove, that other Frank, Old Blue Eye’s mellow tones piped in, the wonderful garlic balls, the perfect Caesar salad, and an occasional glimpse of Frank as he sometimes swept in from the kitchen. Thanks, Frank, for all the memories and for being such an important part of our canyon’s history.
The Canyon Chronicle

Share Story on:

September 18, 2020