(l-r) Kristina Rocco-Levy and husband, Jed Levy, who own and operate Rocco‚Äôs 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Kristine Sloan (email@example.com) and we‚Äôll pass them on.
Frank and his wife, Marlene, opened Rocco‚Äôs in the Canyon that would become Topanga‚Äôs culinary institution in the Old Center in 1978, just in time to be washed out in the flood of 1980. They reopened, featuring Frank‚Äôs 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‚Äôs recipes for many more years.
In 2000, their daughter Kristina started Rocco‚Äôs Cucina in the Palisades. During the pandemic, Kristina has stepped up in the family tradition of service, creating meals for Topanga‚Äôs homebound seniors, often paid for by the extended Rocco family.¬†
Anyone who ate at the old Rocco‚Äôs remembers the cozy atmosphere and pot-bellied stove, that other Frank, Old Blue Eye‚Äôs 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‚Äôs history.