By Nikki Hillman
You’ll know Rocco’s is passionate about supporting local as soon as you enter the store. The seating area is dominated by two, long wooden tables, built by a company directly across the street, who salvaged fallen trees from within the area. These tables foster traditional Italian family dining and, if you’ve visited Italy, you will be familiar with this concept – and Rocco’s is definitely about family.
The store is managed by Andy and Jana Mollica (a retired Air Canada employee) and their trusted employee, general manager and chef, Pat Toynbee. Stop by on a weekday afternoon and you could be entertained by their adorable children as they munch on pepperoni sticks from behind the deli glass.
Rocco’s opened in August of 2015 and has quickly become the go-to place for coffee, meats, cheeses and treats. Most of the pastries are made in store; try a café misto and a house-made apple fritter for a lovely afternoon snack. The coffee is out of this world, hand crafted on a classic Victoria Arduino espresso machine, producing the perfect crema.
Andy himself has enjoyed a long history within the BC food industry as a caterer, and most notably as the owner of Anducci’s in Coquitlam. But Andy admits that he has been searching for his niche in the food market and has finally found his passion with Rocco’s. There are so many delicious options in the small store; in-house prepared pasta dishes, pastries, muffins and soups along with dry goods imported from Italy. Their pizza dough is prepared with flour sourced from the Prairies and they are careful to support local bakeries for their breads, rolls and baguettes.
Of course, given the owner’s background, Rocco’s offers catering and if you are looking for a charcuterie option you will not be disappointed with the choice of products, or the quality of the meats and cheeses. The plate he offered us featured the classics such as prosciutto and salami but also included some unique and spicy flavors, complimented with flavorful and colorful olives. (I highly recommend the Port Wine Derby cheese!)
If you are looking for a healthier replacement of the standard deli meats for yours, or your children’s lunches, Rocco’s prepares sliced, roasted, organic chicken and turkey along with an in-house cured roast beef. When these meats are paired with the fresh breads and buns, Rocco’s offers some amazing panini’s available for lunch or take out.
But the most interesting aspect of this deli is the refillable olive oil program. This grew in part from a fond memory for Andy. As a child, he remembers visiting a local store with his uncle, who would take along small, glass containers which they would re-fill with grappa. With a growing trend toward “bring your own container” shopping, Rocco’s is on point with this initiative. Shoppers simply purchase the bottles available in the store (there are two sizes) and the staff will fill it with a neutral, filtered, extra virgin olive oil well suited for dressings and sauces. I took home a small bottle of the oil, paired it with a balsamic vinegar reduction, a ciabatta bun and an olive baguette. My family and I were impressed by the fresh taste and smell of this oil, it was unlike any store bought oil I’ve tried before.
Rocco’s will soon undergo a small reno during which Andy will realize his long term goal of balancing his coolers with 50% Rocco’s in-house cured meats and 50% imported Italian meats. They also plan to begin an “Italian happy hour” offering beer, wine and mixed cocktails between 4-8pm; charcuterie included in the price. This is a great place to stop on your way home from work, celebrating a traditional Italian activity proving their motto “We eat what we sell, we sell what we eat.”
Before you visit, make sure to download Rocco’s Deli app, and begin earning a point for every dollar you spend in their store, redeemable for merchandise.
Open: Mon-Sat 7am-6pm, Sun 10-5pm, and conveniently located near Zone Bowling Coquitlam and across the street from Cineplex SilverCity, a 20 screen movie theatre.