What happens when the Romans invade Southern California? Pizza lovers are finding out as ROCA Pizza opens for business this week in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles.
Rick Rosenfield, the cofounder of California Pizza Kitchen (CPK), and his wife/partner Esther have opened the Roman-style pizza shop after running it as a pop-up since 2021. According to the pizzeria’s website, the Rosenfields “became enamored” with Roman street food on a vacation trip to the legendary Italian city.
“At CPK, we always said that pizza is a canvas you can paint on, and now Roman-style pizza creates the perfect canvas for today because its unique crust allows it to retain its quality when you reheat it at home,” Rick Rosenfield states on the website.
Rick and Esther met on an airplane—Rick was a passenger, an attorney at the time, and Esther was a flight attendant. After they married, Rick went on to launch California Pizza Kitchen with his law partner, Larry Flax, and left the law practice.
At ROCA, pies are served by the cut, the half pan (four slices) or the full pan (eight slices), and customers can view all of their options in a glass display case before choosing what they want to order.
The menu “reflects the tastes emblematic of the best of Rome and Italy combined with the California-inspired creativity, sourcing and cultural diversity,” the website states.
It includes items like the Amatriciana (guanciale, pecorino Romano, mozzarella and a red sauce); the Asparagus & Goat Cheese (asparagus purée, asparagus spears, goat cheese, mozz, red onions and mint); the Eggplant & Kalamata Olive Tapenade (eggplant, caramelized onions, roasted cherry tomatoes, kalamata olive tapenade and Italian parsley); and the Thai Chicken (Thai peanut sauce, organic chicken, mozz, green onions, carrots and cilantro).