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A year after fire, Rocky's Pizza reopens

August 17, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- Rocky's Pizza reopened Monday morning at a new location nearly a year after an Aug. 31, 2008, fire gutted the restaurant at its old home on Hagerstown's Public Square.

A sign in the window at 40 N. Potomac St. reading "Open, come in," handwritten on the back of a pizza box, was the only sign the restaurant was ready for customers.

Rocky's had been at the corner of North Potomac and West Washington streets since 1968, owner Vincenzo "Vinnie" Schiano-DiCola said at the time of the fire.

The restaurant was known as Rocky's University New York Pizza because of its proximity to the downtown school campus, but now will be called Rocky's Pizza and Caffe Napoli, DiCola said.

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DiCola had planned to reopen the restaurant next week, but decided last week to open earlier than expected, he said Monday.

"I just couldn't stay home another minute," DiCola said Monday while standing behind the polished counter in his new restaurant.

"I missed my customers, I missed my job, I missed my friends," he said. "We've been starving for good pizza for almost a year."

DiCola reported seeing about 100 customers during Monday's lunch hour rush. Most ordered pizza or subs and were served in less than 20 minutes, he said.

The new space has room for 85 people, up from about 60 in the old location, DiCola said. The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. On Sundays, the space will be available for people to rent, he said.

DiCola has seven employees, but said he does most of the cooking himself. He plans to offer an expanded menu that will include more Italian dishes, daily specials, seafood dishes and more desserts.

Tiramisu, cannoli and sfogliatelle -- made of phyllo dough and mascarpone cheese -- are among the new desserts that will be offered.

He hopes to also serve beer and wine, but must appear before the Liquor Board on Wednesday to sort out licensing issues, DiCola said.

Inside, the walls are painted red and gray, with a Mediterranean-themed mural on the wall nearest the polished countertop. Black chairs are placed around tables covered in black tablecloths.

Work remains to be done on the store's facade. As of Monday morning, there wasn't a sign hanging above the door.

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