At the tender age of sixteen, the son of a fisherman from southern Italy journeyed across the Atlantic Ocean in search of his future. When he arrived in New York City on January 1, 1957, Rocco Generoso landed his fist job as a dishwasher in Zema’s Bakery on Bleecker Street. Joe Zema, seeing tremendous potential in Rocco’s work ethic and values, immediately made Rocco his apprentice. Rocco mastered the art of authentic Italian pastry under Joe and eventually became the Head Pastry Chef at Zema’s.
Rocco Jr at work in Rocco’s
A few years later Joe Zema retired and sold the bakery. The ownership changed hands a number of times as each new owner could not sustain the integrity of service and the artfully sweet delights of Joe’s traditions. But Rocco stayed true to those recipes that won the hearts of the community and continued to trust in the beliefs he brought from his native Italy. Rocco’s innovations led to the now world famous Rocco’s Cannoli that are filled by hand and served fresh and creamy with each order.
In 1974, Rocco took the plunge purchased the bakery with the support of his family and commitment to the community. He renamed the bakery Rocco’s Pastry Shop and Espresso Café, making it his own and never forgetting his roots – and the new ones he planted right here in NYC.
In 2010, Rocco Sr decided to retire and pass his legacy to his children, who renamed Rocco’s to Pasticceria Rocco. Using the Italian word for Pastry, the new owners reaffirmed the history and commitment to tradition inspired by their dad. Still using his Dad’s recipes, Rocco Jr took over the reins of Head Pastry Chef.
Rocco Sr with his daughter Paticia
In 2011 Rocco’s started a wholesale division and landed their first major franchised restaurant chain out of Texas. Through this market, Rocco’s cheesecakes and cannoli are now enjoyed worldwide.
In 2014, the new owners, with help from their own families, opened Rocco’s in Bay Ridge Brooklyn, bringing their tradition closer to their home. A smaller shop than the West Village location that provides the same great products and traditions – all made in Rocco’s shops using the best ingredients available.
The family is still committed to the same hard working ethics, dedication to the community and strong family values taught to them by their father. This devotion is present in the authentic Italian pastry, cookies, gelato, ices, fresh cakes and pies, and of course the ever delightful Rocco’s Cannoli – still filled by hand at your command.
Here you are always invited to Indulge in Sweet Tradition™
We appreciate your continued patronage, and we thank you for making Rocco’s the success it is!