High Profile: Pat LaRocca
CV Lux interviewed Pat on a rainy afternoon as he scurried about his restaurant, visiting friends, asking about their food, making suggestions for an order, smiling and just being the wonderful host he’s always been known to be!
Occupation: I have always been in the restaurant business. My first job was at my uncles’ restaurant—the original DiCicco’s on Black- stone, with the neon Italian boot out front. In 1980, my dad and mom opened LaRocca’s, located at First and Herndon. I worked there until I opened my own current restaurant, FIVE, in 2005. FIVE is located at 1110 E. Champlain in Fresno.
Birthdate: I was born on 10/17/1960 in Detroit, Michigan. My family moved to Fresno when I was seven. Yes, that means I am a true- blue Libra. As a Libra, I love harmony, enjoy color, make good and loyal friends, and especially like entertaining people in my restaurant to see that they always feel at home and welcome.
Marital status: I have been married for over 22 wonderful years to my wife Marina. We had our very first date (I remember it as if it was yesterday) at a small little restaurant called The Copper Pot, on the corner of First and Ashlan in Fresno.
Last good movie I saw: The Fighter starring Mark Wahlberg.
Book I’m recommending lately: I’d recommend Restaurant Man by Joe Bastianich.
Favorite pig-out food: Oh boy, it has to be Judy’s Donuts. I love those donuts!
Favorite color: Blue
Favorite game: There is only one and that is “Craps.” I don’t play very often, as I’m pretty busy, but I play in Vegas! What stays in Vegas is not for me because I have to get back to Fresno to work!
Every New Years I resolve to: Try to lose weight!
Most valued possession: Definitely has to be my two daughters: Francesca and Isabella. Very extraordinary! My high FIVE!!!
When I have some extra money: I splurge and go on vacation.
Worst habit: Eating late at night
Best party I gave: Always has to be Christmas at my home every year with my family.
Menu for last meal: Given that I am here at my restaurant 90% of the time, it would have to be my fresh pasta and a nice glass of red wine!
Favorite city outside California: I hear my favorite singer Sinatra crooning my favorite song and it has to be New York, New York!!
Favorite fast food: In-and-Out Burger
Last goal accomplished: I am still working on that one
Favorite restaurant: There are just too many to name!
Favorite pizza ingredients: Anything on pizza. I love pizza. I remember my uncles at the original DiCicco’s bursting into song and throwing pizza dough into the air with great delight. It reminds me of them whenever I have it… I love pizza!
My best asset: My word is my bond.
Favorite President: John F. Kennedy
Nobody knows: But I have a manicure/pedicure every two weeks!
One thing I cannot stand: Dishonesty in any form
A really great evening for me: One with all of my family
If I could change one thing about myself: Nothing really because well, I would have to ask, why change now?
People who knew me in college: Thought I was very funny. They still think the same.
Best advice I ever got: “The harder you work the luckier you will get.” -Bucky Harris of Fresno Dodge
Best advice I ever gave: Dream big! Work hard and have faith!
I’m a sucker for: Chocolates. I love chocolates of any kind!
Best show on television: Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. I love where that show goes and the interviews with restaurant owners around the country—really interesting. The recipes some of those people invent are fascinating to me.
Favorite vacation spot: Italy
Best time of the year: Christmas time!
Most comfortable room in the house: My game room
I’m always fascinated by: The way women love to shop for shoes… they just cannot seem to get enough!
Favorite beverage: A good wine
Favorite movie: Well, that must be the first Godfather. Really good movie!
If I could live anywhere in the world I would choose: Where I live now. I like to go to other places, as I have mentioned, but I love living in Fresno because this city is my true home with my friends, my family and the community who has continued to be so good to me over the years. Fresno will always be home to me—she and I are like a well-worn shoe… we just fit together perfectly. I love Fresno!
The world would be a lot better off if: People were more accepting of each other.