Editor’s Note: Rocco’s Wood-Fired Pizza has closed as of June 2017.
There’s something about a wood-fired oven that just makes pizza better.
A crisp crust, bubbly cheese and that extra hint of flavor are what set it apart from the standard oven.
There aren’t many places in Berks County to get a good wood-fired pizza. Nonno Alby’s introduced it to the Reading area in 2014.
This year, we were introduced Rocco’s Wood-Fired Pizza in South Heidelberg Township.
Flanked by my friend Josh, I recently made my first visit to Rocco’s.
Rocco’s location probably isn’t the most desirable — tucked in the corner of the strip mall with Tractor Supply — but the restaurant makes the most of it with a wood-and-brick interior that harkens to the oven that flames at the back of the restaurant.
The menu is printed, two-sided, on a simple sheet of paper. One side lists the 14 pizza options. The other includes sandwiches, salads and apps.
All of Rocco’s pizzas are 13-inch pies. If it were Julie and I, one pie would be enough. For Josh and I, it was going to go to take two. And an order of fries.
The fries arrived first, piled high on a wooden serving tray. Skins on with coarse-ground salt, they were like a better version of Wendy’s French fries.
As good as they were, I didn’t need them. When the pizzas arrived, we quickly realized that 13 inches is bigger than it sounds.
First to arrive was Josh’s interestingly named “Cheesus!” pie, essentially a buffalo chicken pizza with all of the following: shredded mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes, pepperoni, crispy bacon, peppers, breaded chicken and mild sauce.
There’s not much to say other than “loved it.” The crisp crust. The hint of heat from the sauce, the addition of the pepperoni. Everything just worked.
It’s a good thing for Josh that my pizza arrived shortly thereafter.
Mine was the “Bee Sting,” topped with San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, hot sopresatta, raw honey (the bee) and crushed red pepper oil (the sting).
The sweet and hot flavor was unlike any other pizza that you are likely to find. It packed a punch, but a flavorful one. The meat was delicious, similar to a hot salami. The red pepper oil was just there to make sure that I sweat during my lunch, but the honey came through with a soothing aftertaste.
It’s a good thing Rocco’s offers free refills on iced tea because I needed them.
With five-eighths of my pie finished, it was time to throw in the towel, get the to-go box and settle the check. Our total for the two of us was $40. In hindsight, we didn’t need two pizzas (and my Bee Sting was the most expensive on the menu at $15). At least I know I brought home a lunch or two.
I’m not going to attempt a comparison between Rocco’s and Nonno Alby’s. Though both are wood-fired, it’s not an apples-to-apples — or pizza-to-pizza — comparison.
All I can say is that I love wood-fired pizza. And I’m glad that I now have a second choice nearby.
Rocco’s Wood Fired Pizza
4732 W Penn Ave
Sinking Spring, PA 19608