Rocky’s Pizza & R Bar in Battle Ground has undergone a number of improvements to the restaurant space and menu, thanks in part to a vision new co-owner Gianni Carbone brought with him.
Carbone, a part-owner and equity partner of the popular pizzeria, started in his role in June of 2021. He took over the spot of founder Rocky Bria.
“It’s been such a learning curve for me,” Carbone said. “This is one of the first companies I’ve ever been a part-owner with.”
Before acquiring the position, Carbone worked as the head of the food and beverage department at the Four Seasons Hotel & Resort in Dallas. He also worked for Levy Restaurants at ilani.
“I’ve always had backings of HR and backings of accounting teams and hundreds of millions of dollars in the bank, and now I have to wear a lot more hats,” he said.
Carbone said those hats include maintenance, human resources, accounting, bookkeeping and operations, which are “all intertwined together.”
Despite the learning curve, Carbone said he feels blessed to have secured his position at Rocky’s. His role is a lot more hands-on than what he was used to, but Carbone said it has been fun learning his new duties, which he gained confidence in throughout the process.
The people he works with is one of the benefits of his role. He described the staff as a tight-knit group of people who have a lot of fun at the restaurant.
“When you’re in the food and beverage industry, we’re kind of all a group of motley misfits. We all like to have fun, we all like that fast-paced environment,” Carbone said. “We’re all in the weeds together, so it’s really those moments where we get done with a big rush that we look each other in the eye and laugh about maybe something funny that happened during the shift.”
Since he became a co-owner with Tammy Cook and MarilueBria, Carbone and his team have made a few adjustments to the menu.
“From labor shortages to the minimum wage increase and cost of goods increase, we had to figure out ways that we could mitigate costs while not increasing our prices to the consumer,” Carbone said.
One of the changes put an end to the mini pizzas the restaurant offered. Carbone said that “helped out tremendously” with labor and costs of goods. He noted making the dough at Rocky’s is labor intensive. They go through up to 400 pounds of dough a day.
The restaurant also added a weekend lunch special that includes two choices of sandwiches. The options include a grilled cheese, a caprese sandwich and a custom flatbread pizza. One popular addition that has received positive feedback from customers is the macaroni and cheese, he said.
A few renovations were made to the restaurant as well. The bathrooms were rebuilt and the dish pit areas and kitchen floors were also redone. A pipe that used to leak in the south wall of the restaurant caused dry rot and Carbone and his team are still working to fix it.
“We want Rocky’s to be a multi-unit business,” Carbone said. “We have such a unique product and it’s beloved by so many people in the community. A lot of people don’t know this, but for the first time ever, Rocky’s has been nominated for best pizza in Clark County, for the first time in 45 years. We focused so much this year on being consistent with our pizzas.”
Carbone said all the work he has undertaken wouldn’t have been possible without the help of his team.
“It’s not about me in this. This is such a team effort,” Carbone said. “I’m one person and we have such an amazing core group of managers here and we’re just really blessed to have such an amazing team.”
Rocky’s Pizza & R Bar is located at 1901 W. Main St. in Battle Ground.
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