Rocco’s rocks

This year-round pizzeria is keeping Islanders and tourists fed and happy.

A cozy night in, a group dinner on the beach, or a tasty midnight snack, pizza is the perfect food, and Rocco’s Pizzeria does it right. After ordering, I had an inclination that they weren’t using any jarred sauce or premade, frozen crust, so I had to call them up to confirm. My suspicion was correct, and they do indeed make the pizza dough, sauce, and a variety of the other ingredients from scratch.

I went with two pies — Hawaiian and barbecue chicken — a chicken Parmesan sub, and a side order of onion rings. I thought it was a good sampling of their menu, to really give a cohesive review.

The pizza

The crust was airy, crispy, slightly charred, but not even close to burned, sweet sauce, and colorful toppings. Rocco’s slices are perfect for any type of pizza eater — the “folder” who folds the slice in half; “the fork-and-knifer” who uses utensils to eat the slice; the traditional ‘“tip to crust” method, or like me, the creative type, “crust-first method.” I like to start with the wider end, the crust, and end with the narrow tip.

The Hawaiian pizza (tomato base, topped with ham, pineapple, and cheese) was not soggy, which I notice happens frequently at other pizza places because the pineapple is heavy and wet with juice, making the crust soggy.

The barbecue chicken pizza (tomato base, topped with cheese, chicken, and barbecue sauce): What I liked about this version of a barbecue chicken pizza was that they used the tomato base and added the barbecue sauce on top. So you got both sauces, and the barbecue was nice and sweet after it caramelized in the oven.

The cheese wasn’t too greasy, but just enough to make it tasty. Saltiness contrasted with some of the sweeter topping flavors and sauce.

The sub

This is far from a sub that’s been sitting in a gas station food warmer all day. The chicken cutlets are homemade, with tender, juicy, chicken breast. They were breaded, fried, and layered in the roll with cheese and sauce, then baked and wrapped up for me to bring home. The chicken-to-bread ratio was superb, probably enough chicken to make two. They wrapped it up well, and the wrapper wasn’t stuck to the melted cheese — I appreciate that.

The rings

Onion rings were made of thinly sliced white onions, lightly battered and fried. Delicious. My only complaint is that there weren’t enough — realistically, even if the basket was bottomless, it wouldn’t be enough, so I won’t quibble.

Rocco’s Pizzeria is located in the Tisbury Marketplace in Vineyard Haven. There is typically plenty of parking, and they even have designated 15-minute parking spots for takeout pickup, which is a luxury in the busy season. They not only sell pizza, sandwiches, and appetizers, but also salads, sodas, calzones, pasta meals, chips, and desserts like cannolis.

The affordability here is something to point out. I didn’t realize it until I was eating leftovers that I actually saved more money than if I went to the grocery store. My grand total was $64. I also picked up a Rocco’s punch card by the register when I paid. If you buy 10 pizzas, you get a free cheese pizza.

If you see their bright red bumper stickers pasted around the Island that say “ROCCO’S ROCKS!!!,” after eating there, you’ll know why. Rocco’s really does rock!

Rocco’s, Tisbury Marketplace, 79 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven. 508-693-1125;