Papa Rocco's is an award-winning pizza place and oyster bar in Gulf Shores, AL, and they've been serving tasty pies to locals and visitors for decades. But believe it or not, they didn't invent pizza…they just perfected it! With pizza places springing up in just about every American city, when did this foreign dish become a national favorite? Owner Bill "Papa Rocco" McGinnes tells us the story.
From Poor Man's Food To Her Majesty’s Meal
It all started in the poor neighborhoods of Naples, Italy. As the story goes, local bakers needed something to do with their extra dough and to help keep their ovens warm, so they turned the extra dough into flatbreads and tossed on whatever toppings they had around. Cheap, fast, and filling, pizza turned out to be the perfect food for the city's huge numbers of working poor. It was allegedly only when a famed pizza maker created a custom pie for the visiting Queen consort of Italy that it rose from a "poor man's food" to a proud Italian favorite.
Italian immigrants brought pizza to New York in the early 1900s, but it was WWII that truly turned pizza into an American mainstay. Soldiers fighting in Italy fell in love with the creation and, once they returned home, started opening up pizza places in big cities all around the country.
The rest, as they say, is history!
When you're craving pizza in the Gulf Shores area, Papa Rocco's is ready to serve you a delicious slice, along with live music, tasty oysters, and ice-cold beer. Visit them online to see who's on stage for the nightly entertainment, or give them a call at (251) 948-7262 to learn about their full oyster bar and find out why they've been a local mainstay since the 1980s.