First it was Noodle Ranch, then it was Dope Burger, and now it's Rocco's, with pressed-tin ceiling, antique light fixtures, and a brand new, double-deck, Bakers Pride pizza oven. It's the same setup as Ballard Pizza Company (to name just one pizzeria using Bakers Pride) but missing the hood that restaurants must install to vent the oven's hot air. (Class II if there's no open-flame cooking, Class I if there are fryers or burners.) And there's the rub. Rocco's oven has a vent, but no hood. Their consultant, who has since skipped town, told them they didn't need one; the City of Seattle's building inspector respectfully disagreed and refused to issue a certificate of occupancy.
Rocco's is ready to open, says bar manager Leroy Thomas, who has an array of fresh juices ready to add to a menu of specialty cocktails. Owner Jesus Escobar (who also owns Noc Noc, a bar seven blocks further south) is ready to start baking pizzas and selling them by the slice to the Belltown party crowd on Second Avenue. But there's no hood. No hood, no pizza.