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First Bite: Riffing on Pizza

Post by News Tribune Staff on May 25, 2007 at 8:16 am | No Comments »
May 25, 2007 8:16 am

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Pizza the rock at The Rock


Pizza. Rock ‘n’ roll. Both are classics.


Most mornings, I get my fix of Led Zeppelin and Journey outside The Rock Wood Fired Pizza in downtown Tacoma. One can’t miss the music from the sidewalk speakers.


I don’t know about you, but power chords and macho falsettoes give me the warm and fuzzies – like I’m back in California in the ’70s, when rock still rocked and mustaches, tube tops and tricked-out vans ruled the valley.


So when my wife’s baby boomer dentist sounded nitrous-giddy about some new pizza place in Federal Way, I knew he meant The Rock.


The Rock’s original location on Jefferson Street near the University of Washington Tacoma is 10 years old. The Rock opened its sixth restaurant three weeks ago, in the Crossings shopping center at 348th Street and Enchanted Parkway.


It’s in a tight corner right next to Fat Burger. Don’t expect to park in the first few rows. Where ever you park, just follow the music (c. late 1960s-mid-1980s) from the outdoor speakers.


If the name isn’t any indication, The Rock loves rock ‘n’ roll. Pizzas have classic rock names ("Bohemian Rhapodsy," "Bat Out’a Hell," "Ooohhh, That Smell"). Menus are like album covers. (My fave: Supertramp’s "Breakfast in America," with the smiling, juice-toting waitress of all waitresses).


I bought an all-access pass to The Rock’s new joint this week — the $8.29 lunch buffet. Last week, I ordered a pie and a pint at the bar. The buffet ran bare. I finished my pint before my pepperoni arrived. I chalked it up to the necessary fine-tuning that every new restaurant needs. (Note to staff: The salad dressing station should never look like Keith Moon had just been by.)


On the good foot, a slice of buffet pie with garlic and green onions did rock my world. But pineapple on pepperoni? Either someone in the kitchen accidentally went out of tune or this pie was a tribute to icky duets – sort of like Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney.


The Rock’s décor, however, totally rocks. Flick o’ the Bic to whoever thought of making tables look like music instrument equipment cabinets. A wall of shipping container doors pays tribute to the shopping center’s former incarnation: a truck stop. Except for the bar – where The Rock pours beer made by Olmpia’s Fish Tale – the restaurant is an all-ages, family-friendly show.


I’ll be back to give the rest of the menu a spin. Until then, here’s one thing about The Rock that resonates with me: some of the hostesses and waitresses are of classic rock vintage.


Meanwhile, another growing South Sound pizza empire, Farrelli’s Gourmet Wood Fired Pizza, is making preparations for Parkland, its fifth restaurant location. Yesterday, I saw contractors and a help-wanted sign.


I’ll check in on Farrelli’s when the Parkland location opens this summer.


Until then, I would like to know:


Whose pizza rocks your world?


The Rock Wood Fired Pizza: 34817 Enchanted Parkway S, Federal Way; 253-835-7625

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