Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

MAY 2017

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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24 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • MAY 2017 a pro you should know Rocco Mangel Rocks it With Tacos and Tequilla R occo Mangel founded Rocco's Tacos & Tequila Bar in 2007. He grew up in the restaurant indus- try, working his way up from bus boy to general manager and later owner of a Mexican restaurant in West Palm Beach, Fla. Big Time Restaurant Group owns and oper- ates the eight Rocco's locations throughout Florida and one in Brooklyn, N.Y. FE&S: How did the first Rocco's come about? RM: I moved here in 1997, and I was a bus boy in the restaurant on Clematis Street in West Palm Beach that I bought 10 years later almost to the day. My father was in the restaurant business and my grandfather before that so I have worked at a bunch of different restaurants throughout my career and always on Clematis Street — for the 20 years I've been in Florida. In 2004 I left the restaurant industry and got more involved in the nightclub business for a while. Then a friend of mine opened a Mexican restaurant and asked if I would be the maître d' and two weeks later I became the general manager. The restau- rant served tableside guacamole and very authentic Mexican cuisine and I learned more about tequila so that's how I got my fix. I traveled all of the U.S. and in Mexico and that's how I came up with the concept for Rocco's Tacos & Tequila Bar. We focus on tableside guacamole and street-food tacos but I also wanted to emphasize te- quila because it's still one of the top spirits in the country. I ended up partnering with Big Time Restaurant Group to open the first location in West Palm Beach in 2007. I'm considered a co-owner but, conceptually, all of us came up with the idea. FE&S: How have you expanded the con- cept under Big Time Restaurant Group? RM: After we opened the first location, we opened restaurants in Boca Raton in 2009; Fort Lauderdale in 2011; Palm Beach Gardens and Orlando in 2012; Brooklyn, N.Y., in 2014 and Delray Beach in 2015. This year, we licensed the brand to open at the Fort Lauderdale airport and took possession of a new location in Tampa Bay in February. We have a couple other locations we're looking at on the West Coast of Florida right now. FE&S: What's the size of the restaurants? Do they differ in design? RM: Our restaurants usually range from about 4,500 square feet all the way to 14,000 square feet in Brooklyn with any- where from 180 to 300 or more seats. The Orlando location is 10,000 square feet and the new Tampa restaurant will be about 6,000 to 7,000 square feet. For each location, I travel to Mexico with my partner and we design the restau- rants ourselves and hand-pick the decor. The furniture and the fixtures come from Rocco Mangel Founder and Managing Partner Rocco's Tacos & Tequila Bar By Amelia Levin

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