The next generation of Mexican cuisine arrived in Naples in February with the opening of Rocco’s Tacos in the former Masa space at Mercato. Exuberant owner Rocco Mangel launched his first location in West Palm Beach in 2007 and now operates eight in Florida as well as one in Brooklyn. Just how exuberant is he? Mangel’s trademark move is to jump on top of the bar and dispense shots of tequila to get the party started. Theatrics aside, he’s really a purist.
“We assembled our recipes during travels throughout the U.S. and Mexico,” says Mangel, who also logged stints at a few L.A. food trucks for background and experience. “Everything is made fresh daily, and we use the freshest ingredients possible.”
That commitment is reflected in the house-made sour mix, customizable guacamole prepared tableside, and handmade tortillas cooked on a traditional Mexican comal, or flat griddle. The menu boasts something for everyone, from chorizo and carne asada to healthier choices and vegetarian dishes.
Other than freshness, Mangel’s obsession is tequila. More than 300 varieties are offered, from entry-level choices to bottles selling for well over $1,000. His personal favorite is Clase Azul Reposado, although he’s been known to reward lucky customers with shots of Patron. Even without the free tequila, Rocco’s Tacos has quickly established itself as a place to dine, imbibe, and congregate.