Rochester restaurant community mourns death of Charlie LaRocca


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Charlie LaRocca, a confidante to some of Rochester’s most well-known restaurant entrepreneurs, died in his sleep Sunday morning. He was 66 years old, according to officials from Regional Distributors.

LaRocca was the vice president of sales at Regional Distributors, a New York State certified Women’s Business Enterprise that provides goods and services to “help streamline supply and equipment needs and optimize business operations.”

According to Regional Distributors officials, LaRocca was a much-loved and trusted resource for Rochester restaurant owners, like Mike Calabrese (owner of Java’s, Cure, and Good Luck), Kevin McCann (owner of McCann’s Local Meats), Mark Guida (owner of Guida’s Pizza), Salvatore Frantauzzo (owner of Salvator’s Pizza), and more.

“I met Charlie 18 years ago when I first started with Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and I’ll never forget the enthusiasm and energy he brought into the room as he introduced himself to me,” said Jim Clancy, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que director of catering, concession, and facility purchasing operations. ” He was one of the most calm and positive guys I’ve ever worked with and anytime we had to figure out a work-related challenge, he approached it with passion and positive outcomes. For me, and so many in the restaurant business that he helped, our business relationship grew into a lifelong friendship with us and our families sharing so many good times. Losing Charlie has devastated all of us beyond words.”

“Charlie was in the business for over 40 years and helped build and support Rochester’s restaurant community,” said David Scalen, Regional Distributors co-founder and executive vice president who recruited LaRocca in 2003. “He loved his customers fiercely and did everything and anything to support them through thick and thin. He worked and knew every aspect of the food service industry and he was the best of the best because of his unsurmountable amount of love and giddy excitement he had towards helping others.”

LaRocca is survived by his wife, daughter, son, and two step-grandchildren.

Calling hours will be held Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Paul Harris Funeral Home with a mass scheduled for Saturday morning.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks community members to consider donations to The Center for Youth Owen’s House Crisis Nursery.

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