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84. Rocky Rococo

Classification: Franchise

Location: Brooklyn Park, Minnesota

You never really know while you're living in the middle of a particular era how strange some of its trademarks might seem one day, because your gaze is so firmly focused on the fashion, lingo, music and pop culture of the time. The 1980s brought us Miami Vice, glam rock, Izod, designer jeans, and for the ladies, shoulder pads and large hair. And one of the trending foods that united all of us was Rocky Rococo. Their jingle was so pervasive on light rock radio stations that it remains permanently seared into my earworm memory bank:

Rocky, Rocky Rococo.

Pizza, pizza amore.

It was pan pizza cut into nine squares per sheet and served in a small cardboard box. Once in a while they'd run a 2 slices for $2 special, but even a whole pie was reasonably priced. The last time I visited was with a church group or softball team or something like that, and we dined inside, but were distracted from our pizza due to a raging carfire in the parking lot. I don't really hold that against Rocky—it was commonplace in the neighborhood, and it actually kind of enhanced the event-worthiness of the evening.

At their peak in the late 80s, they boasted 160 restaurants scattered throughout the midwest, but today it's down to 40 restaurants, and only one within fifty miles of my residence, which is fine, because today, in these oft-troubling times, I find myself struggling to maintain optimized hair volume. But if I can find my Members Only jacket and high-top Reeboks I might roll down the windows and crank some Spandau Ballet as I cross town in my Chevy Cavalier looking for some pizza. Pizza amore. (5 of 10 stars)

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