Our Story

Santa Rosa Italian Restaurant

Joe LoCoco, Owner

LoCoco’s founder and proprietor Joe LoCoco was literally born into the restaurant business and a culture centered around delicious Italian cuisine. Born the youngest of five children to Sicilian parents in Tuscan Livorno, Joe immigrated with his family to Buffalo, New York in 1956 on the famous liner Andrea Doria. In those days, life in the Buffalo Italian community that Joe’s family lived in was said to be nearly identical to the lifestyle in Calabria, from the local Italian farmer’s market owned by the Tulumello family to bocce ball in the park. And everywhere you went—fresh, delicious Italian family-style cooking.

Joe earned a business degree from Bryant and Stratton Business Institute of New York before returning to Italy to live in Ardenza, a suburb of Livorno. There he worked in his aunt and uncle’s restaurant, cooking dishes such as rotisserie chicken and pizza. After a year, he returned to the US to work with his sister Josie at her New York style submarine sandwich shop in San Francisco. Within two years, and with Joe’s help, they had opened a total of eight branches of Viking Submarines, and after the business was sold the trio opened a new restaurant called La Trattoria in San Rafael, CA.

It was at this time that Joe began working more in the kitchen, side by side with a mentor who taught him the ropes of the back-of-house side of the business. After that restaurant was successfully sold several years later, Joe and his new bride Kendall moved to England for a one-year adventure that included, among other things, personal chef work for Gary Kurtz, the famous co-producer with George Lucas Films. When the couple returned to California in 1983, Joe began what would become a string of successful restaurant ventures beginning with Dalecio & LoCoco Ristorante in an old Victorian in Larkspur, followed by Joe LoCoco’s in Greenbrae (in business for 16 years). After selling Joe LoCoco’s in 2002, Joe took two years off and headed back to Italy to explore the restaurant scene there. When he came back to the states, he spent some time helping his sister Josie with her then-current endeavor Cafe Giostra in Petaluma.  Josie and Edward were fond of Sonoma County, and convinced Joe to open a new restaurant there. He fell in love with the Railroad Square area of Santa Rosa, and once he saw the location that has since become LoCoco’s Cucina Rustica, he knew right away it was the right home for his new venture.

The cooking at LoCoco’s Cucina Rustica is authentically Italian fare in the family/rustic-style style. The food is made with fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients, just as one would find in Italy. Joe also puts a great deal of focus on using local Sonoma County ingredients wherever possible, to provide a Northern Californian accent and ensure the freshest possible ingredients. In fact, it is common to frequently find nightly specials that include as ingredients mushrooms that Joe has picked, or a wild boar (cinghiale) that Joe has hunted himself.

Though well-known for a number of their signature dishes, LoCoco’s favorites include the Linguine di Mare (linguine with clams, shrimp, scallops, and calamari), Pappardelle con Cinghiale (pappardelle with wild boar sausage and mushrooms), Risotto al Diavolo (seafood risotto), Lasagna Bolognese (available as a special only) and LoCoco’s famous house-made Cannoli (rated 4 Stars by local restaurant reviewer Jeff Cox). Come eat at the best Italian Restaurant in Santa Rosa!

Lococo's Cucina Rustica
Star ratings
Kelly B says:

This place deserves every single star, and let me tell you why.I was looking for a place to take my mom for mother's day and I wanted it to be super special. I read the yelp reviews on this place and decided to make a reservation.I asked if I could bring a cake and flowers ahead of time and have the cake served at dessert, to which they said yes, awesome.That day, i hustled by after work and ran by home to pick up the cake and flowers before my mom got home from her weekend trip.To my surprise, the bike race was going on downtown and I couldn't get to railroad square. I ended up parking at the end of 5th street and having to walk all the way there- cake and flowers in hand.By the time I got there the cake was a bit melted- the side had brushed up against the container and the frosting was smashed- I was so mad!I walked in and asked if they could fix it up for me, and they told me they would and that they would be able to set the flowers on the table for me and everything. I was so relieved!I brought my mom and dad to the restaurant and the place was super busy and we were seated right away. The noise level is loud and the space small and quaint.The flowers were set at the center of the table and they looked beautiful.Dinner went very well- i had the boar sausage and mushroom pasta which was AMAZING. The staff was fantastic and friendly and attentive for how busy they were.Dessert is what really made the evening perfect. They brought the cake out (all fixed up of course) with a candle in it and surprised my mom- who had NO idea that I had bought a cake for her. When she blew out the candle the brought it back out on plates for us, dressed up with powdered sugar and dessert moscato.I can't say enough how fantastic this place was. I had a vision of wanting to make this the perfect Mother's Day and they helped me make it happen. The wait-staff was great, but Brenda was the one who helped me out the most.It was perfect and I am so happy that I went here and I will continue to recommend this place as well as take everyone here!!

Lococo's Cucina Rustica is rated stars over 40 reviews. Read more reviews