Pat LaRocca is no stranger to the local food scene in Fresno, California. A second generation restaurateur, Pat created FIVE in 2005 and it has been a local favorite ever since. The award-winning restaurant embraces each visitor with a warm welcome; from the sophisticated ambiance, to the unforgettable menu. This is all thanks to Pat, wife Marina, and daughters Isabella and Francesca, keeping familial values at the center of the business - serving each meal with good conversation, from even better people.
After a pizza fire erupted from the kitchen in 2018, FIVE temporarily closed its doors, and the LaRocca family spent the last year revamping the space. Now, exactly one year later, the restaurant is back with an updated sleek design, and all the familiar attributes regulars know and love. We sat down with Pat to reflect upon his career, chat about how FIVE’s development has affected his family, and of course, how he uses Patrick James to elevate his lifestyle.
How did you start your culinary career?
I started working for my uncles at 15 years old at DiCicco’s Italian restaurant. In 1980, my parents opened up LaRocca’s Italian restaurant where I worked underneath my father and developed my passion for cooking and hospitality.
How did the concept of FIVE come about?
The concept of Five came about because it’s always been a lucky family number. When deciding what to name the restaurant, my youngest daughter turned Five into an acronym, which stands for “Francesca Isabella Very Extraordinary."
It’s been over a year since the kitchen fire that closed Five’s doors - it’s no question that the community is supportive of the reopening of the restaurant, with a packed house every night. What does that mean to you?
My family and I are very grateful for the love and loyal support the community has shown us. I truly missed everyone, and I’ve learned to not take anything for granted. Enjoy your family, friends, life, and of course, a glass of wine.
What’s your style in and out of the kitchen?
When I’m in the kitchen, I dress for comfort because I am on my feet and very active. When I’m out of the kitchen, I am business casual and prefer jeans and a nice button down shirt.
What are your favorite brands at Patrick James?
Why do you shop at Patrick James?
I’ve had a great relationship with the owner Patrick Mon Pere and his establishment for the last 40 years. He has a great team working for him, and they have always taken great care of me. I love supporting a local business that takes pride in their product. They have one of the best selections for men’s clothing here in Fresno.