Rocky’s Pizza, one of Birmingham’s most beloved pizza joints returning in late summer 2023

Rocky's Pizza
Joshua Dunlap and René Mercado Angeles are bringing Rocky’s Pizza to Five Points South. (Watts Realty)

One of Birmingham’s most beloved pizzerias, Rocky’s Pizza, is returning after closing in 2016.

According to Watts Realty Co., the pizza joint’s property manager, Rocky’s Pizza has signed a lease to reopen the restaurant at 1924 11th Avenue South—the former Little Italy space.

The owner, Joshua Dunlap, is quite excited about the new move.

“Re-opening in Southside was very important to me. It would have taken a lot of convincing to get me to agree to re-open the first location outside of Southside. I was very happy when I found out the location of where we would re-open. I think being in the heart of 5 Points South is better than I could have ever imagined.”

Joshua Dunlap, Co-Owner, Rocky’s Pizza (from Watts Realty Co.)

The History of Rocky’s

Rocky's Pizza
Original owner of Rocky’s Pizza, Dennis Dunlap. (Watts Realty)

Dennis Dunlap, Joshua’s late father, originally opened the beloved pizzeria on Greens Springs Highway in 1986. It moved to the Lakeview District in the early 1990s then moved to Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard and Seventh Avenue South in 2001.

Joshua Dunlap was glad to start the process of putting the pizzeria back on the map after taking years to mourn the death of his father. Here’s what he said in a statement from Watts.

“We were told that we would need to find a new place for Rocky’s six months before the building was set to be demolished. About two days later, my father was diagnosed with cancer, and anything having to do with Rocky’s Pizza was placed on the back burner.”

(from Watts Realty Co.)

Joshua’s father passed away about a year and a half later delaying the much-anticipated re-opening but allowing Joshua time to grieve and reminisce on time spent with his father.

When my father passed away, so did part of my heart. We spent so many years together running Rocky’s. It just destroyed me inside to lose him. I didn’t have it in me to pursue re-opening at that time.

(from Watts Realty Co.)

New Plans

Dunlap now co-owns Rocky’s Pizza with René Mercado Angeles, who spent more than 16 years at Gianmarco’s Restaurant.

“Gianmarco’s has been good to me for 16 years. Only an opportunity for ownership and something special could have pulled me away. Rocky’s offers both. I’m just happy to bring Rocky’s back to where it once was.”

René Mercado Angeles, Co-Owner, Rocky’s Pizza

The duo plans to open the pizza joint in August. The pizzeria will keep the same boxer-esque appeal with photos of modern boxers and will have a lot of the same menu items including:

  • Calzones
  • Pasta
  • Salads
  • Sandwiches
  • Wings
  • Muffuletta

BONUS: You can expect a full bar.

Are you excited about Rocky’s Pizza returning to The Magic City? Tag us @BhamNow on socials and let us know.

Tira Davis
Tira Davis
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