HUNTINGTON - There's nothing fancy about Rocco's Little Italy - it's a cozy diner with a great deal of history. From the 1940s until the 1990s, the small building was home to Ward's Donut Shop. In 2001 the building was purchased by Rocco Muriale, owner of Rocco's Ristorante in Ceredo. In 2003 Muriale sold the business to its current owner, Joon Kim, who runs the business with his wife, Jung Kim, and son Joon Kim Jr.
In 2006 Kim would expand Little Italy's hours, establishing it as a weekend destination for late-night eats. This has made it a favorite among Marshall students and night-shift workers, and it remains a daytime favorite for lunch and dinner as well.
"I came to the U.S. from South Korea, and in 1974 I moved to Huntington. I worked for the Karr Glass company. After they went out, I used to work at a Chinese restaurant called The Orient Express," Joon Kim said. "After it closed Rocco gave me a job at the restaurant in Ceredo. I worked here at Little Itally for a few years before Muriale and I reached an agreement to buy the restaurant."
The restaurant is perhaps best known for its sandwiches, which are served on 9-inch hoagie rolls from Brunetti's Italian Bakery in Ceredo. These range from a $5.50 variation on a "Pepperoni Roll" filled with meat sauce and cheese to $7.99 for "Signori Ernie and Luigi," an Italian sub filled with capicola, salami, prosciutto, ham, olive oil, herbs, roasted peppers and veggies. Signature sandwiches include the "The Boss" ($6.99), a take on a Philly cheesesteak and "The Underboss" ($6.99).
"The Underboss and the Boss are the most popular sandwiches. My favorite is the 'Marco Polo,' which has an Asian marinated chicken with Italian peppers," Joon Kim said. "We also have a special menu for late night on the weekends. One of the items on is what I call an omelet sandwich which has egg and your choice of meat."
As there's a partnership with Rocco's Ristorante, the Ceredo-based restaurant provides Little Italy with pasta and sauce for its own dishes. Among the pasta offerings are "Spaghetti SPC" ($7.50) with sausage, peppers and Muenster cheese. There's also Manicotti ($6.99), Chicken Parmesan ($8.10), and Lasagna ($6.99). Customers looking to eat healthy can enjoy a selection of salads, including a Grilled Chicken Salad ($7.40) and a Club Pasta Salad ($7.35).
Rocco's Little Italy is located at 1345 4th Ave., Huntington. It is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Cash and all major credit cards are accepted. For carryout orders call 304-529-2400.
If you go: Rocco's Little Italy
TYPE: Sandwiches, pasta, salad.
ADDRESS: 1345 4th Ave., Huntington.
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
PAYMENTS ACCEPTED: Cash And All Major Credit Cards (No Checks)