News of the closing was posted Wednesday on the restaurant's Facebook page. "We are very happy and sad to announce Chef Rocco has officially retired and Rocco's Capriccio is closed," the message said. "Thank you to all our friends and family for your support throughout the past 17 years. You all have help create beautiful memories that we will not forget."
Rocco Gargano's daughter, Rosa Gargano, who co-owned and operated her family's restaurant, confirmed the closing.
When Gargano took over the old Capriccio in 1996, he was a familiar presence to Little Italy regulars as the maitre d' at Da Mimmo. A native of Matera, in southern Italy, Gargano moved to the United States in 1962 and worked at his father's luncheonette in New York City. After a few years of military service, Gargano moved to Baltimore where he owned and operated pizzerias.
Rocco's was one of Little Italy's classic white-tablecloth restaurants. A typical house specialty, the Vitello Alla Rocco was veal sauteed in Marsala wine with mushroom, cream, Gorgonzola cheese and plum tomatoes.
"It is sad about Rocco's," said Cyd Wolf, who co-owns Germano's with her husband Germano Fabiani. "All of the restaurants in Little Italy are family-owned and operated - that's what makes Baltimore, and especially our Little Italy, unique. The closing of a family business is personal and sad. Germano and I wish them the best."