Limerick mourns the loss of a ‘legend’ of the hospitality community

The late Enzo Rocca

THE PEOPLE of Limerick will mourn with empty bellies after the passing of a much-loved stalwart of the city’s hospitality community.

Enzo Rocca, owner of Enzo’s on William Street in the heart of Limerick City, passed away peacefully at his home in Ballyhahill surrounded by his loving family and friends on September 1.

The restauranteur, for whom hospitality was very much a family business, first moved to Limerick in 1972 from the Italian town of Purgatorio.

As a young man, Mr Rocca was inspired by those in his region who moved to Ireland to seek their fortune. And, at the age of 22, he did just that, following in the footsteps of his brother Gino moving to Limerick City, where he began working at the former Capri chip shop on O’Connell Street.

In 1974, he married his wife Joanne and moved to Newcastle West where he opened the Golden Grill chipper with his brother Franco, before settling in Ballyhahill to raise his family.

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10 years later, in 1984, he opened the locally beloved Enzo’s restaurant on William Street, which first opened as an Italian seafood restaurant before transforming into the traditional chipper that stands there today.

The passing of the 77-year-old entrepreneur was met with widespread tributes throughout the county, with local TD Maurice Quinlivan posting online: “Sad news today of the passing of Enzo Rocca of the iconic Limerick Chipper, Enzo’s, on William Street.”

“It was one of the best places to get fish and chips or their liver and bacon, which was my favourite.

“Deepest sympathy to his family and friends.”

Paying further tribute, Councillor Olivia O’Sulilvan said she was “sorry to hear of the passing of Enzo Rocca of the famed Enzo’s on William Street”.

“Italian chippers are an institution here and the community have added so much to Limerick.”

Councillor Daniel Butler added that he was “very sad to hear of the passing of Enzo Rocca. His business has become a central part of many Limerick family’s stories and traditions.”

Others described the late businessman as a “legend”, a “true gentleman and friend”, and a “hard worker” who “always had a smile no matter when you entered his premises”.

“Limerick lost a legend,” another mourner posted online.

In a mark of respect to the giant figure of Limerick’s hospitality community, and to allow staff, friends, and family to mourn his passing, Mr Rocca’s William Street restaurant will be closed until next week.

Mr Rocca is deeply regretted by his loving wife Joanne, son Raffaele, daughter Tara, daughter-in-law Elaine, son-in-law Mark, grandchildren Aoibhín, Enzo, and Belle, sister Olga, brothers Gino and Franco, sisters-in-law Mary and Margaret, brothers-in-law Tony, Patsy, and Conor, nieces, nephews, relatives, the staff of Enzo’s, and a wide network of friends.

Mr Rocca will be reposing at his home in Riverlodge, Finnoe, Ballyhahill, County Limerick, on Sunday evening (September 3) from 4pm to 8pm. Requiem Mass will take place on Monday at 12pm in the Church of the Visitation in Ballyhahill, followed by burial in Kilfergus Cemetery in Glin.

In lieu of flowers, Mr Rocca’s family have requested donations in his name to Milford Care Centre or the Irish Cancer Society.