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In Memoriam: Downtown's Beloved Bad Pizza Joint Rocco's

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When downtown mainstay Rocco's Pizza abruptly shuttered last March — after a staggering 18 years in business — the Internet went into immediate mourning, eulogizing the legendary pizza shop by... repeatedly noting the terribleness of its pizza. The Portland Mercury's Sarah Mirk, who broke the story, admitted that "Rocco's pizza sucked"; the Oregonian, in its eulogy, used the slightly softer phrase "better pizza could be found elsewhere." (In 2009, Eater called the spot "Portland's most famous mediocre pizza shop," writing that it "serves very bad pizza, but does so inexpensively.")

So why the outpouring of grief? As many correctly noted, for a certain generation of Portland locals, the presence of Rocco's — in its prominent location across the street from Powell's Books — evoked nostalgic high school memories of after-school people watching, dangerous zoo-hill skateboarding, vagrant hassling, and perhaps least importantly, shelling out some of mom and dad's hard-earned money for a crappy slice of cafeteria-style pizza (see above). For many, Rocco's represented a time before the New York Times' fetishization of Portland's adorable quirkiness, a time when said quirkiness was perhaps less adorable.

That said, on this, the 14-month anniversary of its shutter (and cause, you know, Pizza Week), Eater would like to invite the sharing of your Rocco's memories — just hit up the comments. Because sometimes pizza is so bad, it's good.
· All Previous Rocco's Pizza Coverage [Eater PDX]

Image of Rocco's Pizza courtesy rorris via Flickr

Rocco's Pizza

926 W. Burnside St., Portland, OR