Remembering Rocky: The man behind the famous pizza

Jun 19, 2019 419

BY: Sara Konrad Baranowski

If there were an official food of Iowa Falls – a signature dish – surely it would be Rocky’s Pizza. And if the Scenic City had an icon, it would almost certainly be the man who tossed that pizza dough in the air. The one who made friends with everyone he encountered, and who, after more than a decade of service in local government, was still fiercely loved. It would be the heart behind the pizza: Rocky Lavalle.

Lavalle, a New York native-turned-rural Iowa celebrity, died Friday. He was 93 years old. Rocco Lavalle was born to Italian immigrant parents in New York City in 1925. At age 12, he was working for his father, carrying blocks of ice on his shoulder up five flights of stairs for a one-cent tip. When he’d pocketed 10 cents, he went to the movies.

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