Zorro’s Villa Rosa opens in Rocklin

Italian restaurant finds new home following Roseville, Loomis locations
By: Andrew Westrope, Staff Writer
-A +A

It’s been 13 years since the last time Loomis resident Zarco Rozic opened a restaurant in a new location, and this month he will return to work with a new business in Rocklin.

A self-made Italian chef who learned his trade not from culinary school but from “the old country,” as he calls it, Rozic has reopened the same restaurant in various locations over the past 50 years, three in Roseville and one in Loomis, due to changing economic factors and a temporary retirement. Since its inception in 1962 he has called the restaurant “Zorro’s Villa Rosa” (Zorro is a better name than Zarco, he says), and it comes to Rocklin by both popular demand and force of habit.

Rozic’s wife, Sandra, said Zorro’s Villa Rosa first opened on Douglas Boulevard in Roseville, where it stayed for more than 20 years until the property owner sold the lease to a car dealership, forcing Rozic to relocate to Washington Boulevard. He relocated again to Orlando Way shortly thereafter, she said, until a floundering economy closed that restaurant, as well.

Rozic said he retired to a home in Loomis in 1994, and then bought property nearby that became another restaurant in 2000, which he has since sold to Matt Williams as “Café Zorro.”

With an old-fashioned work ethic and little else to do, Rozic took up a retirement project at 4800 Granite Drive, Suite B.

“I like Rocklin. I hang out quite a bit around Rocklin, so I might as well open business,” he said. “I’m 80 years old now, I figure a few more years, somebody else (might come around).”

Sandra said Rozic enjoyed cooking from a young age and was good at it, having learned the art from various jobs in Italy. Rozic said he left Rome for the U.S. as a young man and took jobs in cities across the country, from New York to Chicago to Portland, staying no more than six months in each, finally landing outside Sacramento in the early 1960s and deciding to open his own restaurant.

Sandra, who said she occasionally helps out but otherwise leaves business matters to her husband, saw Rozic getting restless after trying to retire from a lifetime of cooking.

“Part of it is, I guess he kind of got bored no longer working at the other restaurants,” she said. “He’s kind of social, so he likes to be around people, and I think a lot of it is that, and then he misses old customers and old friends, and they were asking him to open up again.”

Still waiting on a liquor license but otherwise itching to work in his new kitchen, Rozic said last week he expected to open in a matter of days. The event will be a special but familiar occasion to him, another new enterprise in a line of old traditions.

“I’ve been in business 52 years, I’ll be married 50 years in December, I have a couple kids, and I always make Italian food and pizza,” he said. “I don’t know, it’s just a habit I guess.”