Rocco, Master Shucker
The raw bar at CRU is considered by many to be the restaurant’s signature, the place where fans don’t mind standing shoulder-to-shoulder, three-deep at the bar waiting for their turn to order. Overseeing it all is Rick Sorocco, better known as Rocco, responsible not only for every detail of the operation but also for its fun vibe. All of CRU’s raw bar items are shucked to order, never in advance, which means the shuckers need to be quick. How quick? CRU serves more than 200,000 oysters on the half-shell per year (actually, the restaurant is only open May thru October, a brief six months), so Rocco selects and trains his crew well. Still, Rocco remains the “master shucker,” a title bestowed by CRU’s partners—Jane, Erin, and Carlos—during the restaurant’s second season, in awe of his amazing prowess. Customers agree, returning as much for the pleasure of hanging out with Rocco as for the unparalleled offerings of the raw bar. The fact that he personally opens thousands of oysters every season—all while welcoming customers, answering questions, and making everyone feel like they’ve just stepped into the best party on the island—continually confirms his status. He does it all with style and grace, exactly what you’d expect from a former Eagle Scout.
Nantucket island was the perfect childhood home for someone who likes the natural world as much as Rocco. Nowadays, when CRU closes for the season, he spends two months commercial fishing for Nantucket Bay scallops. Like CRU’s three founders, Rocco loves to travel during the off-season and has spent quite a bit of time in Japan where he finds the food “inspiring,” giving him ideas to share with Chef Erin.