|OpenTable - Diners Choice Best of Orlando / Central Florida East Best Overall Restaurants
Best Overall, Best Food, Best Service, Best Ambiance, & Best Value
|2017 Good Food 100 Restaurants list|
|Orlando's Best Restaurants: Top-Tier Tables to Lauded Local Faves|
|Fordor's Travel - Fodor's Choice for Restaurant in Orlando, Florida|
|College Park Community Paper Best of 32804 (2015) - Best Date Night|
|College Park Community Paper Best of 32804 (2013) - Best Date Night|
A fervent cadre of regular diners at K Restaurant in College Park make a point of asking to be served by Anthony Mazza. “Where’s Rocky?” they’ll ask, although it’s usually very evident when he’s in the house. His distinctive voice is hard to miss.
“I was talking in the airport in New York City,” the 60-year-old Mazza says. “And this woman spun around and said, ‘You’re that famous waiter.’ I told her, ‘Yes, I am.’”
Rocky, whose family comes from Calabria and Abruzzi, Italy, started in the food business when he was a 15-year-old dishwasher at an Orlando establishment called Yankee Lobster Pot. Stints at Mack Meiner’s Cafe Society Restaurant (busboy) and Steak 'n Shake (server) led to a job as the youngest culinary waiter at the fabled Villa Nova, where he made Caesar salads and flambéed cherries jubilee at tableside. There was the Navy after high school, jobs in New York and San Francisco, all what he calls his “wild years” before a settling down—of sorts—as a costume-wearing, outrageous waiter at the casual but otherwise low-key Harvey’s Bistro downtown.
“I got up on the bar and danced in very high heels one night when Elton John was in town,” he says, his barking laugh filling the room. “The Harvey’s folks actually fired me three times, then begged me to come back three times when customers stopped coming.” The self-proclaimed “memory expert … I create memories” has been known to dress up as a Christmas tree and the Pope when the mood and opportunity strikes. “I get to know people. I usually only have 45 minutes to connect as much as I can.”
Things are a little more sedate at K, even with Rocky’s full-voiced repartee and occasional song. “I’ve known Kevin [Fonzo, the chef/owner] since 1988 at the B-Line Diner at the Peabody,” Rocky says. “But they don’t exactly cotton to the costumes here.” He still carries a couple in his car, just in case.
“I’ve led a very colorful life,” says Rocky, who has been writing a one-man show for 15 years. “This is me.” krestaurant.net —J.H
Orlando Magazine May-2017
Orlando Magazine - 2017 Dining Awards Hall of Fame
College Park Community Paper Best of 32804 (2015) - Favorite Server
College Park Community Paper Best of 32804 (2013) - Most Requested Server Runner-Up