Why Pan Pizza?
Why pizza in a pan?
The product story.
The square pan we use is integral to how we make Rocky’s pizza.
We’ve been making “pan style pizza” since 1974. At Rocky’s it is both the style of pizza and the pan we use that makes our pizza truly unique.
Our pan style pizza, though a form original to Chicago, is created from our proprietary metal pans. They are where our dough can chill, proof and eventually rise in the oven – at a much slower rate than thin crust pizzas and even other thick crusted ones. Our distinct thick crust needs this kind of pan because it keeps the yeast colder longer, giving the crust more time to rise in the oven. We press out our dough fresh every day and let the dough rise in the refrigerator before baking it.
Our founder Roger Brown’s father, Harold Brown, designed and stamped the company’s first pans by hand in his small metal spinning shop on the south side of Chicago. We started with about 200 pans made this way and now have thousands in circulation throughout our 11 stores in Madison, Sun Prairie and LaCrosse. We now use sandcast aluminum pans made by a local foundry in Madison, Wisconsin.
These square pans are key to how Rocky’s pizza taste and are specifically designed for slices. They’ve lasted decades – the company never throws old pans out or orders new ones, so if your parents ate pizza at Rocky’s when they were in college, it’s likely the pizza you’re eating today was made with those same pans.
Our dough is never frozen or pre-made. Our bakers come in eight hours before we open our stores to press out the dough and oil the pans. We proof the dough, then add sauce and cheese throughout the day as needed.
Rocky’s remains a family business with Roger Brown and his wife and business collaborator of 45 years, Pat Charley, continuing to run the day-to-day operations of First Madco Rocky Rococo Restaurants. Our dough recipe was created by Brown, and Charley developed the sauce, sausage, and cheese blends along with all of Rocky’s specialty pizzas.