Rocca offers warm and welcoming hospitality paired with views of the Tampa skyline in an elegant setting in The Heights District. Chef Bryce Bonsack’s handmade pasta-focused menu features Italian fare using seasonal ingredients as its inspiration.
Chef Bryce Bonsack, Executive Chef/Partner
Chef Bryce Bonsack graduated from Tampa Catholic before he began working in restaurants while attending college at Auburn University. While working under Chef David Bancroft at Amsterdam Café, he made the decision to attend the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. While attending culinary school, Bryce interned under Chef Paul Liebrandt at Corton, a two-star Michelin-rated restaurant in New York City. He also interned under Chef Pano Karatassos at his flagship restaurant Kyma in Atlanta.
After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Bryce joined the team as one of three chefs at Blanca in Brooklyn. Under Chef Carlo Mirarchi, he rose from Chef de Partie to Sous Chef. During his time at Blanca, it was awarded its second star from the Michelin guide, and a third star from the New York Times. Upon returning to Tampa, Bryce decided to open a pasta-focused restaurant using the knowledge he gained working in New York.
He then decided to make the commitment to travel to Italy to see where all pasta originated and learn the techniques of the Italian kitchen. While in Italy, Bryce worked and lived with the Rocca family at their more than a century old restaurant, “Da Felicin” in Monforte d’ Alba, Piemonte. During his stay, he traveled to Liguria, Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, and Rome. Although his travels in Italy were extensive, he always looked forward to coming back to Monforte d’ Alba and the generosity of the Rocca family. Before he left, he asked the family if he could name his new restaurant Rocca, in honor of their amazing hospitality and the relationship they had made.
Andrew Harris, General Manager/Sommelier
The restaurant business has been a part of Andrew’s life before he was even born. In 1932, his grandfather, Porter Angel, opened Angel’s Dining car in Palatka, Florida. As Florida’s oldest dining car, it remains open to this day and is a landmark of central Florida.
Andrew began his restaurant career at the age of fifteen, working for “Rude” Roy Centenni at Canopies in Panama City, Florida. After working at Canopies through his high school years, Andrew left Panama City to study at Auburn University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management. Mr. Harris’s career and expertise has taken him around the country: from Amsterdam Café and Maestro 2300 in Auburn, Alabama, to The Ritz Carlton Hotel at The Reynolds Plantation; The Baltimore Country Club in Baltimore, Maryland, and to Café Thirty-A and Firefly in the Florida Panhandle. In 2009, Andrew attained the certificate of Certified Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers and has been living the passion of the wine business ever since.
Starting in 2013, Andrew moved to Atlanta to work for Anne Quatranno as the sommelier of Bacchanalia, Floataway Café, and Star Provisions, attaining a James Beard semi-finalist nomination in 2013 and 2014 for outstanding service. In 2018, Mr. Harris decided to move back to Florida and worked briefly with Maryann Ferenc at the Tampa icon, Mise en Place before joining the Rocca team.
Chef Nick Orr, Chef de Cuisine
Nick Orr’s restaurant career began when he was just fifteen years old. He worked directly under Chef Pano Karatassos at one of the top Greek restaurants in the nation, Kyma, in Atlanta. Over six years, Nick held every position of Kyma’s kitchen until he was promoted to Sous Chef.
In search of a new challenge, Nick moved to Manhattan to work under Chef Éric Ripert at the lauded three-star Michelin restaurant, Le Bernardin. Nick was then offered an amazing opportunity by his mentor, Chef Pano, to open Lobster Bar and Sea Grille in Miami with The Buckhead Life team.
Nick relocated to South Beach and worked for Chef Pano until joining the Rocca team. Chef Nick has worked and lived with the Rocca family in Monforte d’ Alba in the height of white truffle season, learning first hand the tasks of making fresh pasta, cleaning baskets of truffles, and living the Italian lifestyle.
Chelsea Esposito, Assistant Manager, Sommelier
A native to the Bay area, Chelsea has always been a part of local restaurant life. In fact her first job as a teenager was at her grandmother’s breakfast diner in Clearwater. While completing a Master’s degree in Ancient History at USF she worked at Ceviche in South Tampa as a server, which is when she discovered her passion for hospitality. During this time she traveled in Italy where her penchant for Italian dining was solidified.
Shortly after graduating she took a position at Annata Wine Bar in St. Petersburg and began study to become a Sommelier. Chelsea recently achieved the certified level through the Court of Master Sommeliers, and is excited to bring her wine knowledge as well as her devotion to excellent service to the Rocca team.