Rocco’s Restaurant – Goochland


With a capricious swipe of their sickle and a slam of the hammer the Communistwealth of Virginia has brought free choice to an end at Rocco’s in Goochland County. Rocco’s is a main stay restaurant for the county.  Up until last week dinners could pick between a sprawling non smoking dinning area or its smaller separate smoking cousin.

In addition to these dining options Rocco’s also has another separate room for the bar area.

In these tough economic times all was going well for this hard working restaurateur. They maintained a clean safe healthy environment; served quality food provided excellent service and enjoyed a thriving bar business. Customer satisfaction was high and life was good. Why wouldn’t it be? Rocco’s was supplying a demand few else in the county would. Not only did they serve non smokers but they also welcomed those second class citizens know as smokers (helping keep the riff raff off the streets).

Things were going a little too well for Rocco’s. But not to worry, in rides the state health department. If they were checking refrigerator temperatures or cleanliness I would have said OK. But no, they were more concerned about a wisp of smoke in the air. Keep in mind neither of these smoking areas were adjacent to the non smoking area. With some lame excuse about ventilation Rocco’s is now left to watch the business they worked so hard for begin to erode. The once thriving bar was like a ghost town during my last visit.

They are now left to watch sadly while the dollars they worked so hard for migrate across county lines.

One has to wonder what is it Virginia has against the small business owner.

Why is it people can’t be left alone to engage in a perfectly legal activity on private property.

The reign of Kaine is over, but the pain remains.

Isn’t it time that Bob McDonald clarified what the health department priorities should and shouldn’t be? Is Virginia opened for business or just big business and big pharmaceutical?

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7 Responses

  1. OMG, this makes me absolutely ill! I am actually saddened by the fact that I thought there might be some positive change with the new Gov. i.e., he might just turn his head on this ludicrous ban until he had the time to address the ridiculous nature of the ban and ultimately reverse it. Oh well, that’s what one gets for thinking.

    Guess the days of being protected from food poisoning are over, if it’s a restaurant that permits smoking. I’m shaking my head in disgust! Keep up the great work “Big Brother”!!

    I’m so sorry this has happened to Rocco’s and I will always applaud them for giving us underdogs the opportunity to enjoy our rights as smokers.

  2. I don’t know when you went but we went 2 weeks ago and it was packed in there. I think the non-smokers are so happy that it went non-smoking which I am. Evidently you don’t know how bad the smoke smells in there and as someone who suffers from asthma that has been triggered by smoking smells its wonderful not to have to worry about have an attack triggered.

    • Hi Elaine:

      I’m sorry to hear you suffer from asthma. I do understand that a smoking environment is not for everyone. Rocco’s did however reserve the best dinning area for non smokers. If you wanted to use the bar I could see where that would be a problem. I could also see how strobe lights in a dance hall may not work out well for epileptics. Just not ready to see it outlawed. It really should be up to the owner what’s best for their business. It’s up to all of us to pick the venue that serves us best. I believe you are intelligent enough to do that. Others think your not and need the government to do it for you.

      I was back in Rocco’s since my last I wrote this post. It was another slow night. I asked the wait staff if the loss of smoking was hurting their business and they confirmed that it was. They are working to get things up to specs to be able to serve both smokers and non smokers. I have no problem with smoking bans imposed by the owners of a given business not government.

  3. I would think it was the several weeks of snow that put off business not the smoking ban. The night we went there was only a couple spaces left, the bar was packed and so were the dining areas. We did get about 3 feet of snow this winter so I really think that had more to do with it but we could debate this all day and never resolve anything. You have your opinion and I have mine which is the life is.

    • Your right, we could. The wait staff is the best judge. Did I mention that they said that it’s hurting their business. That’s not opinion, that’s hard numbers.

  4. Late Breaking News July 25th, 2010

    Return of Rocco’s to The List. The management of Rocco’s has informed us that they will be reinstating their smoking section next weekend. We at smokefreelyva are thrilled that this ordeal is over and hope buissness can return to normal.

    Please pay Rocco’s a visit and thank them for their perseverance. They can really use our support now to help make up for all those dry months.

    Congratulations Rocco’s, from Smokefreelyva.

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