By Larry Austin
Rocky's Pizza Too! is celebrating its fifth anniversary in business in Ransomville today.
Rocky's is a mom-and-pop business owned by Cheri and Gregg Surniak. Two years after opening Rocky's Island Pizza on Grand Island, the couple opened Rocky's Pizza Too! in Cheri's home hamlet with a grand opening celebration Sept. 2, 2010.
"It doesn't seem like five years really," Cheri said.
Part of the business success in the past five years stems from their belief in giving back to their neighbors. The Surniaks support community fundraisers and benefits.
"It's actually been better than we expected. We've done very well here," Cheri said of business. "We've met a lot of new people and helped out the community with different events."
"We appreciate the community everywhere supporting us," Gregg said. The Surniaks said they sometimes see the same people who eat lunch at the Island location stop at the Ransomville location for dinner.
Starting a business is a daunting task, but the Surniaks and their son, Jason, who manages the Ransomville operation, all had experience working in food service at the Seneca Niagara Casino before opening restaurants. Cheri has 30 years of experience in food service and restaurant management
When they were working at the casino, "we just had a brainstorm of trying to run our own business instead of always working for somebody," said Gregg, a Wilson native.
"Yeah, it was scary, but the bottom line is if you do it right, reinvest your money into your business, it pays off," Gregg said of going into business.
The Surniaks pride themselves on high standards both for the food and for a clean establishment. The Health Department inspector eats at Rocky's for lunch, Gregg said.
After finding success with their Grand Island pizzeria, they looked at other spots for a new pizzeria in the Lewiston and Wilson areas until the location at 2564 Academy St., former home of the North Country Deli, "kind of fell upon us," Cheri said.
One reason they like the Academy Street is because it's "a nice, quiet corner," Gregg said, but with a lot of parking.
Both Rocky's locations have their garlic bread knots, sweet sauce pizza, "kickin' " bourbon molasses wings and sweet chili, to name a few specialties. One thing the Surniaks learned right away is Ransomvillians love their french fries.
"Everything's with fries. You order a pizza, you got fries. You order wings, you got fries. You order subs, you got fries," Cheri said.
So Rocky's got fries, and Cheri invented Rocky's own signature versions: Fiesta fries, which Cheri called tacos on fries, have hot, medium, or mild sauce with taco meat, mozzarella or cheddar cheese, and hot peppers and sour cream; loaded fries, meanwhile, have ranch dressing with mozzarella or cheddar topped with bacon.
Rocky's Pizza Too! (www.RockysPizzaInc.com) is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m.