Alex Rocco might just be the youngest liquor store owner in town. At 25, Rocco said his goal was to open his first business before turning 25, and he made it. By four days!
Rocks Wine & Spirits, at 140 Hamilton Avenue in Chickahominy opened in March 2023 and has become a hit.
The name of the store is a play on words, many words. The building is made of stone. His name is Rocco. A block away is St. Roch’s Church. But also, many order their drinks ‘on the rocks.’
Mr. Rocco sells beer, wine and spirits, but because of space constraints he offers custom ordering for customers.
“If a customer comes in here and needs anything I don’t carry, I’m happy to bring it in,” he said, adding that he deliberately keeps the store open and uncluttered.
The space, which was previously home to a bodega called The Corner Market, has been beautifully renovated.
The building itself, which dates back to 1911, was made from locally quarried stone and was carefully preserved.
“This is Byram rock,” Mr. Rocco said.
Typically there is parking available right out front, where there is also a bus stop.
Mr. Rocco said he already has regular customers, including people whose preferences he knows by heart.
“I know customers now, to where I see their car pull up and grab their bottle or their off the shelf. There’s five or six frequent customers who will pull up right in front and I’m ready to take care of them.”
Rocco grew up in White Plains and went on to study at the Culinary Institute of America Hyde Park, NY, where the curriculum included courses on wine.
While he enjoyed being hands on in the kitchen, he fell in love with the wine courses and has dreams of heading to Napa Valley wine country to further explore that passion.
“At the liquor store I love helping people pair wine with their food,” he said.
After culinary school, Rocco worked at The Inn at Pound Ridge by Jean-Georges in Bedford, NY. Later he became a chef at the critically acclaimed Babbo Ristorante in Manhattan.
Then, sadly, Covid happened, leaving Rocco like millions of restaurant workers jobless.
Returning to Greenwich eager to work, Rocco’s enthusiasm – which is evident the minute you meet him – resulted in a volunteer effort that made a difference in people’s lives.
He and his sister Cristina, a special education teacher in New Rochelle, started CT Central Kitchen, a non-profit to feed Bridgeport residents “a hot plate of food when needed most.”
The siblings prepared thousands of hot relief meals and the effort was featured extensively in local media. All the more impressive, Mr. Rocco was just 22 at the time.
He and his sister were able to raise $14,000 via GoFundMe. They cooked chicken, rice and beans in a family friend’s restaurant kitchen. They were also able to borrow their friend’s food truck to bring the meals to Bridgeport.
The effort was a huge success, but Rocco said it hinged on making a connection with Chris Rosario, a Representative for Bridgeport’s 128th Assembly District, who connected Rocco and his sister with churches and non profits so they made stops at “all the right places.”
“The residents were very receptive,” he said.
Today, Mr. Rocco said he is enjoying running his new liquor store.
“I like my customers – they’re the local people from Chickahominy, but also a lot of town employees who I give 10% discounts.”
Mr. Rocco also offers discounts on cases.
Rock’s Wine & Spirits is located at 140 Hamilton Avenue in Greenwich.
Tel (203) 900-1440
Email: [email protected]
Monday through Saturday: 10:00am – 9:00pm
Sundays 11:00am to 6:00pm