From busboy to restaurateur, Rocco Mangel is synonymous with tacos, tequila, and good times. His Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar empire – with six restaurants in Florida and one in Brooklyn, NY – is at the forefront of the Mexican cuisine game. Rocco is bringing it to your backyard one city at a time.
As a self-‐made man, Rocco has uncanny knack for making guests feel like they just arrived at the best party in town, a fiesta with Authentic Mexican food, handcrafted margaritas and your favorite music pumping through the speakers. When fans hear the buzzword “Tequila!” echo through the restaurant, everyone prepares for Rocco to take his spot on top of the bar: dancing in his legendary white shoes and pouring free rounds of tequila.
Tequila is a topic that Rocco takes very seriously. During a recent trip to Mexico, Rocco traveled to Guadalajara to study the agave spirit and obtained his Tequila Expert & Master Expert Catador authorized by Academia Mexicana de Catadores de Tequila A.C.
Born and raised in New York, Rocco grew up in the restaurant business. First, studying his grandfather’s prowess as general manager of New York City’s famed Copacabana Nightclub. In 1997, after a stint in the kitchen of his father’s Long Island restaurant he began his quest. With only $200 in his pocket, he headed south to West Palm Beach, Florida. His first break – being hired as a busboy at Big City Tavern, part of the Big Time Restaurant Group. Little did he know that this minimum wage gig would one day lead him to partnering with Big Time to open Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar.
Nine years and countless trips to Mexico later, the well-‐researched visionary opened his first restaurant, Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar, as co-‐owner and managing partner with Big Time Restaurant Group. The West Palm Beach location transformed Clematis Street almost overnight breathing new life into the community. Building off the popularity of the first restaurant, Rocco has since opened locations in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach Gardens, Orlando, Delray Beach and Brooklyn, NY. In 2018 the brand will be expanding to Hollywood/Fort Lauderdale International Airport and Tampa Bay.
Rocco is also a devoted father, a successful philanthroper, and earlier this year he announced that he was living with multiple sclerosis. By publicly sharing his diagnosis, Rocco hopes to let people to know that his life, and those of others with MS, can continue to thrive. Serving as a voice for MS Rocco has raised $220,000 for the National MS Society and in January 2018 he will receive the prestigious MS Society Hope Award. Prior to his work with the Society, he raised $200,000 for breast cancer research. He has also contributed time and money to the ALS Association, Leukemia/Lymphoma Society, Toys for Tots, Tri-‐ County Humane Society, March of Dimes, Palm Beach Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, KidsSafe, and other organizations.
Going back to when you first started with your organization to now, what has been your proudest personal accomplishment? MY DAUGHTER
What do you enjoy the most about your work? GETTING TO KNOW PEOPLE
Do you have a mentor; someone who has been there to guide you or consult with you when you needed their input? MY BUSINESS PARTNERS
You are out in the public arena quite often; who is the most interesting person you have ever met? MICHAEL JORDAN
What program with your organization do you get the most excited about? OPENING NEW STORES
How did you determine which charitable organizations you would support? THE ONES THAT I HAVE SOME CONNECTION TO.
Is there a charitable event(s) you really look forward to attending each year? THE MS WALK
How have things changed for you through the years? GETTING OLDER AND WISER LEARNIG FROM MY MISTAKES.
What is your greatest strength(s) that makes you such an asset to your organization? MY PERSONALITY.
What is your greatest challenge at this time? NEVER ENOUGH TIME IN THEM DAY.
What is your idea of perfect happiness? A DAY WITH MY DAUGHTER
What is the most important thing you have learned through the years? RESTRAINT TOF TONGUE AND PEN.
How do you relax? THE GYM
Do you have a favorite vacation spot? THE CARRIBEAN
What do you wish you could have a never-ending supply of? NUTELLA
If you found a treasure chest – and you could keep it, what would you want to be in it? MY HEALTH
How can we reach out to other people in the world? SOCIAL MEDIA
Is there an inspirational book you have read that you would recommend to others? THE ALCHEMIST
What can make you laugh? MY DAUGHTER
What can make you cry? MY DAUGHTER
Are you where you hoped you would be at this point in your life? YES
What do you still hope to accomplish? HELPING FIND A CURE FOR MS
Is there a fond childhood memory you can share with us? FIXING CARS WITH MY UNCLE
When you were a little boy, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up? ASTRONAUT
What is your vision and hope for the future? WORLD PEACE
What do you think is the biggest problem we are facing in this country today? THE PRESIDENT
How do you want to be remembered by future generations? PAYING IT FORWARD
What do your want your epitaph to read? “JUST WHISPER MY NAME AND I WILL BE THERE
Do you have a motto, or some words of wisdom, that has guided you through your life? LIVE EVERYDAY LIKE ITS MY LAST AND MAKE SURE IT’S NOT GOING TO BE
What word best describes your life right now? CONTENT
What charitable organizations are you involved with at this time? MS
If you were to write an autobiography, what would the title of it be? FAST FORWARD
Who is your hero? MY DAUGHTER
What is your idea of a perfect vacation? ANYWHERE ON A BEACH
What’s been the key to the success and growth of ----------? HIRING PEOPLE THAT KNOW MORE THAN ME
In order to thrive and survive in the corporate workplace, we sometimes have to desensitize ourselves in order to get ahead. Not being real and authentic, isn’t that a big sacrifice to make? IT WAS AT FIRST
How does one hold on to their true self in the corporate world and still become successful? NEVER FORGET WHERE YOU CAME FROM
How do you stay so motivated and committed? STRIVE TO BE BETTER THAN YESTERDAY
When does someone know when it’s time to move on? WHEN IT’S OVER
What are your favorite leisure time activities or hobbies? GYM
What is your favorite sport? AUTO RACING