Rossano’s Pizza returns to Delray Beach after pizza camper crash


One year after Marcelo Rossano lost his vintage pizza camper in a car wreck, the grand rebirth of Rossano’s Pizza 2.0 started, as usual, with another setback.

In late April, Rossano tried firing up Naples-style pizza at a spot on North Federal Highway — and then promptly shut everything back down. No electricity flowed to his camper in this Delray Beach parking lot, and the strip mall’s landlord couldn’t fix it.

“I said to myself, ‘I’m cooking no matter what,’ ” Rossano recalls. “I already put on Facebook that we’re starting tonight.”

He dashed off a Facebook update to hungry customers. The reopening of Rossano’s Pizza would now happen at a new venue: the driveway of his house. Dozens of neighbors and Delray followers swarmed his pizzeria-on-wheels. Even Nicole Maradona, niece of Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona, stopped by to try the pizza and admire a 6-foot-tall mural of her uncle painted on the side of the camper. (”El Diego” played seven years in Naples and became an honorary citizen of the Italian city.)

If Rossano felt sentimental — and he did — it’s because he remembered how his pizzeria, and his livelihood, nearly ended in disaster.

After cooking pies all evening outside a Wynwood art gallery in April 2021, the pizzamaker had closed up shop and turned out of his parking space. Within seconds, a sedan smashed into the side of his camper. Rossano was unhurt, but his then-new pizzeria lay on the side of the road, totaled, wiring and kitchen equipment spilling out of the undercarriage.

After the destruction of Rossano’s camper came an unexpected outpouring of support. The Delray Beach community he served had, in two days, fundraised more than $13,000 to help him buy another one.

Now, a year later, the same Delray community showed up at his house for the impromptu pizza party.

“I have customers now who came from before the crash, and they’re proud we’re back in business,” Rossano tells the Sun Sentinel. “Others supported us because of the accident and they had never even tried the pizza. Now they’re trying it and loving it.”

After April’s false start, Rossano’s Pizza is back to slinging 700-degree-fired, Neapolitan-style pies at its new permanent location: the rear parking lot at Hopportunities, a Delray Beach beer and wine hall.

Rossano’s Pizza 2.0, a 22-foot-long Airstream Argosy trailer, is more than twice the size of his last camper, a white 9-footer that fans affectionately called a “mozzarella ball on wheels.” This rebuilt 1970s camper resembles an oversized sky-blue pill, with bronze trim along the trailer’s bottom lip and the larger-than-life Maradona mural emblazoned in gold-leaf paint near the order window. The rear bumper bears the colors of the Italian flag.

Rossano dubs it a rolling tribute to his half-Italian heritage, the sky-blue matching “the color of Napoli soccer shirts,” says Rossano, 46, who is half-Uruguayan and emigrated from Montevideo in 1999.

Aboard the camper, Rossano and his wife, Sharon Cherry, and 4-year-old daughter, Romina, greet customers every Wednesday through Sunday, selling 60 to 80 Neapolitan pies fired out of a new Marana Forni oven imported from Italy.

“It’s a more relaxing environment to work. It’s spacious in there,” Rossano says. “I have the perfect space to work now, and I have my wife and daughter every day there.”

South Florida’s summertime heat still hasn’t cramped Rossano’s renaissance. They sold out of pies every weekend in June. Its popularity even tempted Louie Bossi himself to stop by and sample the competition.

“It’s come full circle for us,” says Cherry, 49, who does marketing for a digital media agency by day and serves pizza at night. “He’s getting a lot of first-timers. Usually they see the pizza he’s serving right that second, and they don’t know it’s restaurant-quality. But they order it because it looks good.”

“And sometimes there are crickets at the window, too,” Rossano adds, with a chuckle.

By the time Delray Beach customers had started a GoFundMe account to replace the wrecked camper, the Rossanos had already invested much of their life savings. Running a mobile pizzeria had been a Plan B for Rossano, an Atlantic Avenue restaurant veteran (Tramonti, Che!, Casa L’Acqua Ristorante Italiano) who lost his job during the pandemic as general manager of the now-closed Sardinia Enoteca Ristorante.

Fundraising from Rossano’s fans represented a final lifeline. In May 2021, the family drove up to Orlando, bought a broken husk of an Airstream trailer and hauled it back on the flatbed of an 18-wheeler.

Calling this second camper a fixer-upper was an understatement. It needed an overhaul, starting with fresh tires, followed by cabinets, plumbing, electricity, air conditioning and refrigeration.

“We brought it to this professional builder in Hialeah, we gave a down payment and two weeks go by, nothing done,” Rossano recalls. “The excuses start. ‘I don’t have enough people because of COVID.’ ‘I’ll get it done in six weeks.’ We ended up getting screwed.”

Rossano, who is handy but not a handyman, decided enough was enough. “Marcelo took it on himself to find the refrigeration, the A/C, the oven from Italy, and install it all himself,” Cherry says.

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After the strip-mall debacle in April, they needed a new place to park the restored camper. So Rossano called John Macatangay, owner of Hopportunities, which had hosted a GoFundMe event for Rossano’s Pizza in 2021.

“Marcelo is such a warmhearted dude. Of course I said yes,” Macatangay says. “You can see the passion he has for his truck and his pizza, and he definitely rebuilt it by hand. But I think he has the best pizza in the county. It somehow even tastes better than last year.”

For now, Rossano’s Pizza will dish Neapolitan pies in six different configurations ($16-$18 for a 12-inch), although its most popular is the San Gennaro, with tomatoes, basil, mozzarella and generous ribbons of prosciutto.

There’s also the Veggie One, topped with zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, artichokes, stracciatella and a fig balsamic reduction, and the Toto, with smoked mozzarella, sausage, broccoli rabe and garlic. He says Italian natives often request specialty pies, such as a white pizza with provolone, ricotta, mortadella and ground pistachios.

In early July, the pizzeria will grow its reach through Delivery Dudes, which can deliver Rossano’s pies to west Delray, Boynton Beach and Boca Raton.

“Someone told me the day after my accident, he told me, ‘You will never understand why the crash happened, but you’ll look back and see it’s the best thing that happened to you,’” Rossano says. “I didn’t believe him then. But I believe him now.”

Rossano’s Pizza, at 440 NE Fifth Ave., in Delray Beach (parked at Hopportunities beer hall), is open 4 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. Call 561-406-0101 or visit or

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