“This year, we are celebrating 35 years in operation,” says Victor Camilleri, proud that Ir-Rokna is now serving a third generation of clients. “It’s nice to see how clients who used to come to our restaurant in a pushchair are now bringing their own children. We are also, officially the oldest running pizzeria on the island.”
35 years in operation seems a lifetime in the catering industry - what has kept Ir-Rokna open?
“When we opened in 1975, there were only a few bars, some restaurants and a couple of discos in Paceville. This town has evolved immensely in the last 35 years.
"Our aim has always been to provide our clients with good quality food and excellent service in a relaxed atmosphere".
Our clients are the backbone of our business - from our first day of operation, we insisted that the most important thing is to make sure our clients are happy when they dine here.”
“Of course, as with any other business, we had our ups and downs. The worst setback was definitely the bomb that was placed in our establishment in 1980. We also had a hard time in the 1990s when Portomaso was being built right front of us - it took several years to finish. Those were hard times for us - for obvious reasons, our clients could not relax, both at our restaurant and our hotel. However, thanks to our hardworking and amazing team and our loyal customers we managed to move on.”
Ir-Rokna’s menu has also moved on.
“Our menu has changed over the years. And although we are renowned for our delicious pizza, which is baked in a wood-burning oven, there are other dishes which our clients return for. We are also the pioneers of pizza delivery in Malta, which we started in the mid-1980s.”
“My brother Anton and I are now handing over to the younger ones who have shown that they are ready to carry on from where we shall leave. Sadly my brother Patrick passed away last December - he was one of the pillars of our operation and he was part of the reason we survived for so long. His sons Jacques and Andre together with my younger brother John will be running the restaurant together with Brian, our manager who we consider as part of the family and Maria’s husband, Paolo the capo pizzaiolo. My daughter Stephanie will be running the administration of the company and Anton will be passing the running of the hotel to his daughters Fiona and Schevon.”
“We would like to thank all our clients who have accompanied us on our long journey. We understand family values and we shall continue to serve everyone as always - with open arms. We are also looking forward to seeing our children take over and continue the journey we started.