OSHKOSH (NBC 26) — Many people dream of a peaceful, quiet retirement, but not Rocky Pedersen.
“Everybody thought I was crazy," he said. "This is my retirement. I’ve been through the rings at McDonald’s, and I’ve owned bars and grilles and supper clubs. I’m in my 60s now and I wanted something to do. I don’t have a lot of hobbies like fishing or camping or golfing."
Always wanting his own restaurant, Pedersen opened Rocky’s Taco and Sub Shop last November.
“When he told us, it kind of surprised us," said Greg Gorgolis. "He’s been in the business a long time, kind of stepped away for a bit.”
Gorgolis, Pedersen’s son-in-law, has owned Niko’s Gyros, located just half a mile down the road from Rocky's, for 23 years. Although not related by blood, owning restaurants seems to run in the family.
“I kind of grew up in it," said Gorgolis. "Restaurants have been something that we’ve done since my parents moved from Greece.”
Amid the challenges of operating a small businesses during a global pandemic, family help is just what the two needed.
“You always kind of rely on people regardless," said Gorgolis. "In community, in life. When you have somebody to share business, you can learn from each other, let alone if you run out of things it’s nice to not have to wait for the truck the next day."
“It’s great having him because he can help me out, I can help him out," said Pedersen. "I was over there making gyros one day and he comes over here and slices up some stuff and work together.”
Pedersen’s next dream: perhaps follow in his son-in-law’s footsteps and open a second Rocky's in Appleton, but for now, he's focused on this store.
“I’m kind of old, I’m happy with just one location and focusing on this and getting this business to grow and come along, and we’ll see what happens.”
Rocky's is open every day of the week except Monday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and they close at 3 p.m. on Sundays.
Niko's is open Sunday through Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m.