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Aug 2, 2008 05:51 AM

Anyone tried Rockwood Filling Station in Durham?

I read a snippet about it in the paper the other day, but couldnt' find much online. What I did see was complimentary, but also stated that they had no liquor license yet. Anyone been? Anyone know if we'd still need to BYOB?

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  1. I had dinner there last night and lunch today.

    Five of us arrived for dinner at about 6:30pm and learned that there was a 45-minute wait for indoor seating. The patio, however, had an immediate opening, so we took it.

    Service was prompt and very, very competent--no surprise, we later learned, since our waiter turned out to be the co-owner (with Scott Howell). Four opted for the $6 Chianti, and I chose the $6 Sauvignon Blanc. The wine was served in juice glasses, which were actually quite effective and less fussy than standard stemware. I heard no comments on the Chianti; the SB was fine, if not exceptional. Mixed drinks are also available, including some dangerous-sounding concoctions. Full bar by all appearances.

    All of us ordered pizze: one chicken liver and onions (on the recommendation of Craig and Seth at Wine Authorities across the street), one ham and egg, a white pie, a marinara (no cheese) and one I'm not sure of. They also offer appetizers, sandwiches, salads and a build-your own pizza option.

    It took about 20 minutes for the pies to arrive. I was delighted with my marinara. The crust was thin and crisp, the tomato sauce sparingly applied but very tasty, and it was decorated with halved roma tomatoes, baked garlic, onions and fresh herbs. The approximately 12" pie was quartered, making folded pieces the best option for those of us who eschew attacking pizza with tools.

    The meat eaters were happy with both the ham and egg and chicken liver options. The fried eggs were placed off center so quartering wouldn't cut into the yokes, the ham looked pancetta like, and they hoovered it all. The true chicken liver aficionado thought that frying did the liver injustice, but he still liked the pie just fine. All I can say is that, thankfully, I couldn't smell them.

    The pies ranged from $8 to $12, and the sensible eaters had some to take home. I did not. Ambiance wise, the patio was pleasant enough, despite some flies, and the service was excellent.

    My SO liked her white pie enough last night to suggest Rockwood for lunch today. At 1:00pm there was plenty of indoor seating, and we got a nice spot close to the big windows at the corner. The interior is mostly understated and a little industrial--in keeping with the pizzeria theme. A number of people were dining with their children, so I suppose there was some excuse for the two TVs tuned to NASCAR. At least the volume was either very low or off, and we were seated where they weren't in our line of sight.

    My daughter ordered the eggplant luv pizza, which in addition to the aforementioned had onions, garlic, mozzarella and ricotta. She was delighted with it. Two others had the mozzarella and tomato salad with caramelized onions, which received high marks other than a few less than perfect tomato slices. I had the PLT (pancetta) with white bean and arugula salad, all of which I found to be excellent. The pizza was $12, the PLT $7.50, and the salads $8.

    Iced tea glasses stayed full, and the service was again excellent. We'll definitely be back. The pizze we tried easily trump Brixx in Meadowmont, the prices are reasonable, and there's considerable subtlety to the seasoning. I think it's a hit.

    1 Reply
    1. re: dschoonmaker

      Great, thanks so much for the report. Especially glad to hear that they've gotten the booze license thing fixed!

    2. Went to lunch with coworkers on Friday and liked it so went back for dinner the next night.I had the white pie for lunch and then for dinner I had a ceasar salad, made our own pizza with the housemade sausage and roasted eggplant, and the housemade white chocolate and key lime pie ice cream. A big thumbs up on the food. They are definitely still working out the kinks on service (didn't get our wings that we ordered as an app, brought our check without asking if we wanted dessert) but I have a feeling they'll get that straightened out soon. This place is definitely a good addition to the Durham food seen and will be around a long time. The only suggestion I would have is to expand the menu. It's too lunchy right now with just pizzas, sandwiches, and salads. How about a pasta dish with some of that awesome sausage, for example?

      1. Had lunch at the Rockwood Filling Station today and will definitely go back! Ordered the arugula salad that was dressed with a fantastic lemon vinaigrette w/ toasted pine nuts - YUM!

        Also had the ham & egg pizza.....seemed a bit odd to have pizza (or pizze in this case) with an egg on top, but it really added a fantastic rich dimension to the pie. The pie was perfectly cooked, light crispy crust and just enough sauce to add solid tomato flavor without being to heavy. Very generous portion and I think I'll be having the rest for a snack in 30 minutes! The sauce was maybe a tad on the sweet side for my taste but not to the point that I wouldn't gladly order another pizze from them!

        My friend had the margherita and enjoyed his as well. However, same comment from him regarding the slight sweetness of the sauce.

        Service was as expected, courteous and prompt. Seems that they've been able to perfect the art of cooking in a wood-fired oven....I have read earlier reports of charred or raw pizzes. I'm happy to report everything today was topnotch.

        Prices as reported are reasonable at $8-10 for "their" pies or $8 plus $1 or $2 per topping to create your own.

        I think it will be interesting to see if they do begin to expand their menu to include more dinner type offerings - a logical next step would be osteria type offerings.

        Seems like Durham has itself another winner!

        Congrats and best wishes to John & Scott in their new venture

        1. I can't find a website for the place and am wondering if they're open Sundays. Anyone know off the bat if they do dinner that night? I'm very interested in trying it.

          2 Replies
          1. re: LulusMom

            from the carpedurham website: Rockwood Filling Station Hours of Operation:
            Sun, Tue-Thu 11am-2pm, 5pm-10pm
            Fri-Sat 11am-2pm, 5pm-midnight
            Closed Mondays

            I would call ahead to make sure....

          2. My wife and I went a couple of weeks ago (7/26) with some high hopes for good pizza, but we left disappointed for a variety of reasons.

            First when we arrived, the hostess was too busy chatting with someone she knew there to help people that were coming inside to get a table. After around 5 minutes, she helped the four of us that had been waiting for her just to take our names down. We were told 10-15 minutes since there were just two of us so we went outside and sat on the stairs to wait.

            Quite a while later, after seeing other groups that came well after us get seated, the hostess finally comes out to us and says that she hadn't seen us, even though we hadn't moved from where we were sitting, and she had never called out my name if she didn't see me. So it took around 30 minutes to get seated, which was a little slow compared to what we were told.

            Once we sat down (it was a bit hard to get to our seats, they need a better traffic pattern in there), we ordered the meatballs and then one pizza each (the eggplant for her, and the ham and egg for me). The meatballs came fairly quickly and were tasty, but there was a lot of extra sauce there and no bread or other starch to soak it up with. Adding that would make that appetizer, or just the wait overall, much better.

            Once our pizzas arrived, they looked good but once we inspected them closer, there were some issues. Both were charred on one side, but barely even browned on the other side. The level of char was pretty good, but the other side wasn't cooked nearly enough. Maybe they are still tweaking the oven, but they need to be cooked more evenly all around. Her eggplant was also far too soggy, and my ham and egg had too much ham (I know most people would want as much meat as you can get, but it just overpowered everything else), but the cheese was fantastic. Having to cut it with a knife and fork was a pain as well and I would have them cut it in the future.

            For dessert we went with the Bailey's Coffee Crunch ice cream, which had looked great from the minute we got the menu. There's no way to describe the ice cream other than a total disaster. Icy, not creamy, with very little flavor, blueberries that added nothing to enhance the flavor (blueberries + coffee/baileys?), and it made me long for the Haggen Dasz that we had at home in the freezer. Even the small cookie that came with the ice cream (which our waitress insisted was fantastic and freshly made when we ordered) was neither freshly made nor amazing.

            The meal went downhill from the appetizer, and I can't see myself going back. No alcohol and a bill past $40 isn't a good value to me at all, and the food wasn't close to the level of the price. They have a lot of things they can work out and things will improve, but it would take a lot of good reviews before I would return.