CLEVELAND -- Chef Rocco Whalen is opening a new restaurant inside Horseshoe Cleveland when the casino opens in May.
Rosie & Rocco's will be the third local eatery to join the casino's food court, alongside iconic deli Corky & Lenny's and Iron Chef Michael Symon's B Spot.
The new restaurant, named in honor of Whalen's mother and inspired by his family's Italian roots, will feature the freshest Italian flavors and comfort fare.
Photos: Chef Rocco Whalen's new restaurant at the Q
Whalen will continue to demonstrate his skill for pairing traditional foods with modern creativity at Rosie & Rocco's.
The restaurant features pizzas, a meatball bar, selections of antipasti, and hand-made pasta dishes.
"Since I was eight years old, my mother has been the inspiration for my cooking and has positively influenced me throughout my life," Whalen said, of his late mother Rosie.
Whalen's new restaurant will employ up to 30 people and will source its farm fresh, quality ingredients from local growers and purveyors.
Whalen's culinary career launched after working five years alongside Wolfgang Puck in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix. Whalen opened his flagship restaurant, Fahrenheit, in 2002 in Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood.
Whalen also launched an official Fahrenheit food truck, "ShortRib1," which provides a feast of savory creations in Cleveland neighborhoods and also offers catering.
In 2010, he opened Rocco's inside Quicken Loans arena, which caters to professional sports fans, special event and concert goers.
The quick-serve menu will highlight traditional Italian preparations especially utilizing local, fresh ingredients including roasted chicken, mozzarella stuffed meatballs, and Whalen's signature hand-tossed crispy crust pizza with sausage, pancetta and sunny-side-up eggs.
"Adding Rosie & Rocco's to our food court is a significant step toward keeping this development 100 percent focused on our host city," said Marcus Glover, general manager of Horseshoe Cleveland.