The team from Rocco’s Bologna Discoteca will soon say “arrivederci e grazie”, announcing the pop-up will end on Sunday June 21.

The takeaway Italian sandwich shop, which is hidden behind a boarded-up worksite on Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, was only ever meant to exist as long as Covid-19 delayed the owners’ plans to open a fully-fledged European bistro.

“We’ve absolutely loved it and had heaps of fun,” says Emilio Scalzo, who co-owns the shop with Zoë Rubino. “We knew our sandwiches were bloody tasty, but we’ve been super surprised and humbled by how much support we’ve received.”

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Next month, the pair will open Poodle Bar & Bistro in the same building, using the kitchen Rocco’s has been operating out of since April.

“Poodle has been a very long time in the making, with many setbacks along the way,” says Scalzo. “Rocco’s was certainly a silver lining … The most enjoyable part for us has been allowing ourselves to have some fun with the brand, not taking ourselves too seriously and letting the team’s humour shine through.”

If you’ve yet to try one of head chef Josh Fry’s cheesy, saucy rolls stuffed with fried bologna, meatball subs, and bone-marrow garlic bread – or as he calls it “Italian Macca’s” – there’s still time.

The shop will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday this week and next.

For those who don’t know, bologna is a smoked, mortadella-like ground-pork sausage. Fry (who’s cooked at Andrew McConnell eateries Marion and Cumulus Inc), slices it, fries it and sticks it in a fluffy Martin’s potato roll with pickles, chilli and provolone, or green olives and mozzarella.

Soon, he and the rest of the Rocco’s team will be in the kitchen at Poodle. But there may be more luncheon meat on the horizon.

“We are keen as mustard to find a permanent spot for Rocco to get on the pots and pans again,” says Scalzo. “We have a few leads, so watch this space.”

For now, you can still order Rocco’s online for delivery, or swing by for takeaway.

All you have to do is knock on the door labelled “Rocco’s Bologna Discoteca”.

Rocco’s Bologna Discoteca is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday until June 21. Poodle Bar & Bistro is coming soon.

roccosbolognadiscoteca.com