Restaurateur Maintains Ties with Homeland

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Newly married Pellegrino Polo was in his mid-20s when his father decided to move their family from Italy to Netcong, N.J., in search of new opportunities. Eventually, his family saved enough money to start their own Italian restaurant, named after Pellegrino's father, Stefano. Pellegrino later decided to close the original restaurant in order to open a new one in a better location, and for the past 19 years he's been successfully running Rose's Place, named after his mother.

Pellegrino gets up at 4:30 every morning to open up the restaurant, where he works 7 days a week, 363 days a year. "Only on Christmas and Easter does he close the restaurant," said his son, Stefano. Despite his busy schedule, Pellegrino, now 56, has not forgotten the people he left behind in Italy.

During his limited free time every evening, Pellegrino loves using Facebook to stay in touch with relatives, many of whom he has reconnected with after several decades apart. Every night he habitually checks the profiles of his Italian family and friends to see if they've updated their statuses, posted new notes, or shared links to interesting articles they've found on the Internet.
Pellegrino Polo at Rose's Place
He also loves looking at family pictures, some of which he prints out to display or show his mother, who misses life in Italy.

Pellegrino's active Facebook presence has even allowed his children to connect with family members and distant relatives they've never met in person, some of whom are fairly distantly related.

In addition to staying in touch with friends and family in Italy, Pellegrino uses a Facebook Page to connect with the patrons of Rose's Place. His customers regularly contribute ideas for menu additions, share memories from their times at the restaurant or write notes to the Polo family on the Facebook Page for Rose's Place. The results of Pellegrino's dedication to his restaurant can be seen in the comments.

"I am a woman in a rush, and every morning the infamous Pellegrino has my breakfast waiting," wrote one customer. "His great service is just a little hint to all of you out there to go to Rose's Place…it's like eating with your family!"

After starting from humble beginnings, Pellegrino Polo has built a successful life for himself and his family in New Jersey. With Facebook as a valuable link between his past and his future, he's able to stay connected to his roots in Italy while also building on the relationships that have made Rose's Place such a success.

Sara, an intern on Facebook's communications team, wants her father to create a Facebook account.

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