Pellegrino’s Family Business Passes the Torch – Special Thanks to Dad, by: Maria Pellegrino
If you have ever had the pleasure of enjoying a meal provided by Sam Pellegrino, you know he has a gift. My dad was born with a love for food; he grew up cooking for everyone – family, friends, even Generals in the Army. He dreamed that one day he would own his own restaurant. That dream came true in 1980. The restaurant was called The Harborside (located inside Yard Birds in downtown Olympia). His business model was to give great food at a moderate price, and always to give a little more than expected.
Catering came several months later when a local restaurateur asked him to cater his wedding. Dad’s food and customer service so impressed the community that he had no choice but to integrate Pellegrino’s Catering into the restaurant business. Unfortunately, Yard Birds closed in 1993 and the search was on for a new home. In 2003, we opened Pellegrino’s Italian Kitchen.
Growing up a child of Chef Sam Pellegrino is not your ordinary childhood. We grew up learning the trade, some of us starting as young as age 6! With 9 kids you would expect money to be tight, but we never knew it. We grew up spoiled with gourmet meals, and inherited Dad’s passion and love for food. We were taught well, although we still find ourselves calling Dad at the grocery store to get his recipe for a certain dish. But the thing he impressed on us the most was customer service.
After all their years of hard work, we figured it’s time to give our parents a break. Having confidence that he had raised capable children, Dad handed the reins over. The second generation is excited to make this business our own, while continuing the same core values that the community has come to know and expect from Pellegrino’s.
Catering became too large for our little building at Pellegrino’s Italian Kitchen so we expanded to a larger facility, Pellegrino’s Event Center. In the past two years we have hosted beautiful weddings, birthday parties out on the patio, wild and crazy class reunions, festive holiday parties, lovely memorials and many others. Pellegrino’s Event Center has a completely licensed commercial kitchen, banquet rooms, demonstration bar, and awning covered patio. The facility can accommodate parties of 20-200.
We are also excited to roll out our new Pop-Up Dinner Series, Chef Workshops, and Tasting Events teaming up with local businesses.