A love affair
The history of Rocco's is a love affair. Love of family. Love of good friends. And, of course, love of great food.
The story begins in Reggio Calabria, a coastal region on the toe of the Italian peninsula and the home of Rose and Louis Simeri. In 1930, the Simeris immigrated to South Bend with their daughter Julia and her siblings. Another native of Reggio Calabria was a young man named Rocco Ameduri. After being captured in Libya by the Allies during World War II, Rocco was interned in POW camps in the United States. He and Julia began corresponding and eventually the romantic power of the pen prevailed and they fell in love.
In 1946, Rocco and Julia were married and in 1948, they settled in South Bend. Rocco worked as a cook in the dining hall at Notre Dame and thus began the connection with the University that the family continues to nurture to this day. Since Rocco was a cook and Julia was a waitress, the recipe for starting a restaurant was in place. So in 1951, the young couple teamed up with her parents to open Rocco's.
The restaurant was small - just enough seating for 12. But their pleasure in providing exceptional hospitality to the people of South Bend was enormous and soon their reputation was growing in like measure.
Rocco and Julia's daughter, Linda, worked as a waitress at the restaurant. In 1969, another young man born in Reggio Calabria began working in the kitchen with Rocco. His name was Warren (Guerino) Verteramo. Soon love was in the air again. Warren and Linda were married in 1976.
Warren continued to be his father-in-law's right arm, eventually running the kitchen while Rocco and Julia delivered their classic hospitality as host and hostess. Warren and Linda began operating the restaurant in 1991 with the same loving attention to great food and wonderful hospitality as their parents. In 1996, the Verteramos once again expanded the restaurant that began with only 12 seats and now can accommodate up to 150 guests.
Rocco's started over 70 years ago and today the Verteramo family continues a tradition of pride in serving the family's delicious Italian recipes brought over from Reggio Calabria decades ago.