Ralph’s the Oldest U.S. Italian Restaurant

Ralph’s the Oldest U.S. Italian Restaurant

Ralph's Italian Restaurant Philadelphia, Oldest ItalianA South Philadelphia eatery has been officially named the oldest Italian restaurant in the whole of the USA.

Celebrating the national distinction is Ralph’s Italian Restaurant on 9th Street in the Italian Market. Always carrying the title of Oldest Family-Owned Restaurant it was thanks to the recent closing of Fior Di Italia inSan Francisco that Ralph’s could take the top spot in culinary history books after 112 years.

The secret to such success is apparently the traditional Italian fare, “A lot of what is on the menu today you would have seen 100 years ago, our gravy has never changed. The meatballs? Still the same!” says 5th generation waiter Ryan Rubino.

All the recipes are originally Francesco Dispigno’s work, a fisherman from the island of Ischia who migrated to Philly and opened Ralph’s in 1900. Naming the restaurant after his son, this authentic Italian is still very much a family affair, with 3 generations running the place. And the trick to the wonderful culinary delights? Uncle Ralph’s sniff test. According to his nephew Jimmy, “See his schnoz? He doesn’t even have to taste it. He could smell it to see if it was made right.” And it is this hearty Italian cooking and the family atmosphere that keeps customers returning year after year.

Ralph’s Italian Restaurant 
(215) 627-6011
760 S. 9th Street, Philadelphia, PA19147

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