Established in 1900, Ralph’s Italian Restaurant (760 S. 9th Street, Philadelphia PA) in Philadelphia is described as the oldest family-run Italian restaurant in America (and still run by the same family that started it). It was started by Francesco Dispigno and his wife Catherine, who arrived from Naples with their young son in 1893. The restaurant has been located at the current address since 1915.
The current owners, Ryan and Alexis, are the fifth family generation involved in running the well-known eatery. The business has survived two world wars, prohibition, the great depression, and outlasted over 20 presidents. The food remains hearty and old-style: spaghetti with meatballs, breaded veal cutlets, linguini pescatore, penne (or any pasta) with garlic anchovies or chicken livers, ravioli, lasagna, fettuccine, broiled sausage, pork chops, etc.
Celebrities that have passed through the doors include Theodore Roosevelt (one of the the first big names to visit), Frank Sinatra, and more recently, Taylor Swift. Swift reportedly visited with her entourage while in town for a concert, and word has it she gave two concert tickets to the head chef, and left a $500 tip after a meal here (in case you were curious, Swift is said to have ordered the chicken parmigiana).
- Enjoy with: Friends – and even bring tutta la famiglia.
- Cost: Soup and appetizers start at around $5, pasta all under $16, steak at about $32.
- Hours: Friday and Saturday 11:45am-10:45pm, Sunday through Thursday 11:45am-9:45pm.
- Visitor tips: The place is small, but the portions are generous! It’s a good idea to make a reservation. Buon Appetito!
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