After relocating to South Philly, Francesco recognized his booming neighborhood was perfect for a small restaurant. He gathered all his savings and rented a building at 901 Montrose Street in South Philadelphia where they opened Ralph’s Italian Restaurant in 1900.
For the next decade, the restaurant saw continued success. They eventually outgrew their location, so Francesco and Catherine purchased a boarding house on South 9th Street in Philadelphia where the reputation of Ralph’s Italian Restaurant would continue to exceed expectations.
After Francesco passed away in the early 1930’s, Ralph—a visionary much like his father—took over the family business and he grew to become one of the leading businessmen in South Philadelphia.
The backbone of Ralph’s has always been family, and as Ralph and Mary’s kids grew, they learned how to run the business based on the same values that made the brand successful.
To this day, the torch continues to be passed from generation to generation.
Ralph’s grandchildren, Jimmy Rubino Jr. and Eddie Rubino, represent the fourth generation as owners and operators of the longtime family business. The ﬁfth generation great grandchildren of Ralph are all actively involved in the establishment as Ryan and Gabrielle Rubino run the second Ralph’s location in King of Prussia, PA.
In an industry where a ﬁve-year-run is considered successful, Ralph’s has withstood the test of time, having survived the Great Depression, prohibition, two World Wars and 19 American Presidents—one of which dined at the establishment: Theodore Roosevelt. In fact, current Vice President Joe Biden frequently dined at Ralph’s when he was representing Delaware in the Senate.
Now, having proudly served quality food to local residents and larger-than-life celebrities—such as Frank Sinatra and Taylor Swift—for more than 115 years and counting, even Francesco could have never envisioned his eatery would one day become America’s oldest Italian restaurant.
We believe that the next 100 years will be just as exciting as the ﬁrst 100.