Marianna Pulcino immigrated to America in 1911, bringing with her an old-world recipe for pasta sauce. She established Mom’s Cafe on Walton Avenue in Altoona, Pennsylvania where she served up her classic dishes to the delight of hungry patrons.
In 1936, Marianna’s daughter Mafalda was waiting tables at the cafe when Ferdinand DelGrosso, a handsome young railroader, walked through the door and sat at her table. They fell in love instantly.
“Fred” and “Murf” would later be married, and in 1943 they bought a small restaurant on 17th Street and called it DelGrosso’s Cafe. With the help of Marianna’s original sauce recipe, the restaurant soon became famous for the “best spaghetti dinner in town.”
The idea to commercially manufacture pasta sauce took root when Fred noticed restaurant customers offering to pay extra to take home a small portion of the sauce. Fred immediately saw the potential to market and sell their quality Italian sauces, and in 1946 he sold DelGrosso’s Cafe and bought nearby Bland’s Amusement Park.
From the park kitchen, Fred and Murf worked 10-hour days to make one “batch” of five cases, using four 10-gallon pots and a hand sealer, which took 24 revolutions to seal one can. Fred and two long-time friends from Altoona formed a small sales force and gradually increased distribution by “pounding the pavement.” Now in its third generation, DelGrosso Foods has taken its place among the most highly-regarded producers of fine sauces anywhere. It continues as the oldest major family-owned manufacturer of pasta sauce in the United States.
It is through tireless effort, continued commitment, and the closest attention to detail from family members at every level that DelGrosso remains “The Finest Sauce Made.”