Caesar (Cesare) Cardini and his brother and business partner, Alex (Alessandro), invented the Caesar’s Salad in 1924 at their hotel in Tijuana, Mexico. The combination of romaine lettuce dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, parmesan cheese, egg, garlic, black pepper, and croutons became fashionable among Hollywood celebrities. During this time, he and Alex left Sacramento, CA and established several restaurants in Tijuana to avoid the American prohibition laws. It is also believed that Cardini introduced tableside preparation and the showy art of tossing the salad.
Cesare was born in Baveno, the northern Piemonte region of Italy near Lago Maggiore. This district, population of 4,500, is renowned for its red granite quarries which supplied the columns for the giant Gothic Duomo at the very heart of Milan and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the ornate shopping arcade. The Italian American restaurateur, chef and hotel owner emigrated to the U.S. in 1919.
Cardini terminated his Mexican businesses in 1936 and moved to San Diego where he opened several Cardini café and tavern properties including the Cardini Villa in Chula Vista. In 1938 he moved to Los Angeles and produced and marketed his dressing which he trademarked in 1948. He suffered a stroke and died on November 3, 1956. His daughter took control of Caesar Cardini Foods and sold the business to T. Marzetti specialty salad dressing company. There are dozens of varieties of the original Caesar Salad recipe.