February 24, 1896|
Baveno, Lago Maggiore region of Italy
|Died||November 3, 1956
Los Angeles, California
Caesar Cardini (also known as Cesare Cardini, February 24, 1896 – November 3, 1956) was an Italian American restaurateur, chef, and hotel owner who, along with his brother Alex Cardini (November 23, 1899 – December 22, 1974), is credited with creating the Caesar salad.
Caesar Cardini was born as Cesare Cardini in Baveno, a comune on the shore of Lago Maggiore, and had seven siblings: Bonifacio, Aldo, Nereo, Alessandro, Carlotta, Caudencio and Maria. While the sisters, Bonifacio, and Aldo stayed in Italy, the other three brothers emigrated to America; Nereo opened a small hotel near the casino in Santa Cruz, California; Alessandro and Caudencio eventually were in the restaurant business in Mexico City. Alessandro, who was called Alex in the USA, is reported to have been Caesar's partner in Tijuana, Mexico. Cesare sailed as a steerage passenger on board the RMS Olympic which arrived at the Port of New York on May 1, 1913. After inspection at Ellis Island, he boarded a train bound for Montreal.
He eventually returned to Italy but, after having worked in European gastronomy, Caesar went again to the United States in 1919. With partner William Brown, he ran Brown's Restaurant in Sacramento, then he moved to San Diego. At that time he established the first of several restaurants in Tijuana, where he could avoid the restrictions of prohibition. He married musician Camille D. Stump on August 27, 1924 in Santa Ana, California. The couple had one daughter, Rosa Maria Cardini (1928-2003).
Cardini is credited with having created "Caesar's salad" which became fashionable among Hollywood and other celebrities, especially after he had moved his restaurant a few blocks to the hotel, which was built around 1929 (nowadays called Hotel Caesar's).
After the repeal of the Volstead Act and the Mexican government's ban on gambling, business from tourism to Tijuana drastically fell off. Cardini quit his Mexican businesses in 1936 and moved back to San Diego to establish the Caesar Cardini Cafe. For several years, he operated Tavern Hacienda in San Diego, the Beacon Inn in Cardiff-by-the-Sea and his own Caesar Cardini Villa in Chula Vista.
The family moved to Los Angeles about 1938 and Cardini focused on the production and marketing of his salad dressing which he trademarked in 1948. He died in Good Samaritan Hospital on November 3, 1956 in Los Angeles following a stroke at his home at 8738 Bonner Drive and was buried in Inglewood Park Cemetery. His daughter took control of Caesar Cardini Foods Inc. Later, the Cardini's brand was sold, and is now owned by the T. Marzetti specialty salad dressing company. It is still popular and offers more than a dozen varieties of the original recipe.
In Tijuana, Hotel Caesar's, nearby Caesar's Sports Bar and Grill, and Caesar's Palace are said to serve an "original salad".
- "Cesar Cardini, Creator of Salad, Dies at 60". Los Angeles Times. November 5, 1956.
Since 1935 he had lived in Los Angeles and was active in the marketing of the salad dressing he concocted.
- "Nereo F. Cardini goes to Tijuana." Santa Cruz Sentinel (Santa Cruz, California) 22 Sep 1935, pg 8.
- Washington, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1882-1961
- Advertisement, Sacramento Union, December 13, 1919, pg 2.
- "Rosa Cardini". The Daily Telegraph. September 21, 2003. Retrieved 2007-07-21.
Rosa Cardini, who has died in California aged 75, turned the salad dressing created by her father, Caesar, into a staple of modern dining and a million-dollar business.
- According his daughter, when interviewed in mid-1970s and in 1987, this was on July 4, 1924, but there may be quite some doubt regarding verifiable data. Cardini was as much a smart businessman as a great showmaster, and why should his only daughter and heiress have diminished his fame? On controversies, see Caesar salad
- San Diego Union, July 22, 1935; July 23, 1935; June 19, 1936. La Prensa, July 27, 1935.
- San Diego Union, July 1, 1936. Los Angeles Times, July 2, 1936.
- "Cafe Operator Remodels Downtown Corner." San Diego Evening Tribune, September 16, 1936. Grand opening display ad, San Diego Union, September 18, 1936. See also "Caesar Cardini Cafe." Classic San Diego: tasty bites from the history of San Diego. Web.
- "Caesar Cardini Funeral". Los Angeles Times. November 7, 1956.
- See details and a picture of his gravestone at Findagrave
- "At the age of 10, Rosa helped to bottle her father's famous recipe, which the family sold from their station wagon at Los Angeles' Farmers Market after moving from San Diego." (From a 1987 interview with Rosa Cardini)
- See Cardini's Salad Dressings Product Info  product details.
- Tijuana tourism board: Restaurant Caesar's Palace, 8131 Revolucion Ave. [...]