North American style Italian dressing is thought to date back to 1948, in Kansas City, MO, where it was served at the Wishbone Restaurant. The Wishbone had been opened in 1945 by Phillip Sollomi along with Lena Sollomi, Phillip's mother. The Italian dressing served at the Wishbone was based on a recipe from Lena Sollomi's Sicilian family which was a blend of oil, vinegar, herbs and spices. Demand for the salad dressing proved so high that Phillip started a separate operation to produce it for sale, making it by the barrel. The dressing recipe was eventually purchased by Lipton and has been made commercially by a succession of owners since, with the product currently made by Pinnacle Foods, Inc.
North American-style Italian dressing is not used in Italy, where salad is normally dressed with olive oil, vinegar, salt, and sometimes black pepper at the table, and not with a pre-mixed vinaigrette. Italian dressing is also used as a marinade for meat or vegetables, for stir-frys, and on sandwiches. Pasta salads sometimes include Italian dressing. The caloric content of Italian dressing varies widely. A variety of Italian dressing, known as creamy Italian, consists of the same ingredients, but with milk products and stabilizers added to make the salad dressing creamy.