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The Origin Story: Where Does Caesar Salad Come From?

The Caesar salad is a popular and classic salad and side dish that people all across the world love.

But where did the Caesar salad come from, who invented it, and what do we know about its history? Well, this salad actually has a shocking history that will surprise most people, especially foodies who may assume it originates in Italy.

Continue reading to find out where this delicious salad originates below.

Who Invented the Caesar Salad?

The vast majority of people believe the Caesar salad to be named after Julius Caesar—but it isn’t! This salad was invented by a different, much more recent Italian man named Caesar Cardini. Caesar Cardini was a northern Italian restauranteur and chef, born in 1896 and settled in North America. He worked in several restaurants, including the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, and opened up two of his own in California, one in Sacramento and the other in San Diego, before coming up with his groundbreaking salad.

When Was This Salad Invented?

Knowing exactly when things took place so long ago can be challenging when dates and events are not properly logged. However, in 1919, an ad from one of Cardini’s restaurants indicated he moved to California in the years surrounding 1910. However, in 1920, the national ban on the production and sale of alcoholic drinks, known as Prohibition, changed everything for restauranteurs, including Caesar Cardini. Shortly after, he invented the beloved Caesar salad.

Where Did This Salad Originate?

Because of the Prohibition, restaurants took a major hit since alcoholic beverages have one of the biggest profit margins of items on the menu. Looking for a place to avoid the nationwide ban, Cardini found himself in Tijuana, Mexico, where the famous Caesar salad dressing was invented.

The story goes, Cardini ran out of ingredients while cooking at his restaurant and threw together the dressing out of necessity. Of course, with time, details become blurred, and accuracy fades. Some claim it wasn’t Caesar who invented the dressing, but his brother, Alex, who also went on to open his own restaurants in Mexico City. Others say the dressing was created by one of Cardini’s employees, and Cardini took all the credit.

One detail everyone can agree on is that this salad was created in Tijuana, Mexico.

What is the Original Caesar Salad Recipe?

Caesar Cardini’s original recipe includes six ingredients: raw egg, olive oil, parmesan cheese, Worcestershire sauce, lettuce, and croutons. However, while today’s recipe varies from place to place, many recipes include olive oil, balsamic vinegar, egg yolks, garlic, mustard, lemon, and anchovies.

Make Your Reservation at Sicilia Mia Today

For an authentic yet fresh take on this popular dish, make sure to try the Caesar salad at Sicilia Mia.

Enjoy the Old World traditions and family recipes we offer at our family-centered restaurant. We’re proud to serve you at two convenient Sicilia Mia locations in Holladay and Farmington, Utah. Call Sicilia Mia to reserve your table for an authentic Italian dining experience today!


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Sicilia Mia locations 

Sicilia Mia - Holladay

4536 S. Highland Dr., Salt Lake City, UT

Sicilia Mia - Farmington

895 W. East Promontory (Station Park), Farmington, UT

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Antica Sicilia - Millcreek

2020 East 3300 South, Salt Lake City, UT 

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