Bernardi's 40th Anniversary
Staying True to Tradition
In 1933, Nildo Bernardi opened a small Italian restaurant in Toluca, Illinois. He named it "Mona's" after Mona's Harmony Kings, the local orchestra in which he played. People across Toluca quickly discovered the irresistible tortellini Nildo's wife handcrafted in the restaurant's basement. Word spread. Mona's had arrived.
Years later, Nildo's son, Jerry, saw the opportunity to share his parents' popular Italian food with the world. So in 1969, Jerry Bernardi purchased two tortellini punch machines, allowing the family to manufacture its popular pasta in larger volumes. Bernardi Italian Foods was born.
Six years later, Jerry's son, Dick, joined the company, and in 1977, the Bernardi family built a 7200-square-foot plant just down the street from the original restaurant. But the Bernardi family's success in Toluca was just the beginning.
In 1982, Bernardi moved into the foodservice industry, attracting the attention of much larger companies. Seven years later, the family sold their pasta business to the Keebler Company. The Toluca plant was expanded, and by 1994, Bernardi Italian Foods had entered the national retail category.
But the partnership with Keebler didn't last. In 1996, Keebler sold its frozen food business to HM International, and the Bernardi brand became part of Windsor Foods, where it continued to grow. In 2000, Windsor purchased a pasta plant in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania from H.S. Heinz. Bernardi then merged with Specialty Brands, Inc., acquiring the company's New Rochelle facility and adding a new brand—Rotanelli by Bernardi.
Today, Bernardi Italian Foods is the largest filled pasta manufacturer in the United States. We employ over 500 employees, manage ten production lines in two facilities and distribute more than 100 different varieties of pasta. In fact, we received the William B. Darden Supplier of the Year Award in 2007 and the STAR Supplier Award for Innovation from Pizza Hut in 2008.
Here at Bernardi, we're known for our innovative flavors and recipes, but we always stay true to the passion that began in a small town called Toluca, in a quaint restaurant called Mona's, in a kitchen where great Italian food was made famous.