Name: Delmonico Foods, Inc.

Alternate Names: Kentucky Macaroni Company

Viviano Connection: Joseph Viviano (1928 - 1966)

Years Active: 1928-1999

Cause of Closure: ​acquired

Address: 2521 S. Floyd Street, Louisville

Building Current Use: ​demolished

The youngest Viviano brother, Giuseppe “Joseph” (1883-70) was just a teenager when we came to American with his brothers.

Joseph began importing and manufacturing macaroni in St. Louis with his brother (author presumes with Salvatore). Escaping the threat of the Black Hand activity in St. Louis, they transferred to Chicago, where two more brothers joined them.[i]

However, “Chicago became somewhat unsettling for business, to say the least, because of the underworld,” Joseph Viviano III explained. The brothers split the proceeds of the 1928 sale of their Chicago business and went off on their own. Joseph headed to Louisville to open the city’s only macaroni factory.[ii] By 1937, his sons Peter and Thomas were also involved, serving as vice president and secretary, respectively.[iii] There are no reports of suspicious activity that followed Joseph to Louisville, except for a bomb threat in 1940.[iv]


The Kentucky Macaroni Company, Incorporated, opened in 1928 on Floyd Street. The ideal location was selected, located near the railroad and markets on the South side of the city. It was a massive facility, spanning three acres on the bottom floor and another 37,000 square feet on the second floor. (For perspective, that is about 4 football fields) The most modern technology, including self-adjusting drying chambers, was used and price was of no concern when building this factory to ensure the highest quality product. A full-page ad in the Sunday morning Courier-Journal outlined each other premier contractors and materials used to build this state of the art facility.[v] The factory was also lauded for its sanitation and safety measures.

In the 1930s, Ken Mac egg noodles were a particularly popular product, as were the Blue Grass line of macaroni products.[vi]

Disaster struck Kentucky Macaroni in 1932 when fire broke out at the factory at 4:30 in the afternoon and was extinguished by 7pm. The fire began in the basement on a drying machine that had recently been repaired and spread quickly. Total damages were $150,000 ($2.9M in 2021 dollars), over half of the value of the building, equipment, and stock. Three firefighters and fourteen others suffered minor injuries or smoke inhalation. Joseph’s brothers’ Chicago and Pittsburgh factories help fill Kentucky Macaroni’s orders until the factory was repaired.­­­[vii]


Kentucky Macaroni was active in the National Macaroni Manufacturers Association, as the company’s descendants continue to be today. They celebrated the first National Macaroni Week in October 1937. The week served as an opportunity to “assist grocers in educating American housewives in a further use of macaroni.” Posters and recipe folders were prepared for grocery stores to recognize the week.[viii] This publicity also included highlighting the reasonable price of macaroni, the national value, and its versatility as an ingredient.[ix] Peter Viviano served two terms as president and three terms as president of the National Macaroni Manufacturers Association.[x] Kentucky Macaroni invited housewives to the factory to learn about the process of making macaroni and to showcase their clean, quality production.[xi]

Like his brothers and cousins, Joseph was generous to the war efforts. In 1947, Kentucky Macaroni contributed two thousand boxes of macaroni to the Lexington and Central Kentucky “Friendship Train,” headed to aid European relief. When the train stopped in Louisville, Kentucky Macaroni also contributed $400 ($7,500 in 2021 dollars (towards the cost of collection and organizing this relief. [xii]


By 1946, the company changed its name to Delmonico Foods.[xiii]

In 1955, Delmonico took over A. Palazzolo Company of Cincinnati, Ohio’s largest macaroni manufacturer. Half of the Palazollo employees were laid off and the remaining 20 assumed jobs at Delmonico. Two years of modernization to the Louisville plant allowed equipment from Cincinnati to be moved in.

During the merger, Joseph Viviano removed himself from day-to-day operations, becoming chairman of the board. Youngest son Thomas became president. Dominic Palazzolo became Vice President. Peter Palazzolo became treasurer. And A.J. Palazzolo continued as Vice President. Peter Viviano, at some point since the late 1940s, had assumed the role of secretary.[xiv]

By the mid-1960s, macaroni had become an American staple and many food conglomerates wanted in on the action. In 1966, Hershey Chocolate bought Delmonico Foods, which was sold in 26 states and fully owned and operated by three generations of the Viviano Family.[xv] From 1966 to 1993, Hershey acquired eight other regional, immigrant-owned pasta companies along the mid-Atlantic and Midwest. Most brands, including Delmonico, were distributed under regional brands, as customers had grown loyal to their hometown brands.[xvi]

Hershey acquired a 91% share of Delmonico for $2 million ($16.3M in 2021 dollars). During the sale, Joseph sued his son and company president Peter, alleging that stock and other property was being withheld from the father.­­[xvii] Settlements and trust arrangements were made; the details of which exceed the author’s understanding.


Delmonico founder, Joseph Viviano died at the age of 87 in 1970 at his residence in Clearwater, Florida.[xviii] Research indicates Joseph and sons Peter and/or Thomas headed to Florida to begin another macaroni venture, possibly with Joseph’s brother, Salvatore Viviano, and family. However, little was found about what was accomplished or how the company dissolved. The only note about the company was a 1967 court case against Peter Viviano for shipping unsanitary products from Tampa to Atlanta.[xix]

The third generation of Vivianos assumed leadership when Joseph P. Viviano, Peter’s son, became president of Delmonico Foods in 1971. Joseph P. was a graduate and honorary graduate of Xavier University, a member of the college’s 1958 championship basketball team, and a member of the Army Reserves before assuming the presidency after his father’s 13-year tenure as president.[xx]

The Delmonico Foods subsidiary and Joseph P. himself continued succeeding under Hershey. In 1975, the president of San Giorgio Macaroni of Lebanon, Pennsylvania retired and merged with Delmonico; Viviano assumed the presidency.[xxi] The San Giorgio brand name took over the Delmonico brand as the latter was often confused with canned fruit brand, Del Monte. By 1980, the San Giorgio brand achieved 10-11% of market share, second in the country behind Mueller’s.[xxii]

Hershey climbed its way to become the number one pasta manufacturer in America. However, pasta’s low profit margin and growing competition caused Hershey to pull out of the industry in 1999 with New World Pasta taking over the pasta division for a $450 million cash sale.[xxiii] New World Pasta would go on to acquire many regional pasta companies, namely those held by Borden, which had purchased Vimco in the mid-1980s. New World Pasta has gone through many mergers and acquisitions over the years, now owned by Ebro/Riviana, making it the largest branded pasta manufacturer in North America.[xxiv]

New World closed the Louisville facility in 2001, which employed 97 employees at that time.[xxv] A photographer captured photos of the Kentucky Macaroni Factory on Floyd Street in disrepair and being demolished.

Further Reading


Sources & Footnotes

[i] Porter, Marion. “Dough Goes In There, Comes Out Here As Vermicelli, Spaghetti, or Ziti.” The Courier-Journal, Louisville. December 31, 1936. (obtained March 31, 2021 from Newspapers.com)

[ii] Williams, Susan Darst. “Viviano 3rd Generation Noodle Maker.” Omaha World-Herald. January 20, 1980. (obtained March 14, 2021 from Genealogy Bank)

[iii] “Macaroni Week Opens October 10.” The Courier-Journal, Louisville. September 27, 1937. Page 3. (obtained March 31, 2021 from Newspapers.com)

[iv] “Viviano Warned of Bomb Plan.” The Courier-Journal, Louisville. December 15, 1940. Page 16. (obtained April 17, 2021 from Newspapers.com)

[v] “Kentucky’s New Macaroni Plant.” The Courier-Journal, Louisville. February 17, 1929. (obtained March 31, 2021 from Newspapers.com)

[vi] “Sanitation is Cardinal Principle at Plant of Kentucky Macaroni Firm.” The Courier-Journal, Louisville. May 2, 1933. Page 8. (obtained April 17, 2021 from Newspapers.com)

[vii] “17 Firemen are Hurt a Blaze at Plant Causes $150,000 Loss.” The Courier-Journal, Louisville. May 27, 1932. Page 1. (obtained April 17, 2021 from Newspapers.com)

[viii] “Macaroni Weeks Opens October 10.”

[ix] “Nation to Hear Food Qualities of Macaroni.” The Courier-Journal, Louisville. October 25, 1938. Page 2. (obtained March 31, 2021 from Newspapers.com)

[x] “Hershey Foods Subsidiary Has a New President.” Lebanon Daily News. December 23, 1971. Page 2. (obtained March 25, 2021 from Newspapers.com)

[xi] “Modern Methods Used in Plant.” The Courier-Journal, Louisville. September 1, 1938. Page 5. Obtained April 17, 2021 from Newspapers.com)

[xii] “Central Kentucky’s Food Train Loaded; Cash Short.” The Lexington Herald. November 13, 1947. Page 1. (obtained March 26, 2021 from Newspapers.com)

[xiii] ­“Son will succeed his father as Delmonico Foods president.” The Courier-Journal. December 25, 1971. Page B6. (obtained April 5, 2021 from Newspapers.com)

[xiv] “Delmonico Foods Here is Buying Ohio Maker of Macaroni, Spaghetti.” The Courier-Journal, Louisville. July 26, 1955. Page 8. (obtained March 26 from Newspapers.com)

[xv] “Hershey Chocolate Buying Louisville Macaroni Firm.” The Courier-Journal, Louisville. July 20, 1966. Page B11. (obtained March 31, 2021 from Newspapers.com)

[xvi] Seiber, Valerie. “Hershey and Pasta: An Interesting Relationship.” (obtained June 11, 2018 from https://hersheystory.org/hershey-pasta-interesting-relationship/)

[xvii] “Suit Settle; Path Clear for Sale of Delmonico.” The Courier-Journal, Louisville. July 3, 1968. Page B5. (obtained April 5, 2021 from Newspapers.com)

[xviii] “Founder of food firm, Joseph Viviano, dies.” The Courier-Journal, Louisville. December 1, 1970. Page A10. (obtained March 31, 2021 from Newspapers.com)

[xix] “Indictment Charges Pure Goods Violation.” The Tampa Tribune. May 30, 1967. (obtained May 15, 2018 from Newspapers.com)

[xx] “Hershey Foods Subsidiary Has a New President.” Lebanon Daily News. December 23, 1971. Page 2. (obtained March 25, 2021 from Newspapers.com)

[xxi] “San Giorgio Co. Head to Retire.” Lebanon Daily News. January 2, 1975. Page 8. (obtained March 26, 2021 from Newspapers.com)

[xxii] “Guess Who’s No. 2 in Spaghetti?” Intelligencer Journal, Lancaster, PA. March 4, 1980. Page 1. (obtained March 26, 2021 from Newspapers.com)

[xxiii] Seiber.

[xxiv] Riviana Foods. January 1, 2017. (obtained April 20, 2021 from Riviana.com)

[xxv] “New World to close pasta plant in Louisville.” Louisville Business First. September 27, 2001. (obtained April 17, 2021 from Louisville Business Journal website)