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Theresa, Kyle, Katina, Anne, Ralph, Ashley, Ashley, & Anthony

Theresa, Kyle, Katina, Anne, Ralph, Ashley, Ashley, & Anthony

Profile appeared in our 32-1 Issue – April 2015

If you’ve eaten Italian food in Bakersfield at any point during the past 25 years, chances are you have eaten at a spectacular restaurant called Frugatti’s. A true staple in local dining, the influence of family can be seen all over the walls and menus of the establishment, as well as in their accurate slogan, “Real Italian by Real Italians.”

Raffaele Giovanni Fruguglietti (also known as Ralph) and his wife, Anne, along with their family have been providing the community with a warm atmosphere and incredible food for decades, but Fruguglietti’s initial commitment to quality started out in a much different industry. “My background actually wasn’t in food service, but I had a business degree and I worked in sales for IBM,” he confessed. “Through that company, I picked up the culture of putting out the best product possible.”

Grumento Nova, Italy in 1960

Grumento Nova, Italy in 1960

Born in Southern Italy, Fruguglietti had a strong tie to his heritage, but it was rekindled while he was attending USC on a track and field scholarship throwing the discus for the Trojans and competing for the Italian National Track Team throughout Europe in the summer. He was based in Milan, Italy. “During that time, I was given a credit card and was told to eat wherever I wanted. I got to know the owners of the restaurants I went to, and they let me into their kitchens so I could see how the food was all prepared.”

When IBM was deciding to change their marketing plan, Fruguglietti decided to take destiny into his own hands. “Back before the age of the internet, a lot of my research was done at the library,” he laughed, but then relayed that he spent hours scouting out the best pizza and pasta places in all of California. “We traveled to these places, did our research, figured out what we liked and didn’t like, and went to work creating the best that we could possibly create.”

He also noted that it didn’t hurt growing up with a mother who was an amazing cook who stressed the importance of fresh ingredients, too! Most families in Southern Italy don’t have fancy backyards, but tons of fresh vegetables and herbs growing. Fruguglietti’s family was no different, and that definitely had an impact on his concept of freshness and flavor. Clearly, he knew that wasn’t enough. “You can’t start a restaurant just because you have a good recipe,” he cautioned. “You can’t ignore the business side of it, and you have to keep your focus on that.”

Today, Frugatti’s is busier than ever, and family is what helps to fuel the restaurant’s success and to keep the good food coming. “All of my kids got an early start with the restaurant because they wanted to, which was really neat,” said Fruguglietti. His son, Anthony, is the catering manager; daughter, Katina, was a server and now works in the office as the bookkeeper; his daughter-in-law, Ashley, also works in the office; his other daughter-in-law—also named Ashley—is a server; and daughter, Theresa, and her husband, Kyle, are also a part of the team.

From the inception, Frugatti’s has been about a combination of quality, freshness, innovation, and—most importantly—family. They have expanded over the years, opening up both the Citrus Grill and Halo’s Pure Goodness Cafe inside Paramount Citrus in Delano to provide healthy food for their employees, and have even changed up their menu to provide healthier options for Frugatti’s customers. No matter what changes take place, one thing is for certain: this family restaurant has the right ingredients for a long lasting business.

Serving up the freshest Italian food in Bakersfield for 25 years, Frugatti’s knows the importance of family, good food, hard work, and impeccable service.


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