Family legend holds that the connection between Rudolphis and baking goes back nearly six centuries. Whenever someone discovers that Adam Rudolphi, the family patriarch, is Polish and asks, "why is your last name Italian?," the tale of an Italian princess, a Polish prince, and the fifteenth-century emigration of a royal entourage is unfurled, ending with the revelation that the Rudolphis were bakers to the princess who attended her in her retinue.
The store itself began as a fireside musing between owners Adam and Matilde Rudolphi. Having returned from a vacation partially spent visiting Matilde's relatives in southern Italy in 1984, the Rudolphis reflected on their time abroad, and especially the wonderful cuisine. Both possessed of a sweet tooth, Rudolphi's Italian Bakery and Deli started when they turned to one another and asked, "Wouldn't it be great if there were a place in Bridgeton where you could buy pastries like we enjoyed in Italy?"
Four years later, in a converted gas station on the corner of Atlantic and Broad Streets in Bridgeton, the Rudolphis and their customers answered that question with a resounding, "Yes!" Beginning as just a bakery, the family business specialized in Italian delicacies the likes of which could only be obtained in New York and Naples, with the help of an Italian baker brought to the US in order to augment Matilde's passion for baking, and the lessons she learned as a child in her Aunt Filomena's kitchen, with the ways of a proper Italian pasticceria. After his departure, over time, and with the aid and ideas of many bakers trained in both the Italian and American styles, Rudolphi's Italian Bakery honed its craft, bringing the residents of South Jersey a unique, quality range of products.
Times and tastes change. The economic recessions of the last two decades have caused the family business to grow and change. Still located at the corner below the Cumberland County Courthouse, the Rudolphis added delicatessen and pizzeria specialties to their array of offerings in order to keep current and meet the tastes of Bridgetonians. Now, as the small family business enters its third decade and makes its foray into e-commerce, it looks back to its roots in that simple question by the fire, asking, "Wouldn't it be great if there were a place on the Internet where you could buy pastries like they enjoy in Italy?" and hoping that people around the United States will say, as Bridgetonians did some 22 years ago, "Yes!"