Ohioan Teresa Marzetti was the first person to serve the casserole Johnny Marzetti in a restaurant.
In 1896, Italian immigrant Teresa Marzetti arrived in the United States of America. That same year, Marzetti established an Italian restaurant in Columbus, Ohio near The Ohio State University campus at 10th Avenue and North High Street. This restaurant closed in 1942, but another restaurant, which had opened in 1919, remained in operation until 1940. In 1940, the third Marzetti Restaurant opened cross from the Statehouse on Broad Street. It closed in 1972, when Teresa Marzetti died. Before opening the original restaurant, Marzetti wrote, "We will start a new place and serve good food. At a profit if we can, at a loss if we must, but we will serve good food."
One of the dishes that Marzetti offered her customers became known as Johnny Marzetti, which was named for Teresa Marzetti's brother-in-law. A baked casserole, the dish included ground beef, cheese, tomato sauce, and noodles. It is unclear when Marzetti's restaurant first offered the dish, but by the 1920s, it had become popular across Ohio and the Midwest. This was primarily due to the ease of preparation and the tastiness of Johnny Marzetti.