Anna, Vito Cortesiano are committed to helping neighbors across L.I.


Anna and Vito Cortesiano, owners of Elmont Italian restaurant Salvatore’s of Elmont, are committed to helping their community — whether that means organizing a fundraiser to help victims of the Farmingdale bus tragedy, hosting chamber of commerce dinners or sharing a smile with customers in need of one. This year, they were selected as the grand marshals of the 16th annual Paul Sapienza Belmont Parade.

Anna and Vito have always had their hands in anything that will support their local community. They are active members of the Nassau County, Elmont, Franklin Square, New Hyde Park Chambers of Commerce. They have also partnered with Slice Out Hunger, a nonprofit that supports hunger relief initiatives through pizza-related campaigns and events in the United States.

“Our mission is to always give back to the community who has welcomed us so warmly,” Anna said. “This is just who we are.”

For those who walk through Salvatore’s of Elmont’s doors, Anna and Vito are there to greet them with a smile and a “How’s it going?”

“Our customers are not just customers, they have become part of the fabric of Salvatore’s of Elmont,” Anna said. “As such, we ensure that we are available when others are in need of assistance — veterans organizations, senior organizations, local schools and churches.”

They believe community events help bring people together to help those in need. Anna and Vito have even created their own community events that have become an annual tradition for families, such as Santa Claus arriving on a horse-drawn carriage around Christmas time, the Easter bunny hopping through, and the restaurant’s own anniversary celebration.

“We strive to ensure that we are involved in all community events and to leave our foot prints for the future of others,” Anna said. “My husband and I volunteer a great deal of our time to get involved and do our best even at times when we have struggled in our own lives.”

The couple is originally from Queens, but has been happy to call Elmont home for the past 17 years. When they opened their business in 2007, the same year they moved into town, Anna said the community welcomed them with open arms.

Anna said that her and her husband Vito chose Elmont to start their business because they “fell in love” with it when they came to visit friends and family in the area.

From neighbors to the county’s elected officials, Anna said everyone in the community is willing to lend a helping hand to get things done in Elmont. The couple is currently working on installing holiday lights in the area to brighten the streets throughout Elmont.

She feels that the community has come a long way since they started their business, as the Meacham Avenue, the street their business has operates on, did not have street lights when they started.

“(Elmont) is up and coming,” Anna said. “You know, when we first started we had no lights on our block.” She said that county officials helped band together to get streetlights to illuminate the street when they reached out.

The 2024 running of the Belmont Stakes will be held June 8 at Saratoga Race Course while Belmont Park undergoes renovations to modernize the complex and bring the “modern hospitality offerings fans expect,” as said by Gov. Kathy Hochul in a December news release. The 2025 Belmont Stakes will also likely be run at Saratoga Race Course, according to the New York Racing Association, throughout the contruction.

“The Belmont Stakes brings the world to Elmont,” Anna said. “It shines a light on the improvements made to our community as a result of the recent addition of UBS Arena.”

While the race will not be held in Elmont this year, the community remains invested in the historic race with its 16th annual Paul Sapienza/Belmont Parade set for June 1 at 10 a.m.

Once reconstruction at Belmont Park is complete, the Breeders’ Cup World Championships will be welcomed back to New York for the first time since 2005, driving economy activity in the region.

"Belmont Park will always be the home of the Belmont Stakes," Patrick McKenna, vice president of communications for the New York Racing Association, previously told the Herald. "The temporary move to Saratoga is made necessary by a transformational project to construct a new, world-class Belmont Park that New York can be proud of."

Anna and Vito’s children, 7-year-old Pia Maria and 10-year-old Salvatore are excited to march in the parade beside their parents.

The community is invited to enjoy the parade this Saturday at 10 a.m.

Neighbors are welcome to visit Salvatore’s of Elmont after the parade for a post-parade celebration with specials on the menu such as the Grand Marshal Special of the Week and others.

“(Being grand marshals) is an honor that will live with us each day as we continue to serve the community,” Anna said.