Serving You Since 2006

Best Italian Restaurant


Salvatori’s keeps it authentic, Italian and simple

Source: Fort Wayne Newspapers 2014 Reader’s Choice Awards

Fort Wayne Readers Choice 2014 logoEven before you walk in the door, the delectable smells of traditional Italian cooking greet you. Once inside, the scent of basil, oregano and tomato sauce will get your tummy rumbling, all courtesy of Salvatori’s Authentic Italian Eatery, which grabbed two awards in the 2014 Fort Wayne Newspapers’ Readers Choice awards.

Nabbing first place for Best Italian and third for Best Family Owned restaurant, Salvatori’s is clearly a hit with area diners.

Owner Sam Leto says he’s proud to carry on the Leto family traditions. Sam is the nephew of Dominick “Doc” Leto, who opened one of the city’s first pizzerias in the 1950s, and was the first to introduce the sausage roll to Fort Wayne.

Salvatori's West building exterior

“On any given day, my Uncle Dominick was in the kitchen doing his magic with the food. Frequently by his side were my grandfather Sam Sr., grandmother Marie, and father Sam Jr. working together in order to satisfy the customers. Incidentally, my father even met my mother Patricia at Leto’s when she worked there as a young waitress,” Leto said on the restaurant’s website.

“It’s demanding, but it’s rewarding too,” Leto added.“I’ve met some really good people.”

The first Salvatori’s opened in New Haven in2006, and in July 2012, a second location opened on Illinois Road.

Leto said he wasn’t actively looking to open a new restaurant, but a friend told him about the space in a shopping plaza at Illinois and Scott roads. He said when he came to look at it, “it was screaming Italian at me!”

Leto has been involved in every aspect of the business, from washing dishes and busing tables to recreating his grandmother’s authentic Italian dishes. Now working with him are his wife Angelina, daughter Brittany and son Sam IV.

“We’re still like the small mom-and-pop mentality, “he said. “We want to keep it casual. It feels like family. Our employees like each other, they help each other and they’re friends in and out of work.”
That family atmosphere is what keeps customers happily chowing down on pizza, lasagna, manicotti and more.

“I never had a recipe book. I just learned from watching my mom, my dad and my grandma. We keep it simple,” Leto said. “The best food is the simplest.”

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Salvatori’s keeps it authentic, Italian and simple