April 2013, New Hyde Park LI: On the occasion of Umberto Corteo’s 70th birthday, the Long Island pizza icon received the “Key to Nassau County” presented by County Executive Edward P. Mangano and made a “special delivery” to local kids in NYC, NJ and Alabama by donating $15,000 to New York Giants Justin Tuck’s R.U.S.H. for Literacy Campaign which encourages youth education through reading.
Also joining in the celebration was Tuck’s teammate, Jason Pierre-Paul
History of Giants & Umberto’s Lucky Pizzas: Since 2007, Fridays in the Giants locker room have been Umbertos “Pizza Fridays.” As the pizzas bring good luck to Big Blue, Umberto’s took no chances for Super Bowl XLVI: the chefs awoke before dawn on the morning of Friday, February 3, baked a stack of pies, quickly loaded them into a police escorted caravan to LaGuardia Airport wherein the hot pies were immediately flown to the players and staff in Indianapolis in time for the team’s final practice before the big game. The Giants beat the Patriots 21-17 thanks to Umberto’s Pizza!
About R.U.S.H. for Literacy: R.U.S.H. for Literacy was founded by New York Giants star defensive end Justin Tuck and his wife Lauran in 2008, and encourages children in selected schools in New York, New Jersey and Tuck’s home state of Alabama to read, understand, succeed and hope. Tucks’ charity has donated over 21,000 books to more than 5000 students.
About Umberto Corteo: Umberto Corteo learned the definition of hard work very early in life. Born in a rustic village on the outskirts of war torn Naples, Umberto worked the fields of his father’s farm to help feed his family of 13. The seventh son of eleven children he quickly learned to make the best of what little he had and gained an abundant appreciation for the simple gifts nature provided.
Like many European people of his generation Umberto learned of the promise of America and yearned for a better life, so while still a teenager he and four of his brothers and sisters made the long journey to the United States and settled in Brooklyn. Working in hot kitchens for very little money Umberto saved every dollar he could to send to his mother and father in Italy and put a small amount away with hope that one day he would start a business of his own.
Determined to live the American dream, Umberto and his younger brother Joe scraped together all of their hard earned money and in 1965 Original Umberto’s of New Hyde Park was born. With little space and no means to spread the word of his new restaurant Umberto set out to do one thing better than all others, offer the finest quality, authentic Italian food available with the belief that in time people would recognize Original Umberto’s of New Hyde as the best.
Thirty-eight years later Original Umberto’s is a landmark. Joe Corteo left New Hyde Park and moved on carrying with him the quality and authenticity of Original Umberto’s to Florida and brother Carlo joined his family in growing the New Hyde Park tradition. The first cozy Pizzeria has grown into a majestic Tuscan architectural two-story restaurant with a full service cafe, four star dining room, and world-class banquet facilities and Original Umberto’s is known nationwide by the tens of thousands of guests who visit each year.
Through dedication and hard work, Umberto and Carlo have made Umberto’s what it is today. They are proud to call New Hyde Park Home and hope to carry on the family tradition for many generations to come.