Nonna Ida feeding the chickens on the family farm in Monte di Procida.
Carlo and Umberto Corteo learned the definition of hard work very early in life. Born in a rustic village on the outskirts of war torn Naples, they worked the fields of their father’s farm to help feed their family of 13. In a family of eleven children they quickly learned to make the best of what little they 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. Carlo was the youngest of the eleven children and he was just a baby when his siblings left for America.
Working in hot kitchens for very little money Umberto and his siblings saved every dollar they could to send to their mother and father in Italy and put a small amount away with hope that one day they would start a business of their own. Determined to live the American dream, Umberto and his younger brother Joe scraped together all of their hard-earned money and in 1965 the Original Umberto’s of New Hyde Park was born.
With little space and no means to spread the word of their new restaurant Umberto and Joe 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 Park as the best.
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. Original Umberto’s is known nationwide by the tens of thousands of guests who visit each year. 50+ years later the Original Umberto’s is a landmark.
Through dedication and hard work, Umberto and Carlo have made Umberto’s what it is today. They are proud to call Long Island home and hope to carry on the family tradition for many generations to come.
The next generation arrived in Sayville with Umberto and Carlo’s sister Mary and her family. Mary is know as the best cook in the family carrying on Nonna Ida’s recipes and traditions. She has taught her children and grandchildren well. Mary has passed on not only her recipes, but also her love of food and family. Mary’s children Giovanni and Chiara and their families came from Monte di Procida, Italy to carry on the Umberto’s tradition of quality and hospitality at Umberto’s of Sayville. They are proud to call this community home and look forward to serving the community for many years to come.
The Corteo Family circa 1986 on the family farm in Monte di Procida, Italy
Back Row (L to R) Genoveffa, Nunzia, Teresa, Michele, Mamma Ida, Papa Giovanni, Angela, Mary
Front Row (L to R) Joe, Umberto, Tiberio, Carlo, Sal (and puppy Bianchina)