A young Russ Salvatore promotes his first restaurant, 1965

By Steve Cichon

Russell Salvatore has been one of Buffalo’s leading restaurateurs, philanthropists and self-promoters for more than half a century.

Before there was Russell’s Chops and Steaks, before there was Salvatore’s Italian Gardens at Transit and Genesee, there was Salvatore’s Restaurant on East Delavan Avenue near Bailey on Buffalo’s East Side.

The original Salvatore’s was opened by Russell Salvatore’s father, but it was being run by Buffalo’s most famous restaurateur 50 years ago this week, as shown in this ad featured in The News a few times during the week of Sept. 5, 1965.

In what was surely among his earliest appearances in The News, Russ’ cartoon body is holding up a tray holding the $2.50 prime rib then being offered everyday in his restaurant.

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon writes about Buffalo’s pop culture history. His stories of Buffalo's past have appeared more than 1600 times in The Buffalo News. He's a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. Since the earliest days of the internet, Cichon's been creating content celebrating the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The 25-year veteran of Buffalo radio and television has written five books and curates The Buffalo Stories Archives-- hundreds of thousands of books, images, and audio/visual media which tell the stories of who we are in Western New York.