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Many gathered in celebration of Russell Salvatore's 89th birthday at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center

“The only thing bigger than his steaks is his heart."
Posted at 11:32 PM, Apr 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-10 23:32:37-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Hundreds of people have gathered at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center to celebrate Buffalo's well-known businessman and philanthropist, Russell Salvatore.

Salvatore says he's grateful to see others' recognizing his impact on the community and his imprint in the hospitality business that he took over for 72 years.

"My father once told me, son, you don't have to have the education to be nice," Salvatore says. "It's the easiest thing to be nice, and I'm fortunate the way the Lord made me. I try to be nice to everyone I meet."

Salvatore received an appreciation gift from Congressman Brian Higgins to thank Salvatore for what he has done for Buffalo.

"The only thing bigger than his steaks is his heart," Congressman Higgins says. "And everything he has given to this community to colleges, universities, charities, hospitals, youth organizations just a great philanthropist on behalf of Buffalo and Western New York."

Salvatore says, putting a smile on people's faces completes him.

"I love bringing people together. I love seeing people happy," he says. "I give a lot of money to charity. Once in a while, I like to spoil myself, and thanks to the public who takes care of me all year long."

Others who have close ties with Salvatore say the well-known businessman positively impacts the hospitality industry.

"I've known Russell for 20 years. I owe him my life. He is one of the greatest mentors and leaders," Manny Lezama, a celebrator, says. "He is a genius when it comes to marketing and restaurant business. Russell knows food."

Russell Salvatore did say one thing he wants people to take from the celebration would be the celebration of family.

"Stay with family. Do things together. It's very very, very important," Salvatore says.