Uncle Luigi gets pizza the action at famed Leeds restaurant’s ‘million up’ celebration

John Dammone, Luigi Calce and Salvo Dammone.
John Dammone, Luigi Calce and Salvo Dammone.
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Nostalgia was on the menu at a Leeds restaurant as it celebrated an achievement that underlined its status as one of the city’s best-loved dining institutions.

Headingley-based Salvo’s has now served up one million pizzas since welcoming its first customers back in 1976.

And, to mark that milestone, one of the restaurant’s original chefs, Luigi Calce, travelled over to Leeds from his home in Italy.

Salvo’s was founded by Luigi’s brother-in-law, the late Salvatore Dammone.

Salvatore’s sons, John and Gip Dammone, now manage the business – where the staff include the latter’s own son, Salvo, named after his grandfather.

Luigi said: “It’s great to be back at Salvo’s, John and Gip have taken my brother-in-law’s vision and have run with it.

“It’s amazing to see what they’ve achieved, Salvo would be incredibly proud.

“When my brother-in-law and I arrived in Leeds there were very few established restaurants around, there was a small Mexican in the city centre run by a fond friend called Peter and a classic French restaurant on Monkbridge Road, run by [John and Gip’s] college tutor, but not much else.”

Luigi’s return to Salvo’s saw him trying out the Italian restaurant’s new Valoriani oven, installed as part of a £250,000 refurbishment of the Otley Road premises.

Gip said: “It’s fantastic to have Uncle Luigi back home.

“We take our Italian heritage very seriously here at Salvo’s and never turn down the opportunity to learn from our roots and immerse ourselves in the culture.

“We often take trips back to Italy with our chefs and we have recently visited Napoli, the birthplace of pizza, for further inspiration.

“I feel our heritage is what gives our customers a genuinely authentic experience, I just can’t wait to get started on the next million servings.”

Coinciding with the restaurant’s 40th birthday celebrations, the refurbishment also included the creation of a new menu and bar area.

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