Maplewood Rotary to honor Angelo Vayas in memoriam

MAP-angelo vayas-WMAPLEWOOD, NJ — The Maplewood Rotary Club will honor the late Angelo Vayas with its 2016 Citizenship Award at its annual Affair of the Heart Dinner Dance on Friday, March 18. Vayas died in June 2015 after a hard-fought battle with cancer.

Jumping into the local pizzeria business at an early age, Vayas worked at Maplewood’s Roman Gourmet where he met his future wife, Mary. They married in 1985, settled into Maplewood life and raised three sons Aris, 29; Joe, 28; and Antonio 20.

In 1993, Angelo opened his first restaurant, the Village Trattoria in Maplewood. Two more followed in later years, with Trattorias in both Summit and South Orange. According to the Rotary Club release, Vayas worked endless hours, day and night, at the Trattorias, employing many members of the community. He created an environment to gain work experience and life lessons for young people and, acting as a mentor to many, always encouraged them to pursue their goals outside of the restaurant.

Vayas had coached and sponsored various recreational league baseball and basketball teams, and donated meals to team dinners.

“Whatever way he could, whether it was helping run an event or sponsoring it, Angelo eagerly got involved,” the release stated. “One thing was certain, he truly loved Maplewood and its people, and he made sure they knew that. If it was a family needing a meal to get by, or a new scoreboard for the high school, Angelo was there to help.”

Rotary’s Affair of the Heart supports the club’s Gift of Life programs, which provide for children’s critical medical needs in the United States and abroad. It will be at the Maplewood Country Club at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 18. This year’s event sponsors include BCB Community Bank, South Orange Branch and the Robert Northfield Group.

For reservations, to obtain more information and to purchase tickets, contact event chairpersons Rick Porter at or Steve Gussen at