Anne Vasti

May 19, 1924 - Oct. 10, 2018
Anne Vasti, May 19, 1924 - Oct. 10, 2018

Anne Vasti, the former owner of Pizza Village in Montauk, died of Alzheimer’s disease on Oct. 10 in Summerville, S.C. She was 94, and had been diagnosed several years ago.

Born in the old Italian community of East Harlem on May 19, 1924, to Concetta Coppola and Ralph Giordano, she grew up in the Bronx, graduating from Christopher Columbus High School there. She went on to study public administration at New York University.

She made her first visit to Montauk as a teenager, when her father bought land at Ditch Plain and built a family house on it. In 1948, when he opened Giordano’s Lakeside Inn on Fort Pond, she and her nine siblings were put to work waiting tables, cleaning rooms, and tending to the landscaping. About 10 years later, Mr. Giordano bought an old motel on Main Street and transformed it into Pizza Village. 

Daniel Vasti Sr., whom she had married in 1946 in a double-wedding ceremony with one of her brothers, became the manager of Lakeside in 1957, and the Vastis became part of the Montauk business community. Two years after her father’s death in 1964, they acquired Pizza Village, and ran it for 20 years. Anne commanded the kitchen, cooking her popular linguine with clam sauce, meatball heros, and other dishes from recipes passed down from her mother. She also handled the business side of the restaurant, keeping the books and managing the staff. Her husband was the pizza maker.

Under their ownership, the restaurant became a go-to spot in the hamlet for both locals and tourists. Craig Claiborne, the New York Times food critic, was a fan, and gave the pizza a rave in one of his columns.

Mrs. Vasti was active in Montauk civic affairs as a director of the  Chamber of Commerce and the Montauk Village Association, where she focused on beautifying Main Street, adding maple trees, black pines, planters, and bricking to a previously lackluster street­scape. She also launched the association’s main fund-raiser, its Greenery-Scenery cocktail party, which became one of the big social occasions of the summer. Relatives said it was the only Saturday night that she and her husband would take off from the restaurant. 

The couple spent winters in Delray Beach, Fla., where they both loved to play tennis. They always made a brief return to Montauk to celebrate Christmas. 

A eucharistic minister at St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church in Montauk, Mrs. Vasti was also an active member of a church in Palm Beach, Fla., that had started out as a mission for migrant farm workers. She helped develop it into one of the most diverse parishes in the county. 

After selling Pizza Village to a nephew, Jack Perna, she worked as a real estate agent for the Pospisil Agency. She also managed T-Square, a T-shirt and souvenir shop owned by her daughter and son-in-law before they moved to Summerville, S.C. She eventually joined them there, living nearby.

Her husband died of a heart attack in 1990 while playing tennis. She is survived by her daughter, Joanne Guarneri of Summerville, and a son, Daniel Vasti Jr. of Montauk. Her nephew, Mr. Perna, superintendent of the Montauk School, survives as well, as do four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

The Rev. Tom Murray will officiate at a funeral Mass on Nov. 13 at St. Therese  in Montauk. Burial at Fort Hill Cemetery will follow.

The family has suggested memorial donations for the church, at P.O. Box 5027, Montauk 11954.