It was 1978 that current resident of Salem and New York native Bob Rotanz helped Roanoke College earn a national championship in lacrosse.
35 years later, the co-owner and operator of Mac and Bob’s has remained in town, raising three daughters, all of whom graduated from Salem High School. And in addition to his work as a restaurateur, he has supplied food to scores of local events, schools and causes and for 21 years, as well as organizing a golf tournament to support families with children who have Down syndrome, and the list could go on and on.
And on October 3, Rotanz was recognized for his generous acts to the community. He was honored with the 17th Charles Brown award by Roanoke College, an honor given annually to a Salem resident who has contributed significantly, both professionally and civically, to the city’s quality of life.
In a room filled with many of Salem’s political figures and city leaders, Rotanz shared stories of his time in the city, including an event in which he volunteered at the Salem Civic Center, where he scrambled to get set up from the moment he arrived. Carrying items from his car as soon as he parked it, he humorously admitted that three and a half hours later he returned to the vehicle after the event concluded, only to find the engine running and the door wide open, just as he had left it when he hurriedly showed up.
Rotanz’ restaurant is a mainstay of downtown Salem. First opened in 1980, it has continually grown to be one of the more popular places in town, not just for the food, but atmosphere and hometown feel it provides, as many photos scatter the walls of state championship teams from both Salem and Glenvar.