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Best of West Hartford 2018 Winners Announced

Winners Bartlett Brainard celebrating at 4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings's Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

The 4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration took place at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar on Monday, Nov. 5, with a capacity crowd and a delicious spread of food courtesy of Fleming’s, Crown Market, and Hartford Baking Co.

By Joy Taylor, Photos by Todd Fairchild

The 4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards ceremony was an experience unlike any of the previous year’s events.

The Monday night event was attended by 225 “Who’s Who” in business in West Hartford. It celebrated 137 finalists, honored 44 winners, and of those winners, 12 business selected by a confidential committee to represent a cross-section of what is best about West Hartford. These 12 were put on the spot to appear in a video production that was being created realtime during the networking portion of the event.

“In year’s past, we were told that when networking, mingling and eating was interrupted to announce finalists and bring winners up on stage – it was a buzz kill,” said event producer Tom Hickey of WHMedia. “We promote this as the largest business networking event in town, and people don’t like to stop meeting and greeting, but since this is a culmination of our voting and the chance to publicly announce the winners, we needed to get creative.”

The Best of West Hartford committee enlisted the talents of David Chmielewski with DirectLine Media, and along with his “elves” (including this writer) he managed to record and produce a video spot to kick off the awards portion of the show. Worth noting all of this was done in a remote “tented” area in Fleming’s. “It was like ‘Wizard of Oz’ behind the curtain,” noted Hickey.

DirectLine Media was given exclusive access to a portion of the winners list in order to produce the 9-minute presentation, and the risk was always, what if the winners don’t show up? Luckily, 11 of the 12 were on sight and willing to be in the “real time” video production. For obvious reasons, all winners would not have been able to be recorded on the spot to be edited into the production, but all 44 winners, along with finalists, were displayed on a continuous video loop for the rest of the evening.

Dinner spread was provided by Fleming’s, crudité by Crown Market, and dessert by Hartford Baking Company – presented alongside a Best of West Hartford custom ice sculpture centerpiece sponsored by Uberdog.

The raffle team, headed up by Charles Hilborn from Sheehan-Hilborn-Breen Funeral Home and Karen Fillian from EDENS – The Shops at Bishops Corner and Crossroads Plaza, did an amazing job of collecting items from all over town. The raffle items were bundled by the business associations (Bishops Corner Neighborhood Association, Elmwood Business Association, Home Design District, Park Road Association and West Hartford Center Business Association/Blue Back Square), and valued over $6,000.

The Fourth Annual Best of West Hartford committee members include Matt Banever, Cheyney Barrieau, David Chmielewski, Amy Cholawa, Donna Edelstein, Todd Fairchild, Karen Fillian, Mark Hatch, Tom Hickey, Charles Hilborn, Leslie Iarusso, Ryan Keating, Liz Kiyak, Barbara Lerner, Jeff Lovanio, Renee McCue, Andrew Moran, Ronni Newton, Lisa Oster, Robyn Rifkin, Joy Taylor, and Bentley Torres.

Valet parking was free for the night of the event thanks to Blue Back Square. Ticket purchasing and the registration process was streamlined by sponsor Andrew Moran, Merchant Solutions, with the assistance of Linda Zotter. Kaoud Rugs and Carpets and Keating Insurance introduced an innovative photo booth concept – Mirror Me Photo Booth By L&B Mirror Entertainment, and special thanks to Experience We-Ha’s, Jeff Loviano.

#wehaevents sponsors can’t be thanked enough, and include: Blue Back Square, CCSU, Eagan Donohue Van Dyke & Falsey, French Cleaners, Robin Gebrian (Wm Raveis Real Estate),  Marcum (formerly Filomeno CPA), Lux Bond & Green, Mercy Community Health and Sheehan Hilborn Breen Funeral Home. Other partners include: Connecticut Jewish Ledger, Direct Line Media, Eat in CT, FLOW, Merchant Solutions, Roy Web Design, T&T Sound, Taylor Rental Party Plus, Todd Fairchild/Shutter Bug CT, We-Ha.com, West Hartford Chamber of Commerce, West Hartford Press, West Hartford LIFE, West Hartford Magazine, Town of West Hartford, and Experience We-Ha.

Read more about the build up to the event here, read the winners list below, and enjoy some photos from the event!

4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

Watching results at 4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Joy Taylor

Best Preschool/Daycare
1st Lollipop Tree Nursery School
2nd Mandell JCC, Beatrice Fox Auerbach Early Childhood Center
3rd St. Joseph School for Young Children

Best Camp
1st Renbrook School Summer Adventure
2nd Camp KO
3rd Camp Shalom

Best Bakery
1st Hartford Baking Co.
2nd Elmwood Pastry Shop
3rd Classic Cakes

Best Breakfast Restaurant
1st Effie’s Place Family Restaurant
2nd Blue Plate Kitchen
3rd Quaker Diner

Best Tea
1st Green Teahouse
2nd Tea Break
3rd Café Sofia

Best Coffee
1st J. René Coffee Roasters
2nd Café Sofia
3rd SPoT

4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

The night was just getting started. 4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

 

4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

Best Brunch
1st Pond House
2nd Grants
3rd Artisan

Best Family Restaurant
1st Corner Pug
2nd A.C. Petersen Farms
3rd Effie’s Place

Best Fine Dining
1st Fleming’s Prime
2nd Max’s Oyster Bar
3rd Treva

Best Grocery Store
1st Hall’s Market
2nd Crown
3rd A Dong

Best Ice Cream
1st A.C. Petersen Farms
2nd Abby Dabby TIED Milkcraft
3rd Ben & Jerry’s

Best Pizza
1st Harry’s Bishops Corner
2nd Savoy
3rd Jimmie’s Pizza

4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

Best Business Lunch
1st Restaurant BRICCO
2nd Max Oyster Bar
3rd Park & Oak Restaurant

Best Wine Shop
1st The Wise Old Dog
2nd Harvest Wine & Spirits
3rd Harvey’s Wine & Liquors

Best Burger Restaurant
1st Max Burger
2nd Plan B
3rd Corner Pug

Best Ethnic Restaurant
1st Zohara
2nd Black Bamboo Chinese
3rd Bombay Olive

Best Exercise/Fitness
1st Mandell JCC Greater Hartford
2nd Orange Theory Fitness
3rd WIP

Best Hair Salon
1st Salon Medusa
2nd Off Center Salon
3rd Matthew Phillips

4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

Best Barber Shop
1st Degras
2nd Bristle & Blade
3rd Final Cuts Sports Barber

Best Spa
1st Touch of Bliss
2nd Body and Sole
3rd Face RX Medspa

Best Yoga
1st West Hartford Yoga
2nd Yoga Shop
3rd Mandell JCC

Best Home Health Care
1st Companions for Living
2nd JFS Care at Home
3rd Juniper Homecare

Best Assisted Living
1st The McAuley
2nd Hoffman Summerwood TIED Chatfield
3rd Court of St. James

Best Lawn/Landscaping Contractor
1st Eco Turf
2nd Trout Brook Landscaping
3rd Chenail Lawn Care

4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Desserts by Hartford Baking Company, and ice sponsored by UberDog. At Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

Best Pet Services
1st UberDog
2nd Pet Supplies Plus
3rd Woof Gang TIED Dogology

Best Pet Vets
1st Vet Specialists of CT
2nd CT Veterinary Center
3rd Petcare Vet Specialists

Best Real Estate Company
1st William Raveis Real Estate
2nd Coldwell Banker
3rd HART Real Estate

Best Wealth Management/Financial Planning
1st Charles Schwab
2nd Northstar Wealth Partners
3rd Valerie Thomas TIED GYL Financial Synergies

Best Home Improvement Contractor
1st Bartlett Brainard
2nd McNally Home Improvement
3rd Magee Companies

Best Bank/Financial Institution
1st Simsbury Bank
2nd Farmington Bank
3rd KEY Bank

4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

Best Garden/Florist
1st Moscarillo’s Garden Shoppe
2nd Lane & Lenge Florist
3rd Butler Florist

Best Law Firm
1st Eagan, Donohue, Van Dyke & Falsey
2nd Weinstein & Wisser
3rd Stanger Stanfield

Best Entertainment
1st Playhouse on Park
2nd West Hartford Symphony Orchestra
3rd Cinépolis

Best Happy Hour
1st World of Beer
2nd Treva
3rd Ocho Café

Best Late Night Spot
1st Barcelona West Hartford
2nd Grants
3rd Vinted Wne Bar & Kitchen

Best Eye Wear
1st Harvey & Lewis TIED Central Optica
2nd Dr. Neil W. Kemp
3rd Sight

4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Joy Taylor

Happy winners at 4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Joy Taylor

4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

Best Specialty Retail
1st Toy Chest
2nd Penzeys Spices
3rd Cookshop Plus

Best Home Décor
1st Larsen’s ACE Hardware
2nd John Boyle Home Décor
3rd Kaoud Oriental Rugs

Write In
1st Black Diamond
2nd The Children’s Museum
3rd White Rabbit

Best Gala (local event)
1st Ron’s Run, Ron Foley Foundation
2nd Children’s Charity Ball, The Bridge Family Center
3rd A Child’s World, The Children’s Museum

Best Fine Jewelry
1st Lux Bond & Green
2nd Becker’s Diamonds & Fine Jewelry
3rd DeRobertis

Best Sports Retail
1st Fleet Feet
2nd Play it Again Sports
3rd GolfTec

Best Men’s Local Retail
1st Daswani Clothiers
2nd CT Custom Clothing
3rd Joseph A. Bank Clothiers

Best Women’s Local Retail
1st BK&Co
2nd Ooh La La Boutique
3rd Kimberly Boutique

4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

4th Annual Best of West Hartford awards celebration produced by WHMedia. Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse. Nov. 5, 2018. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild

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