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Taste of Blue Back Square & West Hartford Center Draws Sell-Out Crowd

Mayor Shari Cantor and her husband Michael Cantor pose in the SnapSeat Photo Booth at Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Guests at the inaugural event sampled delicious fare from 14 Blue Back Square and West Hartford Center restaurants, and also enjoyed jazz music, massages, and discounted merchandise at several area specialty shops.

Mayor Shari Cantor and her husband Michael Cantor pose in the SnapSeat Photo Booth at Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Mayor Shari Cantor and her husband Michael Cantor pose in the SnapSeat Photo Booth at Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

By Ronni Newton 

Many of West Hartford’s premier restaurants showcased their signature dishes at the inaugural Taste of Blue Back Square & The Center, held Wednesday in the REI parking lot in Blue Back Square.

Savory fare for the summer evening included a variety of sliders/sandwiches – pulled pork, crab cakes, brats, steak – as well as pastas, bruschetta and meatballs. NoRA’s rainbow collection of cupcakes were devoured before the evening ended.

Many guests were excited for a preview of the Cook and the Bear’s menu, which was prepared and served by Ed Jones, who has been hired as executive chef for the restaurant that will open in September. The barbecue received a resounding thumbs-up from those who got a taste before hungry guests coming back for seconds devoured it.

The event was about more than just eating, with several specialty shops – Ooh La La Boutique, Eyeglasses.com, Ten Thousand Villages, The Green Teahouse, West Elm, Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming, and BK&Co. offering discounts on merchandise to shoppers with “Taste of” wristbands.

Those wristband privileges didn’t end with the event! Blue Back Square is offering free valet parking throughout the weekend for those who present their taste of Blue Back Square & The Center wristbands.

A portion of the proceeds from the event were donated to the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society. Donations made at the very popular Jean Machine van – where $10 got you a pair of trendy jeans (or six pair for a $50 donation) all went to the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society, too.

A jazz trio – Ross Tucker and the Hot Cat Jazz Band – provided the perfect ambiance for a warm summer night. Guests also kept entertained at a huge Scrabble game that Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society volunteers brought.

Many took advantage of facials and chair massages courtesy of Spa Soli, or posed for easily-sharable photos in SnapSeat’s state-of-the-art photo booth in front of a specially-made step and repeat banner.

Guests also received swag bags, and had a chance to win raffle prizes that included a night on the town with Premier Limousine and gift cards from West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square merchants and restaurants.

Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center was sponsored by BNY Mellon; Becker’s Diamonds & Fine Jewelry; Eagan, Donohue, Van Dyke & Falsey
; and Robert Levine for State Rep. – who was in attendance handing out water.

Special thanks also go to Merchant Solutions, Taylor Rental Party Plus, First Church West Hartford, Spa Soli, Town of West Hartford, and the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce.

Media Sponsors include Connecticut Jewish Ledger, Eat in Connecticut, iHeartRadio, Turley CT Newspapers, West Hartford Magazine, and We-Ha.com.

A special shout out also goes to Sebby and the Blue Back Square maintenance crew for preparing the area and keeping it clean!

Taste of Blue Back Square & The Center was the third “Taste of” this year (Elmwood was in February and Bishops Corner was in April) – and the cycle of West Hartford neighborhoods will be completed with Taste of Park Road this September. Look for details coming very soon.

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Registration was held on Isham Road between Bar Louie and the Cheesecake Factory, and guests followed the red carpet to the event in the REI parking area. Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Registration was held on Isham Road between Bar Louie and the Cheesecake Factory, and guests followed the red carpet to the event in the REI parking area. Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center drew a sell-out crowd. Photo credit: Cheyney Barrieau

Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center drew a sell-out crowd. Photo credit: Cheyney Barrieau

Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Ross Tucker and the Hot Cat Jazz Band provided entertainment. Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Ross Tucker and the Hot Cat Jazz Band provided entertainment. Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Jade Marketing Group's Jean Machine's trendy jeans were very popular with guests, who gladly made a $10 donation to the Noah Webster House to receive a pair of trendy jeans. Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Jade Marketing Group’s Jean Machine’s trendy jeans were very popular with guests, who gladly made a $10 donation to the Noah Webster House to receive a pair of trendy jeans. Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Noah Webster House Development Director Amy Boulton shows off the non-profit's giant Scrabble board. Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Noah Webster House Development Director Amy Boulton shows off the non-profit’s giant Scrabble board. Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

NoRA cupcakes colorful desserts were a hot commodity. Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

NoRA cupcakes colorful desserts were a hot commodity. Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Barbara Lerner and her husband Hank enjoy the event. Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Barbara Lerner and her husband Hank enjoy the event. Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

World of Beer was serving brats with the works. Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Chef Ed Jones (right) provided a preview of menu items from the soon-to-open Cook and the Bear. Jaime LaDucer, owner of Chalk Art New England, created the customized chalk board. Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Chef Ed Jones (right) provided a preview of menu items from the soon-to-open Cook and the Bear. Jaime LaDucer, owner of Chalk Art New England, created the customized chalk board. Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

FOX 61's Jimmy Altman (center) with Eat in Connecticut's Kristen Fritz (left) and Cheyney Barrieau. Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

FOX 61’s Jimmy Altman (center) with Eat in Connecticut’s Kristen Fritz (left) and Cheyney Barrieau. Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Blue Back Square's management office enjoyed the event. Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Blue Back Square’s management office enjoyed the event. (From left): General Manager Robyn Rifkin, Marketing Director Elizabeth Zigmont, Office Manager Karen Ciarcia. Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Besito brought their signature guacamole, as well as some other tasty menu items. Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center. July 27, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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We-Ha

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