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West Hartford ‘Celebrities’ Become Waiters to Benefit Park Road Parade

West Hartford's new Police Chief Vernon Riddick takes orders from other department members including Capt. Michael Perruccio (left) and Capt. Jeremy Clark and (backs to the camera) Asst. Chief Bob McCue and Town Council member and Public Safety Committee Chair Leon Davidoff at the Celebrity Breakfast. June 12, 2018. Photo courtesy of Tracy Flater

The customers of Effie’s Place Family Restaurant were served by local celebrities Tuesday at the annual Celebrity Breakfast fundraiser for West Hartford’s Park Road Parade.

Barbara Lerner and John Paindiris. Celebrity Breakfast. June 12, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

By Ryley McGinnis

The tables were set and the day was ready to start, but on Tuesday the servers weren’t the typical friendly faces of the Effie’s Place Family Restaurant wait staff. Customers had their coffee poured and orders taken by people whose names and faces are well known around West Hartford at the 19th annual Celebrity Breakfast to benefit the Park Road Parade.

Effie’s Eggs, Patrissi Pancakes, and Whiting Lane Waffles were on the menu for the lucky diners who got to see some of the big faces of the town. Celebrity servers included West Hartford Police Chief Vernon Riddick, Asst. Police Chief Dan Coppinger, Town Manager Matt Hart and many more town leaders and business owners.

The Park Road Parade started 20 years ago, and the Celebrity Breakfast was started shortly after as a way to raise money to put on the annual event. This year the parade will be held on Saturday, Oct. 6.

“It’s fun to see the people we regard as very important in our community taking time out of their day to be here,” said Jane Barter, one of the many diners and also a resident of Park Road. “This event and the parade really celebrate the town, and Park Road is a very unique part of that.”

The breakfast raised $2,700 this year, said John Paindiris, owner of Effie’s Place who annually holds the breakfast and donates the proceeds to the parade. Paindiris saw the day as a success. “This was one of our best years. People hung out and talked with one another and it made it feel very relaxed,” said Paindiris.

“Every year there is some question about whether we should do this again, the Celebrity Breakfast or the Parade,” said Paindiris. “And then you have people at the events tell you how fun it is and that’s the reason we still do it.”

Many people echoed this positivity. “You get to see people you maybe wouldn’t see, and it brings attention to Park Road,” said Rita Soovajian, one of the diners for the day. “It was a successful event this year and I would love to see it grow, it really celebrates the neighborhood.”

Diners Roger and Debbie Goldbeck, whose server was Town Clerk Essie Labrot, said the event was fun especially since they got to give Labrot, a friend of theirs, a hard time. Roger Goldbeck has attended the Celebrity Breakfast a few times before and said that the event is always fantastic.

Many of the celebrities themselves sat down to enjoy an Effie’s Place breakfast after their shifts, and the banter continued between the servers and the customers throughout the restaurant as well as onto the front patio which was an ideal spot to enjoy breakfast on a bright sunny day.

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From left: Steve Dewey, Deanna Dewey and Jane Barter. Celebrity Breakfast. June 12, 2018. Photo by Ryley McGinnis

From left: Doreen Katusabe, David Goldberg, Marsha Sisson and Lorraine Andino. Celebrity Breakfast. June 12, 2018. Photo by Ryley McGinnis

Marge Bell (left) and Rita Soovajian. Celebrity Breakfast. June 12, 2018. Photo by Ryley McGinnis

Corrina Uliano (left) and Kristin Harpie. Celebrity Breakfast. June 12, 2018. Photo by Ryley McGinnis

Roger and Debbie Goldbeck. Celebrity Breakfast June 12, 2018. Photo by Ryley McGinnis

WDRC’s Brad Davis broadcast live from Effie’s Place, interviewing many of the servers including Jonathan Harris (left). In background is Effie’s Place owner John Paindiris. Celebrity Breakfast. June 12, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Charlie and Pamela Hilborn enjoy breakfast. Celebrity Breakfast. June 12, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Ronni Newton and Charlie Hilborn. Celebrity Breakfast. June 12, 2018. Photo credit: Pamela Hilborn

From left: Liam Sweeney, Whitney Sweeney, Ryan Keating. Celebrity Breakfast. June 12, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Off. Sara Nagle. Celebrity Breakfast. June 12, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Town Clerk Essie Labrot was sporting high heels for her waitress shift. Celebrity Breakfast. June 12, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Celebrity Breakfast. June 12, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Barbara Lerner waits on a table of Playhouse on Park employees. Celebrity Breakfast. June 12, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Celebrity Breakfast. June 12, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

From left: Tom Murphy, Jennifer Evans, David Lemkuil, Andy Fleischmann. Celebrity Breakfast. June 12, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Celebrity server John Lyons serves coffee. Celebrity Breakfast. June 12, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

From left: Andy Fleischmann, Patti Albee, Chuck Coursey. Celebrity Breakfast. June 12, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

From left: Helen Rubino-Turco, Ani Robaina, Matt Hart. Celebrity Breakfast. June 12, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Tony Landino and Renee McCue. Celebrity Breakfast. June 12, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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Ryley McGinnis

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