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West Hartford Residents, Businesses Honored at Connecticut Restaurant Association Awards

Connecticut Restaurant Association Board of Directors at the recognition dinner on Nov. 28. Photo credit: Brian Ambrose (submitted photo)

The Connecticut Restaurant Association honored the 2017 Salute to Excellence Award Winners at its Annual Awards & Recognition Dinner.

Restaurant Bricco was named to the Hospitality Hall of Fame. Photo credit: Deb Cohen (we-ha.com file photo)


The Connecticut Restaurant Association (CRA) is pleased to report the 2017 Salute to Excellence Award Winners, as announced at the CRA’s annual awards and recognition dinner held on Tuesday, Nov. 28 at Foxwoods Resort & Casino.

West Hartford residents and businesses were well-represented among the honorees. Dave Kaletski and Jim O’Sullivan, managing partners of vendor of the year Farmington-based Datapay Payroll, are West Harttford residents.

Restaurant Bricco of West Hartford was named to the Connecticut Hospitality Hall of Fame, and Kristin Eddy, pastry chef at West Hartford’s Cook and the Bear and Millwright’s in Simsbury received a Rising Star Award.

Plan b in West Hartford is a member of Local 8 Restaurant Group, whose Allie Gamble and Shawn Skehan won the Restaurateur of the Year Award.

The CRA Awards and Recognition dinner is the largest restaurant industry event of the year and celebrates the best of the best in the Connecticut Restaurant Industry.

The 2017 Award Winners and Honorees include:

Vendor of the Year:  Datapay Payroll

Friend of the Industry: State Sen. Craig Miner

Connecticut Hospitality Hall of Fame Award Winners: Restaurant Bricco and Eli Cannons Tap Room

Restaurateur of the Year Award: Allie Gamble and Shawn Skehan, Locals 8 Restaurant Group: Plan b Burger, Butchers and Bakers, Tisane, and Half Door

2017 CRA Industry Appreciation:  Powers, Brennan, Griffin, LLC

Server of the Year Award: Erica Richardson, J. Timothy’s

Caterer of the Year Award: Bears Smokehouse BBQ

Casual Restaurant of the Year Award: Engine Room

Upscale Restaurant of the Year Award: Millwright’s Restaurant

Newcomer of the Year Award: Present Company

CT Distributors Mixologist of the year Award: Justin Morales, Blind Pig

Chef of the Year: Dan Magill,  Arethusa al Tavolo

Rising Star Award: Kristin Eddy, Millwright’s Restaurant and The Cook & The Bear

“It is such an honor to have the opportunity to shine the light on the best of the best in the restaurant industry from all across our state,” said Sarah Maloney, executive director of the Connecticut Restaurant Association. “This year’s awards dinner was bigger than ever with more than 500 people in attendance and it’s humbling to see the camaraderie between chefs and restaurateurs throughout our state. It’s just incredible to see how the food scene in Connecticut has grown over the years, and is really putting our state on the national map, and I can’t wait to see what’s to come in 2018.”

The Annual Awards and Recognition dinner also honors the achievements of the Connecticut’s ProStart Graduates. The CRA promotes advancement of the industry through the support of the ProStart Program, a national, two-year culinary and management program for high school students. With the help of the many restaurateurs and Industry professionals in attendance at the awards dinner, $22,000 was raised to support college scholarships for ProStart students, furthering their education in the hospitality industry.

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