MASHANTUCKET, CT — The Connecticut Restaurant Association (CRA) hosted nearly 700 guests on Monday, Dec. 2 at Foxwoods Resort Casino to celebrate the restaurant industry and handed out sixteen awards.
A change to the event included adding a new nominating panel made up media experts and past winners. The panel members and more than 10,000 online public votes were cast to help select the winners.
“Our second annual CRAzies Awards Gala was another huge success for our association, as we were able to showcase the exceptional talents that our industry has to offer in Connecticut,” said Executive Director Scott Dolch, in a prepared statement. “Our goal is to build on the event each and every year in hopes that it will continue to encourage restaurants from all over the state to take part in this annual celebration.”
One of the top awards of the evening was the Overall and Regional Restaurant of the Year Awards. First, the association handed out regional winners from around the state and the four winners were: Present Company in Simsbury (North Region); Grano Arso in Chester (South Region); Oyster Club in Mystic (East Region) and Jesup Hall in Westport (West Region).
The overall winner who was named 2019 Connecticut Restaurant of the Year went to Grano Arso, who earned the award over the other three regional winners and sixteen total nominees.
The Chef of the Year went to Jeff Lizotte from Present Company in Tariffville. Lizotte earned the award over several finalists, which also included: Arturo Franco-Camacho, Shell & Bones (New Haven); Joel Gargano, Grano Arso (Chester); Luke Venner, Elm (New Canaan); Joel Viehland, Swyft (Kent) and Ki’Yen Yeung, Tiger Belly Noodle Bar (Granby).
The Restaurant Newcomer of the Year went to Tavern on State (New Haven) and the Caterer of the Year was Mercado (Glastonbury). The Server of the Year went to Steve Yung from Restaurant Bricco (West Hartford) and the Bartender of the Year went to Moises Ramirez from Ordinary (New Haven). The final voting award of the evening and new for 2019, Pastry Chef/Baker of the Year went to Adam Young from Sift Bake Shop (Mystic).
In addition to the voted award winners, the Connecticut Restaurant Association recognized Helmar Wolf of Mill Restaurant Group as the 2019 Restaurateur of the Year presented by Datapay Payroll. Helmar owns and operates Mill on the River (South Windsor), Abigail’s Grille & Wine Bar (Simsbury), Market Grille (Manchester), Republic (Bloomfield), Republic at the Linden (Hartford), Untitled Bistro (Hartford) and Cal’s Wood Fired Grill & Bar (West Springfield).
Captain Daniel Packer Inne (Mystic) and Modern Apizza (New Haven) were both inducted into the Connecticut Hospitality Hall of Fame. The Vendor of the Year went to Allan S. Goodman, which is a Connecticut based family-owned, full-service Wine and Spirit Wholesale Distributor based in East Hartford.
Rounding out the awards was the Friend of the Industry, which recognized the Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin/Southington) who has served in the Connecticut General Assembly since 2004.
Source: Thanks https://patch.com/connecticut/across-ct/best-connecticut-restaurants-honored-awards-gala