Tuesday’s 2017 Connecticut Restaurant Association Salute to Excellence Awards dinner at Foxwoods Resort Casino honored the state's top restaurateurs, servers, caterers, mixologists and longtime achievers.
Vendor of the Year: Datapay Payroll Services
Friend of the Industry: State Senator Craig Miner
Restaurateur of the Year Award: Allie Gamble and Shawn Skehan, Locals 8 Restaurant Group (b Restaurants, 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, Plainville
Casual Restaurant of the Year Award: Engine Room, Mystic
Upscale Restaurant of the Year Award: Millwright’s Restaurant, Simsbury
Newcomer of the Year Award: Present Company, Simsbury
CT Distributors Mixologist of the Year Award: Justin Morales, Blind Pig, Hartford
Chef of the Year: Dan Magill, Arethusa al Tavolo, Bantam
Rising Star Award: Kristin Eddy, Millwright’s Restaurant in Simsbury and The Cook & The Bear in West Hartford
“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 Connecticut's ProStart Graduates. The CRA promotes advancement of the industry through the support of the national two-year culinary and management program for high school students.
With the help of 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, according to a press release.