Arethusa al tavolo, Osa, Doro Restaurant Group earn top 2018 'CRAzies' awards

The 2018 Connecticut Restaurant Association “CRAzies” awards dinner Dec. 3 at Foxwoods Resort Casino honored the state's top restaurateurs, chefs, servers, caterers, mixologists and longtime achievers.

The 24th annual awards gala was renamed the CRAzies this year, in reference to a Steve Jobs quote and to recognize the artistry of the industry.

The winners:

CRA Hospitality Hall of Fame Recipients: Griswold Inn, Essex, and The Place, Guilford

Restaurant Group of the Year Award: Doro Restaurant Group

Server of the Year Award: Brian Smith, Millwright’s

Caterer of the Year Award: Big Green Pizza Truck

Newcomer of the Year Award: Osa, Middletown

Bartender of the Year Award: MeKayla Roy, Zohara Mediterranean Kitchen

Chef of the Year: Chris Sheehan, Max Downtown

Vendor of the Year: The Chefs’ Warehouse

Friend of the Industry: State Senator Joan Hartley

In 2018, the Restaurant of the Year category was divided into four regions throughout the state. Present Company in Simsbury (North Region); Bread & Water in Middletown (South Region); Oyster Club in Mystic (East Region) and Arethusa al tavolo in Bantam (West Region) took home honors, with Arethusa al tavolo earning the overall Restaurant of the Year award.

“The first-ever CRAzies Awards Gala was a huge success for our association, as we were able to showcase the exceptional talent that our industry has to offer in Connecticut, said Scott Dolch, executive director of the Connecticut Restaurant Association, in a news release. “We kept telling people that this is a can’t miss event for our industry and I was very pleased not only with the turnout, but the energy that we had throughout the entire event.”

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