By Scott Dolch, Executive Director, Connecticut Restaurant Association
The Connecticut Restaurant Association (CRA) will once again be honoring the best of the best from the restaurant industry at our annual awards gala on Monday, December 3 at Foxwoods Resort Casino. However, there is one big change in the event, as it is being renamed from the Salute to Excellence Awards to The CRAzies. The 2018 CRAzies presented by Sysco Connecticut will recognize the exceptional ability and talent of the Connecticut restaurant community.
As the new Executive Director for the CRA, my goal for changing the name of the event is to first help with the Association’s brand awareness, but more importantly, I’m hoping the new name will take on a life of its own for the industry. It seems that everyone who is in the restaurant industry has a little crazy in them and I feel crazy is not just a good thing, it is a great thing!
Steve Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple, once said, “The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do!” My hope is people will embrace the new name and view winning a CRAzy Award, as one of the most prestigious awards presented to members of the restaurant and the food and beverage industry.
This year’s event will honor 15 coveted awards including Restaurant of the Year, Restaurateur of the Year, Connecticut Hospitality Hall of Fame, Chef of the Year, Caterer of the Year, Bartender of the Year, Server of the Year and more.
Another new addition for 2018, the Restaurant of the Year category has been broken up into four regions from throughout the state. The north region will represent Hartford County and Tolland County; south region – New Haven County and Middlesex County; east region – New London County and Windham County; west region – Fairfield County and Litchfield County. The winners from each region will then have a chance to win the Overall Restaurant of the Year for Connecticut.
We at the association are encouraging everyone to nominate their favorite restaurant, restaurateur, caterer, server, bartender, staff member and more.
In early October, the finalists in each category will be announced and public voting will be re-opened to help select the winners. In addition to the public vote, a judges’ panel will be appointed by the CRA Executive Director. The judges are made up from a panel of journalists, media representatives, chefs and restauranteurs. All of the judges are appointed based on their thorough knowledge of the restaurant industry throughout Connecticut.
If you’re not sure what exactly CRA does for the industry, our bio says it all: the Connecticut Restaurant Association is a full service, not-for-profit trade association dedicated to supporting every type and size of restaurant. The industry plays an integral role in Connecticut’s economy, employing more than 155,000 people and creating $7.5 billion in annual sales.
As such, we are advocates for the Connecticut restaurant industry, a hub for information and a platform for networking. We commit ourselves to offering cost effective benefits and resources you need to run a profitable business.
Come to a meeting, or better yet, come to the CRAzies!