Tag Archives: Bela Karolyi

Restaurant Awards and New Restaurant in Hartford!

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Maryellen Fillo/Hartford Courant


Always so politically correct that Olympic coach Bela Karolyi.

The celeb coach was in town last week as part of the 2013 P & G Gymnastics Championships and as part of the event, participating in a “Capital City’s Taste of the Championships,” dine-around.

Karolyi, along with 1984 Olympic speed skating gold-medalist Johann Olav Koss, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, 2004 Olympic all-around champion Carly Patterson, 1984 Olympic gold-medalist, USA Gymnastics Board Chairman Peter Vidmar and USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny dined at the restaurants over a three-day period, with the intent of handing out gold, silver and bronze awards.

But everything was so good that this year everyone was a winner. Presented the “Nutrition Award” was Max Downtown while the “Most Creative Dish” award winner was Agave Grill. The “Carly Patterson Award” went to City Steam Brewery Café and honored for “Best Comfort Food” was Salute. The prestigious “ Bela Karolyi Award” went to Feng Asian Bistro while the “Mayor’s Award” went to DISH Bar & Grill.

Abillings1 (2)nd speaking of restaurants, another one is opening in Hartford and not where you would expect.

On August 28 “The Kitchen at Hartford Public Library” will open its doors at the Main Street main branch of the library. The new farm-to-table café, collaboration between Billings Forge Community Works and Hartford Public Library, will offer job training and permanent job placement services (through the library’s CT Works program) for Hartford residents.

Billings Forge also has a café at its complex on Broad Street in Hartford.

Ribbon cutting for the second location is at 10:15 a.m.

The restaurant will be serving breakfast, lunch and “to go” food Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Catering will also be available.  


Olympic Coach Bela Karolyi Brings Food Critic Game To Town

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MaryEllen Fillo/Hartford Courant


Celebrity Olympics coach Bela Karolyi is in town doing what he does best, coaching some of the 2013 P&G Gymnastics Championship gymnasts who are in Hartford. And then there is that other thing, judging food.

Once again the celebrity coach has been tapped to dine around the city and hand out the gold to the place he feels is the best when it comes to good food.

“It’s going to be tough but I think they will all be scored between 7 and 10,” laughed Karolyi, who, along with “Right to Play” founder and CEO, former Olympic speed skater Johann Olav Koss, stopped at Max Downtown Thursday as part of the contest. There, where executive chef Hunter Morton served the two a Garlic Farm native tomato tart with Wala Wala onions and a side of parmesan ice cream.


MaryEllen Fillo/Hartford Courant

“The stakes are high,” he joked as he tried the glorified appetizer, also being fair and praising the Mexican food he had also tried at nearby Agave as the competition got underway. “Like gymnastics, we are looking for quality.”

Other participating restaurants include Feng Asian Bistro, DISH, Salute and City Steam Brewery. Juding will be completed Saturday.

Karolyi judged a similar restaurant showdown three years ago, the last time the championship was in Hartford. And Karolyi clearly enjoyed being back.

For Koss, who heads up the non-profit that provides sports and play opportunities to children in need, this week marks his first visit to Hartford and he already likes what he sees.

“The people are all so friendly,” he said. “It’s a beautiful city and it’s good to be welcomed.”