The Connecticut Restaurant Association Presents
Barcelona Restaurant Group’s Andy Pforzheimer and Sasa Mahr-Batuz
With the Restaurateurs of the Year Award
November 30, 20101, Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, CT: This year’s Salute to Excellence Awards Dinner presented by the Connecticut Restaurant Association, titled “Celebrating our Celebrities”, honored Barcelona Restaurant Group’s Andy Pforzheimer and Sasa Mahr-Batuz with the Restaurateurs of the Year Award.
It’s been quite a year, and moreover, an exciting ride for these two dynamic restaurant industry professionals over the last 14 years. With six locations throughout Connecticut (Greenwich, Stamford, South Norwalk, Fairfield, New Haven, and West Hartford) of their popular Barcelona Wine and Tapas Bars, another location set to open in Atlanta, GA in January, and two BarTaco Taqueria and Tequila Bars opening in Port Chester and Stamford in the new year, Andy and Sasa continue to thrive in an uncertain economic climate, as well as employ over 400 people.
Barcelona’s enduring concept, Andy and Sasa’s commitment to presenting the Spanish lifestyle through food, drink, and a sense of entertainment, along with their unwavering devotion to their customers, is evident through the quality of the food, level of service and the accessible price points that often go years without an increase.
Last year was an extremely exciting time for the Barcelona Restaurant Group with the release of the Barcelona Cookbook, A Celebration of Food, Wine, and Life. As with all projects that Andy and Sasa pursue, the entire staff, past and present, had a hand in the creation of this book, which paid homage to Spain, the Barcelona team, and the art of great food and wine with the idea of bringing people together.
It’s easy to see what drew the CTRA to Andy and Sasa. A pioneer in the farm-to-table movement long before it was fashionable and commercially exploited for promotional reasons, the Barcelona Restaurant Group has always locally sourced their ingredients, from produce to livestock, to artisan products and even the bread they serve. In fact, several local farms continue to pull up their trucks to the Barcelona offices in South Norwalk after staff meetings so that the chefs can grab their ingredients of choice to take back to their restaurants. This practice still exists, though not touted, but more importantly, practiced.
Andy and Sasa don’t go it alone however. Contributing to their success is a wealth of talent and passion found within their staff. Their ability to let their chefs shine and excel is a testament to their own personal respect for the industry and the people that contribute to it. Recently the guys took the entire culinary team to New York City to audition for Television Food Network’s “Chopped”. The result was the season opener winner of $10,000 going to Barcelona Greenwich Chef Christian Petroni. Wine and Spirits Director Gretchen Thomas received top honors from the prestigious Wine Academy of Spain’s 2009 Spanish Wine Education Program World Tour, for which a trip through Spain’s famed wine country was awarded.
Trips to Spain are a common occurrence for the Barcelona team, often 3-4 trips are taken each year. Andy and Sasa have always encouraged their chefs/management to embrace the Spanish culture and find inspiration, reinforcing what Barcelona strives for – excellence.
The above is a release from Linda Kavanagh of Maxexposure. La Buena Vida has teamed up with Maxexposure to bring the latest in Fairfield County dining.