2019 “Best of” Poll results are IN!

You Voted, We Counted! Best of North Central News’ Reader’s Poll 2019 results are IN!

When it comes to hospital care, our readers year after year have said Johnson Memorial Hospital in Stafford Springs is the one they trust the most.
That’s why Johnson Memorial Hospital is the newest member of the Best of the North Central News Hall of Fame.


Johnson Memorial Hospital is different from other hospitals. You can tell the difference as soon as you enter the building, hospital officials said, “It’s a country home environment with a culture of healing and caring. While we may be smaller than other area hospitals, that’s not a negative, it’s a positive thing. We save lives here, and if someone needs to go to a larger hospital, we have the ability to transfer to one of our larger partners within the Trinity Health Of New England system,” they said.
“We are proud of our little gem in the hills of Stafford and look forward to providing another 100-plus years of quality health care in a caring, personal environment.”

Also in our hall of fame are Sonny’s Place, Rockville Bank, now a division of United Bank, which was the first inductee, Bolles Motors, financial planner Harry Kent, Geissler’s supermarkets, Lori Spielman Landscaping and last year’s winner, Budget Blinds of Enfield.

With these businesses setting the standard for excellence, the North Central News announces the Best of 2019, according to our readers.

The “Berry” Best
Scantic Valley Farm
327 9th District Road, Somers
860-749-3286
Our readers say Scantic is the sweet spot for picking blueberries and strawberries. Blueberry season continues through late August.

Best Package Store
Joe’s Fine Wine and Spirits
149 North Rd., East Windsor
860-623-7323
Joe’s offers specialty beers whiskeys and bourbons, as well as a growing category of boutique spirits and wines. Owned by Leslie Hickey, who named the store for his father, Joe, the store offers great products and personalized customer service.

Best Veterinarian
Ellington Center Animal Clinic/Ron Caron
66 Main St., Ellington
860-871-3064
Pets are part of the family, and when they need veterinary care, our readers say Ron Caron at Ellington Center Animal Clinic offers the best care around, paws down.

Best Home Improvement Company
Harry A. Starr and Son Inc.
80 Billings Road Somers, CT 06071
860-749-8533
When it comes to siding, roofing doors, hatchways, railings, windows, awnings, porch enclosures, gutters and gutter guards, they are the “Starrs.” They are a third-generation family business, having opened in 1920.

Best Seal Coating and Asphalt Repair
CT Sealcoat
11 Bradfield Drive, Somers
860-698-9183
When it comes to driveway sealing, CT Sealcoat is the best at “Protecting Your Pavement.”

Best International Cuisine
Silvia’s International Restaurant
23 North Main St., Enfield
860-741-6969
When you’re in the mood for international cuisine, our readers say Silvia’s makes the world go around. Silvia also can host your event or bring her international dishes to you.

Best Wings
Hidden Still
87 West Rd, Ellington
860-896-3333
A restaurant and moonshine bar, among the Hidden Still’s hidden talents is its wings, according to our readers. And if you choose to stay for dinner, Executive Chef Sean Martin’s menu consists of pub favorites and unique recipes prepared and presented in an upscale fashion without an upscale price.

Best Place to Watch the Big Game
Bobby V’s Restaurant and Sports Bar
11 Schoephoester Road, Windsor Locks
860-627-5808
Bobby V’s is a partnership venture between Sportech Venues Inc., Winners and sports legend Bobby Valentine, Bobby V’s Restaurant and Sports Bar opened to the public in January 2014, quickly winning a place in our readers’ hearts.

Best Bank
Windsor Federal Savings
Various locations
When it comes to their money, our readers say Windsor Federal Savings is the one to bank on.

Best Auto Repair
Lee’s Auto Ranch
171 West Rd., Ellington
866-431-8210
In the late 1880s the Luginbuhl family migrated from Switzerland and settled in the local farming community. In 1994, Lee founded his first business venture including mechanical repair and auto body work.  Since these early beginnings, Lee’s has grown from only two employees to more than 40. They say their philosophy is that happy customers and word of mouth are the best advertising. Our readers say they have succeeded.

Best Landscaper
R&R Landscaping and Tank Removal
140 Mountain St., Ellington
860-870-8518
You can enjoy some R&R as you let them take care of your landscaping and tank removal needs, With over 20 years of experience, the company is headed up by Roger Flavell.

Best New Car Dealership
50 Palomba Drive, Enfield
860-269-3608
Since the late 1960s, Gale Toyota has offered a personalized car-buying experience. “With every customer, we strive to build a real lasting relationship, and that alone is the secret to our success,” according to its website.

Best Way to Get Away
Post Road Tours
1105 Strong Rd, South Windsor
860-644-1531
When you’re ready to take to the road, our readers say Post Road Tours are the way to travel.

Best Home Decor Shop
Best Furniture Store
Kloter Farms
216 West Rd., Ellington
860-871-1048
Kloter Farms is a family-owned and operated business. At Kloter Farms, we work very hard to earn your business. “It is our goal to provide you with the highest quality products, at the very best price possible,” according to their website.

Best Massage/Spa
Hazardville Wellness
308 Hazard Avenue, Enfield
860-745-3500
NCN Readers have spoken. If you have an athletic injury, a sprain, and/or a pain, an orthopedic massage from Hazardville Wellness is where readers voted is the place to go to for relief.  A Board Certified Licensed Massage Therapist Nathan Fay is the owner. He has been in practice for nine years. The team also includes Kelly Sullivan and Rachel Embree. So whether it is a hot stone, Swedish, deep tissue or therapeutic massage set up an appointment to learn more about what Hazardville Wellness can do to provide pain relief for your family.

Best HVAC
Homestead
100 West Road, Unit 2, Ellington
860-870-8700
A family-owned and operated business for more than 25 years, our readers trust Homestead for their plumbing, heating, cooling, energy and water needs.

Best Barbershop
JB’s Scitico Barbershop
585 Hazard Ave., Enfield
860-749-6305
Reader’s say JB’s Scitico is a cut above. It’s an old-fashioned barbershop that describes itself as having “plenty of updates.” They specialize in all of the new styles, and the classic old fashion cuts at a very reasonable price.”

Best Local Treasure
New England Air Museum
36 Perimeter Rd., Windsor Locks
860-623-3305
The New England Air Museum is a great place to bring kids to learn about all things aviation.In addition to standard exhibits, they also offer special events, including open-cockpit days, when visitors can actually see the planes from the inside.

Best Pool Service
Vernon Poolman
540 Talcottville Rd., Vernon
860-872-1926
Serving the area for more than 25 years, Vernon Poolman specializes in the sales and installation of in-ground pools. The company also does pool renovation and service work.

Best Sunday Gravy
Capa di Roma
358 Burnside Ave., East Hartford
860-282-0298
Born and raised in Bracigliano, Salerno, in Italy, Emilia and Frank Capaccio know the importance of using the freshest and finest ingredients in pasta sauces, oils and vinegars. Their sauces are made with imported Italian plum tomatoes, olive oil, fresh basil and fresh garlic.

Best Lawn Service
Green Carpet Lawn Care
216 Field Rd., Somers
860-698-9630
Green Carpet is a family-owned company whose motto is “The lawn care company that cares.” Apparently, that certainly cuts it with our readers.

Best Seafood
Cold Harbor Seafood & Market
465 Taylor Rd, Enfield
860-763-0522
Our readers say seafood is a dish best served by Cold Harbor. According to owner Joseph Lanzieri, they get fish in fresh daily, try to get local fish when possible and make everything from scratch.” Everything is as fresh as can be,” he said. With a Nantucket feel to the decor, “It looks just like you’re on the island somewhere,” he added.

Best Jewelry Store
Morande Jewelers
23D Fieldstone Commons, Tolland
860-896-0044
When it comes to bling, our readers say Morande is the right thing. They sell fine jewelry, as well as offering repairs and custom designs.

Best Yoga
The Revival Room
Westmeadow Plaza, Unit A, 100 West Road, Ellington
860-977-5422
“Revival Room Yoga and Fitness is a studio focused on wellness for the WHOLE person,” according to its website. They specialize in strength and conditioning, weight loss, yoga, Reiki and meditation.

Best Food with a View
Four Seasons by the Lake
51 Old Springfield Road, Stafford Springs
860-684-3273
Located at Sun Valley Beach Club, Four Seasons by the Lake is Stafford’s only outdoor dining by the lake. In addition to awesome open mic nights, the restaurant features classic homestyle cooking, including bar bites, wings with over 40 flavor options, burgers and dinner entrees. They also have a banquet room for weddings and special occasions and offer catering.

Best Seasonal Concert Series
Sonny’s Place
349 Main St., Somers
860-763-5454
Formerly Somers Golf Center, Sonny’s Place was renamed  in honor of Sonny Antonacci, the father of owner Jerry Antonacci. It’s known for its great ice cream. In addition to the restaurant, Sonny’s also has a driving range, arcade, miniature golf, batting cages, go-carts and a rock wall.
For a list of upcoming concerts, go to sonnysplace.com/sonnys-events/summer-concert-series/

Best Place To Hear Live Music
Palace Theater
75 Main St., Stafford Springs
860-851-9780
Billing itself “The oldest theater with the newest sound,” the classic theater reopened in October 2012 and is a hit with our readers. According to its website, the theater hopes “to provide a classy atmosphere where live entertainment can once again light the streets of this small New England town.”

Best Family Business & Place To Buy Outdoor Structures
The Barn Yard & Great Country Garages
9 Village St., Ellington
860-454-9103
“This is a proud moment for us,” Erik Koehler, marketing engineer, said. “The Barn Yard is the definition of exceptionally built. Founded in 1984, The Barn Yard is a third generation family-owned business with quality second to none. Dedicated to customer service, The Barn Yard is now building and delivering not only in New England but across the country.”

Best Breakfast
Chuck Wagon
12 Church St., Ellington
860-872-3950
Offering American food with an emphasis on fresh ingredients, our readers once again say they want to climb on the Chuck Wagon. They say it’s the best way to start the day.

Best Lunch
Casey’s 127 West Road
Ellington, CT
860-870-8784
NCN readers say Casey’s is the best place for lunch. Sunday is fun day with an all-day barbecue. Finger licking good baby back ribs and pulled pork will end your weekend on a high note.

Best Dinner
Basil’s Restaurant
64 West Stafford Rd., Stafford
860-684-9000
Basil’s Restaurant is a great place to eat, our readers have said once again. “Basil’s Restaurant offers a fresh alternative to the typical dining experience,” according to its website. “At Basil’s, our goal is to create for you the best possible dining experience by carefully preparing and using the finest quality, freshest ingredients.”

Best Happy Hour
Copper House Tavern
585 Main St., Somers
860-265-7535
When it’s time to relax and unwind, our readers say Copper House Tavern is the best. “At The Copper House Tavern, you will feel warmly welcome to experience the true sensation of one the areas most historic restaurants,” according to its website.

Best Bakery
Luann’s Bakery & Cafe
238 Somers Road, Ellington
860-872-8073
Whether you need a great cup of coffee to start the day or have a craving for some sweet treats, LuAnn’s is the place, our readers say. They also make custom cakes and offer catering services.

Best Pizza
Danny’s Pizza
535 Hazard Ave, Enfield
860-763-5511
When you want the best pizza around, it’s Danny’s, our readers say. Co-owner Tami Poggie said offering both thin and thick crust, Danny’s uses all fresh ingredients and only the best cheese. They even roast their own peppers.

Best Restaurant Overall
Trattoria De Lepri
89 West Road, Ellington
860-875-1111
Fine dining at reasonable prices with Italian and French cuisine. That’s how owner Deb Lepri describes her restaurant. The chefs are all graduates of the Culinary Institute of America. “They’re young, they’re passionate, creative, trendy,” she said. The ingredients are fresh, many from the garden.

Best Banquet Facility
Starting Gate at Greathorse Banquet Hall
128 Wilbraham Road, Hampden, Mass.
413-566-8010
“The Starting Gate is a premier venue for your special day. From vows with a view to the elegant celebration, we’re here to help you plan your wedding to be exactly how you dreamed it to be,” Greathorse says on its website.

Best Place to Celebrate the Seasons
Connecticut Trolley Museum
58 North Rd., East Windsor
860-627-6540
In addition to trolley rides and the opportunity to learn how the electric trolley evolved from the horsecar to the PCC, as well as how society was impacted by amusement parks (trolley parks), streetcar suburbs and the growth of mill towns, the museum also loves to celebrate the seasons. It’s a great place to meet the Easter Bunny, enjoy Winterfest with Santa, celebrate Father’s Day and Mother’s Day, or ride the rails to the dark side on Halloween.

Best Boutique
The Eclectic Peacock
74 Palomba Dr, Suite J, Enfield
860-965-7911
When shopping for the unique, our readers say Eclectic Peacock is the best boutique. “I’ve always been creative and dare to be different. This is why I’m so excited to have the opportunity to share those styles with you,” owner Audrey Poynton said on her website.

Best Place for Dinner and a Show
Figaro Italian Restaurant
90 Elm St., Enfield
860-745-2414
When the show must go on while you dine, our readers say to to Figaro. For a list of upcoming shows, go to https://figaroct.com.

Best Powerwash
Mr. T’s Power Wash
34 Sartori Rd, Stafford Springs
860-851-9432
A small, family-owned business, Bob Tofolowsky operates the power wash service with his son, Dan. “We believe in our word is good, and a handshake is good,” adding that they take the time to talk to their customers so they can be sure to provide the service they ask for.

Best Window Cleaning
Window Genie
31 Bradfield Drive, Somers
860-698-3030
If you find cleaning windows a “pane,” Window Genie can grant your cleaning wishes, our readers say. They also offer window tinting, pressure washing and gutter cleaning.

Best Place for Farm Fresh Foods
Burke Ridge Farms
95 Wappingwood Road, Ellington
860-896-0888
Ellington’s Burke Ridge Farms —  with its locally sourced honey, beef, dips and more — has caught the attention of area foodies.

Best New Driveway
Airoldi Paving
P.O. Box 71, South Windsor
860-289-3876
For more than 30 years, Airoldi has been paving the way for customers in Hartford and Tolland counties.

Best Credit Union
Windsor Locks Federal Credit Union
516 Spring St., Windsor Locks
860-292-2940
When it comes to their money, our readers say Windsor Locks Federal Credit Union is the one they trust.

Best Autobody
Rossi Bros. Collision Repair Center
34 West St., Stafford Springs
860- 684-9229
When accidents happen, Rossi Bros.has been the place to get your car repaired for more than 38 years.

Best Dealership-Used
Kristie’s
157 North Road, East Windsor
860-7587586
According to its website, Kristie’s offers “World class service with a small town appeal.”

The Final Word on Vinyl
Music Outlet
151 Hazard Ave., Enfield
860-749-2050
For a real record store, look no further, our readers say. Independently operated since 1984, Music Outlet can find that out of print album or import you have been looking for.

Best Financial Planner
Sarah Maskill of Financial Answers LLC
18 Main St., Ellington
860-926-4783
Sarah Maskill, CFP (Certified Financial Planner) is happy to work with clients on an hourly, as-needed basis, without the conflict of commissions or high cost of “% of your account” management.“It’s an honor to be chosen by your readers for the sixth year in a row. It’s a pleasure to help people from all walks of life, and answer their important questions about retirement, college, divorce, and other financial situations,” she said.

Best Assisted Living Center
The Ivy
123 West Road, Ellington
860-926-0222
The Ivy offers 79 one and two-bedroom apartments. For those who need it, they offer Reflections, a specialized memory support environment.

Best Adult Care
iCare Management
341 Bidwell St.,Manchester
860-570-2140
iCare offers inpatient and outpatient programming, including cardiac, pulmonary,neurological and orthopedic recovery.

Best Real Estate Agency
Trend
2000171 Elm St., Enfield
860-745-2800
“We listen carefully to understand your real estate goals and work hard to create solutions that make sense for you,” the agency says on its website. Our readers say, this makes them the best.

Best Realtor
Kathy Geryk
44 Hyde Ave., Vernon
860-748-4148
Kathy Geryk, of Remax Destination, was again named Best Realtor by our readers. In the business for 11 years, Geryk lives in Stafford Springs and grew up in Somers, so she knows the area well. Geryk said she finds it rewarding to be a part of such a major decision in people’s lives. “I am so flattered to be nominated again for this award. I have to say that I really love my job and helping people to find homes. It is very rewarding. The best part of my job is that many times the people I work with start out as clients and then become friends. I have been invited to weddings, baby showers, house warmings —you name it! I love the fact that I become a member of the family. There is no finer compliment than that,” Geryk said.

Best Hair Salon
Cutting Loose
95 South Rd Unit 26B, Somers
860-749-3200
Sisters Meaghan Fallon and Jaclyn Rodriguez opened the Salon February 2013. It is a “sister” salon to Cutting Loose in Sarasota, Fla., where they started their careers with mentor Coral Pleas. “Cutting Loose is different because we specialize in French hairdressing, the system in which we cut is French, which allows you to have one cut multiple looks and is softer more feminine lines, then harsh heavy lines. We hand pick and train our own future professionals coming out of school. We train them in systems that will help them to perfect their craft and grow within their career. We also, specialize in Balayage which is french for hand painting. It creates soft diffused highlights or dimension within your color,” Rodriguez said.

Best Attorney
Bonnie Kumiega
1733 Storrs Rd., Storrs
860-548-2664
“I am honored to be named ‘Best Attorney’ for the fifth year in a row by NCN Readers. Practicing law is my passion and the relationships that I have built with my clients make my career extremely enjoyable day in and day out.” Bonnie Kumiega said. Attorney Kumiega’s practice areas include commercial and residential real estate, real estate development and land use, leasing, general corporate counsel, business law, business formation, mergers and acquisitions, estate planning, trusts and estates, business succession planning, probate law and municipal law.

Best Hair Stylist
Carol Bigelow, Shear Magic Styling Salon
11 West Road, Suite 2, Ellington
860-871-4109
Ready to change your style? Carol Bigelow is ready to help clients look their best. She has been styling hair for 35 years, and she has made the cut again!

Best Florist
Colonial Flower Shoppe
611 Main St, Somers
860-763-0082
“Our business is special because what we sell is special,” said Debbie Farnham of Colonial Flower Shoppe, “Flowers have been given and received for centuries, used to convey what words could not say and have an energy like all living things. No matter what the occasion, their special “power” can make even the saddest day better. Our job is to make sure they are fresh and beautiful and we stand behind that.”

Best Gift Shop
Somers Village Gifts & Gourmet Baskets Inc.
111 Main St., Somersville
860-265-2282
Somers is the best place to find that perfect gift. “If you are somewhere between store-bought gifts and homemade gifts, Somersvillage is the perfect place to bridge that gap,” they say on their website.

Best Gym/Fitness Center
Anytime Fitness
99 South Rd., Somers
860-265-3009
Our readers say Anytime Fitness works out for them. The fitness center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As they say on their website, “talk about no more excuses.”

Best Dentist
Dr. Michael Nero
646 Main St., Somers
860-749-9911
When it comes to dentists, our readers say it’s Dr. Michael Nero who makes them smile. Nero received the Academy of General Dentistry’s Mastership Award last year.. It is the academy’s highest honor. He completed 1,100 hours of dental continuing education to earn the award. “Dr. Nero should be commended for his unflagging commitment to continuing education, which allows him to provide the best possible dental care and oral health education for his patients,” said Dr. W. Mark Donald, the group’s immediate past president.

Best Doctor
Dr. Timothy Fignar
15 Palomba Drive No. 5, Enfield
860-745-1623
A family physician, Dr. Timothy Fignar sees patients of all ages. “Family medicine specializes in you and we are honored to be your medical home,” he says on his website.

Best Optometrist
Dr. Lily Yeh
139 Hazard Ave., Enfield
860-749-1233
When it comes to vision, our readers say they prefer to see Dr.Lily Yeh. Her special area of interest is vision therapy.

Best Golf Course
Rolling Meadows
76 Sadds Mill Rd, Ellington
860-870-5328
Rolling Meadows has been family owned and operated since its inception. It offers a  full service pro shop as well as a full restaurant and bar.

Best Golf Pro
Jeff Swanson
Cedar Knob
446 Billings Road, Somers
860-749-3550
“PGA Pro Jeffrey Swanson welcomes you. We are eager to assist golfers with all aspects of their game. We welcome all skill levels. Whether making a tee time reservation, booking an outing or satisfying one’s desire to improve your game through private lessons, we do look forward to serving you. Our staff lends a comfortable and friendly atmosphere and before you know it, you will be one of the ‘gang’ playing at Cedar Knob,” Cedar Knob states on its website.

Best Walk-in Clinic
New England Urgent Care
55 Hazard Avenue
Enfield, CT 06082
860-745-9911
New England Urgent Care has received the Certified Urgent Care Designation. It has the resuscitation equipment and trained personnel to take care of urgent or acute illness, and is able to care for a broad spectrum of illnesses and injuries.

Best Cardiologist
Dr. Jeffrey P. Thompsen, M.D., LLC
15 Palomba Drive, Ste 2, Enfield
860-253-9950
Practicing as an internist and cardiologist since 2005, Dr. Thompsen has been in practice with St. Francis Hospital since 2012.  He serves as the president of Johnson Memorial Medical Center’s Medical Staff. Board certified in cardiovascular disease, his office is located at 15 Palomba Drive in Enfield. He is accepting new patients.

Best Neurosurgeon
Bruce Chozick
1000 Asylum Ave Suite 2107A Hartford, CT 06105
860- 714-9840
“My goal as a physician is to combine care and compassion with the latest techniques and technological advances in the field of neurosurgery. I take time with my patients and provide patients and families with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions. My staff and I work as a team to ensure an optimal outcome and exceptional patient care,” Chozick said on his website.

Best Nails
Heads Up and Body Works
67 South Road, Somers
860-763-2235
When it comes to manicures and pedicures, our readers say Heads Up has nailed it. The professional staff is fully licensed and offers a range of services for men and women.

Best Spa
Somers Day Spa
36 South Road, Somers
860- 763-4544
“We are the oasis where you can take a break from your busy schedule and treat yourself to the ultimate, affordable luxury that you deserve,” they say on their website. What else could you ask for?

Best Deli/Market
ShopRite
Various locations
When they’re in the market for groceries and deli products, our readers say ShopRite is “deli-cious.”

Best Home Heating Oil
Fox Heating Service Inc.
37 Westford Ave, Stafford Springs 
860-875-1416
Since 1984, Fox has been keeping its customers warm with customer service day or night.

Best Motor Sports Dealer
Scranton Powersports
713 Talcottville Rd. Vernon 
860-375-8539
When it comes to motor sports, our readers say Scranton has the power.

Best Electrician
D’Amico Electric Inc.
72 Orcuttville Road, Stafford Springs
860-896-5234
D’Amico has been lighting up their customers world since 1974, serving homes and businesses.

How Bout Dem Apples Award
Johnny Appleseed’s Farm
231 Somers Rd., Ellington
860-875-1000
Johnny Appleseed’s Farm has 60 acres of dwarf apple trees bearing 14 different varieties and 35 acres of easy-to-reach peach trees bearing 11 different varieties. They also grow many of our own vegetables including tomatoes, winter squash, sweet corn and pumpkins. In the fall they welcome preschool apple orchard field trips.

Best Catering
Joanna’s Restaurant and Banquet Hall
145 Main St., Somers
860-763-5060
Our readers say you can count on Joanna’s to let them entertain you and make you smile.

Best Donuts
Gerry’s Donuts
180 Windsorville Road, Ellington
860 872-0376
“For the past 34 years Gerry has been making donuts, muffins, pastries, soups and much more for the town of Ellington and beyond. This is more than a Donut Shop!” they say on their website. Our readers “hole-ly” agree.

Best Esthetician
Exfole
310 Hazard Ave, Enfield
860-698-9644
Owner Cynthia Astone is a registered nurse, with more than 30 years of experience, as well as a trained esthetician. “I perform all of my own treatments, assuring that my clients receive the best that I can offer their skin,” she said. “I perform only PCA facials, which are considered the ‘gold standard’ in the industry and have received special training to become a certified PCA Aesthetician.”

Best Place to Outdoor Dining
Lulu’s Pizzeria and Family Restaurant
151 Hazard Ave., Enfield
860-763-2377
A family-owned and operated restaurant, Lulu’s specializes in Italian cuisine such as pasta, seafood, pizza, wings, grinders, wraps and burgers. They also offer a catering menu. North Central News readers say it’s the best place for a relaxing meal under the sun or stars.

Best Barbecue
Country Diner
111 Hazard Ave., Enfield
860-763-5338
Country Diner serves barbecue chicken, brisket, ribs and pulled pork. Owner Joe Ravalese said they only use the biggest, meatiest ribs around with a choice of plain or seven sauces. “We smoke all our meats here on the premises every day,” he said.

Best Insurance
Paradiso Insurance
8 East Main St., Stafford
860-684-5270
Paradiso Financial & Insurance Services is a four-agent, seven-employee agency. Connecticut, Paradiso Insurance offers the lowest possible rates while ensuring the best possible coverage, according to its website. The offer commercial, home, auto and life insurance and investments.

Best Place for Tires
Maple Garage & Alignment Center
296 East St., Stafford Springs
860-684-7182
Since 1972, Maple Tire Center has serviced the automotive repair and tires and wheels needs of customers in Stafford Springs, Rockville and Palmer, Mass. Our readers say it’s the best place to help with tire needs to get you back rolling down the road.

Best Butcher
The Country Butcher at Spring Meadow Farm
1032 Tolland Stage Road, Tolland
860-875-5352
For 30 years — long before it was trendy —  the Country Butcher has been offering farm-to-table meats, as well as gourmet market items. Their offerings include grass-fed, grain-finished high-choice and prime-certified Angus beef and organic, antibiotic-free poultry.

Best “Fun Night Out”
Cold Creek Brewery
6 Industrial Drive, Ellington
860-858-1900
What could be more fun than a dog-friendly brewery that features craft beers along with  live music? They even offer trivia nights for those in pursuit of even more fun.

Best “Upgrade” in North Central Connecticut
Spare Time
129 Ella Grasso Turnpike, Windsor Locks
860-623-2597
“Bowling, brews and TV sports are the backbone of this alley that also has pub food & a small arcade,” as they say on their website. But this venue has more fun to spare thanks to a recent $1 million-plus upgrade. Now that strikes the right chord.

Best Brunch
Bond 124124 Main St., Somers
860-698-6011
Sunday morning brunch at Bond 124 features brunch classics, including a Bloody Mary bar and complimentary mimosas with each adult brunch purchase.

Best New Addition to Local Dining Scene
Elizabeth’s Bar and Restaurant
4 Prospect Hill Road, East Windsor
860-386-6921
Elizabeth’s offers Italian and Portuguese cuisine “where the dining experience meets at the crossroads between fine and casual dining,” they say on their website. Their first location is in Rocky Hill, but in April 2018, they joined the local dining scene. Our readers say they are a welcome addition.

Best Mexican
Acapulco’s Mexican Family Restaurant and Cantina
61 Palomba Dr., Enfield
860-763-5000
Acapulco’s began with a restaurant in Sudbury, Mass., and has expanded to several locations throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut.”Unlike others, Acapulcos honors its authenticity and family spirit. Everyone works together, not only as a team, but as a family. When customers come to Acapulcos they are treated just that way, like a part of our family,” according to its website.

Best Mediterranean Inspired
Tosca Restaurant
68 Bridge St., Suffield
860-668-0273
According to its website, Tosca says its menus are inspired by its owner and chef Kevin Cousin and offers the finest quality Mediterranean cuisine.They conduct special events for occasions, including Valentines Day, New Year’s Eve and wine-tasting dinners.

Best Ice Cream
The Collins Creamery
9 Powder Hill Road, Enfield
860-749-8663
Founded in 1997 by Jack and Mavis Collins of Powder Hill Farm, Collins is now owned and managed by Tony and Michele (Collins) Bellafronte, They have more than 20 flavors of ice cream, as well as frozen yogurt, soft serve, fat-free ice cream and sugar-free ice cream.

Best Entertainment
MGM Springfield
One MGM Way, Springfield, Mass.
413-273-5000
When it comes to entertainment, our readers say MGM Springfield is their best bet.

Best Place To Get Lost
Nomad’s Adventure Quest
100 Bidwell Road, South Windsor
860-290-1177
When you want to get lost in an adventure, our readers say Nomad’s —  Connecticut’s largest indoor family entertainment facility — does it best. Nomad’s offerings include an arcade, mini golf, climbing wall and a pub.

Best Chinese Restaurant
Hang’s Asian Bistro
34 A West Stafford Road, Stafford Springs
860-684-0333
Hang’s is known for “its modern interpretation of classic dishes and its insistence on only using high quality fresh ingredients.”

Best Place to “Get Wet”
Sun Valley Resort
51 Old Springfield Road, Stafford Springs
860-684-5861
A family-owned and operated private beach club and campground, Sun Valley has more than 300 campsites on a 10-acre spring-fed lake. They are one of the few places around with high dives and big metal slides.

Best Airline
Aer Lingus
800-474-7424
Headquartered in Dublin and offering flights out of Bradley International Airport, our readers say Aer Lingus is the best way to fly.

Best Septic
Avery
64 Field Road, Unit 1A, Somers
860-749-9964
In business for more than 50 years, “Our mission is to provide our customers with superior residential and commercial septic services that can only come from our commitment to working our hardest and using superior-quality materials,” according to its website.

Best Small Engine
Hirth Small Engine Repair
51 Sandy Beach Road, Ellington
860-872-9034
Since 1989, Hirth has been meeting the area’s small engine repair needs. It also specializes in excavation.

Best Tree Service
Mountain Tree
21 Egypt Rd., Somers
860-749-7365
“What makes the company great is that the owner cares about trees,” said office manager Leon Dolby, whose son, Barry Dolby, owns the company. Apparently, our readers agree. In the tree business since 1980, Mountain is a full-service tree company. “We’re equipped to do almost anything in the line of trees,” Leon Dolby said. They can plant and even transplant, as well as offer tree maintenance services.

Best Coffee
Stafford Coffee Company
42 Main St., Stafford Springs
860-851-8900
Whether you need a break and a cup of coffee or one to go with a meal, our readers say Stafford Coffee Company warms their hearts.

Best Hidden Gem
Salem Cross Inn
260 W. Main St., West Brookfield, Mass.
508-867-2345
The secret is out. The Salem Cross Inn offers locally sourced, seasonal meals and can host events, including weddings.

Something to “Wine” About
R. Dee Winery
504 Hazard Ave, Enfield
860-692-2472
“The Winery. R Dee Winery is a family owned winery with a focus on grape to glass by utilizing grapes from regions that grow them best,” according to its website. Talk about great grapes.

Best Eclectic Entertainment Option
Crazy Cock Cider
68 Main St., Stafford Springs
860-851-9339
Along with hand-crafted hard cider, they offer tarot card readings, live music and henna. You never know what you’ll find at this downtown Stafford venue.

Best Lawn and Garden Tools
Ellington Agway
74 West Road, Ellington
860-875-3355
When it comes to lawn and garden tools, our readers say they really dig Agway.

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