Neil O’Leary Voted Person Of The

Year By Observer Readers

Story By John and Chelsea Murray


   If the past year in Neil O’Leary’s life were a grape, it would have exploded from hyper-activity.

   Consider that in the past 12 months O’Leary retired as the police chief in Waterbury, seriously considered challenging Mike Jarjura for mayor, was appointed to the Waterbury Board of Education, was hired to be the police chief in Wolcott, is the acting CEO of a booming PAL Program in Waterbury that is planning to build a new park in the North End next Spring, relinquished his seat on the Board of Education due to the Hatch Act (a law that prohibits a police chief from seeking elected office), was subsequently re-appointed to the Board of Education after the election, is a crusader for changing the way law enforcement officers respond to cases of sexual assault, and tapped into his extensive experience as a detective in Waterbury to help solve the first murder in Wolcott in the past 20 years.

   “It was a busy year,” O’Leary chuckled. “Not exactly the retirement I imagined.”

   For all of this and more, O’Leary was voted the “Person of The Year” in the Observer’s annual Best of Waterbury readers’ poll. He was also the landslide winner as “The Person You’d Most Like to See As The Next Mayor Of Waterbury.”

   “I’m honestly surprised at all the recognition,” O’Leary said. “I’m not the police chief in Waterbury anymore, and many of my friends advised me not to retire because I might hurt myself politically by being out of the spotlight.”

   O’Leary’s friends needn’t worry, the spotlight seems to follow the man where ever he goes.

   Nothing is as positive as the PAL Program, though. O’Leary sprinkled miracle grow on a listless program that served 80 kids, and almost overnight (actually in 4 years) PAL has stretched to serve 3251 children.

   “I’m often asked when do we cut it off? When does it get too big?” O’Leary said. “We don’t plan to ever cut it off. We are not going to turn kids away from PAL.”

   O’Leary’s experience on the Board of Education has been an eye-opener. In the past several months board member John Theriault of the Independent Party launched a film crusade to document the deplorable conditions inside Waterbury’s public schools.

   “John took his video camera inside every school and produced 21 hours of footage that would break your heart,” O’Leary said. “Years of mismanagement from the school inspectors office have left our schools a mess. Children are sitting next to mold and lead paint. We had a major accountability problem. There have been a couple of arrests due to overtime scandals and a $10,000 window that was never placed in Kingsbury School. Theriault and Paul D’Angelo have forced the city to take action.”

   O’Leary said there are very committed employees working and maintaining the schools, but a lack of leadership lead to the disaster. “Thankfully,” he said, “the culture of bad boy behavior has been identified and addressed.”

   O’Leary has been an outspoken proponent of having charter schools in Waterbury. He led a field trip down to New Haven to visit a charter school but was unable to convince his fellow democrats on the board of education to come along. Ironically members of the Republican Party and the Independent Party made the trip.

   According to the U.S. Charter School website “charter schools are nonsectarian public schools of choice that operate with freedom from many of the regulations that apply to traditional public schools. The “charter” establishing each such school is a performance contract detailing the school’s mission, program, goals, students served, methods of assessment, and ways to measure success. The basic concept of charter schools is that they exercise increased autonomy in return for this accountability. They are accountable for both academic results and fiscal practices to several groups: the sponsor that grants them, the parents who choose them, and the public that funds them.”

   O’Leary believes we need charter schools in Waterbury now.

   “If you always do what you’ve always done,” O’Leary said, “then you’ll always get what you’ve always got. We have to do something different.”

   Some of the benefits of a charter school are access to quality education for all students, a choice for parents and students within the public school system, a system of accountability for results in public education, encouragement for innovative teaching practices and encouragement for community and parent involvement in public education.

   “This concept is not going away,” O’Leary said, “it is important for the leaders in Waterbury to stop arguing party lines, get rid of the status quo and explore this innovative idea.”

   But of all the unexpected twists of O’Leary’s past year, nothing comes close to the events that unfolded on Saturday, May 7th, when he received a phone call from Wolcott PD informing him “that something bad was going on.”

   35-year-old Cindy Cannon had been reported missing the previous day by her husband Patrick, and now three of her friends were at the police station convinced something terrible had happened to her. Cindy wasn’t answering calls to her cell phone or responding to text messages, which her friends said was highly unusual. A call to her employer discovered that Cindy had never missed a day of work – until Friday – and hadn’t called in sick.

   “Something was wrong,” O’Leary said. “We brought the husband back to the station and I interviewed him. He didn’t seem too worried about his wife, and when I asked him if he would allow us to go into his house and look around, he refused.”

   Relying on his vast knowledge of murder investigations, O’Leary got a search warrant and then called in the State Police forensic team to comb through the house. They found blood on the wall, blood on the couch and blood splatters on the steps and on the driveway. The next day Cindy’s car was found with blood stains in it. A bloody sleeping bag was found on the side of the road and within 30 hours Pat Cannon was charged with murdering his wife.

    A massive search involving Wolcott police, Wolcott volunteer firemen, the State Police and dozens of volunteers combed the woods and roads for a week before a trucker discovered Cannon’s body in Cheshire.

   “It was a collective effort to solve the case,” O’Leary said, “This kind of thing doesn’t happen very often in Wolcott, and I’m very proud of the town’s response to the crisis.”


After winning a record tying 5th consecutive term in office in November, Waterbury Mayor Mike Jarjura began to eye the turbulent and rapidly changing political landscape in Connecticut. Governor Jodi Rell (R) shook the foundation of statewide politics when she announced she would not seek re-election.

   “Suddenly things began to open up,” Jarjura said, “so I began to explore ways I could advance my political career and continue to help Waterbury. I knew I couldn’t compete financially with several of the top candidates, but I wanted to get Waterbury into the mix.”

   For nearly 20 years Jarjura’s dream job was to be the Attorney General in Connecticut, but with his former boss, Richard Blumenthal, steady at the helm, there was no way Jarjura had a shot at that seat. Undaunted, he floated the idea that he was running for Governor. He debated other aspiring Democratic hopefuls in events televised around the state, and drew quick notice for his command of fiscal policy and budget management.

   Then, unexpectedly, U.S. Senator Chris Dodd announced he wasn’t going to seek re-election and suddenly all the cows came charging out of the barn. Blumenthal, criticized for years for playing it safe, announced he would seek the Democratic nomination to replace Dodd. Susan Byciewicz, the entrenched Secretary of State, and the leading Democratic contender for governor, announced she would run for Attorney General, and the State Comptroller, Nancy Wyman, was vacating her office to run for Lt. Governor with Dan Malloy.

   With unexpected vacancies at the top of the food chain, everybody wanted to move up.

   Jarjura announced in early May that he sought to be his party’s endorsed candidate for Lt. Governor, but when the two leading candidates for governor, Dan Malloy and Ned Lamont, both selected running mates other than Jarjura – he was all dressed up with no place to go.

   With just weeks to go before the party’s nominating convention Jarjura announced he was running for state comptroller. And when one looks at the mission statement of the state comptroller, it’s easy to understand Jarjura’s attraction. The job description is “to provide accounting and financial services, to administer employee benefits, to develop accounting policy and exercise accounting oversight, and to prepare financial reports for state, federal and municipal governments and the public.”

   All areas that Jarjura has considerable experience with. The office has a staff of 251 and a budget of $25.5 million, numbers that would not intimidate Waterbury’s executive officer who manages an annual budget and oversees city employees ten times greater than the comptroller’s duties.

   “I know I can do the job,” Jarjura said. “I have the experience.”

   Although he may have the experience, Jarjura does not have the support of the Democratic party structure who has backed Kevin Lembo as its endorsed candidate.

   Again, undaunted, Jarjura earned enough delegate votes during a raucous and bruising convention in May to force a primary on August 10th. “Kevin Lembo was hand-picked by Nancy Wyman to replace her,” Jarjura said, “Lembo was her former assistant, but he has never faced the voters before. I have stood before the voters nearly 20 times. I am battle tested. I just don’t think it’s a good idea to hand pick someone for state comptroller. That’s not democratic. We’ve given the people of Connecticut a choice.”

   Jarjura was criticized by the daily newspaper in Waterbury for being an opportunist and lunging at multiple statewide positions.

   “They said I didn’t know what I wanted,” Jarjura said, “but who knew that Dodd would drop out and Susan Byciewicz would be declared ineligible to run for attorney general? This is a year of historic change in Connecticut and I want to use my experience in Waterbury to contribute to solving the massive problems facing the state.”

   There is a vocal group in Waterbury that isn’t happy with Jarjura’s efforts to seek state-wide office. In the midst of the sometimes confusing process of deciding which state office he was running for, Jarjura raised taxes in Waterbury and quickly drew the ire of a beleaguered public. During the Observer’s annual readers poll Jarjura’s re-election last November was voted the “Worst Thing To Happen In Waterbury During The Past Year.” Clearly, there was anger and frustration directed at the mayor for raising taxes while traveling around the state campaigning.

   “People can be angry at the mayor,” Jarjura said. “We are paying for things now that should have been paid for a long time ago. We have stabilized city finances and are paying off the debt from decades of mismanagement.”

   Jarjura said it’s hard to be an honest politician and deliver an honest budget. It makes people angry. “When we try and cut city services there is a tremendous outcry,” Jarjura said. “The public wants to keep the police patrolling at night, they want the firefighters standing watch, but at the end of the day I am very proud of what we have accomplished these past nine years. We tackled the big issues.”

    And it’s the experience that he gained helping dig Waterbury out of financial crisis that Mike Jarjura hopes to use to address the financial crisis now looming in Connecticut.

   Other Individuals earning significant votes in the Person of the Year category were Joan Hartley and Janice Smolinski. Both women have worked tirelessly to educate the community about important issues such as fighting the Chestnut Hill Bio Energy Plant, and bringing awareness to missing persons. Others mentioned were Minnesota Timberwolves forward Ryan Gomes, and President Barack Obama for tackling the healthcare issue in his first year in office. Donna Palomba also received many votes for her continued effort to debunk societal myths about sexual assault through her organization Jane Doe No More.

   Topping the list, somewhat oddly, as Best Community Activist is former Connecticut Governor John Rowland. One would be hard pressed to imagine Rowland describing himself as a community activist, but Observer readers gave him a thumbs up in this category. Perhaps a better description of Rowland is that of community advocate, especially in his new role as economic development coordinator for the Greater Waterbury Chamber of Commerce. He has a vision for Waterbury and has been pitching big projects in a horrid economic climate. Rowland recently contacted the former owner of the Hartford Whalers, Howard Baldwin, about the possibility of building a movie studio on city owned property in the south end of Waterbury. Baldwin has toured Waterbury and like many before him, was stunned by the city’s historic architecture. Rowland said Baldwin is coming back to Waterbury with his financial team to take a serious look at the project.

   Larry De Pillo came in second as Best Community Activist. De Pillo, who is now an alderman, continues to rigorously educate himself about the issues facing Waterbury. Others receiving significant votes were Ede Reynolds of The John Bale Book Company, State Representative Selim Noujaim, Janice Smolinski, Kevin Zak for his efforts to clean and revitalize the Naugatuck River, and Steve Schrag for his effort to transform the abandoned Anamet site into a community owned job training center.

   The Waterbury firemen and teenage American Idol contestant, Katie Stevens, tied for the top spot in the Local Hero category. The Waterbury firemen work insane hours to ensure the safety of the people of Waterbury, and Observer readers clearly respect the job they are doing. Stevens, from Middlebury, erupted onto the scene earlier this year on the most popular television show in the country, American Idol, with her soulful singing pipes and adorable personality. People from Greater Waterbury, and around the country, tuned in each week with bated breath to see how far Katie would make it. She was put through the wringer with the judge’s critiques, but her gorgeous voice catapulted her into the top 10. She is currently on tour with the other American Idol contestants around the country and continuing to make Greater Waterbury proud.

   Other heroes are the Smolinski Family for their efforts to find their missing son, Billy, and their effort to pass federal legislation about how law enforcement officers respond to the report of a missing adult. Ryan Gomes and Newman’s Own Company made it on the list, as well as the Strongest Man in America, Derek Poundstone.

   Readers listed a wide range of issues and events as the Worst Thing To Happen in Waterbury The Past year category, and the winner was Mayor Mike Jarjura’s re-election to a fifth term in office. Observer readers were apparently miffed at Mayor jarjura’s proposed tax-hike while he was scampering about Connecticut alternately running for governor, Lt. governor and comptroller. It seems Observer readers preferred Mike Jarjura had focused his attention on the problems in Waterbury.

   While the rest of the world reels from economic crisis, oil spills and natural disasters, Waterbury found many other topics to add to the list of worst thing – unemployment and potholes came in second behind the Jarjura election, with the Education Department’s $10,000 window, the mil rate increase, I-84 traffic snarls, taxes, corruption, crime and blight, teen pregnancies, the decline in the business economy, John Rowland, school violence, Senator Dodd and Lieberman, business closings and the murder of a Kaynor Tech student also making the list.

   Jarjura also captured the top spot as the Most Powerful Man in Waterbury followed by former Waterbury Police Chief Neil O’Leary. Derek Poundstone received some votes and is indisputably the strongest, therefore the most powerful man in Greater Waterbury. Poundstone’s combination of muscle and heart make him a treasure to the city. Others receiving mention in the category were Representative Selim Noujaim, Dr. Peter Jacoby of St. Mary’s Hospital, political newcomer, Jason Van Stone, veteran radio broadcaster Tom Chute, publisher of the Republican-American newspaper Bill Pape, and to add a twist of humor, State Senator Joan Hartley.

   Joan Hartley was crowned the Most Powerful Woman in Waterbury again for continuing to serve Waterbury with poise and grace representing the area as a State Senator. Following close behind Hartley was her sister, Cathy Smith, head of the Board of the Mattatuck Museum. Smith is involved in countless organizations and civic activities. Others receiving mention in the category were republican candidate for Senate, Linda McMahon, Bonnie Orintas, Sandy Vigliotti, Donna Palomba, Jan Smolinski and Derek Poundstone’s fiancé, Kristin Nelson.

   The Most Influential (non-political) Individual was Fritz Blasius. Blasius, owner of Loehmann-Blasius Chevrolet, has been a generous benefactor of the PAL program in the North End. Tying for second place were Wolcott Chief of Police Neil O’Leary and Hank Paine, the friendly Mr. Downtown, and owner of the Howland-Hughes Company. Others receiving votes were Tom Chute, Waterbury Chief of Police Mike Guggliotti, Bonnie Orintas, Mike Crane from Waterbury Youth Services, Dr. Steve Rosa, Donna Palomba, State’s Atty. John Connolly, weatherman Scott Hainey, Jim Noonan and Jan Smolinski.

   Readers chose a wide array of issues that they found near and dear to them in the Most Important Issue Facing Waterbury category. Jobs came away with the top spot, which reflects the mind set of our population as well as the entire United States. With the tough economic times jobs and unemployment are at forefront of peoples thoughts whether they are adults with stable careers, laid off, or high school and college graduates entering the real world work force. Another issue concerning Waterburians is the tax increase and Observer readers were begging not to have the taxes raised again. Other issues that are important are the renovations to City Hall, property taxes, the I-84/ Route 8 re-design, Brownfield remediation, Medicare payments, new schools with too many repairs, the economy, and beautifying the city and filling in the pot holes.

   One important issue in the city remains the Aldermen By District debate. An hour before a public hearing at the Board of Alderman in June,  fifty people of all races and backgrounds gathered together in the Grace Baptist Church to pray. A number of pastors stood up and empowered them to pray to God to touch the Alderperson’s minds and hearts and pray that they are just, bright and fair. The group is strongly in support of electing aldermen in Waterbury by district and wanted to spread the message to stop tearing each other down and come together to claim victory for themselves, their families, and for future people that will come to Waterbury.

   “Play time is over. Stop complaining and speak up,” Reverend Lydell Brown bellowed to the group rousing the spirit to march side by side to the meeting. Reverend Raymond Berger quoted Gideon to weed out the weak, “Ye who are fearful and afraid, GO HOME!” African American Community activist, Jimmie Griffin, educated the group about the political process and challenges the group faces. “We want them to send a report back to the Charter Revision Commission to put the Alderman by District issue on the next ballot,” Griffin said. He encouraged those that were not registered to do so. “It’s a big event for the city to have at least 50 people come together. If we do come in unity it can make a difference,” Griffin said. “Don’t allow anyone to make it feel like you don’t matter.”

   The public hearing was intended to gather information about the issue and another meeting would take place in a few weeks where the Board of Aldermen would make their decision on the matter. Jimmie Griffin and the entire group gathered in the church marched to the hearing. Griffin urged twice as many people to turn out for the next meeting. “This is a momentum builder,” Griffin said smiling at the group. He encouraged everyone in the room to bring at least 10 other people with them to the next meeting and they can make a dent in the war for Aldermen by District. City leaders seem reluctant to address the plea from the minority community for direct representation, but if Griffin and the Waterbury Coalition For Better Government sustains its effort – a sleeping dog (the North and South Ends of Waterbury) will be awake and ready to bite.

   The people of Waterbury like the company they keep and voted “the people” as the Best Reason to Live in Waterbury. Waterbury is made up of a diverse mix of individuals from all parts of the planet. As of the census of 2000, there were 107,271 people residing in Waterbury. The racial make up of the city was 67.41% White, Hispanic or Latino of any race made up 21.77% of the population, 16.31% Black or African American, 0.42% Native American, 1.51% Asian.

   Waterbury has the largest Italian-American population ratio of any city in the U.S. over the size of 100,000 population. The Italian influence is especially strong in the Town Plot, Brooklyn and North End neighborhoods. It has been said that 6 in 10 voters in Waterbury is of Italian decent and often prove to be a decisive voting block in elections. Additionally, the city is home to thriving French-Canadian, Portuguese, Lebanese, Lithuanian, Albanian, Irish, Greek and Jewish populations. Waterbury is said to have the highest percentage of Albanians living outside of Albania than in any other city, state or country in the world. With all that being said, diversity tied for second as the Best Reason to Live in Waterbury with the low crime rate.

   Former Waterbury Chief Neil O’Leary was pleased to hear that because Waterbury worked hard over the past few decades to lower the crime rate and help residents feel safe and secure in their city. In the 1990’s he suggested that people would have rated the crime rate as the top issue facing Waterbury and the worst thing in Waterbury. He is delighted that the issues have changed.

   Other reasons to live in Waterbury are the affordable houses, good food, restaurants, work, promise, “I’m used to it”, community, city services, historic architecture, it has everything, great Downtown, neighborhoods, community feel, Lakewood trout fishing, UCONN/Osher and to visit cemeteries.

   Observer readers feel that the Palace Theater is the Best Reason to Go Downtown followed closely by the Mattatuck Museum and festivals and farm markets. Other reasons to go Downtown are OLLI/OSHER at UCONN, to meet people, shopping, Diorio’s Restaurant, architecture, to catch the bus, jury duty, restaurants and bars, nice walking, prettiest Green in Connecticut, Dom and Pia’s Pizza, the YMCA, the Silas Bronson Library, Mar Vic Cleaners, John Bale Book Company, the Brass Mill Mall, business, and Tony’s. Many people feel that “nothing is worth the parking tickets”. 

   Webster Bank was voted the winner in the “Best Community Minded Business”. Harold Webster Smith founded the bank in Waterbury during the Great Depression. His son, Jim Smith is the CEO of the publicly traded bank. They are extremely generous in the community and in many ways Jim and Cathy Smith are the most influential couple in Waterbury. Other community-minded businesses were Jarjura’s Farm Market, Family Services, and The John Bale Book Company. Other businesses that the community honored were Shop Rite, The Waterbury Observer, Line Electrical Contractors Inc, Noujaim Tool, Carmody and Torrance, Thomaston Savings Bank and Faizo’s Deli.

    The “Best Festival” in Greater Waterbury was the Ponte Club’s Italian Festival held each August. The BrewFest took home second place followed by the Greek Festival, Mardi Gross, the Mt. Carmel Feast, the Portuguese Festival, the Wolcott Fair, the Christmas Tree Lighting on the Green, and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

   The “Most Fun Destination in Waterbury is the CoCo Key Water Park in the East End of the city. Kids can enjoy tropical weather and water slides year round at this popular destination attached to the Holiday Inn. Others gaining votes were the Palace Theater, the Mattatuck Museum, Timexpo, the Brass Mill Mall and Shakesperience in the Park.



Best Bail Bond Company
Addison Bail Bonds
309 East Main Street

Best Bank
Webster Bank

Best Banquet Facility
Villa Rosa
380 Farmwood Road

Best Bridal Salon
Delianne Bridal & Formalwear
541 Wolcott Street

Best Building Contractor
Sullivan Brothers
Kitchen & Bath
One Wolcott Road

Best Butcher Shop
Antonelli’s Meat Market
195 Freight Street

Best Carpet Store
Associated Carpet
828 Wolcott Road

Best Cell Phone Store
511 Wolcott Road

Best Comic Book Store
Legends of Superheroes
1655 Straits Turnpike

Best Consignment Shop
Quality Consignment
1255 Middlebury Road

Best Dance Studio
Brass City Ballet
1255 Middlebury Road

Best Dry Cleaner
Mar-Vic Dry Cleaners
186 Grand Street

Best Electrician
Line Electrical Contractors, Inc.
11 East Aurora Street

Best Employment Agency
Jaci Carroll Staffing
751 Straits Turnpike

Best Financial Advisor
Coleman Financial Advisory Group
60 Lakeside Blvd. West

Best Flooring Co.
Bill Wildman Flooring
1886 Watertown Avenue

Best Florist
The Orchid Florist
One Chase Avenue

Best Fresh Produce Market
Jarjura’s Market
One Market Square

Best Fuel Oil Co.
Mercury Fuel Service
43 Lafayette Street

Best Funeral Parlor
Albini Funeral Home
430 Chase Parkway

Best Gardening Center
Best Hardware Store
Schmidt’s & Serafine’s
464 Chase Avenue

Best Gift Baskets
The Grotto & Mrs. G.
634 Watertown Avenue

Best Gift Shop
Elizabeth Richard Gifts
951 Chase Pkwy.

Best Glass Co.
Plymouth Glass & Mirror
142 East Main Street

Best Grocery Store
943 Wolcott Street

Best Hotel
Holiday Inn
3580 East Main Street

Best Insurance Agency
Martin & Rowland
P.O. Box 2303

Best Jewelry Store
Kay Jewelers
Brass Mill Centre Mall

Best Place to Buy
a Kayak/Canoe
Connecticut Outdoors
20 Main Street

Best Landscaper
John’s Lawncare & Landscaping
580 Wolcott Road

Best Lawyer
Carter Mario
532 Wolcott Street

Best Men’s Clothing Store
Ram’s Clothiers
109 Chase Avenue

Best Neighborhood Market
1892 East Main Street

Best New Store
3612 East Main Street

Best Newspaper
The Waterbury Observer
P.O. Box 910

Best Party Supply Shop
Party Plus
95 Wolcott Street

Best Pawn Shop
T.C. Pawn Co.
503 Lakewood Road

Best Pest Control Co.
P.O. Box 4445

Best Realtor
Showcase Realty
544 Straits Tnpke.
1177 Wolcott Street
1152 New Haven Road

Best Retirement Community
Village at East Farms
180 Scott Road

Best Roofing Co.
DiGiorgi Roofing
& Siding
33 Lancaster Drive
Beacon Falls

Best Seafood Market
Tony & Sons Seafood
639 Main Street

Best Self Storage Facility
Value Store-it
433 Lakewood Road

Best Trash Hauler
S&P Carting
12 Sperry Street

Best Travel Agency
Largay Travel
625 Wolcott Street

Best Liquor Store
Best Beer Selection
in a Liquor Store
Spirit Shop
657 Watertown Avenue

Best Wine Shop
Fairfield Wine & Liquor
296 Fairfield Avenue

Best Videographer
AJV Video &
40 Brackenridge Dr.

Best Wedding Photographer
Uniquely Yours
48 McNamara Street

Best Place for Free Wi-Fi
Panera Bread
920 Wolcott Street


Best Alternative Health Center
Dr. Peter Zilahy
35 Candee Hill Road
Watertown and
133 Scovill Street

Best Chiropractor
Dr. Steven Rosa
715 Lakewood Road

Best Dentist
Dr. Mark Horowitz
1336 West Main Street

Best Dermatologist
Dr. Jeffrey Alter
1078 West Main Street

Best Eye Doctors
87 Grand Avenue
604 Lakewood Road
799 New Haven Road
100 Main Street North
997 Main Street

Best Podiatrists
McHugh & Associates
51 Depot St, Watertown
464 Wolcott Rd, Wolcott
57 North St, Danbury
733 East Main St, Torrington

Best Healthcare Facility
Health Centers
80 Phoenix Avenue

Best Hospital
Waterbury Hospital
Robbins Street

Best Pediatricians
Pediatric Associates
160 Robbins Street

Best Plastic Surgeon
Best Botox Treatment
Dr. Stanley Foster
1389 West Main Street

Best Veterinarian
Mattatuck Animal
1095 Chase Parkway


Best Restaurant
231 Bank Street

Best All-You-Can-Eat
Hometown Buffet
315 Union Street

Best American Restaurant
The Hills
660 Park Road

Best Bagels
Ami’s Hot Bagels
111 Thomaston Avenue
Ami’s Crispy Bagels
2457 East Main Street

Best Bakery
Sweet Maria’s
59 Manor Avenue

Best Barbeque
Best Ribs
Big Frank’s
572 Watertown Avenue
663 Lakewood Road

Best Brazilian Restaurant
Brasil Grill
2060 South Main Street

Best Breakfast
Leo’s Restaurants
900 Straits Turnpike
7 Poverty Road

Best Burgers
G’s Burgers
1300 Main Street

Best Business Lunch
City Hall Cafe
234 East Main Street

Best Caterer
Grand Oak Villa
550 Sylvan Lake Road

Best Chinese Restaurant
and Best Chinese Buffet
Royal Buffet
943 Wolcott Street

Best Coffeehouse
Barci’s Espresso Bar
180 Grand Street

Best Chocolates
2066 Thomaston Avenue

Best Deli
Ann’s Deli
1595 Baldwin Street

Best Dinner before
a Palace Show
Paisano’s Restaurant
538 Meriden Road

Best Donuts
Dottie’s Diner
740 Main Street

Best Family Restaurant
Maggie McFly
6 Woodside Avenue

Best Grinder Shop
Nardelli’s Grinder Shop
540 Plank Road
515 Watertown Avenue
87 Maple Avenue

Best Hot Dogs
700 Watertown Avenue
364 Chase Avenue

Best Ice Cream
Big Dipper
91 Waterbury Road

Best Indian Restaurant
Shahi Zaika
East Gate Plaza
Store Avenue

Best Italian Pastry
Best Place for a Taste of Italy
72 America Street

Best Italian Restaurant
San Marino
Colonial Plaza
Thomaston Avenue

Best Jamaican Restaurant
736 East Main Street

Best Japanese Restaurant
and Best Sushi
780 Lakewood Road

Best Latin Restaurant
La Cazuela
354 West Main Street

Best Middle Eastern
586 Plank Road

Best Lunch in
Greater Waterbury
971 Main Street

Best Lunch in
Downtown Waterbury
Drescher’s Restaurant
25 Leavenworth Street

Best Mexican Restaurant
733 Lakewood Road

Best Nachos
Crossroads Cantina
210 Meadow Street

Best New Restaurant
146 Grand Street Bistro
146 Grand Street

Best Patio Dining
D’Amelio’s Italian Eatery
718 Highland Avenue

Best Pizza Overall
1650 Watertown Avenue

Best Thin Crust Pizza
Domenick & Pia
Downtown Pizzeria
3 Brook Street

Best Pizza-by-the-Slice
Gino’s Apizza
840 Wolcott Street
Libero’s Pizza
182 Grand Street

Best Portuguese Restaurant
19 Lafayette Street

Most Romantic Restaurant
La Tavola
702 Highland Avenue

Best Sandwich Shop
Panera Bread
920 Wolcott Street

Best Seafood Restaurant
Carmen Anthony
757 Main Street

Best Steak Restaurant
Carmen Anthony
464 Chase Avenue

Best Soul Food
and Best Wings
Smokin’ Kettle
511 Frost Road
Best Value

Best Thai Restaurant
Thai Palace
1387 Meriden Road

Best Value
American Steakhouse
1011 Wolcott Street


Business of the Year
John Bale Book Co. & Cafe
158 Grand Street

Best Reason to
go Downtown
Palace Theater
100 East Main Street

Best Festival
Festa di San Donato

Most Fun Destination
in Waterbury
CoCo Key
3580 East Main Street

Best Radio Station

Best AM Radio Personality
Tom Chute


Best Bar
25 Leavenworth Street

Best Beer Selection
Old Corner Café
178 North Main Street

Best Dance Club
Sin City
195 Freight Street

Best Irish Bar
McFairlawn’s Tavern
216 Frost Road

Best Singles Scene
The Red Door
675 Main Street


Best Body Shop
Jake’s Auto Body
459 Meadow Street

Best Car Stereo Shop
Planet Hi-Fi
736 Lakewood Road

Best Car Wash
Best Car Detailing
Ciarlo’s Car Emporium
1161 Wolcott Street

Best Car Dealer
Family Ford
1200 Wolcott Street

Best Foreign Car Dealer
Brass City Hyundai
480 Watertown Avenue

Best Motorcycle Shop
Doc’s Motorcycle Parts
1625 Watertown Avenue

Best Used Car Dealer
Jim Juliani Motor Car Co.
203 Homer Street

Best Truck Dealer
Family Ford
1200 Wolcott Street

Best Muffler Repair Shop
Major Muffler
2098 South Main Street

Best Service Station
Mike & Ike’s
434 Congress Avenue

Best Tire Shop
Santoro Brothers Tire Co.
1165 Thomaston Avenue

Best Transmission Shop
City Transmission
140 Industry Lane


Best Body Piercing
580 Lakewood Road

Best Facial
Viso Bello Day Spa
900 Straits Turnpike

Best Gym
Waterbury Fitness
1074 Wolcott Street

Best Fitness Center
136 West Main Street

Best Hair Salon
Dolce Hair Salon
2457 East Main Street

Best Massage
Natural Balance
519 Heritage Road
621 Main Street

Best Nail Salon
90’s Nails
Brass Mill Center Mall

Best Tanning Salon
Solar Escape
551 Wolcott Street

Best Tattoo Parlor
Beauty Mark
1741 E. Main Street