Bela Karolyi with representatives of Carbone’s Ristorante
© Scott Einius

HARTFORD, Conn., Aug. 14, 2010 – Carbone’s Ristorante won the individual gold medal for the 2010 Taste of Visa Championships, a restaurant competition that is part of the Go Hartford! initiative of the 2010 Visa Championships. Because the entire field of nine restaurants did such an incredible job, the panel of judges, led by legendary coach Bela Karolyi, determined all nine would receive a “team gold,” with the individual all-around going to Carbone’s. The contest was a joint effort between the Greater Hartford Convention and Visitors Bureau, USA Gymnastics and St. Vincent Sports Performance, a national sponsor of USA Gymnastics, to promote healthy eating. The official results were announced today during the Visa Fan Fest at the Old State House.

Each restaurant created a special, healthy entrée that was featured during Visa Championships week. The goal was to produce a tasty, but nutritionally sound meal. The blue-ribbon panel of judges led by Karolyi included 1984 Olympic gold-medalist Peter Vidmar, 2004 Olympic all-around champion Carly Patterson, USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny and Ralph Reiff of St. Vincent Sports Performance.

“After tasting all nine dishes, we realized that we had a very competitive and even field,” said Karolyi. “Carbone’s was a step above, but the entire group deserved the team medal in recognition of their winning approach and entrees!”

Ralph Reiff of St. Vincent Sports Performance said, “These chefs did a great job in creating healthy meals that were both tasty and nutritious. We enjoyed visiting each of the restaurants, tasting the dishes and chatting with the chefs.”

The nine restaurants, including entrée name, are:

  • Black Bear Saloon, Salmon Somersault
  • Carbone’s Ristorante, Pasta Gymnastica
  • Dish Bar and Grill, “Rhythmic scallops”
  • Feng Asian Bistro, Sashimi roll
  • Mayor Mike’s, Caprese chicken with angel hair pasta
  • Morton’s the Steakhouse, Double back sea bass with a lime twist
  • Salute, Seafood Cioppino ala Bela
  • Spris, Rhythmic ribbons, rings and gold medals
  • Trumbull Kitchen, Grilled bison sirloin strip steak

The Taste of Visa Championships is a part of the Go Hartford! program for the 2010 Visa Championships, also a joint program between the Greater Hartford Convention and Visitors Bureau and USA Gymnastics. Through the Go Hartford! plan, many restaurants and local attractions are putting together special opportunities for Visa Championships fans and attendees. Complete information is available at

Background information

St. Vincent Sports Performance. St. Vincent Sports Performance is the first and largest hospital-based program of its kind in the United States, which includes 19 physicians, 47 nationally-certified athletic trainers, 12 certified strength and conditioning specialists, two sport psychologists and one sports dietician. The Indianapolis-based program currently provides comprehensive care to professional teams and athletes in an array of sports including: USA Gymnastics, U.S. Diving, USA Track and Field, Indy Racing League (IRL), NFL, NBA, and WBNA. St. Vincent Sports Performance also provides support for three universities and 30 high school and middle school athletes in central Indiana.

Greater Hartford Convention & Visitors Bureau. The award-winning Greater Hartford Convention & Visitors Bureau works in partnership with Hartford’s businesses, institutions, nonprofit organizations, and surrounding communities to market the entire region – all convention and meeting venues, hotels and attractions – as a premier destination for national, regional and statewide conventions. The Greater Hartford Sports Commission, a division of the GHCVB, focuses its efforts on attracting and serving international, national and regional sporting events. The Bureau’s staff has been working with USA Gymnastics for several years, providing a wide range of convention services and marketing support to ensure that the Visa Championships and the Congress are successful. This includes the development of: business, community and restaurant partnerships; special events, tours and promotions; and a variety of print and on-line outreach and welcome materials for the athletes and their fans.

XL Center. The XL Center, which was built in 1975, will host two days of competition for both men’s and women’s gymnastics. The XL Center is home to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League, and the home away from home for the University of Connecticut men’s and women’s basketball programs. In addition to the resident teams, the XL Center entertains millions of visitors annually with a variety of concerts, family shows, ice-skating spectaculars, consumer events and trade shows throughout the season. The XL Center has been the proud host of the Big East Conference Women’s Basketball Championship for the past five years and has extended its contract until 2011.

Chase Arena. Chase Arena, located at the University of Hartford, will host the rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline and tumbling competition. Chase Arena, which seats 3,500, is part of the Reich Family Pavilion in the University of Hartford’s Sports Center and serves as the home of the university’s basketball teams and other intercollegiate programs, as well as a variety of special events. Located in West Hartford, the university enrolls more than 7,000 students