Rutigliano takes home trophy from ChowdaFest

State Rep. Dave Rutigliano (R-123) again competed in the sixth annual Chowdafest on Superbowl Sunday. The event, presented by Stop & Shop, pitted 28 restaurants’ soups and chowders against each other in four categories, with proceeds benefitting the Connecticut Food Bank. Event organizers expected the final tally of attendees to top 7,000.

Rep. Rutigliano is an owner and Corporate Chef of the Southport Brewing Company family of restaurants, which consists of seven restaurants in Southern Connecticut, including the brand new Local Kitchen and Craft Beer Bar in Fairfield. He is a two-time champion of the event, and with this year’s results, has taken third place or better in five of Chowdafest’s six years.

His entry in the Soup & Bisque Category, the “After School Bisque,” took third place. The spicy tomato bisque was garnished with a small piece of a grilled cheese sandwich, and kept the tasters coming for hours.

“Every year this event keeps growing and growing, and it's an honor to be able to keep coming to support the Connecticut Food Bank,” Rutigliano said. “Chowdafest benefits so many people all at once. The Food Bank gets a ton of much needed support, the crowd gets to sample some great foods, and the local restaurants get to put their names out there and attract some new customers. Everybody comes out a winner.”

When the event first began six years ago, it was held in a school gym. Over the years, the event has outgrown its humble beginnings and packed the floor of the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport.

“I saw pictures of the line outside,” Rutigliano said. “People were lined up as far as I could see to come in and try some good soups and chowders and donate to a great cause.”