Restaurateur’s generosity funds Southington Care Center programs

September 13, 2017

Plantsville resident Chris Conlon thinks big. His barbecue restaurant, Smokin’ with Chris, has grown by leaps and bounds since it opened in 2006. It’s not uncommon for him to each week burn a cord of wood to smoke upwards of literally a ton of meat on the huge smoker situated behind his business located at 59 W. Center St.

However Conlon has set even bigger sights: helping his community in a different way than when he was a career firefighter, first in Southington then in West Hartford. He’s behind multiple fundraisers, bringing the Smokin’ with Chris 25-foot smoker and food to events such as the Calvanese Foundation’s Wine and Beer Fest. Other times he hosts the fundraisers in his restaurant, benefiting causes such as the YMCA’s Camp Sloper scholarships, through which he has funded 62 campers.

Gathering at Southington Care Center for the check presentation are, from left, Sharon Robinson, RN, BSN, MHA, regional director for Skilled Nursing Facilities, Hartford HealthCare Senior Services, Chris Conlon, donor, and Southington Care Center Executive Director William Kowalewski. Photo courtesy of Southington Care Center

For four years, Southington Care Center, located at 45 Meriden Ave., has also been the recipient of Conlon’s annual donations. The contributions have supported the nail salon, the resident dining room and this year, a planned patio addition at the community which offers skilled nursing and rehabilitation services. He has left it up to the care center to designate the funds.

“Chris’s dedication towards Southington Care Center has been steadfast over the years and we value our relationship. His generosity has resulted in improvements greatly appreciated by residents, families and staff alike,” said Southington Care Center Executive Director William Kowalewski.

Conlon, a Long Island native who moved to Southington in 1979, is always on a new adventure. On Aug. 27, he was featured on the Smokehouse Sunday program on WFSB-Channel 3, where he demonstrated how to make his signature meatloaf. The Food Network Channel has also approached him to be on the popular cooking challenge show, Chopped. His business has also received multiple best barbecue awards.

For his community commitment, Conlon has received multiple awards from the United Way, Connecticut U.S. Attorney’s Office, City of New Britain, and the list goes on. He credits others for doing more.

“It’s about giving back, not what I get,” he said.

Southington Care Center offers skilled nursing and rehabilitation services, and is a not for profit member of Hartford HealthCare Senior Services. For more information about Southington Care Center, click here.

Hartford HealthCare Senior Services