After two months of online balloting and tens of thousands of votes cast, we present to you your favorites in dozens of categories in our fifth annual Best of Atlanta awards.
Many people like to say these awards are nothing but a popularity contest. We don’t deny that at all, because in the end, the winners are decided by one thing only: your votes.
Our first round of voting took place in May and we gave readers a chance to nominate their favorites in categories of Community, People, Places, Shopping, Eats, Arts & Entertainment, Nightlife, Pets and Services. In most cases, the top three vote-getters (or more if there was a tie) were named finalists and moved on to the second stage of multiple-choice voting, which lasted through the end of June.
Many organizations, people and businesses let their fates be determined unprompted. Others mounted organized campaigns, usually through Facebook and Twitter, to convince fans and to garner votes from fans and friends and others. Both approaches are valuable and any group or business that has a devoted fan base willing to vote every day is worth checking out.
Be sure to congratulate the winners. And if your favorite didn’t make it to the finals, plan on doing something about that next year by nominating and voting early and often.
The best part of this issue is the party we throw for it, a party for the winners, finalists and for everyone who makes this community a great place to live, work and play.
We hope to see you there on July 17 at the Georgian Terrace. We couldn’t throw the party without the kindness and generosity of the gorgeous Midtown hotel as well as Green’s Liquor and Barefoot Wine, Henry’s Midtown, Campagnolo Restaurant & Bar, Green Ginger, Southern Sweets, our emcee Ian Aber of A Bear Comedy Show and DJ Vicki Powell.
Congratulations to all our winners, and thank you to all of our communities who share their stories with us and therefore empower all of us.
BEST RESTAURANT UNION HILL KITCHEN Newcomer Union Hill Kitchen (www.unionhillkitchen.com) beat out the established eateries to win Best Restaurant of 2014. Union Hill is a new American restaurant that opened less than a year ago and is headed by openly gay chef Alexis Hernandez. Hernandez has appeared on several television shows and the name is a tribute to his hometown of Union Hill, New Jersey. • Being in Chamblee didn’t hurt Union Hill as it defeated 10th and Piedmont (www.10thandPiedmont.com) and Campagnolo (www.campagnoloatl.com), respectively, which share the same corner in Midtown.
NEW RESTAURANT UNION HILL KITCHEN Not surprisingly, after GA Voice readers selected Union Hill Kitchen as Best Restaurant, Union Hill Kitchen took home Best New Restaurant as well. Union Hill Kitchen has won over fans by following the new American format of offering a menu of familiar foods that changes with the seasons. • Henry’s Midtown Tavern (www.henrysatl.com) picked up second, while Gio’s Chicken Amalfitano (www.littleitalia.com) finished third.
BURGER UNION HILL KITCHEN Winning yet another category, Union Hill Kitchen took home the prize for Best Burger. Offering both sirloin and salmon burgers with Stilton fries, it seems Union Hill Kitchen has found a welcome home among GA Voice’s readers. • Burger joint Farm Burger (www.farmburger.net) finished second, while coming in third was Grindhouse Burgers (www.grindhouseburgers.com).
LOCAL CHEF ALEXIS HERNANDEZ It probably didn’t hurt Chef Alexis Hernandez that he was a contestant on The Next Food Network Star and made appearances on CNN, as he was named Best Local Chief despite being a relatively recent transplant. He’s also named his restaurant Union Hill Kitchen after his home town in New Jersey, but Atlanta’s gone crazy for the personable chef. • Chef Patric Bell-Good of The Barrelhouse (www.barrelhouseatl.com) came in second while Chef Steven Satterfield of Miller Union (www.millerunion.com) finished third.
CHEAP EATS JOE’S ON JUNIPER Joe’s on Juniper (www.joesonjuniper.com), with its $6.95 weekday lunch deal, won over our readers to reap this category. The house-turned-restaurant has been a longtime favorite with Atlanta’s LGBT folks for its fun atmosphere and proximity to Piedmont Park, but has added value to its offerings. • Last year’s winner, Eats (www.eatsonponce.net), came in second while Chai Pani (www.chaipanidecatur.com) in Decatur took third for the second year in a row.
PATIO JOE’S ON JUNIPER For the fifth year running, Joe’s on Juniper won this category. With Joe’s white picket fence and hanging lighting, the patio is a social center for many of Atlanta’s Midtown dwellers and visitors. • Recent arrival Henry’s Midtown Tavern (www.henrysatl.com) finished second, while Cowtippers (www.cowtippersatlanta.com) was third.
DELI JASON’S DELI Earning a rare Best of Atlanta win for chain restaurants, the Jason’s Deli (www.jasonsdeli.com) near Piedmont Park beat the competition for Best Deli. Known for its large menu and even larger space, Jason’s Deli’s 10th & Monroe location offers one of the largest spaces in Midtown for friends to meet up and hang out. • The Ansley Mall Publix (www.publix.com) finished second and Noni’s Deli (www.nonisdeli.com) was third.
VEGETARIAN RADIAL CAFE The farm to table breakfast favorite has expanded into evenings three times a week, and that seems to be paying off for Radial Cafe, (radial.us) as it picked up the Best Vegetarian win with our readers. Founded in 1999, the restaurant is Atlanta’s only Green Restaurant Association certified establishment of its kind. • Doc Chey’s Noodle House (www.doccheys.com) finished second while last year’s winner Chai Pani (www.chaipanidecatur.com) fell to third.
TAKE OUT METROFRESH MetroFresh (www.metrofreshatl.com), the tiny restaurant just south of Piedmont Park, was voted as the top spot to get a meal to go in Atlanta. With a constantly changing menu with plenty of salads, soups and sandwiches, the restaurant has made its name as place to pick up dinner before a picnic in the park. • Doc Chey’s Noodle House scored another runner- up finish, with a second in take out, while K Squared Meals (www.ksquaredmeals.com) placed third.
ROMANTIC APRES DIEM Piedmont Park-adjacent with a large patio and an abundance of small tables, Après Diem (www.apresdiem.com) claimed the number one spot in our readers’ hearts as the best place to go for a little romance. Of course its extensive wine list doesn’t hurt its chances in this category either. • Last year’s winner One Midtown Kitchen (www.onemidtownkitchen.com) dropped to second while Parker’s on Ponce (www.parkersonponce.com) finished third, as our readers voted the same three restaurants to the top of this category.
PIZZA MELLOW MUSHROOM This new category saw another chain restaurant take top choice as Mellow Mushroom Midtown (www.mellowmushroom.com/store/midtown) won best in show. The laid-back chain’s many locations are known for their mellow style and wide beer selection, and the Midtown site is no different. • Westside’s Antico (www.littleitalia.com) placed second while Athens Pizza (www.athenspizzaatlanta.com) finished third.
MEXICAN ZOCALO After finishing second in this category last year, Zocalo (www.zocalocreativemex.com) surged ahead to win Best Mexican Restaurant with our readers. Located near the intersection of 10th and Piedmont, the long-established eatery has been a favorite stopping place on the way to or from Piedmont Park and a favorite gathering spot to watch the Atlanta Pride parade. • Las Margaritas (www.lasmargaritasmidtown.com) claimed second place while No Mas Hacienda & Cantina (nomasatlanta.com) came in third.
LATE NIGHT HENRY’S MIDTOWN TAVERN By just nine votes, Henry’s Midtown Tavern edged out the legendary Landmark Diner (www.landmarkdiner.com) for the title as ruler of the late night crowd. Named after the owner’s dog, the restaurant invites patrons to bring their own pup to sit on its patio. • Landmark Diner finished second and the iconic chain of diners known as Waffle House (www.wafflehouse.com) finished third.
LUNCH SPOT HENRY’S MIDTOWN TAVERN Henry’s Midtown Tavern wins another category, taking home the Best Lunch Spot in Atlanta. With a seasonal selection of new American offerings, the casual lunch spot scored big with readers in 2014. • MetroFresh finished second while The Barrelhouse picked up a third place.
SWEET TREATS HIGHLAND BAKERY The Highland Bakery’s (www.highland bakery.com) five locations combined to take the top spot in our sweet treats category. Offering a full menu as well as take out and catering, the bakery has something for everyone. • Last year’s winner Café Intermezzo (www.cafeintermezzo.com) finished second while Decatur’s Southern Sweets (www.southernsweets.com) came in third.
BAKERY HIGHLAND BAKERY The same three bakeries from 2013 returned to the top of the category again in 2014 with Highland Bakery moving from third to first. With a full bakery and a full kitchen the local chain continues to grow in popularity. • Southern Sweets finishes second for the second year in the row while Alon’s Bakery (http://alons.geomerx.com) slipped from first to third.
SUNDAY BRUNCH 10TH AND PIEDMONT With its big open windows looking out onto the intersection it takes its name from, 10th and Piedmont (www.10thandpiedmont.com) dominated the brunch category. 10th and Piedmont closes at 2 a.m. on Saturday and opens again at 11, so its dedicated crowd barely has to go home. • The Barrelhouse (www.barrelhouseatl com) placed second while Radial Café (radial.us) came in third.
BREAKFAST RIA’S BLUEBIRD A separate category from brunch, Ria’s Bluebird (riasbluebird.com) wins for dishing out the best breakfast day in and day out. The win is the first for the restaurant after founding chef and namesake, out lesbian chef Ria Pell passed away late in 2013. • Radial Café was voted second, while Homegrown (www.homegrownga.com) finished third.
COFFEE HOUSE ANSLEY MALL STARBUCKS Starbucks (www.starbucks.com) brought upscale coffee to America and continues to come up big with our readers for its Ansley Mall Location. Lovingly referred to as ‘Bearbucks,’ this location is a place where gays come to socialize, work and study the Ansley Mall near L.A. Fitness remains a prime place to socialize or watch eye candy walk by. • Local coffee house Octane (www.octanecoffee.com) finished second while The Dancing Goats® Coffee Bar @ Ponce City Market (www.batdorfcoffee.com) wins third place.
BAR FOOD BURKHART’S PUB Offering an array of American main- stays at affordable prices, Burkhart’s Pub (www.burkharts.com) won for Best Bar Food in Atlanta. Offering everything from wings and fries to steaks and shrimp, the menu has something for everyone. • Amsterdam Atlanta (www.amsterdamatlanta.com) came in second while gay sports bar Woofs (www.woofsatlanta.com) was third.
ASIAN GREEN GINGER DELICIOUS ASIAN FUSION Decatur’s Green Ginger Delicious Asian Fusion (www.greengingerdecatur.com) offers a pan-Asian dining experience with several Asian cultures represented on its extensive menu. Also offering delivery, this restaurant has scored with our readers. • Doc Chey’s Noodle House fell from first in this category in 2013 to second while Su’s Chinese Cuisine (www.suschinese.com) was third.