Best of the Triad 2011

by Brian Clarey and Christian Bryant


It`s time, once again, to plumb the collective wisdom of our readers to bring the annual Best of the Triad issue — because who knows better than you, the most informed, in-the-know and attractive audience in the state, what’s best about the place we live?


It’s one of my favorite issues of the year for many reasons. For one, it gives us a good snapshot of what our readers are doing, what they like, what turns them on, and in the compiling of the votes we learn more about our market and wonderful things that are happening here every year. It’s interesting to see how tastes change over the years, particularly in restaurants and nightlife, and the effect of competition in the market — witness Cooper’s Ale House, a longtime reader favorite who faced some serious challenges this year, or how the pretzel-dog folks at Skippy’s in Winston-Salem are creeping up on Yum-Yum’s, the hot-dog juggernaut in Greensboro.

And in counting the votes, I am always struck by how funny you guys are. Best sub: Red October. Best chiropractor: Alec Baldwin. Best use of public funds: zombie defense training. Our readers never disappoint.

I also need to emphasize that getting votes is part of the enterprise, so if you’re seeing too much of one name on the list (talking to you, Between the Buried and Me), it’s because these entities were able to get out the vote. If you want to make this list next year, do what this year’s winners did: Campaign using Facebook, Twitter, blogs and whatever else you need to do to get the word out.

But until then, get a look at this list, which encompasses everything awesome the Triad has to offer. Congratulations to all our winners.

Nightlife and entertainment Best female bartender Jessie Dewey at Jake’s Billiards, Greensboro Runner-up: Jade Moore, Big Shotz Tavern, Clemmons One of the largest fields in the entire readers’ poll, it takes extra effort to win this one, and Jessie pulled in the votes. Best male bartender Rowe Piper, Brixx Pizza, Greensboro Runner-up: Danny Forman, the Blind Tiger, Greensboro Another huge list of contenders, but these two were in a separate league. Best new club/bar The Blind Tiger, Greensboro Runner-up: Johnny & June’s Ultra Saloon, Winston-Salem Maybe not new, exactly, but our readers love the refurbished Blind Tiger in its digs on Spring Garden Street. Best dive bar College Hill Sundries:, Greensboro Runner-up: Silver Moon Saloon, Winston-Salem Two most excellent dive bars face off in this battle of the Triad cities. The Hill has the edge, but it’s also a lot bigger. Best dance club Inferno, Greensboro Runner-up: Greene Street Club, Greensboro No one could touch the disco Inferno this year, taking the votes by a 2-to-1 margin. Best club for hooking up Bucked Up Saloon, Winston-Salem Runner-up: Greene Street Club, Greensboro Looks like they’re doing some hooking up in the Camel City. Best bar at the end the night Burke Street Pub, Winston-Salem Runner-up: College Hill Sundries, Greensboro Honorable mention goes to Greensboro’s New York Pizza… so close. Best sports bar Kickback Jack’s, Greensboro Runner-up: Cooper’s Ale House, Greensboro Cooper’s gets knocked off its longtime perch by a furious upstart that’s making some noise on Battleground Avenue, but it’s not over between these two…. Best college bar College Hill Sundries, Greensboro Runner-up: Greene Street Club, Greensboro Best of Winston-Salem was the Burke Street Pub. Best neighborhood bar College Hill Sundries, Greensboro A clear winner — YES! Weekly readers love College Hill. Honorable mentions go to Finnigan’s Wake in Winston-Salem and Jake’s Billiards and Fishbones in Greensboro. Best place to shoot pool Jake’s Billiards, Greensboro Runner-up: Recreation Billiards, Winston-Salem Best beer selection Cooper’s Ale House, Greensboro Runner-up: The Mellow Mushroom, Winston-Salem/Greensboro Another threat to the estimable ale house, which has held this title for four years running, comes from these hippie pizza joints, which may have benefited from having multiple locations. Best movie theater The Grande, Greensboro a/perture, Winston-Salem One big and brassy, the other small and artsy. Nice work, readers. Best live theater venue Carolina Theatre, Greensboro Runner-up: Triad Stage, Greensboro In one of the closest categories this year, the Carolina Theatre bests Triad Stage. Best wine bar 6th & Vine, Winston-Salem Runner-up: Café Europa, Greensboro 6th & Vine came on strong this year, and took this category by a mile. Best lounge 6th & Vine, Winston-Salem Runner-up: MOD, Winston-Salem Greensboro may have the edge on nightclubs, but when it comes to lounge life, Winston-Salem gets the votes. Best new bar Kickback Jack’s, Greensboro Runner-up: Tate’s Bar, Winston-Salem A well-equipped sports bar and a true cocktail lounge make for a nice pairing in this one. Best Karaoke night Cooper’s Ale House, Greensboro Runner-up: College Hill Sundries, Greensboro A really close race, considering “Karaoke sucks!!” got 29 votes. Best Burlesque Purrlesque! Runner-up: Pretty Little Things Peepshow If you ask us, they’re all pretty good Local recreation Best author Orson Scott Card Runner-up: Brian Clarey It’s an honor just to be nominated! Best local visual artist Kat Lamp Runner-up: Houston Patton For the first time ever, a tattoo artist placed in this category — Patton works at Kingpin Studio in Greensboro. Best museum Greensboro Natural Science Center Runner-up: Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro Best art gallery Lyndon Street Artworks, Greensboro Runner-up: Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro The gallery on Lyndon Street exhibits works from all the house artists. Best free wi-fi The Green Bean, Greensboro Runner-up: Panera, Triad-wide Best answer: “Can someone tell me the difference between free wi-fi at McDonald’s and free wi-fi at Burger King?” Best place for family fun Wet N Wild Emerald Point, Greensboro Runner-up: Any public park Greensboro Children’s Museum came in a close third. Best place to jog Battleground Park, Greensboro Runner-up: Salem Lake, Winston-Salem Guess the Greensboro Bicentennial Greenway hasn’t caught on with joggers yet — it placed fourth. Best place to bike Salem Lake, Winston-Salem Runner-up: The Greenway, Greensboro There it is. Best gym YMCA, Triad-wide Runner-up: The Rush Fitness, Triad-wide Best golf course Grandover Resort, Greensboro Runner-up: Tanglewood Park, Clemmons Best tennis courts Grandover Resort, Greensboro Runner-up: Miller Park, Winston-Salem Best place to get married Castle McCulloch, Jamestown Runner-up: Tanglewood Park, Clemmons Lots of readers think Las Vegas is a good place to tie the knot. Best reason to live in the Triad Family and friends Runner-up: Halfway between the mountains and the beach People like the weather, too. Worst stoplights Battleground, Cornwalls and Lawndale avenues. Greensboro Runner-up: Stratford Road and Hanes Mall Boulevard, Winston-Salem Most readers seem to dislike all of them. Best place to see wildlife The North Carolina Zoo, Asheboro Runner-up: Hanging Rock State Park “Greene Street after 1 a.m.” placed in the Top 10. Best city park The Arboretum, Greensboro Runner-up: Tanglewood Park, Clemmons Best public pool Tanglewood Park, Clemmons Runner-up: Bur-Mil Park, Greensboro Best local photographer Nita Clements Runner-up: Bonnie Stanley, Intimate Lens Photography Media Best radio station 100.3 the Buzz Runner-up: 104.1 WTQR Best morning show “Two Guys Named Chris,” 92.3 Rock 92 Runner-up: “Murphy in the Morning,” 107.5 WKZL Best radio DJ Chris Kelly, “Two Guys Named Chris,” 92.3 Rock 92 Runner-up: Clay JD Walker, 93.1 the Wolf In case you’re wondering, Chris Demm, you came in fourth. Best blog The YES! Weekly Blog, Runner-up: Jessamyn Not Jasmine, A wide field yields a runner-up surprise. Best local journalist Ryan Snyder, YES! Weekly Runner-up: Jeri Rowe, the Greensboro News & Record Rowe edged out YES! Weekly’s Jordan Green by fewer than 10 votes. Best local publication YES! Weekly Runner-up: The Rhinoceros Times Well, we hope so! Best TV news Fox 8 News Runner-up: WXII News 12 Best male TV personality Cameron Kent, WXII News 12 Runner-up: Neil McNeil, Fox 8 News Fictional anchorman Ron Burgundy got more than 100 votes. Stay classy, Triad! Best female TV personality Julie Luck, Fox 8 news Runner-up: Wanda Stark, WXII News 12 Best weather person Lanie Pope, WXII News 12 Runner-up: Van Denton, Fox 8 News Our readers love Fox 8 News and WXII News 12 Best reason to pick up YES! Weekly Events calendars Runner-up: Music coverage Our favorite: “Tiger blood.” Best Facebooker Valeria Sweet Runner-up: Biggie, “Two Guys Named Chris,” Rock 92 Nice voter turnout for the UNCG student and local artist. Music Best Greensboro live music venue The Blind Tiger, Greensboro Runner-up: Greene Street Club, Greensboro Best Winston-Salem live music venue The Garage, Winston-Salem Runner-up: Johnny & June’s Ultra Saloon Lots of readers seem anxious for the new Ziggy’s to open — it got hundreds of votes without hosting a single show. Best jukebox The Waffle House, Triad-wide Runner-up: College Hill Sundries, Greensboro The Waffle House? Really? Best cover band Big Daddy Mojo Runner-up: Walrus Best hip-hop act The Iconoclast Crew: Ed E. Ruger, Ty Bru, JJ The Jenius, DJ Phillie Phresh and Stitchy C Runner-up: the Urban Sophisticates Best performance DJ DJ PDUB Runner-up: DJ Flipside Best original band Between the Buried and Me Runner-up: House of Fools Best new band Amelia’s Mechanics Runner-up: Matty Sheets & the Blockheads Note to readers: When your band started in 2000, you are not a “new” band. Best guitarist Dustie Waring, Between the Buried and Me Runner-up: Lance Lucas, Big Daddy Mojo Best percussionist Blake Richardson, Between the Buried and Me Runner-up: Greg McManus, the Kitchen Sink Fiasco Best vocalist Brett Munn, Big Daddy Mojo Runner-up: Christy Johnson, Dreamkiller Best bassist Dan Briggs, Between the Buried and Me Runner-up: Aaron Yow, Hephystus Best keyboardist Tommy Rogers, Between the Buried and Me Runner-up: Andrew Pollard, Hephystus Politics Best Winston-Salem City Council member Dan Besse, Southwest Ward Runner-up: Derwin Montgomery, East Ward Other vote getters in the Top 10 included “Don’t know,” “Don’t care,” “None,” “They all suck,” “Not a Republican,” “A Republican,” “Count Basie” and something derogatory about the tea party. Best Greensboro City Council member Nancy Vaughan, at-large Runner-up: Dianne Bellamy Small, District 1 Elmo, the Muppet, beat out Vaughan by 18 votes. Best High Point alderman Bernita Sims, Ward 1 Runner-up: Latimer Alexander, at-large Best Guilford County Commissioner Billy Yow, District 5 Runner-up: Skip Alston, District 8 Best Forsyth County Commissioner Dave Plyler, District B Runner-up: Walter Marshall, District A Forsyth County voters are apathetic, to say the least, about their county commission. Best use of public funds Schools Runner-up: Creating jobs Wait, I thought government didn’t create jobs…. Worst use of public funds Politicians’ salaries Runner-up: The new Guilford County Jail GOODS AND SERVICES Best local men’s clothing store Goodwill, Triad-wide Runner-up: Banana Republic, Triad-wide It seems that Tractor Supply has more to offer than just… tractor supply items. They received four votes. Best local women’s clothing store Anthropologie, Greensboro Runner-up: Forever 21, Triad-wide Best local children’s clothing store Once Upon A Child, Triad-wide Runner-up: Target, Triad-wide “Frickin Hand Me Downs” got 34 Votes. Amen to that! Best shoe store SRI Shoe Warehouse, Greensboro Runner-up: DSW, Greensboro Best hardware store Lowes’, Triad-wide Runner-up: McKnight Hardware, Greensboro Best place to buy vintage clothes Goodwill, Triad-wide Runner-up: Design Archives, Greensboro Best place to buy consignment clothes Goodwill, Triad-wide Runner Up: Design Archives, Greensboro Are we seeing a trend here? Best thrift clothing store Goodwill, Triad-wide Runner Up: Carolina Thrift Store, Triad-wide Best place to buy furniture Ashley Furniture, Triad-wide Runner Up: American Furniture Warehouse, Greensboro “Ikea” ousted “Not Ikea” by 35 votes. Best antiques The Red Collection, Greensboro Runner Up: Lost In Time Antique Mall, Winston-Salem Triad’s best kept secret Greensboro Roller Derby Runner Up: “It’s still a secret, thank God!” (That’s verbatim, folks.) Special shout-out to Matt Hayes, Doug Davis and “If I told you, I would have to kill you.” All garnered several votes. Best frame shop Michael’s, Winston-Salem Runner Up: Forsyth County Jail Easily the best quip. Best jeweler Schiffman’s Jewelers, Triad-wide Runner Up: Windsor Jewelers, Winston-Salem Best plastic surgeon Dr. William Barber, Greensboro Runner up: Dr. David Best, Greensboro With 21 votes, it seems Dr. Feelgood has serviced a few in the Triad. Best chiropractor Tie between Dr. Joshua Katz in Kernersville and Cobb Chiropractic Clinic in Greensboro Runner Up: Dr. Larry Grossman, Greensboro Alec Baldwin and Ken Shamrock both made the list. Best yoga studio Triad Yoga Institute, Greensboro Runner Up: Bikram Yoga, Triad-wide Wii Fit made a good showing with 22 votes. Best hairstylist Lauren Faulkner, Scissorhands Hair Studio, Kernersville Runner Up: Kyle Britt, Studio 207, Greensboro Leon’s, Salon Medusa, Hair Bomb Salon and Chakras Salon, Spa and Laser all had several entries. Best massage therapist Holly Sofley, the Body Mind Center, Greensboro Runner Up: Jami Craver-Jenkins, Kneaded Energy, Greensboro Voters kept it surprisingly tame for such a loaded title. Best hair salon Scissorhands Hair Studio, Kernersville (despite spelling variations) Runner Up: Chakras Salon, Spa and Laser, Greensboro Best tanning salon Palm Beach Tan, Triad-wide Runner Up: Got Sun?, Triad-wide 49 voters “disllike taning” (mi two) while Cabo San Lucas receives one vote. Best spa Balance Day Spa, Greensboro Runner Up: Chakras Salon, Spa and Laser, Greensboro Best tattoo parlor/piercing studio Golden Spiral Studios, Greensboro Runner Up: Kingpin Studio, Greensboro Best bookstore Edward McKay, Triad-wide Runner Up: Barnes & Noble, Triad-wide Best place to buy a pre-owned car Carmax, Triad-wide Runner Up: Craigslist Best place to buy a new car Flow Automotive, Triad-wide Runner Up: Crown Honda, Greensboro “Why buy a new car” received 31 votes. Best bank Wachovia, Triad-wide Runner Up: BB&T, Triad-wide Best wireless service Verizon, Triad-wide Runner Up: AT&T, Triad-wide Alltel was resurrected for this one. Best bicycle store Re:cycles, Greensboro Runner Up: Cycles de Oro, Greensboro Best sporting goods store Dick’s Sporting Goods, Triad-wide Runner Up: Omega Sports, Triad-wide Best vet/animal clinic Ard-Vista Animal Hospital, Winston-Salem Runner Up: Friendly Animal Clinic, Greensboro Best place to board your pet Lucky’s Pet Resort, Greensboro Runner Up: Camp Bow Wow, Greenboro The majority of voters either had no preference or suggested, “your house… get a sitter!” Best place to groom your pet Petsmart, Triad-wide Best hotel Proximity Hotel, Greensboro Runner-up: O’Henry Hotel, Greensboro Brewski’s Tavern in Greensboro received six votes. Sleep responsibly, friends. Best auto repair shop Cobb Automotive in Greensboro and No Preference tied for first. Runner-up: Mock Tire, Triad-wide Best gas station Sheetz, Triad-wide Runner-up: “Not BP” Stamey’s, with one vote, is also a great place to get gas. Best florist George K. Walker, Winston-Salem Runner-up: Plants & Answers, Greensboro Best garden store New Garden Nursery, Greensboro Runner-up: Lowe’s, Triad-wide Best place to buy wine Total Wine & More, Triad-wide Runner-up: Harris Teeter, Triad-wide Best Winston-Salem grocery store Whole Foods Runner-up: Harris Teeter Best Greensboro grocery store Harris Teeter at Friendly Center Runner-up: the Fresh Market Best High Point grocery store Harris Teeter Best farmers’ market Piedmont Triad Farmers Market, Colfax Runner-up: Greensboro Farmers’ Curb Market Best grocery store Harris Teeter, Triad-wide Runner-up: Earth Fare, Greensboro Best place to buy fresh produce Piedmont Triad Farmers Market, Colfax Runner-up: Greensboro Farmers’ Curb Market Best home maintenance/repair company Pike’s Home Maintenance Runners-up: “Me, myself and I” followed by “do it yourself.” Best natural food store Whole Foods, Triad-wide Runner-up: Deep Roots Market, Greensboro Best manicure/pedicure Balance Day Spa, Triad-wide Runner-up: Hollywood Nails, Greensboro Best boutique Rebecca & Co., Triad wide Runner-up: Wildflower Boutique, Winston-Salem Best waxing Brow Lounge, Greensboro A Mr. Miyagi reference received three nods. Best belly dancing: Daliana Dance, Greensboro Runner-up: Twisted Dance Studios, Greensboro An honorable mention goes to Wild Bill at Señor Bravo in Winston-Salem. Best wedding planner Renee at Bears, Balloons & Beyond (Greensboro); Rebecca Rose Events, LLC (Winston-Salem) and On Occasion (Winston-Salem) Runners-up: “Already married,” “I’m not getting married” and “stay single.” Best green-oriented business Piedmont Triad Farmers Market, Colfax Runner-up: Proximity Hotel, Greensboro A disparaging comment against Al Gore garnered 35 votes. RESTAURANTS Best of Greensboro The Melting Pot Runner-up: Green Valley Grille Although no longer in business, Bert’s Seafood received five votes. We miss you Tubby. Best of Winston-Salem Bernardin’s Fine Dining Runner-up: Mozelle’s Fresh Southern Bistro Mellow Mushroom and Sweet Potatoes were close behind. Best of High Point Liberty Steakhouse & Brewery Runner-up: Marozzi’s Pizzeria An honorable mention goes to Carter Brothers. Best chef Leigh Hesling, Green Valley Grille and Print Works Bistro Runner-up: Star Johnson, the Restaurant at Sanders Ridge Vineyard and Winery Best Asian Phoenix Asian Cuisine, Greensboro Runner-up: PF Chang’s, Winston-Salem This category was inundated with names of Asian-Americans. Kobe (Bryant maybe?) was the most glaring. Best sushi Sushi Republic, Greensboro Runner-up: US Sushi, Triad wide Best Italian Bianca’s Italian Eatery, Greensboro Runner-up: Elizabeth’s Pizza, Triad-wide J-Woww from MTV’s “Jersey Shore” made the list with six votes. A fist pump is in order…. Wait, are we sure she’s really Italian? Best brunch Village Tavern, Triad-wide Runner-up: Grandover Resort, Greensboro Best bistro Print Works Bistro, Greensboro Runner-up: Mozelle’s Fresh Southern Bistro, Winston-Salem Best sandwich Firehouse Subs, Triad-wide Runner-up: The Italian sub at Burke Street Pizza, Winston-Salem Best sub Firehouse Subs, Triad-wide Runner-up: Jimmy John’s, Triad-wide Best steak Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Greensboro Runner-up: Outback Steakhouse, Triad wide “My own” and “I’m vegetarian” just barely missed the mark, racking up a handful of votes each. Best BBQ Carter Brothers BBQ, High Point Runner-up: Bib’s Downtown Restaurant, Winston-Salem Best pizza Mario’s Pizza, Triad-wide Runner-up: Mellow Mushroom, Triad-wide Kudos to Mario’s Pizza for blowing away the competition with 400 votes! Best coffee Starbucks, Triad-wide Runner-up: Krankies Coffee, Winston-Salem Best male waiter Bobby Clark, Green Valley Grill, Greensboro Runner-up: Jaybird, Fincastles, Greensboro Special shout out to “Everyone at Iron Hen” and “the one who doesn’t hit on my girlfriend.” Both received a respectable number of votes. Best female waiter Xu Pham, Center City Bar & Grille, Greensboro Runner-up: Elizabeth Goodson Peters, unknown affiliation Best neighborhood restaurant Darryl’s Wood Fired Grill, Greensboro Runner-up: Fishbones, Greensboro Best menu for vegetarians Boba House Vegetarian Restaurant, Greensboro Boba House slaughtered… Well, lightly sautéed the competition. Best place to feed entire family Darryl’s Wood Fired Grill, Greensboro Runner-up: Jake’s Diner, Greensboro “A lion’s den” received four votes, but who exactly will be dining? Best patio/courtyard Darryl’s Wood Fired Grill, Greensboro Runner-up: Rana Loca, Winston-Salem Best breakfast IHOP, Triad-wide Runner-up: Smith Street Diner, Greensboro Best late night Waffle House, Triad-wide Runner-up: Cook Out, Triad-wide “Hot dog man outside of College Hill” gets 10 nods. Hot dog men are notoriously clutch in the late-night hours! Best cheap eats Cook Out, Triad-wide Runner-up: Cici’s Pizza, Triad-wide Best buffet Golden Corral, Triad-wide Runner-up: “They’re all gross.” Best desserts Cheesecakes by Alex, Greensboro Runner-up: Delicious Bakery, Greensboro Maxi B’s gets an honorable mention for only being a few votes away from tying the runner-up. Best delivery Jimmy John’s (by a landslide), Triad-wide Runner-up: Papa John’s, Triad-wide Best lunch Fincastles in Greensboro ties with Bob’s Big Gas Subs & Pub in Winston-Salem Runner-up: Iron Hen Café, Greensboro Best hot dog Yum Yum Better Ice Cream, Greensboro Runner-up: Skippy’s Hot Dogs, Winston-Salem Best hamburger Cook Out, Triad-wide Runner-up: Kickback Jack’s, Greensboro Cook Out garnered 533 votes! Heck yeah, man. Best French fries Five Guys, Triad-wide Runner-up: Cook Out, Triad-wide Best wings Cooper’s Ale House, Greensboro Runner-up: East Coast Wing’s & Grill, Triad-wide “Minj Grille — RIP” made the list while, surprisingly, Vicki’s Secret was nowhere to be found. Shame. Best bakery Dewey’s, Triad-wide Runner-up: delicious, Greensboro Cheesecakes by Alex was close behind the runner-up. Best seafood Bert’s Seafood Grill in Greensboro tied with Full Moon Oyster Bar in Clemmons Runner-up: Bonefish Grill, Greensboro Although no longer in business, Mary Lacklen & Co. made one last stand to share the top slot for this category. Best Irish Finnigan’s Wake Irish Pub, Winston-Salem Runner-up: McCoul’s Public House, Greensboro A close one. Best romantic dinner Bianca’s an Italian Eatery, Greensboro Runner-up: the Melting Pot, Greensboro Best martini Green Valley Grill, Greensboro Runner-up: Village Tavern, Triad-wide Best wine list 6th & Vine, Winston-Salem Runner-up: Bin 33, Greensboro Best Thai Taste of Thai, Greensboro, Runner-up: Downtown Thai & Sushi, Winston-Salem Somehow, Darryl’s Wood Fired Grill snuck into this one also! They’re all over the place. Best curry Taste of Thai, Greensboro Runner-up: Rearn Thai, Greensboro Best Latin Rana Loca, Winston-Salem Runner-up: La Botana, Winston-Salem Best Diner Jake’s Diner, Greensboro Runner-up: Jan’s House Diner, Greensboro Best Mexican Kiosco Mexican Grill, Greensboro Runner-up: Mi Pueblo, Triad-Wide Best Vietnamese Pho Hien Vuong, Greensboro Runner-up: Binh Minh Restaurant, Greensboro Best Greek Jack’s Corner Mediterranean Deli, Greensboro Runner-up: Mykonos Grill, Greensboro Best Brewery Foothills Brewing, Winston-Salem Runner-up: Natty Greene’s Brewing Co., Greensboro