The Triad’s Best 2019
Welcome to our favorite issue of the year, The Triad’s Best! As many of you may know, this is our biggest and favorite issue all year, and something we spend several months working on. With almost 150,000 votes cast, voters set a record in participation for the 2019 Triad’s Best. We also added additional categories including an LGBTQ section, which we are super proud of. While you’ll see familiar winners, we hope this issue will be an opportunity for you to discover many newcomers who have won some of the top awards.
The way we listed everyone this year is pretty simple: There are “first place winners,” “second place winners” and “runners-up.” As voting was fierce and highly competitive, you will see additional runners-up listed. This was done due to the closeness of the vote counts, and in some cases, ties in the runner-up categories.
There are many people to thank for making this issue possible:
– To our readers, thank you for picking up our awesome paper, taking time to vote, and offering your suggestions and ideas.
-To the winners and runners-up, congratulations to you and know that we are all so glad to have you and your business in the Triad. We could not do this without you, and we appreciate being a part of your growth and success!
– To Alex and Austin, the best design staff in the Triad! Thank you so much for your diligence and patience on this enormous issue.
-To the sales team, simple and sweet: you crushed it!
– To our writers and photographers, thank you so much for making it happen.
Please show your support and share photos of your favorite winners and runners-up on social media by tagging us and using the hashtag #YESTriadsBest2019. (For the full list of winners, pick up a copy of the paper or visit our Issuu page.)
The Triad’s Best Comic Book Store: Acme Comics
General manager at Acme Comics Jermaine Exum wrote in a Facebook message that Acme first opened in 1983 (where Little Brother Brewing is now) in downtown Greensboro.
Exum wrote that being voted the Triad’s Best Comic Book Store is a tremendous honor.
“We take it very seriously as a standard to hold ourselves to,” he wrote. “The word ‘Acme’ is defined as the point at which someone or something is best, perfect, or most successful. That pressure is quite literally always there, and we will always be a work in progress.”
Exum believes that the key to Acme’s success is through exceptional customer service.
“The world of comic books is rich, vibrant, and diverse,” he wrote. “But it can potentially be difficult to navigate through thousands of selections new and old to get to the right thing. So we are here to use our collective knowledge to help interested people of any age find the best options.”
Exum wrote that the Triad’s Best award is tangible evidence “that what we do and how we do it has set us apart in the eyes of the Triad and surrounding areas.”
“We strive to be the type of store that we would love to shop with if we were customers ourselves,” he wrote. “That is a core value here. Representing the items we carry in a way that respects the material and using our collective knowledge to connect interested readers with the best content is another core value.”
Coming up on May 25, Acme is hosting Ethan Sacks, the Marvel Comics writer of Old Man Hawkeye and Old Man Quill and Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. For more information, visit Acme’s website or social media pages.
The Triad’s Best College/University: The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
“If you think about it even for a second, there is somebody you know that has some affiliation with UNCG,” said Eden Bloss, UNCG’s senior director of external communications.“Everyone knows somebody or has had some sort of interaction with our campus if you’ve lived here even for a little while.”
Bloss said that UNCG is “over the moon” about winning the title of the Triad’s Best College/ University.
Bloss attributes some of the success of winning the title to UNCG Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. She said before he arrived, UNCG was the area’s “best-kept secret.” Bloss said UNCG has “broke the high-water mark from a student’s perspective,” with over 20,000 students this year. UNCG was once considered a commuter school, she said, and now it has evolved into what it is today.
With growth, Bloss said, the university is also mindful of what the community needs and puts its resources to “where we think is going to make the most impact.” For instance, she said, the addition of the Bestway grocery store on campus.
“That is what we are proud of, we are able to keep up the high academic standards but also give back to the community in a way that is meaningful and at the same time, hold the line on tuition.”
Coming up at UNCG on May 18 is the Heart Walk, and later in the summer is music camp, girls in STEM, and other various summer camps for kids. The weekly Spartan Cinema is free and held in LeBauer Park on Fridays at dusk, and this week’s movie is “The Incredibles 2” with closed captions.
“We are so grateful to all the voters, and we really appreciate their confidence in us,” Bloss said. “And hopefully, we can continue to make them proud, and we can throw in some surprises along the way.”
For more information, visit UNCG’s website.
The Triad’s Best Apartment Complex: Burke Ridge Crossing
Property manager Ariel Gordon said Burke Ridge Crossing winning the Triad’s Best Apartment Complex is an achievement that she is very excited about it. Gordon said the key to their success is their customer service.
“We have a great team in the office,” she said. “Our customer service is what helps us stand out above everyone else.”
Gordon said that Burke Ridge Crossing is owned by Blue Ridge Companies, located in High Point.
“If [tenants] ever need corporate we are pretty close, and we are very involved in our community as well,” she said.
Burke Ridge Crossing offers tenants one, two, and three bedroom apartments. Its amenities include a pool open year-round, a 24-hour fitness center, a leash-free pet park, a multimedia theatre, a car detail center, a 24-hour resident business center, valet waste services, wifi throughout the community, clothes care center, a gas grill, picnic areas, a corn hole playing field, an outdoor kitchen, and a fire pit.
“It is our residents that chose us,” Gordon said. “I would thank them as well.”
Gordon said there is no set pricing for Burke Ridge Crossing, so those interested should call the offices for a quote or visit the website for more information.
The Triad’s Best CBD Store: Everything Hemp Store
Founder’s Hemp and Everything Hemp Store owner Bob Crumley has been steadily building his “hempire” since the opening of Everything Hemp in Asheboro in July 2017. As a lawyer, Crumley had a hand in getting hemp legislation passed in the state. He said winning the very first Triad’s Best CBD Store in an area where CBD stores have been popping up left and right feels great.
“Thank you for recognizing us,” he said. “Thank you for recognizing the quality we put into our stores, and the quality we put into our products. To be named top store in the very first time y’all [have a Best CBD Store category], is a great honor. We are really appreciative.”
Everything Hemp Stores are located in Asheboro, Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem, Burlington, and now Denver. Crumley said other stores are coming soon to Apex, Cary, Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Durham. “We are also franchising stores now,” he said. “We have franchisees opening up in the Lake Norman-area, Charlotte-area, and we are talking to people in multiple states as well–as far South as Texas and North as New Jersey so far.” Crumley said the hottest-selling item Everything Hemp Store offers is Hemp Freeze, a topical cream infused with CBD, menthol, and arnica that is applied to the muscles and joints.
“We don’t just have folks there to ring up a cash register,” he said. “We educate people. There are a lot of folks now that are just becoming familiar with CBD and hemp-extract products. We are saying come into the stores; there is no obligation to buy, get yourself educated about what CBD and hemp-extract may do for you and your family, and your pets.”
Guilford County’s Best New Restaurant: Lao Restaurant + Bar
Lao Restaurant + Bar has been open since August 2018 and took home the title of Guilford County’s Best New Restaurant.
“I was pleasantly surprised,” said owner Vonne Keobouala. “We hit it off pretty strong, but I was a little bit skeptical of how it would go because we are an ethnic restaurant in downtown Greensboro.”
Keobouala said the food served at Lao is authentic and as “traditional as you can be.” She said that the restaurant has a clean, modern and sleek look and atmosphere. She describes Laotian food as “herbal, fresh, with a kick of spice.” Keobouala’s favorite dish is the Nam Khao, which is crispy rice with grated coconut, peanuts, sour pork, herbs (such as mint, and cilantro) green onions, and shallots served on a lettuce wrap.
“It is very flavorful, yet light and crispy, and you wrap it in lettuce,” she said. “It is a great conversation food, a great starter entrée, and one that is my favorite.”
Keobouala said her mission for the restaurant is to introduce her Laotian culture through the food.
“When my family arrived in America and began their journey as restaurateurs, they focused on Thai cuisine,” she said. “We never felt like there was a right time to focus on our own cuisine, Laotian cuisine. I made the decision to commit to sharing my culture with my community when I opened Lao, and the reception has felt like a homecoming. Without my hardworking staff and the beautiful community of downtown Greensboro, Lao Restaurant + Bar would not be what it is today. Because of you all, I get to live my dream every single day. Khobchai, (means thank you from Laos) Greensboro and YES! Weekly. Without your appetite, we would not be where we are today.”
Forsyth County’s Best New Restaurant: The Prescott
Executive chef and co-owner Trey Prescott and general manager and co-owner Daniel Dyson opened The Prescott on Dec. 20, 2018.
“It is quite an honor,” said Prescott of winning Forsyth County’s Best New Restaurant.
“I didn’t expect it, especially with the short amount of time we’ve been open,” Dyson said. “The amount of exposure we have gotten has been kind of overwhelming.”
Prescott said the restaurant offers an involved fine dining experience, with tableside service, and sources (as much as it can) local North Carolina food products. Prescott said he sources his microgreens from Five Woods Farm, which is only about two miles down the road from the restaurant.
“We start dinner off with an amuse-bouche, that most people don’t do anymore,” Prescott said. “It is just something for us to wake up everybody and say we really want you to pay attention to your meal and this is the way to get started.”
Prescott and Dyson describe the food as modern American cuisine with a French influence.
“We want people to do courses,” Prescott said. “But we don’t like the word fancy-schmancy.”
Prescott said he didn’t go to culinary school and that he is “pretty much self-taught.” He graduated in 2007 from Appalachian State with a business degree in the hospitality management program.
“It was me and Daniel’s dream and ridiculous nightmare to have a fine dining restaurant,” Prescott said.
On May 21, The Prescott is holding a wine dinner called “Toast to the Coast” with a South African-influenced dinner. This dinner celebrates the Rickety Bridge Winery, which is based in South Africa but has roots in the Triad. Prescott said the owner of the winery is from Kernersville, and the wine is distributed in High Point.
“We have these dinners monthly, so stay tuned to links on our Facebook page, Instagram, and website,” Dyson said. “It is derived from the food, and I try to couple it from the wine.”
The Triad’s LGBTQ Living Legend and the Triad’s Best Seasoned Drag Queen: Paisley Parque
This year, YES! Weekly added new categories to accompany the new LGBTQ section on the Triad’s Best ballot. Drag entertainer Paisley Parque was voted as the first Triad’s LGBTQ Living Legend, and Best Seasoned Drag Queen. Her monthly Sex Kitten Round-Up at Chemistry Nightclub also won the Triad’s Best LGBTQ Night Out or Event.
Parque starting doing drag in 1990 and has won numerous pageants. Her favorite title is Miss Gay North Carolina USA At-Large that she won in 2005. She said she went on to compete in Miss Gay USA At-Large and made the Top 12. She has also been named Miss Pride Winston-Salem, Miss Triad Pride, Miss Warehouse Witch, Miss Salem Witch, Miss Honey Boo, Miss Scarolina, Miss Dragula, and Miss Hippy Hoppity. Parque describes her drag persona as being known for costumes, jewelry, and big blonde hair.
“There’s a running joke that Paisley is the only drag queen whose lips can be seen from outer space,” Parque said. “She is a larger-than-life character on stage. She’s kinda like if you put Miss Piggy, Mae West, Marilyn Monroe, Madonna and Dolly Parton in a blender.”
Parque said she does drag because it gets her out of her comfort zone. “As a boy, I am typically very shy and more reserved.”
“It makes me feel grateful, honored and very excited,” Parque said of her wins. “I am very thankful to be able to perform after all these years. In August next year, I’ll be celebrating 30 years. So to still be able to do this now and to be still wanted, it’s a huge honor.”
Parque said she feels a bit overwhelmed and shocked to win all of these awards.
“Of course, I wasn’t expecting to win anything but to end up winning three awards; I’m very thankful because I was nominated against some really great queens,” she said.
If her drag history is correct, Parque said that her Sex Kitten Round-Up is the longest-running drag show in the Triad. It is held at Chemistry Nightclub on the fourth Saturday of every month with drag shows at 10 p.m. and 12:30 a.m.
Parque’s advice for other entertainers is to support their local queens/kings and to not give up. “People told me I was booger, and I had no business being on stage and look at me now. Hard work does pay off, never give up if you have that dream.”
The Triad’s Best Drag King: T Money
Entertainer T Money said that winning the first-ever Triad’s Best Drag King award is an honor.
“I’d like to thank my supporters,” he said. “I’ve been doing drag for about 10 years now. It is great that there are still supporters out there that remember me. It feels good to be recognized in the community.”
Money said his stage name was given to him and it just stuck. He said he does Post Malone and Sean Paul impersonations, and that his persona mainly performs to hip-hop and R&B. “That is really different too, because of a lot of other drag kings perform to rock and country.”
He said his favorite song to perform to is “What They Want” by Russ, “Becky” by Plies, and that “Must Be The Money” by Nelly is the main song that he performs to.
Money said his drag mother Tia Chanella and drag sister Bella Jade inspired and encouraged him to do drag. Also, the lack of drag kings and the abundance of drag queens in the area also nudged him to start performing.
“I have always been part of the drag queen community, and there really wasn’t any kings around,” Money said. “I would just be helping them in the dressing room–I was a make-up artist at the time–and I was just like ‘why aren’t there any kings? Maybe I should try it.’”
Money said his favorite part of being a drag king is performing.
“Definitely being able to be something visual that someone can take their mind off of things,” he said. “If they had a long week or maybe they are going through some personal things at home, they come out and take their mind off things that may be overbearing.”
Money said his advice to new performers or others who may want to get into drag is to be yourself.
“There is going to be a lot of guidelines that people expect that you follow and I say don’t,” he said. “I never followed any; just be yourself. We need more creativity out there because everyone tries to do the same thing, all try to wear the same stuff and do the same music. We definitely need more creativity. Stick to yourself if you are looking to start entertaining.”
The Triad’s Best Musician: Dan Ray
Cover artist Dan Ray said it is an honor to be voted as the Triad’s Best Musician and the Triad’s Best Guitarist.
“I’m so excited I can hardly get my head around it,” Ray said. “It’s amazing who was on that list, there were a dozen people that I know and looked up to.”
Ray said he loves being a cover artist right now because, for him, the point of playing music is the connection between the audience and the musician. He said one shortcut to that connection is playing a song that the audience recognizes and loves.
“There is something about playing covers that gives you a real, unique, fast-access into a person’s best memories and nostalgia,” he said.
Ray describes his band, The Clanky Lincolns, (which also won the Triad’s Best Cover Band) as a “high-energy party band” that plays everything from the roots of rock to songs on the radio now. Though he is a multi-instrumentalist, his primary focus for several years has been the guitar.
“I took a lot of time off from music,” he said. “I was really intense about music in school–high school and college, and then I didn’t perform for 20 years.”
He said he has been performing again for the past five years. Ray hosts the Live Music Pub Trivia every second Wednesday at Gibb’s Hundred Brewing Company, which is essentially a live music “name that tune” trivia game. Ray said there are themes for each night, and when teams know the answer, they ring in with their hand instruments and either guess the song name, artist or year it came out.
Ray said The Clanky Lincolns play all around the Triad, but recently they have been playing at Greensboro’s Pig Pounder Pavillion, with shows coming up on May 18 and June 1. Ray said he would also be performing at the Dunleath Porchfest on June 8 at 703 5th Ave. at 2:15 p.m. For more information, visit The Clanky Lincolns’ Facebook page or website.
“The thing that I would say to my beautiful, brilliant, button-mashing, ballot box-stuffing supporters is ‘thank you, and I love you too,’” he said. “This community is so supportive of musicians and artists, and it’s really, really great to play for the people who love music in this area.”
The Triad’s Most Unique Place To Hear Live Music: The Deck at River Twist
Wade Gabel, owner of The Deck at River Twist, said winning The Triad’s Most Unique Place To Hear Live Music was precisely what he was striving for with his “unique, eclectic, funky, weird” bar. He said The Deck is a safe environment for anyone 21 years and older who “like me, doesn’t like to get liquored up and fight the world. That is not what we are about.”
But that isn’t the only Triad’s Best accolade The Deck has won this year. The Deck also took first place as the Best Place To Dance. The Deck won second place as The Most Original and Unique Bar and as the Triad’s Best Live Music Show. The Deck was also a runner-up in the categories of Best Girls Night Out, Best Club For Hooking Up, and Best Patio in Guilford County. Gabel attributed The Deck’s success to improving each year because “if you get complacent, I think you kind of rot on the vine. You gotta keep trying to do a little something to reinvent yourself.”
One of those things has been to install sound dampening material on the outdoor stage to comply with noise ordinances and to show his hometown that he cares and he wants to be “a good steward.” Later this year, Gabel hopes to expand and flatten the outdoor area and continue to build on to the sound screens.
Gabel said on Wednesdays, The Deck hosts an open mic night; Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights there is live music; and on Sunday afternoons, The Deck is family and dog-friendly. Coming up at The Deck, Cory Luetjen will be performing on May 16; Spare Change will play on May 17, and Stereo Doll will play on May 18. On June 2, there is also a Wounded Warrior benefit concert. For more information, visit The Deck’s Facebook page, website, or in the “Local and Live” section of YES! Weekly.