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Readers Pick: Best Annual Festival
We’ve seen some amazing artistic creations in the six years Grand Rapids has hosted ArtPrize, a radically open, independently organized, international art competition that transforms three square miles of downtown into an “open playing field where anyone can find a voice in the conversation about what is art and why it matters.” It’s all free and open to the public. ArtPrize 2015 happens Sept. 23 to Oct. 11. Stay tuned.


Best of Grand Rapids Readers Poll
We’ve collected and counted a record number of your votes and added some interesting tidbits just for fun …
By Alexandra Fluegel and Marty Primeau

Let’s just say it: There’s never been a greater time to live in Grand Rapids. It’s hard to pinpoint what exactly makes our city so great, but we’ve got an idea. It’s the nouns — you know, the people, places and things, all doing amazing stuff each and every day.

It’s the restaurants serving up creative fare, and the smiling faces on morning TV. The people who brew your coffee, pour your beer, create your favorite lunch and have cool Etsy shops. The small businesses providing you service with a familiar smile. The places you go on a Friday night.

So make 2015 the best year ever with our Best of Grand Rapids list and take in all of the greatness GR has to offer. And be sure to share what you think the best things are using #BestOfGR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Food/Drink
Appetizers
The Best: San Chez, A Tapas Bistro
Other favorites: Uccello’s,
Reserve Wine & Food

Bakery
The Best:
Wealthy Street Bakery
Other favorites: Arnie’s,
Nantucket Baking Co.

Breakfast
The Best:
Wolfgang’s
Other favorites: Anna’s House,
Real Food Café

Burger
The Best:
Stella’s Lounge
Other favorites: Cottage Bar,
Mr. Burger

Caterer
The Best:
Martha’s Vineyard
Other favorites: Brann’s Distinctive Catering,
Applause

Cupcakes
The Best:
Cakabakery
Other favorites: Arnie’s,
Sweetie-licious Bake Shoppe

Delicatessen
The Best:
Schnitz Deli
Other favorites: G.B. Russo & Son,
Martha’s Vineyard

Dive bar
The Best:
Logan’s Alley
Other favorites: Mulligan’s,
Elbow Room & Anchor Bar

Donuts
The Best:
Marge’s Donut Den
Other favorites: Sandy’s Donuts,
Propaganda Doughnuts

Happy Hour
The Best:
Uccello’s
Other favorites: Rockwell-Republic,
Blue Water Grill

Hot Dog
The Best:
Yesterdog
Other favorites: Jonny B’z,
Corner Bar

Local Beer
The Best:
Founders All Day IPA
Other favorites: Bell’s Oberon,
Founders Dirty Bastard

Martini
The Best:
Bistro Bella Vita
Other favorites: Rockwell-Republic,
Cygnus 27

Outdoor/Deck Seating
The Best:
Rose’s
Other favorites: Blue Water Grill,
Founders Brewing Co.

Pizza
The Best:
Vitale’s
Other favorites: Uccello’s,
Brick Road Pizza Co.

Restaurant Wine List
The Best:
Reserve Wine & Food
Other favorites: Bar Divani,
Reds on the River

Sandwich
The Best:
Schnitz Deli
Other favorites: Women’s City Club,
Marie Catrib’s

Seafood
The Best:
Leo’s
Other favorites: Charley’s Crab,
Fishlads

Soup
The Best:
Uncle Cheetah’s Soup Shop
Other favorites: Women’s City Club,
Arnie’s

Steak
The Best:
The Chop House
Other favorites: Brann’s Steakhouse & Grille,
Leo’s

Sushi
The Best:
Maru Sushi & Grill
Other favorites: Ju Sushi & Lounge,
XO Asian Cuisine

Tacos
The Best:
Donkey Taqueria
Other favorites: Tacos El Cunado,
La Cantina

Vegan Cuisine
The Best:
Marie Catrib’s
Other favorites: Gaia Cafe (now closed),
Bartertown Diner

Local People
Barista
The Best:
Trevor Corlett, Madcap
Other favorites: Stacy Oosterhouse, Forest Hills Foods ,
Shanna Peterson, Bagel Beanery

Bartender
The Best:
Nanette Overway, Kuzzin’s Lounge
Other favorites: Matt Alles, Z’s Bar & Restaurant
Brandon Gardner, Uccello’s

Chef
The Best:
Andrea McFarland, Women’s City Club
Other favorites: Tommy Fitzgerald, Kitchen Sage,
Jenna Arcidiacono, Amore Trattoria Italiana

Dentist
The Best:
Thomas J. Lambert, DDS
Other favorites: Karen O’Rourke, DDS,
Michael J. Crete, DDS

Dermatologist
The Best:
Richard J. Ashack, M.D.
Other favorites: Robert J. Lamberts, M.D.,
Marek A. Stawiski, M.D.

Interior Designer
The Best:
Kathryn Chaplow, Kathryn Chaplow LLC
Other favorites: Rock Kauffman, Rock Kauffman Design,
Vicki Sikkema, Interior Signatures

Plastic Surgeon
The Best:
Bradley P. Bengtson, M.D.
Other favorites: John D. Renucci, M.D.,
Steven L. Ringler, M.D.

Politician
The Best:
Justin Amash
Other favorites: George Heartwell,
Terri Lynn Land

Realtor
The Best:
Hugh Griffith, Keller Williams
Other favorites: Diane Griffin, Griffin Properties,
Chad Sytsma, RE/MAX Sunquest

TV Personality
The Best:
Lauren Stanton, WZZM 13
Other favorites: Terri DeBoer, WOOD TV 8,
Maranda, WOTV

Weather Person
The Best:
Bill Steffen, WZZM 13
Other favorites: Terri DeBoer, WOOD TV 8,
Matt Kirkwood, WOOD TV 8

Writer
The Best:
Tom Rademacher
Other favorites: Robert Sirico,
Charles Honey

Local Places
Animal Clinic
The Best:
Family Friends Veterinary Hospital
Other favorites: Cascade Hospital for Animals,
Eastown Veterinary Clinic

Antique Shop
The Best:
Bluedoor Antiques & Elements
Other favorites: Eastown Antiques,
City Antiques

Art Gallery
The Best:
LaFontsee Galleries
Other favorites: Grand Rapids Art Museum,
Cascade Gallery

Athletic Club
The Best:
8th Day Gym
Other favorites: MVP,
YMCA

Auto Dealership
The Best:
Todd Wenzel Automotive
Other favorites: Fox Motors,
Berger Chevrolet

Auto Repair
The Best:
Verburg’s Automotive Services
Other favorites: Curless Automotive Repair,
Community Automotive Repair

Bank
The Best:
Northpointe Bank
Other favorites: Fifth Third Bank,
Chase

Bar/Pub
The Best:
HopCat
Other favorites: Uccello’s,
Graydon’s Crossing

Barbershop
The Best:
Jude’s Barbershop
Other favorites: Forest Hills Barber Shop,
King’s Room

Beer/Wine Merchant
The Best:
Martha’s Vineyard
Other favorites: G.B. Russo & Son,
Crushed Grape

Bike Shop
The Best:
Ada Bike Shop
Other favorites: Village Bike & Fitness,
Freewheeler Bike Shop

Bookstore
The Best:
Schuler Books & Music
Other favorites: Baker Book House,
Argos Book Shop

Brewery
The Best:
Founders Brewing Co.
Other favorites: Perrin Brewing Co.,
Brewery Vivant

Boutique Grocer
The Best:
G.B. Russo & Son
Other favorites: Martha’s Vineyard,
Kingma’s Market

Brunch Spot
The Best:
Charley’s Crab
Other favorites: Cherie Inn,
Anna’s House

Butcher Shop
The Best:
Sobie Meats
Other favorites: Kingma’s Market,
Bob’s Butcher Block

Car Wash
The Best:
Southland Auto Wash
Other favorites: Waterworks Car Wash,
Cascade Car Wash

Childcare Provider
The Best:
The Goddard School
Other favorites: YMCA,
AppleTree Learning Centers

Chiropractic Center
The Best:
iChiro Clinics
Other favorites: Discovery Chiropractic & Soft Tissue Clinic,
Harrison Chiropractic Center

Cigar Shop
The Best:
Tuttle’s Select Cigars & Tobaccos
Other favorites: Buffalo Tobacco Traders,
Grand River Cigar

Coffeeshop
The Best:
Biggby Coffee
Other favorites: MadCap Coffee Co.,
Kava House

Credit Union
The Best:
Lake Michigan Credit Union
Other favorites: Option 1 Credit Union,
DFCU Financial

Date Night Restaurant
The Best:
Grove
Other favorites: Leo’s,
The Chop House

Diner
The Best:
Pal’s Diner
Other favorites: Real Food Café,
The Grand Coney

Dry Cleaner
The Best:
Sheldon Cleaners
Other favorites: Afendoulis Cleaners & Tuxedos,
Curtis Cleaners

Farmers Market
The Best:
Fulton Street Farmers Market
Other favorites: Downtown Market,
Rockford Farmers Market

Florist Shop
The Best:
Eastern Floral
Other favorites: Kennedy’s Flower Shop,
Daylily Floral and Gifts

Froyo Shop
The Best:
Spoonlickers
Other favorites: The Pump House,
Sweet Yo’s

Furniture Store
The Best:
Klingman’s Fine Furniture
Other favorites: Talsma Furniture,
Art Van Furniture

Garden Center
The Best:
Fruit Basket Flowerland
Other favorites: Romence Gardens & Greenhouses,
Countryside Greenhouse

Golf Course
The Best:
Thousand Oaks Golf Club
Other favorites: The Golf Club at Thornapple Pointe,
Watermark Country Club

Grocery Store
The Best:
Meijer
Other favorites: Forest Hills Foods,
D&W Fresh Market

Hair Salon
The Best:
Design 1 Salon Spa
Other favorites: Cheeky Strut,
Attitudes

Hardware Store
The Best:
Rylee’s Ace Hardware
Other favorites: Godwin Hardware,
Gemmen’s Home & Hardware

Home Décor
The Best:
Talsma Furniture
Other favorites: Wealthy at Charles,
Klingman’s Fine Furniture

Ice Cream Parlor
The Best:
Jersey Junction
Other favorites: Rocky’s,
Love’s Ice Cream & Vegan Gelato

Jewelry Store
The Best:
Almassian Jewelers
Other favorites: Paul Medawar Fine Jewelry,
DeVries Jewelers

Juice Bar
The Best:
Sip Organic Juice Bar
Other favorites: Malamiah Juice Bar

Law Firm
The Best:
Varnum LLP
Other favorites: Keller & Almassian PLC,
Warner, Norcross & Judd LLP

Live Music Venue
The Best:
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Other favorites: The Intersection,
Van Andel Arena

Men’s Apparel
The Best:
A.K. Rikk’s
Other favorites: Fitzgerald’s,
DENYM

Museum
The Best:
Grand Rapids Public Museum
Other favorites: Grand Rapids Art Museum,
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

Public Park
The Best:
Millennium Park
Other favorites: Riverside Park,
John Ball Zoo Park

Resale/Consignment
The Best:
Georgie’s Consignment Clothing
Other favorites: Gild the Lily,
New 2 You

Retirement Community
The Best:
Porter Hills
Other favorites: Clark Retirement Community,
Holland Home

Shoe Store
The Best:
Mieras Family Shoes
Other favorites: VanHoecks Footwear,
Wolverine Company Store

Shopping Mall
The Best:
Woodland Mall
Other favorites: RiverTown Crossings,
Centerpointe Mall

Tattoo Parlor
The Best:
Screaming Needle
Other favorites: Mos Eisley’s,
Love Tattoo

Women’s Apparel
The Best:
Evereve (formerly Hot Mama)
Other favorites: Leigh’s,
Lee & Birch

Yoga Studio
The Best:
Funky Buddha Hothouse
Other favorites: Cascade Yoga Studio,
Seva Yoga

Local Things
Annual Festival
The Best:
ArtPrize
Other favorites: Festival of the Arts,
Founders Fest

College Mascot
The Best:
Louie the Laker (GVSU)
Other favorites: Pounce the Panther (Davenport),
Knight (Calvin College)

Hike/Bike Trail
The Best:
White Pine Trail
Other favorites: Kent Trails,
Paul Henry Thornapple Trail

Night Out
The Best:
The B.O.B.
Other favorites: Mojo’s Dueling Piano Bar & Restaurant,
Grand Rapids Symphony

Pro Sports Team
The Best:
Grand Rapids Griffins
Other favorites: West Michigan Whitecaps,
Grand Rapids Drive

Radio Station
The Best:
WOOD 1300/106.9
Other favorites: 91.3 WCSG
97.9 WGRD

Tourist Attraction
The Best:
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Other favorites: ArtPrize,
Zoo and museums

TV Station
The Best:
WOOD TV 8
Other favorites: WZZM 13,
FOX 17

View of the City
The Best:
Cygnus/Top of the Amway
Other favorites: Belknap (Lookout Hill),
I-96 East curve, near Lake Michigan Drive exit

Left, Readers Pick: Best Martini at Bistro Bella Vita. Middle: Readers Pick: Best Best Dive Bar at Logan’s Alley. Right: Readers Pick: Best College Mascot, Louie the Laker.
   
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