Bookmark and Share Email this page Email Print this page Print

Best of Augusta

DINING

APPETIZERS

Confucius says, “Excellent appetizer make whole meal.” Think about it. Then drive to Bee’s Knees and live it. Edgar’s Grille makes its debut here with a silver medal, while Bonefish Grill rounds out the top three.

BARBECUE

Barbecue is like a religion in the South, which is why Sconyers Bar-B-Que is closed on Sunday. It’s less confusing for everyone. First runner-up: Mot’s Pit Cooked Barbeque. Third place is a tasty dead heat between Sticky Fingers and Shane’s Rib Shack.

WINGS

Wild Wing Café may be the winner, but fear not: They have tamed these bad boys. They’re delicious! And Wild Wing lets you support local live music too. Wingstop flies into second place followed by Buffalo Wild Wings.

SEAFOOD

See T’s Seafood. ‘Nuf said. Ask about their T-shirts. If they don’t sell T’s at T’s, something is wrong. For second place, head to Rhinehart’s Oyster Bar, where black tie is most definitely optional. Rae’s Coastal Café wins third.

SUSHI

Takosushi scores the gold medal here and if you don’t BYOC (Bring Your Own Chopsticks), relax. They’ve got you covered. Kinja Sushi and Matsu Sige, respectively, win the silver and the bronze.

STEAK

As we savor (literally) our position atop the food chain, we open our TBonz menu and select from options like ribeye, porterhouse and sirloin. It is good to be a carnivore. Celebrate it. Calvert’s corralled a silver tray’s worth of votes; Edgar’s Grille is also a choice choice in third.
SOUP

The soup at Sunshine Bakery is so good that, well, let’s just say you shouldn’t wait until you’re home in bed with the flu to eat soup. Walton Way Deli also enjoys high soupy sales. Tied in third: Atlanta Bread Company and Panera Bread.

CATFISH

Wanna know how good the catfish is at T’s? They put catfish and hushpuppies on the same plate and there is never a problem. That says it all. Old McDonald’s Fish Camp (slogan: “Where the fish go away to camp and never come back”) wins second place. Sheehan’s Irish Pub takes third. Ask for catfish and chips.



FRIED CHICKEN

It is a scientifically proven fact that a diet rich in raw vegetables and fruit leads to cravings for fried chicken. That’s why God made WifeSaver, silly. Listen to your body. We know someone who didn’t and they blacked out and woke up three days later surrounded by empty WifeSaver packages. Maryland Fried Chicken and the Publix deli serve up second and third
 


PIZZA

Like sandwiches, pizza is a food
category of infinite variety and readers say its finest variations are served by Mellow Mushroom. Pizza Joint takes first runner-up, followed by Edgar’s Grille and Guiseppe’s Pizza and Italian
Specialities in a virtual tie.

HOT DOG

When they were introduced at the 1904 World’s Fair they were called “Heated Canines.” Today we simply call them hot dogs and readers call them “Nathan’s.” Translation: Bruster’s Real Ice Cream. Do not—repeat—do not ask for a hot dog sundae. Hot fudge is okay though. Village Deli follows the top dog, tailed by BirdDog Grille (where the dogs are Nathan’s to

BURRITO

Have you heard the burrito is the
national food of Bolivia? We haven’t either, but it is a specialty at Nacho
Mama’s. So special they win the category. Moe’s Southwest Grill and Barberitos, in second and third place respectively, will also serve a burrito you’d be proud to eat.

BREAD

If you sell bread and you want to win this category, bread had better be
your middle name, as in Manuel’s Bread Café. Or your last name: Panera Bread. Or like we said, your middle name: Atlanta Bread Company
(in third).

SALAD

If you were offended by what we wrote about fried chicken (see above), then this is our chance to atone. It is a scientifically proven fact that a diet high in fried foods leads to cravings for crisp, fresh salads, the very kind they have perfected at California Dreaming. Listen to your body. Hear that crunch? That’s your salad. Other worthy greenskeepers include second-place winner Rae’s Coastal Café and Edgar’s Grille  in third. [

DESSERT

When your waiter tells you to save room for dessert, listen, even if it means skipping some salad. Mexico recently stole America’s crown as the world’s most overweight nation. This shall not stand. Let’s all meet at Boll Weevil, purveyor of the best desserts within the sound of this magazine. The overflow crowd meets at French Market Grille and the overflow of the overflow will convene at Edgar’s Grille.

SPECIAL OCCASION CAKES

For A Piece of Cake, winning was, well, you know. Delightful Bites adds another second-place trophy to their mantel. Publix Bakery is baking itself a cake in honor of its third-place finish.

BAGELS
If frosting, sprinkles and crème fillings make you think tubular, circle-shaped foods aren’t healthful, try an Einstein Bros. bagel, suggest your fellow readers. Panera Bread wins next-best bagels, followed by New Moon Café.

DOUGHNUTS

In this economy, the employee who brings in a dozen doughnuts every Friday or every Monday has iron-clad job security, especially, say the ballots, if they come from first-place winner Krispy Kreme. Dunkin Donuts is a worthy second choice and Kim’s Donuts might have seemed like a neighborhood doughnutery, but winning the bronze elevates them to a regional doughnut powerhouse.


ICE CREAM/YOGURT

Bruster’s Real Ice Cream wins, as well they should. These people trying to pass off ice cream that isn’t real should be run out of town by a pitchfork-wielding mob. Tutti Frutti takes second. They sell real yogurt. See the common thread going here? Steak ‘n Shake rolls into town and immediately scores a bronze medal. Welcome and congratulations!

COFFEE

Brewing up first-place votes seems to be what they do best at Buona Caffe Artisan Roasted Coffee. Bottoms up! Hire Grounds Café, part of the Goodwill campus at Village West, has grounds for boasting, if not roasting, in second place. New Moon Café takes home another bronze medal.

WINE MERCHANT

Speaking of adult beverages, Toast has an impressive array. They may not dine you, but they can certainly wine you. Wine World and The Vineyard raise their glasses to exactly the same height for a second-place tie. The White Horse, in third, has been keeping people in good spirits since 1949. Cheers!
 

WINE MENU

In describing in-house vintages, we sometimes call this category “non-portable potables.” Drink three glasses of wine and then repeat that phrase seven times as rapidly as possible, all while seated at Calvert’s, suggest readers. Then call a cab. Second place: Frog Hollow Tavern. Third place: 5 O’Clock Bistro.

WINE BY THE GLASS

This category presupposes good food is also nearby. Well, the perfect accompaniment to a perfect meal is best offered, say the ballots, at French Market Grille West. Another vintner’s (and chef’s) best choice would be Cadwallader’s Café. Ditto for the bronze medalist: 5 O’Clock Bistro.

BEER SELECTION/
TAKE HOME

We suppose you could drink in the parking lot of Toast, but that would put you at risk of running afoul of the local constabulary. Even worse, such conduct is rather gauche, to say the least. See above: take home. Harvard’s is another excellent choice for take home brew. Readers give the White Horse the coveted second runner-up spot.

BEER SELECTION/DRINK IN

Here (at Pizza Joint, that is) you have our blessing to drink away, confident in the sobriety of your designated driver who, ideally, will have a valid drivers license. Second-place winner Rooster’s Beak is another recommended destination for beer aficionados. Nearby, the Boar’s Head Public House takes third for its selection of ales and craft beers.
 

MARGARITA

As hot cocoa is to Alaskans, so are margaritas south of the border. North of the border, in places like Augusta, Ga., we head to Vallarta’s for lo mejor de las margaritas. Mixologists at Monterrey and Poblano’s battle to a tie for second, while Salsa’s says they deserve a spot in the Top Tres too.

MARTINI

Yet another gold medal for French Market Grille West. Let us raise a glass to them! Readers also recommend the martinis mixed at the Partridge Inn, our grand hotel on the hill. Not too far away, Bistro 491 scores third.

FRIENDLY SERVICE

Getting into the realm of the more elite awards, we come to this all-important, make or break category. The winner is French Market Grille, which is hardly a surprise: Maybe it’s just coincidence, but from here it seems like a rare night when owner Chuck Baldwin doesn’t set a sterling example by visiting each table. Sheehan’s Irish Pub and French Market Grille West in second and third also earn high marks from readers.

OUTDOOR DINING

Rhinehart’s Oyster Bar is the reader favorite. Here’s an insider tip: Don’t tell the hostess you’d like to dine al fresco at Rhinehart’s. Just say you want to eat outside. Edgar’s Grille racks up another first-year trophy with a second-place finish, followed by Crums on Central.

SUNDAY BRUNCH

Great restaurants can get even greater, rolling out their A game one day each week, in this case Sunday. It’s a great way to get the week off and running at Crums on Central. The Partridge Inn, in second place, has a storied brunch history of its own, while newbie Edgar’s Grille is building its legend as we speak.


LUNCH

You won’t suffer a Sunday Brunch letdown on Monday if you get thee to Moe’s. That is the advice of a majority of our voters. You also can’t go wrong sampling the lunch menu at French Market Grille. Not to be overlooked are the industrial grade lunches served at Janwiches.

BUSINESS LUNCH

Power brokers have inked many a deal over lunch at Augustino’s. It’s so business-oriented that their lunch buffet is known as the Warren Buffet. French Market Grille West takes second; Edgar’s Grille and the Garlic Clove are deadlocked in third.

JAPANESE RESTAURANT

Don’t feel bad if you cannot master chopsticks. It’s OK. Stop crying. Just go to Miyabi Kyoto Japanese Steak House in first place. You’ll feel better, even if you’re using a fork. Toki Hibachi & Sushi also gets high marks from readers, as does Yosko’s in third.
 

THAI RESTAURANT

What’s cookin’ at Thai Kitchen? Good stuff, according to the ballots. They are the culinary ambassadors of record for Thailand in this area. Mai Thai is sort of the ambassador-elect and Thai Jong is in the running for the very next appointment at the embassy, pinky promise.

MEXICAN RESTAURANT

When Juan Valdez needs nourishment for another coffee delivery with his trusted burro, where does he dine? We have it on good authority that his choice is Poblano’s Mexican Grill. The ballots, coincidentally, agree 100 percent. We have smart readers. Monterrey Mexican Restaurant and Salsa’s Bar and Grill take segundo y tercero.
INDIAN RESTAURANT

The population of India is 1.2 billion. That many people simply can’t be wrong. On second thought, they could be, but Augusta Magazine readers are never wrong, and they exalt Taj of India as the Maharaja of Indian cuisine. India Café, in second, would be the raja of Indian cuisine. The Curry Pot is (or was) the third-best, say readers.

ITALIAN RESTAURANT

That venerable Augusta institution known as Luigi’s is the place most readers suggest when they hunger for something mama mia might make. Guiseppe’s is not exactly the new kid on the block, either. In second place, they’re celebrating their 10th anniversary this year. The Garlic Clove
garners third. [

NEIGHBORHOOD
RESTAURANT
Village Deli seems to have the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality down to a science and the Deli’s neighbors say it definitely ain’t broke. Second place: a tie between Evans’s BirdDog Grille and Summerville’s Sheehan’s Irish Pub. West Augustans took this category quite literally in voting Rae’s Coastal Café into third place. Now that is a neighborhood restaurant.



UNDISCOVERED
RESTAURANT

An undiscovered restaurant could be brand new or one that’s been right under our noses for decades. Take this year’s winning roster: BirdDog Grille is the new kid on this block and they score the gold. DiChicko’s is unique in that it’s inside another business, New Life Natural Foods. Finally, there’s Hildebrandt’s, which celebrated its 100th anniversary decades ago, in third place. These three aren’t just undiscovered restaurants; they’re the best undiscovered restaurants.
 

NEW RESTAURANT

The winner—Edgar’s Grille—is certainly a breed apart: nouveau cuisine served in a decidedly upscale atmosphere, staffed by Helms College culinary arts students. The aforementioned Farmhaus scores the silver medal. Do check out their nifty website, farmhausburgers.com. It’s a feast for the ears. And the Whiskey Bar Kitchen downtown on Broad Street takes the third place award.
 

ELEGANT DINING

It’s pretty cool to not only serve fine food, but to create an experience from the simple act of eating. That’s the kind of place Calvert’s is. You have our readers’ word on that. As a bonus, we have a tie for second between Edgar’s Grille and La Maison on Telfair, giving you a total of four excellent options instead of just three. And that fourth entry, alone in third place, is Frog
Hollow Tavern.







 

SHOPPING

WOMEN’S CLOTHING

There are probably a thousand dresses in area closets for every man’s suit, so this is a crucial vote. May we have the envelope please? [dramatic pause] And the winner is: Summerville Rags. Steinmart and Dillard’s take second and third, respectively.

CHILDREN’S CLOTHING

At Posh Tots, it takes one to know one. Posh Tots is 11 and so are some of their best customers. No wonder they won. Kid to Kid wins second-hand, uh, we mean second place, as they buy and sell all kinds of gently used stuff for kids, not just clothes. In third, the best name ever for a kid’s clothing store: Hissy Fits.

WOMEN’S SHOES

What we said above about guys’ suits applies equally to shoes. If a woman has five pairs, a guy will have five shoes. Not that any self-respecting woman would be caught dead with only five pairs. Maybe five pairs in each color of the rainbow. That’s why God made Shoes at Surrey, right? Ditto for Shoe Studio in second place and for Goody Two Shoes in third.
 

PURSES

Note this category is not women’s purses. That would be sexist and politically incorrect. Not our style. If you need a purse, whoever you are, get thee to Shoe Studio, suggest readers. Shoes at Surrey this time takes second place. Cudos! Flowers and Gifts carries purses too and they win third.

SUPERMARKET

The incumbent, Publix is once again the number one source for groceries, at least among readers who eat. Kroger is first runner-up, if for any reason Publix cannot fulfill the duties of its reign. Fresh Market just keeps doing its thing in third.



ORGANIC FOOD
& PRODUCTS

This category is a repeat of last year’s voting, but don’t expect that again
next year. Readers give Earth Fare the Best designation, followed by Fresh Market and New Life Natural Foods. But stay tuned.

SEAFOOD MARKET

What with global warming, rising seas and all, Island Seafood is enjoying the chickens of the sea and you should too. Looking for another good fishin’ hole? Readers say Fresh Market is good in almost any weather. They’re also biting at Earth Fare, so head over. And remember your worms. [
 

NURSERY/GARDEN SHOP

This is a good time of year to plant, so head over to Bedford Greenhouses. Just don’t park on Riverwatch. They tend to frown on that. Green Thumb West gets the coveted Silver Thumb and Greenbrier Nursery, kind of a 24-hour daycare center for young plants, wins third.

GIFTS

It is better to give than receive, but hopefully after you give, they’ll get the hint and reciprocate. So give good: Go to Cudos! Flowers and Gifts is the advice of most readers. The White Crane also offers civilized gifts. No batteries required. Third place: Charleston Street.

CHRISTMAS
DECORATIONS

Sure, stores already have Valentine’s Day merchandise front and center. Even so, there are only 400-some shopping days left before Christmas 2014, so go directly to Cudos! Flowers and Gifts for the necessary goodies. Go now! Readers say the White Crane should get second place. We learn something every year. And Mish Mash wins third.



PLACE TO SHOP
FOR WIFE/GIRLFRIEND

Know this one thing, guys: You cannot buy your way into her heart. But you should certainly try. Naturally, readers are going to send you to Windsor Fine Jewelers. It is the CSRA’s default setting for jewelry. Not that there isn’t room for an alternate or two. Cudos! Flowers and Gifts is another recommended destination to shop for her
and readers also say she’ll like
anything from Summerville Rags.


HOME FURNISHINGS

Think you can ignore Weinberger’s Furniture and Mattress Showcase as the place to go? No you can’t! At least not if you listen to Augusta Magazine readers. Andrews Furniture Gallery scores next-best and Mish Mash also wins, in this case, the bronze medal.



ANTIQUES

We know what you’re thinking: same old same old. Exactly! That’s the whole point! Just ask the proprietors of the Antique Market, say voters. Merry’s Trash & Treasures gets the nod in second. And Barbara Kelly’s Antique Gallery in Surrey Center is the last place you’d want to ask, “What’s new?”

 

FINE JEWELRY

Interesting fact: Every place that buys gold says they offer the highest prices in town. Windsor Fine Jewelers, your number one choice, certainly pays the highest prices in town. The Estate Jewelry Center in second place also pays the highest prices. And so does Friedman’s Jewelers. It’s one of those logic conundrums. If you don’t have an advanced degree in mathematics, don’t even try to figure it out.

PLACE TO SHOP
FOR HUSBAND/BOYFRIEND

Sure, it’s tempting to splurge and get him a bale of shop rags, but why not go where readers recommend? That would be Rivers & Glen Trading Company. They have all kinds of nifty accoutrements for gentlemen. Friedman’s Jewelers and their homespun spokesman (a phrase you cannot say rapidly repeatedly) win second place. Academy Sports also medals in third placE.

MEDIA

TV STATION

Readers give the nod to WJBF and why not? It’s brand new and totally spiffy, including that cool retro neon sign out back facing Bobby Jones Expressway. WRDW, in classic red brick, wins second place, while for third, we’re back at the recycled Barnes & Noble WJBF shares with NBC26.

TV NEWS ANCHOR
WOMAN

Liz Hill has parlayed the number one ranking your votes gave her into a new PR job in Washington. Apparently when you said Liz was a “capital idea” for Best Anchor, she misunderstood or took it literally. Now she’s going by the nickname Capitol Hill. We wish her the best, which she already is. Jennie Montgomery is first runner-up, which obviously takes on added importance now. Mary Morrison takes the bronze.
 

WEEKEND TVNEWS
ANCHOR

News keeps happening on the weekends and WJBF’s Ashley Bridges is the go-to source for our readers. Christie Ethridge of WRDW wins first runner-up and it’s back to WJBF for third place and Archith Seshadri.

TV WEATHER ANCHOR

The summer of 2013 will be remembered simply as “The Rain” and for George Myers fall is the start of “The Reign.” He’ll wear a gold crown and velvet robe on the air during the coming year to signify his victory, pointing to weather maps with his royal scepter. Sentimental favorite Jay Jefferies almost wins in absentia, but will have to settle for second place. Shane Butler completes your top three.

TV REPORTER

Winner Lauren Walsh of NBC26 is kind of a stealth reporter. She doesn’t exactly have the go-for-the jugular look, but remember when she ambushed Lee Anderson in a parking lot and peppered him with hardball questions? She’s definitely got chops. Barclay Bishop and George Eskola tie for second place and Ryan Houston also makes it to the winner’s circle.

SPORTS REPORTER

As the old saying goes, you’ve got to have an “A” to spell AB and readers give the A to Ashley Brown, better known as A.B. Two other guys who shoot and score: Brendan Robertson of NBC26 and Matt Zahn of WJBF.

RADIO STATION

Not too many years ago, FM radio came along and made AM the antiquated weakling of the airwaves. But nobody ever told WGAC, who has been ruling the roost for years on AM—now on FM too. WAFJ and Kicks 99 earn your second- and third-favorite spots.

TALK RADIO PERSONALITY

When a guy says a girl has a “nice personality,” it’s a little like saying she has a face for radio. When readers vote in this category, however, it’s actually a compliment. They’re saying the winner has a voice for radio. They’re specifically saying Austin Rhodes is the man yet again. It’s a monopoly. Station colleagues Harley Drew (second) and Mary Liz Nolan (third) make it a clean sweep for WGAC.

RADIO MORNING SHOW

The aforementioned Handsome Harley Drew and Mary Liz Nolan are like audio caffeine, says a majority of the voting public. John and Cleve repeat at second place, kind of like a decaf version of number one. In third place, the noon to 1 p.m. Buzz on Biz show because it’s morning somewhere, right?

LOCAL NEWS STORY

The ASU/GRU merger repeats as
the top story again this year. Depending on your viewpoint, that means either the wound continues to fester,
or that this is still the best thing for
Augusta ever. You decide. Second place: voting a couple of months ago, watchdog readers said GRU presidential expenditures were the second-hottest news story. Third place back then: torrential rain, the story that never really went away.

LOCAL TV COMMERCIAL

If we said, “We live here, we work here,” would that clue you in to the winner? It’s Georgia Bank & Trust on top. 1-Hour Optical scores a second-place Addy and University Hospital and its many commercials take third.

LOCAL WRITER/
COLUMNIST

Bill Kirby wins yet again and gets a 100-pound coal black Remington typewriter as the spoils of victory. (No joke. It’s a real honest-to-goodness imaginary typewriter.) Augusta Family columnist Jennie Montgomery gets a 50-pound Underwood and The Chronicle’s Sylvia Cooper wins a Brother Student Prince. You’ve got to start somewhere Sylvia.

FITNESS AND LEISURE


EXERCISE FACILITY

For most of us, the Family Y is, in theory, the best place to exercise. For a select few, it actually is the best place. As in the place where they actually exercise and where they burn actual calories. Quite a concept. The impressive also-rans (literally) are led by Evans Fitness Club, followed by Kroc Center.

DAY SPA

You say you want to trade Pampers for pampering? Check yourself voluntarily into Tuscany-An Italian Day Spa and you may well avoid an involuntary stay elsewhere later. In second, Serenity Day Spa and the Retreat are equally lusted after by readers, while Aqua Spa is all alone in third.

PLACE TO SWIM

Not to be confused with Place To Play Pool (see next page), this is the best place to play in a pool. That distinction belongs to the Family Y, says our esteemed panel of readers. The Kroc Center also has a swimmingly good natatorium, as does the Augusta Aquatics Center in third.

GOLF COURSE (PUBLIC)

Historic Forest Hills has been hosting the likes of Bobby Jones and Phil Mickelson for close to 90 years and its win this year shows its popularity continues. Jones Creek gets second-place money; the River Club, third.

GOLF COURSE (PRIVATE)

What happens at the Augusta Country Club stays at the Augusta Country Club, like that triple bogey you shot there. Champions Retreat members are, by definition, champions. Reason enough to seek membership. West Lake and Sage Valley deadlock in
third place.
TENNIS COURT

When you tire of your own backyard court, try Newman Tennis Center, suggest our readers. Petersburg Racquet Club is making enough noise for second place, while readers give West Lake Country Club third place.

PLACE TO BIKE

Bike is a noun, but it can be used as a verb, as in “Bike on your bike alongside the Augusta Canal.” That’s what readers said. They also said the Medal to the Pedal should go to North Augusta’s Greeneway in second. The Forks Area Trail System (aka FATS) at Clarks Hill gets the bronze medal.


SPECIAL EVENT
FACILITY

The best place for a special event say readers is the sleek new Augusta Convention Center downtown. Savannah Rapids Pavilion a little further upriver takes second place honors while
historically esteemed Sacred Heart
Cultural Center receives third.
Congratulations!

BEST-KEPT
RECREATIONAL SECRET

Tops on this list is the Greeneway.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve never heard of it, but it might mean you’ve never walked it. Rectify that, why don’t you? Now, the FATS trails (literally “Forks Area Trail System trails”) really are a secret. Had you heard of them before five minutes ago? Feel free to Google away, but this is, indeed, a well-kept secret. Evans Towne Center Park
is number three.

PLACE TO
PLAY POOL

Head to Robbie’s and wear water
wings on your upper arms if it doesn’t affect your game. Rack ’n Grill takes second, downtown’s Sports Center
wins third.

PERFORMING
ARTS GROUP

The Augusta Players. Notice the word “Players,” clearly denoting that they are, indeed, a performing (or playing) group. SOA, sometimes called Symphony Orchestra Augusta, most definitely performs. Le Chat Noir takes the off-Broadway third.

LOCAL FESTIVAL

Coincidentally, we’re in festival season right now. Arts in the Heart earns bragging rights as First Festival in our minds—and hearts. Westobou is one sterling event and readers fittingly give
it the silver medallion. The Greek
Festival is another reader favorite.
 

MISCELLANEOUS

PLACE TO PROPOSE
MARRIAGE

Readers propose Calvert’s as the best place to pop the question. If the answer is yes, it makes subsequent cork-popping really convenient. Riverwalk wins second place. Remember to BYOB. What does that mean? You’ll have to figure that one out for yourself. Another good idea takes third: the Partridge
Inn balcony.

PLACE TO
BREAK OFF
A RELATIONSHIP

If you haven’t yet progressed to the Call-an-Attorney Phase of relationship dissolution, simply send a text
message, perhaps “TTFN” or “CU-NVR.” If you’re feeling slightly less cowardly, you could actually call the soon-to-be former squeeze. The
library wins second place, although there’s no indication whether this
refers to a public book repository
or the nightspot of the same name.
In third: Starbucks. A word of
advice: Don’t order anything that’s scalding hot.

CAR WASH

Big cars. Little cars. They all think Top Notch Car Wash is exactly what its name says. Imagine if people had voted too! Second place goes to Lulu’s. Sparkle Car Wash cleans up in third.

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

That guy down the block whose lights are still up in July didn’t win again this year. Life is so unfair. Instead, balloteers chose Lights of the South. Twinkle, twinkle! The city of Aiken’s gem, Hopelands Gardens, scores first runner-up. Downtown Augusta’s holiday lights take the final winning slot.

PLACE TO GET
A SPEEDING TICKET

Just for the record, there is no best place to get a speeding ticket. That is an oxymoron. The worst place, on the other hand, is Riverwatch Parkway, sprinkled as it is with 35, 45 and 55 m.p.h. speed limits. Berckmans Road is another tricky spot, warn your fellow readers. I-20 gets third. It’s the Indy 500 most of the time, then out of the blue comes enforcement. Classic ploy. [
LOCAL CHARITY

The Lydia Project is the charity readers love best. When Help Can’t Wait offers nursing home assistance and has the second place trophy on its shelf. The Junior League Holiday Market is coming up in November. It wins third.

CIVIC PROJECT

Restoration of the Miller Theater is the top project for two groups in particular: people who remember attending the Miller back in the day and those who have only seen the theater in its current state and who can imagine how splendid the restored venue will be. The respite center named in remembrance of Dr. Daksha Chudgar being built by the Lydia Project comes in at number two. The Augusta Convention Center takes third.


BEST REASON TO LIVE
IN COLUMBIA COUNTY

Aside from basics like, “Duh. That’s where my house is,” what else? Well, readers tick off good schools as their top reason. The next-best reason is Lady Antebellum. The pavilion, not the trio. The pavilion is here 24/7/365, after all. It never goes on tour. And finally, readers cite Columbia County’s family-friendly atmosphere.

BEST REASON TO LIVE
IN RICHMOND COUNTY

If you had to list just the Top 3 attractions and amenities, what would they be? Your peers chose downtown and all its many attractions for the top spot. Then shopping, a reason that is going to get better and better in the year ahead. Can you say Bass Pro Shops? No? How about Cabela’s? Whole Foods? Finally, being a major medical center is a huge amenity.

TOURIST ATTRACTION

When those day trippers come up from Savannah, where should we send them? Readers would start their day on a Petersburg boat watching the canalside landscape peacefully slide by. After they disembark, the round of museums is next on the agenda. Why not begin inside Enterprise Mill? Don’t forget Gertrude Herbert, the Morris Museum of Art and the Augusta Museum of History. End their day with a stroll along the Savannah on beautiful Riverwalk.

DAY TRIP

While people in Savannah are escaping their city for a little variety, Augusta-style, we’re returning the favor, say the ballots. The quick jaunt up I-20 to Columbia makes it a convenient second choice. Obviously Charleston could not not be on this list and, sure enough, it completes the top three. 

HISTORIC LANDMARK

Sacred Heart has seen the turn of the century come and go twice. And it’s still as spectacular as the day it was built. It’s our top historic landmark. The Boyhood Home of Woodrow Wilson in Augusta comes next. Finally, Meadow Garden was the home of George Walton, a member of the 1776 Continental Congress, Declaration of Independence signer, governor of Georgia, U.S. congressman, chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, U.S. senator—and last but not least, the namesake of Walton Way.
Go George!

ENTERTAINMENT

 

R&B BAND

Funk You, fresh from last year’s killer set at Westobou, scores the victory. The talents of Playback follow, and husband and wife Ke-Ju wrap up what would be an awesome lineup on one night, one stage.

JAZZ BAND

Karen Gordon is Augusta jazz. Well, Garden City Jazz. Jazz Collection takes the stage next, while Bill Karp’s classic jazz sets win him third place. [
 

COUNTRY BAND

The aforementioned Ray Fulcher, by sheer coincidence, fronts a band called County Line. What are the odds? They win. Our native sons (and adopted daughter), aka Lady Antebellum, also win, second place to be specific. Rounding out the winners is the Jeremy Graham Band.

ROCK/ALTERNATIVE BAND

Daddy Grace will definitely bring you to your rockin’ feet, while second place finisher Sibling String is a better fit in the Alt category. Ed Turner and Number 9 completely sell out third-place tickets. (Check them out on YouTube for a pleasant surprise if you think they’re all Beatles all the time.)


CONTEMPORARY
CHRISTIAN BAND/
VOCALIST

Eryn Eubanks and the Family Fold
get another gold record for their trophy room. Remember the band Steel Cross? Well, now they’re known as The Remedy, or as we know them in this category, first runner-up. And rock Christian band Dayz to Come receives third-place honors.
 

PERFORMING ARTS GROUP

Who are these people called The
Augusta Players? One minute their stage depicts 19th-century France, then the next time you look there’s a yellow brick road winding across it. SOA (Symphony Orchestra Augusta for long) garners the silver medal; Dance Augusta takes third.

CONCERT VENUE

The great outdoors wins: Lady
Antebellum Pavilion is the area favorite. The great indoors scoop up second and third: Imperial Theater and Bell Auditorium, in that order.

PROFESSIONAL
PERFORMANCE

It’s supposed to sound like “Rock for Dough,” but it’s hard to resist the impulse to say “Rock FORE! Dough,” especially if you’re a hack golfer.
The Nutcracker got enough votes
for second, so imagine if they performed it in June during voting. Similarly, the 12 Bands of Christmas
takes home third.

SCHOOL BAND

John Philip Sousa himself would be proud of Lakeside High School’s band. They are your march kings (and queens). Evans High School and
T. W. Josey win second and third, respectively.



SINGLES SPOT

The Country Club is the top spot
for unattached readers to hold
meetings and you don’t even need to like golf or tennis to go. In second place we find the Indian Queen. If you can’t find it but you remember Phillippe’s, you know where the Indian Queen is. Metro, A Coffeehouse wins third.

DANCE SPOT

Brush up on the Twist, the Watusi, or perhaps the Boogaloo, and then make tracks for The Country Club. As Best Singles Spot too, it’s the kind of place to make all kinds of moves. Or you could waltz on in to Sky City. Readers of the light on their feet persuasion also suggest Soul Bar as a danceable place.

LATE-NIGHT SPOT

Your late-night I.Q. should tell you to go to the Indian Queen, but just in case it slipped your mind, readers installed The I.Q. atop the ballot. Surrey Tavern and Still Water Taproom also welcome people with that ever-so-common combination of thirst and insomnia.

LIVE MUSIC BAR

Impresario CoCo Rubio has been to the mountaintop and the view from his Sky City is a feast for the ears, according to our panel of experts. They also give high marks to Wild Wing Café and The Country Club.


SPORTS BAR

You have 4 or 5 TVs at home? Sometimes that’s not enough. Desperate times call for a trip to Somewhere in Augusta, which is far from a desperate measure. They will ply you with food and drink and surround you with dozens of large screens displaying sporting competitions. Other purveyors of sports medicine: neighbors Buffalo Wild Wing (second) and Carolina Ale House (third) are the other victors.

 

Add your comment:
Advertisement