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BEST DANCE BAR: GREEN DOOR (Green Door also won Best Music
Venue) So many venues in Lansing struggle to find a groove and disappear, but for decades, Green Door has been the place to go for comfort sounds of 80s cover bands, classic rock, funk, blues, soul R&B and bluegrass.
2 Spiral 3 Tequila Cowboy
BEST GAY/LESBIAN BAR: SPIRAL Old Town’s iconic purple brick box with the chrome whirlies is the place to forget your troubles and dance the night away, a safe space with all the right kinds of danger.
2 Esquire 3 The Avenue
BEST HAPPY HOUR: HOULIHAN’S For a restaurant in a mall, Houlihan’s exudes quality. It has a classy atmosphere and a reasonably riced menu. Houlihan’s’ happy hour also graciously extends to its appetizers — it’s a hard deal to beat.
2 Zoobie’s 3 Crunchy’s
BEST KARAOKE: CRUNCHY’S (Crunchy's also won Best Comedy Night, Best Place for Students, Open Mic Night and Spartan Sports Hangout) Wow — that is what you would call a sweeping victory. Crunchy’s is a legendary hot spot for MSU students and alumni alike. A sizable portion of the student body likely has at least one great memory from Crunchy’s — it’s a seminal spot for many drunken college memories. Crunchy’s karaoke nights is perhaps its greatest draw, with performances ranging from amazing to amazingly…hilarious.
2 Tequila Cowboy 3 Green Door
BEST LANSING AREA BREWERY: LANSING BREWING CO. (Lansing Brewing also won Best Patio) Capital city worthy brews like “Angry Mayor” and its successor, “Schor Style” cream ale, helped turn LBC into a downtown destination. As for the patio, LBC has lit a big fire under a formerly inert block in Lansing’s burgeoning Stadium District — literally. The 20-foot-long fire pit must be visible from Earth orbit.
2 BAD Brewing Company 3 Ellison Brewery kknd Spirits
BEST LANSING AREA DISTILLERY: AMERICAN FIFTH SPIRITS American Fifth is not just recognized in Lansing, but across the globe. The distillery is hot off a victory at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. 2 Lansing Brewing Company 3 Sanctuary Spirits
BEST NEIGHBORHOOD BAR: DAGWOOD’S (Dagwood's also won Best Pub/ Tavern and Best Burger) The classic neon sign, the Sistine Chapel ceiling with floating clouds and the cozy booths make this corner bar an East Side icon. The no-frills burgers, at $2.50 plus $2 for every patty added, are fresh and lively, the best burger bargain for miles.
2 BAD Brewing Company 3 Harry’s Place
BEST OPEN MIC NIGHT: CRUNCHY’S 2 The Avenue Cafe 3 Moriarty’s Pub
BEST PUB/TAVERN: DAGWOOD’S 2 Zoobie’s 3 Crunchy’s
BEST SPARTAN SPORTS HANGOUT: CRUNCHY’S 2 Dagwood’s 3 Moriarty’s
BEST SPORTS BAR: NUTHOUSE SPORTS BAR This should be obvious. The Nuthouse is the marquee haunt for all Lansing Lugnuts fans and the best sports themed barkeep of the Stadium District. They’ve nailed down everything you want in a sports bar — delicious food, endless beer and, on off nights, a wide variety of entertainment including trivia and DJs. A bar with such a high batting average won’t steer you wrong.
2 Frank’s Press Box 3 Buffalo Wild Wings
BEST ASIAN BUFFET: HIBACHI GRILL & BUFFET “Great choices, always fresh and warm.” We all love a good buffet, and to throw theatrical hibachi grilling into the mix? It’s a no-brainer. Hibachi is a surefire crowd-pleaser.
2 Xiao 3 Asian Buffet
BEST BAKERY: ROMA BAKERY From earthy peasant bread you tear and eat like a grizzly bear to delicate, spongy, creamy objects that dulcetly dissolve in your mouth, the colorful array of goods in that long glass counter is a wonder to behold, let alone eat. 2 Bake N’ Cakes 3 Glazed and Confused
BEST BBQ: MEAT. SOUTHERN BBQ (Meat also won Best Caterer/ Catering Company) Meat has made waves since arriving in Old Town. All of its patrons, no matter what they order, are served a smoldering slab of meat that has a solid chance of being the most satisfying meal of their entire life. The Meat Mountain is no misnomer — its one of those few instances where not being able to finish a meal is a compliment rather than an insult. The metal band banners are a nice touch too.
2 Saddleback BBQ 3 Crossroads BBQ
BEST BREAKFAST: GOLDEN HARVEST What hasn’t been said yet about the cramped, crazy-quilt cube of culinary catharsis? Lines of 40 or 50 people snaking into the street, in the shadow of a north Lansing cement plant at 8 a.m. on a winter morning say it all.
2 Good Truckin’ Diner 3 Soup Spoon Cafe
BEST BRUNCH: SOUP SPOON CAFE The Café Specialties Brunch, one of four brunch menus, lays out a tasty array of better-than-breakfast dainties ranging from smoked salmon Benedict to vegan scrambles and the San Diego, an avid avocado adventure with ancho pepper hollandaise. 2 Golden Harvest 3 Good Truckin’ Diner
BEST BURGER: DAGWOOD’S 2 Crunchy’s 3 Five Guys Burger & Fries
BEST CHINESE: P.F. CHANG’S Lansing, we love you — but Ukai doesn’t serve Chinese! Teriyaki isn’t Chinese, nor is hibachi. Not all spicy, tangy or peppery chicken comes from China! Hell, the restaurant’s full listed name is Ukai JAPANESE Steakhouse. So, we’ve given the award to the second-place winner — P.F. Chang’s.
The franchise is just as ubiquitous to Chinese food as Buffalo Wild Wings is to, well, wings. So much so, it beat out the local competition. Those giant horse statues don’t lie.
2 Charlie Kang’s 3 Chen’s
BEST COCKTAILS: ZOOBIE’S “Zoobies is the best.” The Potent Potables Project managed to completely revive the elder watering hole and it is once again a favorite of North Lansing. Don’t be fooled, the bar’s cocktail options are creative, expansive and most importantly, delicious and intoxicating.
2 Houlihan’s 3 American Fifth Spirits
BEST DESSERT: MSU DAIRY STORE (MSU Dairy Store also won Best Ice Cream Shop) “The ice cream is the best ever.” Perfect ice cream seems to be as much of a study at MSU as agriculture and physics.
2 Grand Traverse Pie Company 3 Bake N’ Cakes
BEST DONUTS: QUALITY DAIRY Who says Lansing is landlocked? Quality Dairy Long Johns are lined up like thousand-footers at the Soo Locks, rectangular slabs of fried dough, filling and icing that swamp your sweet tooth like the Paul R. Tregurtha. Fritters, nutty donuts, sour cream donuts and seasonal specialties fill the most generous donut cases in town.
2 Glazed and Confused 3 Cops and Donuts
BEST DINER: FLEETWOOD DINER Fleetwood is a Michigan standard with its own famous signature dish — Hippie Hash. The combined powers of this delicious hash, as well as all the other cheap and tasty options make it a favorite across town. You can keep Denny’s.
2 Good Truckin’ Diner 3 Golden Harvest
BEST FAMILY FRIENDLY RESTAURANT: DELUCA’S (Deluca's also won Best Italian and Best Pizza) Artisanal pizzas with wheat kidney dough, tapir toenails and hydroponic arugula have their place, but DeLuca’s Restaurant is about generous, saucy, cushiony comfort that changes about as often as my grandma’s home made bread recipe. That means never.
2 Cugino’s 3 Cancun Mexican Grill
BEST FAST FOOD: CHICK-FIL-A The South rises again, if only to export delicious chicken to us Yankees. But then again, Michigan was a Trump state, so maybe we have more in common than we thought.
2 Olympic Broil 3 Culver’s
BEST FISH FRY: EAST SIDE FISH FRY The hardest working fryer in show business is at East Side Fish Fry, another Guy Fieri-approved destination where everything goes into the oily crucible, from the catfish to the Oreos. MSU is a scallop’s throw away, so expect to see both tailgaters and gator tails.
2 Claddaugh Irish Pub 3 Fresh Fish Market - S. MLK Blvd.
BEST FOOD TRUCK: EL OASIS El Oasis lives up to its name: it’s a sheltered micro-hacienda, consisting of two trucks, a few tables and numerous potted flowers, tucked into a bleak parking lot on Lansing’s far east side — the last desert stop on Michigan Avenue before crossing the city limits.
2 Streetkitchen 3 Meat. Southern BBQ
BEST FRIES: HOPCAT (Hopcat also won Best Restaurant Beer List) Since the original Grand Rapids HopCat opened in 2008, the gastropub has exploded across the Midwest and even dipped its toes into the south. The beer list is more akin to a beer library, and the fries — well, they’re called crack fries for a reason.
2 Five Guys Burger & Fries 3 Red Robin
BEST GREEK: ZAYTOON (Zaytoon also won best Mediterranean and Best Vegetarian/Vegan/ Gluten Free) Healthy, tasty and fresh kabobs, shaved shawarma good enough for Thor, raw juices, and much more, are made from fresh, wild and raw things at Zaytoon’s. Guy Fieri ate there last August. 2 Woody’s Oasis 3 Lou and Harry’s
BEST ICE CREAM SHOP: MSU DAIRY STORE 2 Lick-ety Split - Grand Ledge 3 Tasty Twist
BEST ITALIAN: DELUCA’S 2 Cugino’s 3 Bravo
BEST KIDS-EAT-FREE RESTAURANT: TEXAS ROADHOUSE Even if children couldn’t eat free, Texas Roadhouse is still a great place for children. It’s loud and rowdy, so a screaming toddler isn’t too jarring to deal with for your neighboring diners. There’s peanuts to satisfy impatient hungry children and, best of all, it’s expected they will throw the messy shells on the ground! The children will get a kick out of that. If you need a good smokescreen for a misbehaving child, there’s few rivaling options.
2 The Cosmos 3 Applebee’s
BEST LATE NIGHT FOOD: TACO BELL Not even the locals can beat the mighty Taco Bell’s ability to scratch that 3 a.m. itch. If you find yourself at a Taco Bell in the witching hours, chances are you’ve had a great time. Or, you are in a deep state of sadness or heartbreak. Either way, Taco Bell has got your back.
2 Famous Taco 3 Fleetwood Diner
BEST MARGARITA: LOS TRES AMIGOS Go for the Mexico Viejo with correlajo reposado, not the salty-syrupy house lime margarita, and you will experience rich, dark undertones and mighty undertows.
2 Cancun Mexican Grill 3 El Azteco - East
BEST MEDITERRANEAN: ZAYTOON 2 Woody’s Oasis 3 Aladdin’s
BEST MEXICAN: CANCUN MEXICAN GRILL (Cancun also won Best Nachos) Cancun captures the first win of the new Best Nachos category. The local franchise continues to grow, satisfying the greater Lansing area with a great authentic sit down Mexican restaurant.
2 Pablos Old Town 3 Los Tres Amigos
BEST NACHOS: CANCUN MEXICAN GRILL 2 Buddie’s - Holt 3 El Oasis
BEST NEW RESTAURANT: SADDLEBACK BBQ - OKEMOS Saddleback BBQ, a staple in REO Town, set its smoky sights on Okemos last year and scored. Ribs, brisket, pulled pork, the infamous “Wu-Tang Wings” and other meats are often hailed as the best in Lansing, and even in Michigan.
2 Streetkitchen 3 Mr. Taco
BEST PIZZA: DELUCA’S 2 The Cosmos 3 Cugino’s
BEST RESTAURANT BEER LIST: HOPCAT 2 Lansing Brewing Company 3 Zoobie’s Old Town Tavern
BEST RESTAURANT WINE LIST: DUSTY’S 2 Bridge Street Social 3 Capital Vine
BEST REUBEN: CLADDAUGH IRISH PUB Ah, the Reuben, one of the most classic sandwiches. Claddagh is your ideal destination if you’re craving a perfect corned beef stack.
2 Stateside Deli 3 Dagwood’s
BEST SALAD/SALAD BAR: LEAF - FRANDOR “Love the variety of available produce.” Never forget to treat yourself to something healthy. Leaf’s diverse selection of soups and salads, and innovations in takeout have been widely recognized. For many, Leaf is the go to feed spot on a busy workday.
2 Ruby Tuesday’s 3 Streetkitchen
BEST SANDWICH/DELI: JERSEY GIANT Jersey Giant is a bar-none classic. Its simplicity and old-school nature makes it a hit with nearly everyone.
2 Soup Spoon Cafe 3 Mancino’s
BEST SEAFOOD: MITCHELL’S FISH MARKET The old adage “you get what you pay for” is certainly true at Eastwood Towne Center’s finest fishmonger. Creative and diverse, customers have happily delved into Mitchell’s oceanic menu. Any possible dish of fish has been worked over into something delicious by Mitchell’s.
2 Ukai Hibachi Grill 3 Maru
BEST STEAK: CAPITAL PRIME (Capital Prime also won Best Upscale Dining) A heavyweight steakhouse could make even an order of “well-done with ketchup” into something gourmet. Voters showed high confidence in Capital Prime in multiple categories, including Best Upscale Dining. How can one avoid falling in love with a restaurant boasting classy ambience and expertly crafted steak?
2 Texas Roadhouse 3 Airport Tavern
BEST SUSHI: MARU The competition for Best Sushi in Lansing grows harder and harder. There’s a surprising amount of options for a Midwest town, but Maru rose above them all. It has the rare combination of well-prepared food, convenience and a moderate price range. It’s accessibility — food is served up quick and doesn’t totally burn your wallet — has made it a favorite for the raw sea-dwelling delight.
2 Ukai West 3 Sansu
BEST TACOS: PABLO’S OLD TOWN They’re soft, the right size to demolish in four or five bites and come in many varieties, from the earthy, soft lengua (tongue) to the spiky-salty marinated pork.
2 El Oasis 3 Mr. Taco
BEST THAI: BANGKOK HOUSE After rebuilding from a nasty fire, this unpretentious, enduring Lansing favorite is back and just as reliable as ever. The menu is long and varied, the service is efficient and the prices are super-reasonable.
2 Taste of Thai 3 No Thai!
BEST UPSCALE DINING: CAPITAL PRIME 2 English Inn 3 Soup Spoon Cafe
BEST VEGETARIAN/VEGAN/ GLUTEN FREE: ZAYTOON 2 Soup Spoon Cafe 3 Altu’s Ethiopian Cuisine
BEST WINGS: BUFFALO WILD WINGS Sometimes you can’t beat the old standbys. The Ohio-born wing slinger has grown past its days as a restaurant and has morphed into somewhat of a cultural phenomenon. Their brand has expanded past just food and has perfected a party-like atmosphere for watching sports. Given the ravenous hunger for all things Spartans it’s no wonder they came out on op.
2 Meat. Southern BBQ 3 Saddleback BBQ
BEST BIGGBY (specific address required): 270 W. GRAND RIVER - EAST LANSING The standout among Biggby’s coffee shops is a former Arby’s near MSU campus, shaped like a Conestoga wagon with a curvy, orange roof, a rare surviving example of 1950s “Googie” architecture. The stone-walled service area is great fun and the front window steams up real cozy-like in winter as you sip your java.
2 914 Charlevoix Dr. - Grand Ledge 3 2546 E. Jolly Rd. - Lansing
BEST BOWLING ALLEY: SPARE TIME Much of Spare Time can be enjoyed with just a handful of spare change. There’s something everlastingly charming about bowling alleys and Spare Time nails that vibe. It makes good as the site for a perfect date night. It serves alcohol and has a mini carnival/arcade tucked away next to the lanes — if you can’t find a way to have fun there, it wasn’t meant to be.
2 City Limits Mason 3 Royal Scot
BEST COFFEE SHOP (non-Biggby): STRANGE MATTER - MICHIGAN AVE. Strange Matter is ever evolving. It was delightful as a hole in the wall on the corner, and it’s gotten even better since moving across the street. They’ve added doughnuts to the mix, and you’d be hard pressed to find a finer circular wad of sugary goodness anywhere else in town. Strange Matter is blazing the trail for gourmet coffee across Lansing, and customers are happy to follow them. 2 Blue Owl 3 Starbucks
BEST COMEDY NIGHT: CRUNCHY’S 2 Mac’s Bar 3 The Avenue Cafe
BEST PLACE FOR STUDENTS: CRUNCHY’S 2 HopCat 3 Pinball Pete’s
BEST MOVIE THEATER: NCG The spacious lobby, the big screens, the cushy seats, the general buzz and even the panoramic saltwater aquariums are all designed to immerse you in happy distraction, but NCG also offers sensory friendly movies with lower noise levels for people on the autism spectrum or other special needs.
2 Celebration Cinema 3 Studio C!
BEST MUSIC VENUE: GREEN DOOR 2 The Loft 3 Tequila Cowboy
BEST PATIO: LANSING BREWING COMPANY 2 El Azteco East 3 Waterfront Bar & Grill
BEST PLACE OF WORSHIP: ST. GERARD St. Gerard earned its reputation through its friendly, welcoming and humble atmosphere. In an era of mega churches, St. Gerard keeps things closer to home.
2 Riverview - Holt 3 Trinity Church
BEST PLACE TO TAKE KIDS: IMPRESSION 5 A trip to Impression 5 is a refreshingly cerebral journey through the wondrous world of physics, biology, physiology and several other fields of science, brilliantly broken down into children-friendly form. Adults can even learn a thing or two! Impression 5 is an episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy brought to life — a true gem of Lansing.
2 Potter Park Zoo 3 District5
BEST PUBLIC PARK: HAWK ISLAND When it’s busy, Hawk Island absorbs a lot of humanity without seeming crowded, and it’s usually a heart-swelling multi-cultural scene right out of Sesame Street, with users of a dozen or more ethnicities swimming, grilling, playing, hiking and lolling in perfect harmony.
2 Fitzgerald Park 3 Fenner Nature Center
BEST SMOKE SHOP/HOOKAH LOUNGE: WILD BILL’S May our lungs be damned. Well, hopefully not too damned — have you seen how ghastly health insurance premiums are? Wild Bill’s has all the potent smoke-able tobacco one could possibly desire. As tobacco continues to decline and vaping seems to all the rage, Wild Bill’s keeps the flame burning strong for connoisseurs of America’s heritage crop.
2 Blue Night Hookah Lounge 3 6 Lounge
BEST LOCAL ARTS
BEST CLASSICAL MUSICIAN: ED FEDEWA Next time you hear the Lansing Symphony Orchestra in full rumble, watch for the craggy blond head at stage right, leaning into a double bass like a drop forge foreman in a tuxedo. The LSO’s principal bassist leads a double life, to boot, and plays a fine jazz doghouse in several different combos around town.
2 John Beltran 3 Rodney Page
BEST CLUB DJ: RUCKUS Whether you want hot noodles or hot club bangers — or, perhaps, mild ones — DJ Ruckus is your guy. While he’s taken up base at the Avenue Café via Ruckus Ramen, the Lansing-staple is still spinning records across town.
2 Capitol City DJs 3 DJ Black Magic
BEST COVER BAND: STARFARM Nobody gets sick of the ‘80s, just like nobody gets tired of Starfarm. The group has been all over the state rocking hits like “99 Red Balloons” and “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” with an impressive sense of finesse and authenticity. One can’t go wrong booking them for their party.
2 Frog & the Beeftones 3 Tell Yo Mama
BEST COUNTRY BAND/ARTIST: THE JONESTOWN CROWS This was a tough vote. There’s evidence of a resurgence among Lansing bands that take country back to its rebellious roots.
Jonestown Crows have fairly aggressive instrumentals that harken to the true radical folk nature of country music. While many country artists have corrupted into glorified pop schmaltz, Jonestown Crows brings it back home. This is ain’t Blake Shelton.
2 Joe Wright 3 Goddamn Gallows
BEST FOLK BAND/ARTIST: FROG & THE BEEFTONES (Frog & The Beeftones also won best Rock Band/Artist) They say that frogs are a signal species of our ecosystem. As long as S.J. “Frog” Forgey is cranking out his tight, no-bullshit brand of blues-rock at the Green Door and any venues around town, night after night, as he has done doing for more than 30 years, Lansing is gonna be OK. 2 Lansing Unionized Vaudeville Spectacle 3 Taylor Taylor
BEST HIP-HOP GROUP/ARTIST: TELL YO MAMA An interesting choice for best Hip- Hop — considering that Tell Yo Mama are more funk-oriented than anything else, but the talented group still captured the vote.
Member Lucas Holliday made waves with his viral singing video captured at Dollar General and an appearance on “The Voice.” But the show must go on, and Holliday continues to put his talents to good work in Tell Yo Mama.
2 James Gardin 3 Scratch Pilots
BEST JAZZ MUSICIAN(S): MSU PROFESSORS OF JAZZ Do we deserve them? Probably not, sinners that we are, yet they are still among us, each of them a star in his own right, teaching, building community, changing hundreds of young lives and swinging like a baby elephant trunk. 2 Root Doctor 3 Phil Denny
BEST LOCAL THEATRE GROUP: RIVERWALK THEATRE Riverwalk is a Lansing institution, with a long history of professional quality fare, from children’s shows to ambitious musicals and taut dramas. The space is big enough to hold big moments, but intimate enough for everyone to follow Gloucester’s eyeball as it rolls off the stage in “King Lear.”
2 MSU Department of Theatre 3 Williamston Theatre
BEST PUNK/METAL: CITY MOUSE City Mouse, spearheaded by Miski Dee Rodriguez, is a band of total road warriors. Is there another independent Lansing group that goes coast to coast as often as City Mouse? Doubtful. That hard-working spirit translate into tough as leather, meat and potatoes punk rock. For the uninitiated, a proper City Mouse track answers the question: “What if Joan Jett never went soft?”
2 Goddamn Gallows 3 Bipolar
BEST RADIO STATION: 97.5 WJIM A no-brainer to capture the most votes in this category — after all, it plays the most popular music!
If you’re looking to scope out the tippy-top of the Top 40, it is to be found here. If you want to get in on what’s trending this is the place.
2 100.7 WITL 3 94.9 WMMQ
BEST ROCK BAND/ARTIST: FROG & THE BEEFTONES 2 Handsome Pete 3 Tell Yo Mama
BEST VISUAL ARTIST: ASHLEY MEDINA Medina is an interesting choice, as she is primarily a hairstylist. But, she uses hair as her canvas. Medina transforms ordinary haircuts into walking pieces of art. 2 Stephanie Hogan 3 Ryan Holmes
BEST ADVOCATE/ACTIVIST: RACHAEL DENHOLLANDER (first to report Larry Nassar) Sorry, John Engler. In MSU’s nightmare year, Rachael Denhollander was among the most eloquent, outspoken and fearless of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse victims, in the face of silence, sneers and snorts from the powers that be — sorry, make that the powers that were, if Denhollander and her hundreds of fellow survivors have anything to say about it.
2 Tashmica Torok 3 Mike Karl
BEST BARTENDER: SAMI HUTTING - THE WATERSHED 2 Anna Matzke - Cugino’s 3 Christian Gray - Bridge Street Social
BEST LOCAL/STATE POLITICIAN: GRETCHEN WHITMER The leading Democratic candidate for governor faced down bullies in the Legislature and wages never-ending battles with Michigan’s many Snyder-webs and Schuette-storms of indifference and incompetence. Now she bids fair to become the face of the state’s Democratic Party.
2 Shri Thanedar 3 Andy Schor
BEST BUDTENDER: ERIC LUDWICK - GREENWAVE Eric Ludwick’s professional handling of the green medicine has earned him many fans, as evident by this reader comment: “Eric...so hot right now. Eric.”
2 Big P (Pablo) - 420 Dank 3 Angie Chambers - Got Meds
BEST CATA BUS DRIVER: RON DELEON How does this guy do it? For nearly two decades he’s been a legend among MSU students as the coolest bus driver around, all while running his own combat sports promotion company. Lansing’s a home to characters and DeLeon defines that to a T. He was the no-contest choice in the competition.
2 Al - Route #3 3 Lamarr Braggs
BEST EVENT/WEDDING DJ: ROD CARPENTER - HOTBEATS ENTERTAINMENT Being a wedding DJ can be tough. You’ve got to find the right mix of classic and contemporary. Rod Carpenter has got it down. “Rod is awesome — gets everyone on the dance floor!” “Rod has everyone dancing and looks good himself.”
2 Capitol City DJs 3 Jammin’ DJs
BEST HAIRSTYLIST: KIMMIE SCHROEDER - SALON 130 Kimmie Schroeder’s clientele can do the talking: “She’s funny, sweet, and genuinely invested in her clients lives and making sure they feel their best. She’s more like family than a stylist.” “Kimmie has taken care of my hair for years and I would never want to go anywhere else!”
2 Ashley Medina - Bliss Salon 3 Ellie Wong - The Head Room
BEST HIGH SCHOOL COACH: ROCKY SHAFT - HOLT HIGH SCHOOL WRESTLING “Long history with winning programs!” Rocky Shaft has coached Holt High School wresting for nearly four decades and is a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. His long list of regional, league and state titles speaks for itself.
2 Jason Bauer - Williamston High School 3 Pat O’Keefe - Grand Ledge High School
BEST HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETE: TRISTON KLUSACK - EAST LANSING HIGH SCHOOL Triston Klusack’s powerful plays as a defensive end and a guard made him a quick fan favorite in East Lansing. Klusack’s team won its first district title since 2011 with a decisive victory over Holt High School, which saw Klusack recover a fumble. 2 Alex Rogers - Grand Ledge High School 3 Jada Gnass - Holt High School
BEST MASSAGE THERAPIST: JESSIE DE LA CRUZ- BLISS SALON & SPA Jesse has been doing massage for 10 years and specializes in clinical work like deep tissue massage. She handles all kinds of clients, from active, athletic young people to seniors with special needs, and gets to know them personally to heal the mind-body connection.
2 Amanda Grix - Creative Wellness 3 Bee Queener - Bee Queener Massage
BEST PERSONAL TRAINER: MIKE BALL - MIKE BALL FITNESS Ball, 56, trains serious athletes for meets and games, but also loves to help overweight or older people just starting to get healthy. He’s big on measuring results, changing up the routine to see what works, and doesn’t come on like a drill sergeant. 2 Nikki Raccine - Ledges Sweat Shop 3 Joshua Miller - CrossFit Shift
BEST REALTOR: ROB DOWDING - KELLER WILLIAMS “Rob and his team go above and beyond.” “First realtor I ever trusted, he was the best!” “Absolutely outstanding and efficient! Effective in every way necessary.” 2 Liz Horford - Coldwell Banker Hubbell 3 Brian Huggler - Coldwell Banker Hubbell BriarWood
BEST RESTAURANT WAIT STAFF PERSON: TIM GLEASON- GOLDEN HARVEST Tim’s energy is legend and his positivity is surreal. At closing Sunday afternoon, two of his colleagues hustled to finish their chores so they could rush to Tim’s house, on his day off, and enjoy a home-cooked dinner (bacon wrapped meat loaf). “He’s perfect. I love him,” said one. “He’s awesome,” said the other.
2 Tiesha King - The Avenue Cafe 3 Chelsea Brown - Cugino’s
BEST TV NEWS PERSONALITY (LOCAL): SHERI JONES - WLNS Voters say: “Always providing the top news!” “Sheri Jones is awesome.”
2 Andy Provenzano - WILX
3 Emily Wahls - WLNS
WORST LOCAL/STATE POLITICIAN: RICK SNYDER 2 Bill Schuette 3 Debbie Stabenow
BEST ACCOUNTANT/CPA: SIMPLIFIED TAX Weathering waves of confusion and change caused by the Affordable Care Act and the current tax reform, these experts keep track of all the latest ins and outs so you don’t have to. 2 Bruce Meyers 3 Annette Wright
BEST AUDIOLOGIST/HEARING: MID-MICHIGAN EAR NOSE & THROAT “Catherine Stewart has been taking care of me for years and is a topnotch audiologist!” Have a problem with any of those three things? Mid-Michigan ENT can sew you back together.
2 Advanced Audiology - Linda Wright 3 Better Hearing
BEST AUTO REPAIR: FRANKIE D’S - HOLT Frankie D sounds like a ‘50s pop star, but this is the place you send your mother to for repairs, or even your mother’s car. The golden words “fair,” “honest” and “affordable,” seldom heard together in a sentence, come up over and over in customer comments.
2 Brogan’s 3 Mike’s Auto Care
BEST BANK: DART BANK Dart Bank is an area favorite founded in Mason. As one voter put it, Dart Bank succeeds thanks to its “hometown integrity.”
2 Fifth Third 3 PNC Bank
BEST BARBERSHOP: FRANDOR BARBERSHOP “Joel and the crew have never messed my hair up in six years. I’ve taken my son for his first haircut as well.” “The only reason I’m doing this survey. Best haircuts for the price Joel, the owner is dope and you make fun of Gary the other barber.”
2 The Good Life Shaving Co. 3 Jude’s Barbershop
BEST BED & BREAKFAST: THE ENGLISH INN In the 1920s, this was Medovue, an auto exec’s opulent estate with stone fireplaces, gazebos, pergolas and Tudor Revival trappings. The river setting makes it a great place to wander, stay for a night or sit down to dinner.
2 Wild Goose Inn 3 Sherwood Forest
BEST BICYCLE SHOP: RIVERFRONT CYCLE For decades, Lansing’s downtown bike shop has quietly outfitted a wide variety of bikers, from crazed fanatics to daily commuters to Sunday promenaders.
2 Denny’s Central Park Bies 3 Velocipede Peddler
BEST CAB COMPANY: UBER Is there really any other option? Despite ongoing controversies involving the treatment of its drivers, Uber has viciously annihilated the competition. Nobody says “call a cab” anymore, they say “call an Uber.” Enough said.
2 Lyft 3 Green Cab
BEST CAR WASH/DETAILING: KWIK CAR WASH “Always great service.” “Great price for a wonderful car wash.” 2 Fast Eddie’s 3 Soapy Joe’s
BEST CATERER/CATERING COMPANY: MEAT. SOUTHERN BBQ 2 Zaytoon 3 Morton’s Fine Catering
BEST CLEANING SERVICE: DOMESTIC DIVAS (formerly Discreet Divas) A roll-up-your-sleeves, red-lipstick, Rosie the Riveter, We Can Do It! vibe sets these women apart from workaday cleaning companies. Rosie is actually a pig — a brilliantly ironic mascot.
2 April Fresh 3 Clean Team
BEST CHIROPRACTOR: CREATIVE WELLNESS (Creative Wellness also won Best Massage Company) “Dr. Patrick Hennessey is very attentive to detail and does great work. Very professional knowledgeable.”
2 Balance Your Life Chiropractic, Dr. Kim 3 Craft Chiropractic
BEST CREDIT UNION: MSU FEDERAL CREDIT UNION “Best bank ever. They go above and beyond.” How often do you hear someone sing praise of their bank or credit union? Not very. Nine times out of 10 you’ll hear your buddy complain about overdraft fees, disconnected customer service and inconvenient hours and locations. MSUFCU circumvents all of those problems to the joy of its patrons.
2 Lake Trust Credit Union 3 CASE Credit Union
BEST DANCE STUDIO: HAPPENDANCE Happendance is one of the few Lansing institutions born in the crunchy, be-yourself 1970s that is still flourishing, with dance schools in Okemos and Lansing and a foundation that supports manifold projects, performances and programs that help kids (and adults) find gainful legwork.
2 Stilettos & Steel 3 Rising Star Studio of Dance Arts
BEST DRY CLEANERS: BARYAMES “Classic.” A Mid-Michigan legend — there’s a reason they’ve been doing it since 1922. Do Lansing residents even take their clothes anywhere else?
2 Holt Cleaners 3 Maurer’s
BEST FOOD DELIVERY SERVICE: JIMMY JOHNS How do they do it? Jimmy Johns’ speed is unmatched.
2 Grubhub 3 Conrad’s
BEST GYM/FITNESS STUDIO: MICHIGAN ATHLETIC CLUB It’s where Lansing’s movers and shakers go to move and shake, one of the most well appointed and biggest athletic clubs around, with equipment and classes that give big-city facilities a run for their money. 2 Planet Fitness - Westside 3 Planet Fitness - Cedar Street
BEST HEATING/COOLING/ PLUMBING: A-1 MECHANICAL Heating in our frozen mitten is crucial. A1 Mechanical will keep you warm and keep your pipes from bursting.
2 Applegate Home Comfort 3 Meridian Plumbing
BEST LAWYER/LAW FIRM: ABOOD LAW FIRM The Abood Law Firm is a bulldog for the underdog, specializing in criminal defense, personal injury and family law. The firm prides itself not just on fighting for clients, but also for giving them empathy and emotional support.
2 Foster Swift Collins & Smith 3 Sinas Dramis Law Firm
BEST MARIJUANA DISPENSARY: BEST BUDS Say voters: “Came out and got hooked up the weed looks outstanding great people and great medicine! I KNOW that Best Buds is obviously the best in town.”
“The most helpful staff and amazing product!! Simply, THE BEST!” 2 Greenwave 3 Old 27 Wellness
BEST MASSAGE COMPANY (NOT INDIVIDUAL): CREATIVE WELLNESS 2 Bliss Salon & Spa 3 Douglas J
BEST MUSIC LESSONS: MARSHALL MUSIC With a near century’s worth of experience, it’s hard to top the knowledge contained within Marshall Music. The company is almost just as famous for its exceptional music lessons as it is for dealing instruments and equipment.
2 MSU Community Music School 3 Okemos Music Academy
BEST NAIL SALON: BLISS SALON & SPA Combining a salon with wedding services was a genius idea. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.
2 Jenny Nails 3 Polished Nail Salon
BEST NEWS SOURCE: CITY PULSE “Best honest news in town!” says one voter.
2 WLNS 3 WILX
BEST NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION (LOCAL): CAPITAL AREA HUMANE SOCIETY (CAHS also won Best Pet Care/ Vet Services) They don’t just shelter abandoned or abused pets; they get to know them individually and give them enrichment activities like puzzle cubes and other special toys to make them happier and more adoptable. Visit the place and just try coming home empty handed. 2 Ele’s Place 3 Cardboard Prophets
BEST PET CARE/VET SERVICES: CAPITAL AREA HUMANE SOCIETY 2 Waverly Animal Hospital 3 Miller Animal Clinic
BEST PHOTOGRAPHER/ PHOTOGRAPHY SERVICE: EXPRESS YOURSELF UNLEASHED PET PHOTOGRAPHY We love our pets and what better way to show off love than with an amazingly detailed portrait? Express Yourself has a professional eye for detail and can turn any pet into a world class model.
2 Megan Hannon Photography 3 McShane Photography
BEST REAL ESTATE COMPANY: COLDWELL BANKER HUBBELL BRIARWOOD The caramel cluster of a name is, of course, the result of a merger — in this case, the 2008 merger of two top Lansing real estate brokerages. The Web site boasts a 35 percent market share and “household name” status, and we hope the pun was intentional.
2 Keller Williams
3 Bershire Hathaway Home Services Tomie Raines
BEST SALON/SPA: DOUGLAS J A trip to Douglas J. Aveda, whether for a haircut, dye or their many other services, is a relaxing time. The students working there have a legitimate passion; you feel safe as they begin snipping away.
2 Bliss Salon & Spa 3 Salon 130
BEST TAILOR/SEAMSTRESS: NU THE TAILOR 2 Liz’s Alterations 3 Silver Thread
BEST TANNING: J2 TANNING “Lots of convenient locations.” In a state where the sun disappears for five months, sometimes a good tanning bed is your last resort if you don’t want to look like a vampire. J2 Tanning’s got your front and your back.
2 Pacific Tan 3 Planet Fitness
BEST TATTOO PARLOR: FISH LADDER TATTOO COMPANY A tattoo is a lifelong commitment. So if it sucks, well — that’s pretty tragic. Choosing the parlor is almost as important as choosing the art itself. Fish Ladder is consistent and trustworthy, and many in Lansing loyally swear by it.
2 Splash of Color
3 Vivid Ink
BEST USED TIRE SHOP: DISCOUNT TIRE Michiganders need reliable tire shops. The roads rarely get repaired, so popped tires are basically a guarantee. Reliable cheap options like Discount Tire don’t go unnoticed.
2 Tasmanian Tire 3 Belle Tire
BEST WEDDING SERVICES: BLISS BRIDAL/BLISS SALON & SPA 2 Weddings By Nicole 3 All Grande Events
BEST YOGA STUDIO: FIREFLY HOT YOGA BAR Now we have goat yoga, where goats stand on top of you while you do the downward dog. Firefly Hot Yoga Bar doesn’t put bugs on your back, but the cozy room above Kewpee’s Sandwich Shoppe does slip you into a hot, humid bath of energy, relaxation and detoxing.
2 East Lansing Hot Yoga 3 Just B Yoga
BEST ANTIQUE SHOP: MEGA MALL “Always fun.”
The Mega Mall is so large that its worth visiting just for a fun walkthrough. There’s a true treasure trove to be found here, and best of all, it is constantly changing.
2 Maple Street Mall - Mason 3 Williamston Antiques
BEST ART GALLERY: LANSING ART GALLERY The Lansing Art Gallery is no palace. It’s in a downtown basement, is besieged by the pounding of weights from the upstairs YMCA, but director Barb Whitney and her staff keep on coming up with fascinating, meaningful exhibits and events.
2 Broad Art Museum 3 Mackerel Sky
BEST BEER SELECTION IN RETAIL STORE: HORROCKS (Horrocks also won Best Candy Shop, Florist, Locally Owned Grocery Store, Gardening Center, Organic/Natural Market, Wine Shop and Cleanest Public Restroom) By god, that is a lot of categories. Horrocks captures an absolutely sweeping amount of votes every single year. It’s the biggest beast of Top of the Town. Horrocks is a catch-all for all things produce and truly excels and every endeavor it takes up.
2 Oade’s Big Ten - East Lansing 3 Big Ten - Okemos
BEST BOOKSTORE: SCHULER BOOKS The closing of Schuler Books & Records in the Eastwood Towne Center last winter was a blow to book lovers, but a second location, at the Meridian Mall, carries on the tradition of community hub and nutritious brain-basket, with its big selection, warm vibe and knowledgeable staff.
2 Barnes & Noble 3 Curious Books
BEST BUTCHER: MONTICELLO’S MARKET & BUTCHER BLOCK If you want to taste the difference and get the old school, time-tested butcher experience — Monticello’s the place to go. Sometimes the grocer giants just can’t imitate the exquisite flavors and tastes handled by a true meat master.
2 Merindorf Meats - Mason 3 Mert’s Meats
BEST CANDY SHOP: HORROCKS 2 Fabiano’s Candies 3 Kean’s Store
BEST CLOTHING STORE (LOCALLY OWNED): PLAYMAKERS An area landmark, the old barrel-vaulted 1950s Schmidt’s grocery store with the neon shopping lady sign has enjoyed a fun new life as the center of athletic wear and hub of numerous Playmakers events and activities.
2 Curvaceous Lingerie 3 Grace Boutique
BEST CONSIGNMENT SHOP: KELLIE’S CONSIGNMENTS 2 Once Upon a Child 3 Plato’s Closet
BEST FARMERS MARKET: MERIDIAN FARMERS MARKET One of the most diverse and thriving markets in the state goes well beyond fresh produce to offer a staggering variety of foods such as Great Lakes whitefish, Amish honey, Czech pastries and other baked goods, cheeses, meats, specialty coffee, and crazy-ass pickles dreamed up under the influence of opium.
2 Allen Farmers Market 3 East Lansing Farmers Market
BEST FLORIST: HORROCKS 2 VanAtta’s Greenhouse & Flower Shop 3 Jon Anthony
BEST GARDENING CENTER: HORROCKS 2 VanAtta’s Greenhouse 3 Lansing Gardens
BEST GIFT SHOP: OLD TOWN GENERAL STORE This is a newfangled old timey general store, with artisanal foods of all sorts, a wondrous wall of wine and enough Michigan-themed products to bridge the Straits of Mackinac. The smiling face of proud owner Rhea Van Atta is the cherry on top.
2 Kean’s Store 3 October Moon
BEST GROCERY STORE (LOCALLY OWNED): HORROCKS 2 Monticello’s Market & Butcher Block 3 Apple Market
BEST INDOOR GROW SHOP: H20 LANSING H20 provides an excellent range of supplies to get your hydroponic garden off the ground, or off the aquarium floor.
2 Captial City Grower Supply 3 Superior Growers
BEST JEWELRY STORE: SWEET CUSTOM JEWELRY My Sweet Jewelry story is pretty damn sweet. My girlfriend of 28 years and I dreaded the bourgeois ritual of shopping for rings in a pretentious mall showroom. One autumn day two years ago, I hopped on my bike and rode a few blocks to the humble Sweet Custom Jewelry storefront in Old Town. Within 10 minutes, I made friends with the store dog and Alissa Sweet showed me a ring I knew my companion would love — silvery steel with rustic cracks, like birchbark. (One of many custom creations.) Bob Sweet hammered out the rings on his magic anvil, Kelly and I got married and we lived happily ever after. (Lawrence Cosentino)
2 Medawar Jewelers 3 Becky Beauchine Kulka
BEST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT STORE: ELDERLY INSTRUMENTS "Large selection of instruments. Staff very knowledgable."
2 Marshall Music 3 Guitar Center
BEST ORGANIC/NATURAL MARKET: HORROCKS 2 Fresh Thyme 3 Foods For Living
BEST PAWN/SECONDHAND SHOP: DICKER & DEAL One of the best places in Lansing to shop for oddities and cheaply priced electronics, musical instruments and jewelry. Hell, you might even find something of yours that went missing!
2 Volunteers of America 3 Goodwill
BEST PET STORE: PREUSS PETS Preuss is not just an amazing pet store, but an awesome experience in general. How many pet stores can you legitimately get lost in for an hour? It is simply mind-boggling how Rick Preuss is able to assemble such a kind, knowledgeable staff that is truly unrivaled by perhaps any pet store in a 5,000-mile radius.
2 Soldan’s 3 Petsmart
BEST RECORD/CD STORE: FLAT, BLACK & CIRCULAR Climb the plain staircase in this bland little mall across from MSU’s Broad Art Museum and you will discover a jet-black tunnel of stacked 45rpm records, the gateway to a wormhole of vinyl, CDs and visual media that will keep you happily absorbed for hours.
2 Disc Traders 3 Record Lounge
BEST WINE SHOP: HORROCKS 2 Dusty’s Cellar 3 Vine & Brew
BEST DAY TRIP: ANYWHERE ON LAKE MICHIGAN " We have the most beautiful state and the Lake Michigan shoreline proves it!"
2 Grand Haven 3 Grand Rapids
BEST WIFI SPOT: BIGGBY - ANY LOCATION 2 Capital Area District Library 3 Strange Matter - Michigan Ave.
CLEANEST PUBLIC RESTROOM: HORROCKS 2 Chick-Fil-A 3 BAD Brewing Company
BEST EYE CANDY PLACE: MSU CAMPUS "Beautiful gardens, landscapes and brick architecture"
2 Old Town 3 English Inn
WORST EYESORE PLACE: LANSING POTHOLES "THEY ARE EVERYWHERE"
2 Trump Signs 3 Deja Vu
WORST POTHOLE - SPECIFIC LOCATION: ALL OF SOUTH CEDAR ST. "I hate traveling this road."
2 Waverly Rd between St. Joe St. & Lansing Rd. 3 Saginaw St. near Frandor