The 7th Annual Top of the Town Awards crosses the finish line. A trained runner can crush a marathon — 26.2 miles — in around two hours. Ironman Triathlon athletes undergo about half a day of punishing perpetual motion to complete a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile cycling course followed by a marathon run. But in the seventh annual Top of the Town Contest, hosted by City Pulse, and News 6, contestants endured a grueling nine-week, two-round race of ceaseless campaigning through tweets, Facebook posts and good old-fashioned glad-handing to make the grab for the medal. Or in the case of the business that racked up the most overall votes this time out, 55 years of dedicated customer service and quality goods. But we’ll come back to that.

The 2014 Top of the Town Awards continued its goal of recognizing everything that defines the best in local culture, from the top plumbers and car dealers to the creators of the finest local Asian cuisine, hairstyles and jokes.

The starter pistol fired for the two-round contest on March 19. The first heat consisted of a nomination round, for which any individual, business or location could be entered on the City Pulse website or mobile app and then voted on. We took the top five finishers from that leg and put them into competition for Round 2.

And finally, after 55 days of heated rivalry, the winners have been declared. Over the next 10 pages, you can see who can lay claim to being the Top of the Town: 88 categories of what gives Lansing its distinct personality. And hoo boy, are there some personalities.

After his previous win in 2010, WILX-TV’s Jason Colthorp usurped the crown of Best TV Personality from three-year reigning champ Evan Pinsonnault, morning anchor at WLNS-TV. (Pinsonnault’s consolation prize is taking top honors as Best Local Comedian, probably due in part to his hosting the locally produced variety show, “The Evan Michael Show.”) And after ruling the roost for most of the contest’s existence, Tim Barron (92.9-FM) didn’t even make the top three; he was dethroned this year by Alabama (97.5-FM).

Sometimes the story of the runners-up is just as compelling. Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero came in second place in three separate races: Best Politician, Worst Politician and Best Marijuana Strain. We’re pretty sure it has nothing to do with Lansing’s decriminalization of pot last year.

Some categories were added to accommodate shifting tastes (Best Farm-to-Table, Best Craft Beer Selection) and trends (Best Marijuana Strain, Best Indoor Grow Store), resulting in a clearer view of the average Lansing-area resident. Some notable local features defied category but needed to be included anyway — Best Local Clusterfuck, Best Place to Enter an Altered State — so we included them as staff picks.

Last year, the top three vote getters were, in order, Soup Spoon Café, Golden Harvest and Horrocks Market. This year, Soup Spoon fell to third, Golden Harvest held strong at second and Horrocks made the leap to No. 1 with nearly 10,000 total votes across six categories — Butcher, Farm-to-Table, Local Grocery Store, Produce/Farmer’s Market, Wine Shop and Florist. Not bad for a business whose roots go back to the McKinley administration.

“My grandfather started his first fruit stand in Ionia County sometime in the 1890s, and my father opened this store until 1955,” owner/operator Kim Horrocks said, hanging out by the potted grape trees in Horrocks Market’s massive greenhouse. “Of course, it was much smaller then. I’m just keeping things going.”

Horrocks’ father, Jerald Horrocks, opened the business as a fruit-and-vegetable stand at 4820 W. Saginaw Highway on Lansing’s west side. Jerald Horrocks, who died last month at 91, watched his business that started as few hundred square feet grow into an 8-acre multifaceted commercial operation with three locations spread across the region and dozens of full- and part-time employees.

“Everything we sell here is part of 55 years of evolution,” Horrocks said. “My father was very proud of this place. He genuinely connected with people. He loved making people happy.”

Walking from the greenhouse stocked with flowers and vegetable plants through the store’s maze of fruit bins, meat coolers and metal racks loaded with specialty sauces, you’ll see people from all walks of life. Little kids dart past old-timers pushing shopping carts loaded with tomato plants. Young professionals have hand baskets stocked with Michigan craft beer and imported cheeses. The florist wraps a bouquet for an eager young man.

“Our rule is if we’re going to be in business, we want to be either number one or number two in that business,” Horrocks said. “And if we’re number two, then we’re going to be working to be number one.”


Asian Cuisine
1. Ukai Japanese Steak, Sushi & Seafood
2. P.F. Chang’s China Bistro
3. SanSu Sushi & Cocktails


1. Roma Bakery
2. Bake ‘N Cakes
3. Great Harvest Bread Co.

1. Meat. Southern BBQ & Carnivore Cuisine
2. Famous Dave’s
3. Smokey Bones

1. Golden Harvest
2. Soup Spoon Café
3. Fleetwood Diner

1. Crunchy’s
2. Five Guys Burgers and Fries
3. Dagwood’s Tavern & Grill

1. Wendy’s
2. Soup Spoon Café
3. Meat. Southern BBQ & Carnivore Cuisine

1. Zoobie’s Old Town Tavern
2. The Exchange
3. Soup Spoon Café

Craft Beer Selection
1. HopCat
2. Zoobie’s Old Town Tavern
3. Crunchy’s

1. MSU Dairy Store
2. Grand Traverse Pie Co.
3. Bake ‘N Cakes

1. Fleetwood Diner
2. Golden Harvest
3. Fork in the Road

Farm to Table (Local Products)
1. Horrock’s Farm Market
2. Fork in the Road
3. Red Haven

1. Hopcat
2. Five Guys Burgers & Fries
3. Dagwood’s Tavern & Grill

Gourmet Restaurant
1. Dusty’s Cellar
2. Soup Spoon Café
3. English Inn

1. Sindhu Indian Cuisine
2. Swagath IndianCuisine
3. Jerusalem Bakery

1. Deluca’s Restaurant
2. Bravo!
3. Cugino’s Italian Restaurant

Lansing-area Brewery
1. EagleMonk Pub and Brewery
2. Midtown Brewing Co.
3. BAD Brewing Co.

1. Woody’s Oasis
2. Aladdin’s
3. Sultan’s Place

1. El Azteco
2. Cancun Mexican Grill
3. Los Tres Amigos

New Restaurant
1. HopCat
2. Capital Prime Steak and Seafood
3. Famous Dave’s

1. Deluca’s Restaurant
2. Art’s Bar and Grill
3. Jet’s Pizza

Restaurant Wait Staff
1. Soup Spoon Café
2. Golden Harvest
3. Texas Roadhouse

1. Jersey Giant
2. Soup Spoon Café
3. Jimmy John’s

1. Mitchell’s Fish Market
2. Red Lobster
3. Maru Sushi & Grill

1. Texas Roadhouse
2. Capital Prime Steak and Seafood
3. Knight Cap

1. SanSu
2. Ukai Japanese Steak, Sushi & Seafood
3. AI Fusion Sushi & Grill

Vegetarian/Vegan/Gluten Free
1. Fork in the Road
3. Soup Spoon Café


Best Spartan Sports Hangout
1. Crunchy’s
2. Spartan Hall of Fame Café
3. Buffalo Wild Wings – East Lansing

1. Riverview Church – Holt
2. St. John Student Parish
3. Trinity Church

Coffee Shop
1. Biggby – Okemos
2. Grand River Coffee Café
3. Biggby – Holt

Dance Bar
1. The Green Door
2. Spiral Dance Bar
3. Whiskey Barrel

Gay/Lesbian Bar
1. Spiral Dance Bar
2. Zoobie’s Old Town Tavern
3. Esquire Bar

Karaoke 1. Crunchy’s
2. Sir Pizza Grand Café
3. Buddie’s Pub & Grill – Okemos

Movie Theatre
1. NCG Cinemas
2. Celebration Cinema!
3. Studio C!

Music Venue
1. The Loft
2. The Green Door
3. Breslin Center

Open-Mic Night
1. Connxtions Comedy Club (Closed)
2. Dagwood’s Tavern & Grill
3. Sir Pizza Grand Cafe

1. Peanut Barrel
2. El Azteco – East Lansing
3. Waterfront Bar & Grill

1. Zoobie’s Old Town Tavern
2. Dagwood’s Tavern & Grill
3. Claddagh Irish Pub

Sports Bar 1. Reno’s East
2. Buffalo Wild Wings – East Lansing
3. Champps


Cover Band
1. Starfarm
2. Soulstice
3. Kathy Ford Band

Solo Artist
1. Jen Sygit
2. Taylor Taylor
3. Phil Denny

Original Band
1. Root Doctor
2. Frog & the Beeftones
3. Steppin’ in It

Club DJ
1. DJ Donnie D
2. Craig Doepker
3. Skitzo

Radio Station
1. 94.1 The Edge
2. 97.5 NOW FM
3. 88.9 The Impact



1. Craig Doepker – Mac’s Bar
2. Kevin Angell – Soup Spoon Café
3. Sami Hutting – Watershed Bar & Grill

Best Local Politican
1. Gretchen Whitmer
2. Virg Bernero
3. Barbara Byrum

Car Salesperson
1. Dorene Fuller – Grand Ledge Ford
2. Dennis Lemon – Shaheen Chevrolet
3. Brent Wesley – Shaheen Chevrolet

1. Dennis Laidler –Potter Park Zoo
2. Nature Conservatory of Michigan
3. Julie Powers

Local Comedian
1. Evan Pinsonnault
2. Melik Brown
3. Dwayne Gill

Local FM/AM Radio Personality
1. Alabama – 97.5 NOW FM
2. Banana Don & Stephanie – 100.7 WITL
3. Josh Strickland – 97.5 NOWFM

Local TV News Personality
1. Jason Colthorp - WILX
2. Evan Pinsonnault - WLNS
3. Andy Provenzano – WILX

Worst Local Politican
1. Rick Snyder
2. Virg Bernero
3. Carol Wood


Alternative Health
1. Creative Wellness
2. Just B Yoga
3. East Lansing Hot Yoga

Auto Repair
1. Frankie D’s Auto & Truck Repair
2. Brogan’s Tire & Auto Service
3. Shaheen Chevrolet

Bank/Credit Union
1. MSU Federal Credit Union
2. Lake Trust Credit Union

Bicycle Shop
1. Velocipede Peddler
2. Riverfront Cycle
3. SPIN Bicycle Shop

Car Wash/Detailing
1. Kwik Car Wash
2. Showroom Shine – East Lansing
3. Soapy Joes

1. Bohnet Electrical Co.
2. Consumers Energy
3. Lansing Board of Water & Light

Hotel/Bed & Breakfast
1. English Inn
2. Wild Goose Inn
3. Kellogg Center

Laundromat/ Dry Cleaners
1. Baryames Cleaners
2. Sunshine Laundromat – Frandor
3. Maurer’s

1. Foster Swift Collins & Smith, P.C.
2. Andrew Abood
3. Sinas Dramis Law Firm

Maid Service
1. Molly Maid
2. Merry Maids
3. Aunt JoJo’s Cleaning Service

1. Two Men and a Truck
2. U-Haul
3. EJ & Sons Moving Services

Pet Care/Services
1. Wag ’N Tails Pet Resort
2. Patterson Veterinary Hospital
3. Miller Animal Clinic

1. Jena McShane Photography
2. Autumn Luciano Photography
3. Jessica Cowles

1. Michigan Plumbing
2. Meridian Plumbing
3. Hedlund Plumbing

1. Douglas J. Aveda Institute
2. Douglas J. – Okemos
3. Matthew Ryan Salon

Tanning Salon
1. J2 Tanning
2. Tanzmania
3. Pacific Tan

Tattoo Parlor
1. Fish Ladder Tattoo
2. Splash of Color
3. Vivid Ink


Antique Shop
1. Mason Antique District
2. Mega Mall
3. Love, Betti

Art Gallery
1. Broad Museum
2. Creole Gallery
3. Lansing Art Gallery

Bookstore 1. Schuler Books & Music – Eastwood
2. Barnes & Noble – Lansing Mall
3. Curious Book Shop

1. Merindorf Meats – Mason
2. Horrock’s Farm Market
3. Merindorf Meats – Williamston

Clothing Store
1. Kohl’s
2. Grace Boutique
3. Younker’s

Consignment Shop
1. Kellie’s Consignments
2. Second Time Around
3. Plato’s Closet

Convenience/ Liquor Store
1. Quality Dairy
2. Oades Big Ten Party Store – Clippert
3. Tom’s Party Store

1. Horrock’s Farm Market
2. Smith Floral
3. BA Florist

Indoor Grow Shop
1. H20 Hydroponics – Okemos
2. Capital City Growers Supply
3. Hydroworld

Jewelry Store
1. Becky Beauchine Kulka
2. H&H Jewelry Design
3. Kay Jewelers

Local Grocery Store
1. Horrock’s Farm Market
2. Goodrich’s Shop Rite
3. Foods for Living

Musical Instruments Store
1. Elderly Instruments
2. Marshall Music
3. Music Manor

Pet Store
1. Preuss Pets
2. Soldan’s Feeds & Pets Supplies
3. PetSmart

Produce/ Farmers Market
1. Horrock’s Farm Market
2. Lansing City Market
3. Meridian Township Farmers Market

Vinyl Record Store
1. Flat, Black and Circular (FBC)
2. Record Lounge
3. Schuler Books & Music - Eastwood

Wine Shop
1. Dusty’s Cellar
2. Horrock’s Farm Market
3. Goodrich’s Shop Rite


Annual Event/ Festival

1. Common Ground Music Festival
2. East Lansing Art Festival
3. (TIE) Be A Tourist in Your Own Town 3. (TIE) Old Town BluesFest

Best Night Out
1. Downtown Lansing
2. Lansing Lugnuts Game
3. Zoobie’s Old Town Tavern

Local Theatre Group
1. Riverwalk Theatre
2. MSU Theatre Department
3. Williamston Theatre

Marijuana Strain
1. Blueberry Kush
2. Virg Bernero
3. Blue Cheese

Place to take Out-of-Towners
1. Old Town Lansing
2. Golden Harvest
3. MSU Campus