2016 Top of the Town Contest Winners
|By City Pulse Staff|
Top of the Town winners welcome newcomersLansing is in the middle of an awesome culture wave. We’ll brag to future generations things like, “Remember waiting an hour in line just to get the Matador Omelet at Golden Harvest?” Or, “Remember how Soup Spoon Café’s French onion soup tasted just like the one we had in Paris?” Or, “Remember when that clown from Ann Arbor was fulfilling his promise to run the state like a business and Flint got poisoned?”
OK, so maybe it’s not perfect. It can’t be all Angry Mayor IPA and Crack Fries, which those future Lansing-ites will hopefully still be enjoying along with their De- Luca’s seafood pizza and MSU Dairy Store lemon custard. But right now, it’s an incredible time here in the capital city to revel in world-class barbecue cuisine, stadium-sized produce stores and free weekly standup comedy and beer-by-the-bucket specials. In 2016, Lansing is so Lansing it hurts.
This year, the top 10 vote-getters in the annual City Pulse Top of the Town Awards represent a perfect snapshot of everything that makes it so good to be a local culture consumer. Of the 122 categories there were to vote in, it’s notable that the top non-governor-specific entries had something to do with eating or drinking. Which just proves that, yeah, when it really comes down to it, we’re a sustenance-craving kinda people. No revelation there, but there were a couple of surprises in this year’s tally.
The first surprise comes from the two entries to crack the top 10 on the strength of only one category, with the rest collecting votes from between two and 10. With the Flint water crisis still fueling recall petitions and giving the state an international black eye, Rick Snyder was a verifiable shoo-in in the category of Worst/Local State Politician. The Tough Nerd received 3,479 votes. For comparison, the only other single-category appearance was by Meat Southern BBQ & Carnivore Cuisine, which garnered 3,761 in Best Barbecue. Our voters love two things, apparently: throwing down on hickory-smoked barbecue ribs and hating Snyder.
The second surprise comes from the only business on the list that wasn’t even a business this time last year. Lansing Brewing Co., which only opened seven months ago, had the second-most total votes at 5,864. It took first in Best Lansing-area Brewery and Best New Restaurant, and second in Best Lansing-area Distillery, Best Craft Beer Selection and Best Local Outing With Friends. Expect this newcomer to stick around in the Top of the Town for awhile.
Leaping past Lansing Brewing Co. to take top honors of Best Craft Beer Selection is HopCat, which rounded up 3,750 votes. The 3-year-old craft beer bar’s signature Crack Fries (they’re as addictive as crack!) won for Best Fries, and it took second for Best Hangout for Students. With 4,578 votes, the MSU Dairy Store placed first in both Best Dessert and Best Ice Cream Shop. With record scorching temps expected this summer, many of those voters will probably be bumping into each other in line over the next few months. And speaking of lines, perennial favorite Golden Harvest reaped 5,106 votes, taking first for Best Diner as well as for Best Breakfast.
Another returning champ is Soup Spoon Café, which spread its 4,558 votes among Best Vegetarian/Vegan/Gluten- Free, and second in Best Breakfast, Best Sandwich/Deli and Best First Date Place. It also came in third for Upscale Dining — the downtown bistro’s Shrimp “Voodoo” Pasta is still working its black magic after a full decade. Happy 10th anniversary, guys!
Deluca’s Restaurant has been kicking it for a bit longer than that, 56 years, proving that local taste buds have a sense of history, too. There were 5,432 of you who helped propel the north Lansing eatery, now on its third generation of owners, into first place as Best Italian and Best Pizza. It also took third for Best First Date Place. After more than half a century, it would be interesting to know how many of those voters are the product of their parents’ first dates there. Eh, maybe we don’t want to know.
Riding the success of its eponymous hamburger and its weekly live entertainment showcases, Crunchy’s gobbled up 5,438 votes, taking first for Best Burger, Best Karaoke and Best Hangout for Students. It also came in third for Best Craft Beer Selection, Best Pub/Tavern, Best Spartan Sports Hangout and Best Happy Hour. The secret of its popularity could be the 27 taps, the Sunday half-off pizza deals, or the beer buckets, which — and I can’t stress this enough — seriously come in mop buckets.
With 15,365 votes, Horrocks Farm Market drew nearly three times as many votes as second-place finisher, Lansing Brewing Co. Horrocks won for — deep breath — Best Beer Selection, Best Florist, Best Gardening Center, Best Local Grocery Store, Best Michigan Products, Best Organic/Natural Market, Best Produce/Farmers Market, Best Wine Shop and Best Convenience/Liquor Store. (phew). The overachiever didn’t sweep all its categories, however. It came in second for Best Candy Shop.
The Top of the Town Awards is, of course, a popularity contest, and not a true measure of subjective greatness — that would require a far more refined tool and decidedly less campaigning. But for posterity’s sake, they do a cracker job of capturing the zeitgeist of what it means to be out there doing stuff in Metro Lansing. So yeah, future generations, it’s pretty great to be around right now. Here’s your proof.
— Allan I. Ross
Best Asian Buffet: Ukai Hibachi Grill & Sushi Bar — Okemos Get dinner and a show at Ukai Hibachi Grill & Sushi Bar. Ukai has been entertaining its guests with its food preparation for over 20 years now, all while providing one of the best buffets in town.
2. Asian Buffet — Okemos
3. Hibachi Grill Sushi Buffet
Best Bakery: Bake n' Cakes The motto at Bake n’ Cakes is “butter makes it better,” and apparently Lansing agrees. The bakery at the southwestern edge of Frandor takes home this year’s award for best bakery.
2. Roma Bakery
3. Glazed & Confused
Best Barbecue: Meat Southern BBQ & Carnivore Cuisine Leading the pack in Lansing’s barbecue renaissance is Meat, Old Town’s purveyor of smoked meats.
2. Saddleback BBQ
3. Famous Dave’s
Best Breakfast: Golden Harvest Golden Harvest isn’t a restaurant. It’s a temple devoted to breakfast. Golden Harvesters willingly stand for hours in line for the chance to sit in a cramped diner while being blasted with punk rock music, all for the chance to sample Golden Harvest’s breakfast concoctions.
2. Soup Spoon Café
3. Fleetwood Diner
Best Burger: Crunchy's Just a stone’s throw away from MSU’s campus, Crunchy’s has been serving up half-pound burgers and buckets of beer for 33 years.
2. Five Guys Burgers & Fries
Best Chinese: P.F. Chang’s P.F. Chang’s extensive menu provides its guests with all the variety they could ask for.
2. Chen’s Restaurant
3. Charlie Kang’s East Lansing
Best Cocktails: Zoobie's Zoobie’s has a full bar, but its specialty is a lineup of variations on the Moscow Mule, all served in the traditional copper cups.
3. American Fifth Spirits
Best Craft Beer Selection:
HopCat When it comes to craft beer selection, it’s hard to beat HopCat’s 100 drafts.
2. Lansing Brewing Co.
Best Dessert: MSU Dairy Store With Big Ten-themed flavors like Buckeye Blitz and Terrapin Toffee Twirl, the MSU Dairy Store has been satisfying campus ice cream cravings for years.
2. Grand Traverse Pie Co.
3. Bake n' Cakes
Best Diner: Golden Harvest Leave your expectations of what a diner should look like at the door when you enter Golden Harvest. Tradition isn’t on the menu at this unique breakfast spot.
2. Fleetwood Diner
3. Good Truckin' Diner
Best Fish Fry: Eastside Fish Fry This no-nonsense fish shop serves up a variety of fresh fish, lightly battered and expertly seasoned.
3. Fresh Fish Market
Best Fries: HopCat Hot, crispy french fries, lightly beer-battered and sprinkled with salt and cracked black pepper — those are Crack Fries, HopCat’s signature menu item. The East Lansing location has been serving up the famed fries since 2013.
2. Five Guys Burgers & Fries
Best Greek: Lou and Harry’s Fast casual eatery Lou and Harry’s, Louha’s to regulars, serves up Greek specialties like gyros and spinach pie, as well as a full complement of salads, sandwiches and burgers.
3. Zeus’ Coney Island
Best Ice Cream Shop: MSU Dairy With a flavor for every school in the Big Ten and then some, the MSU Dairy Store has become a go-to ice cream spot for students and locals alike.
2. Tasty Twist
3. ColdStone Creamery
Best Italian: DeLuca’s North Lansing Italian joint Deluca’s has been whipping up Italian specialties since before many of our readers were born. Founded in 1960 as the Willow Bar, this restaurant has a faithful following among pasta and pizza lovers.
Best Mediterranean: Woody’s Oasis Woody’s Oasis takes this year’s prize for Best Mediterranean. The local chain specializes in Mediterranean staples like shawarma, kebabs, hummus and baklava.
Best Mexican: El Azteco Now in its 40th year, East Lansing eatery El Azteco took home the prize for Best Mexican food this year. Taco fans can celebrate the victory by raising a margarita on El Az’s rooftop patio.
2. Cancun Mexican Grill
3. El Oasis truck
Best New Restaurant: Lansing Brewing Co. Home of the Angry Mayor IPA, Lansing Brewing Co. has quickly become a downtown Lansing hotspot. The brewery takes this year’s award for Best New Restaurant.
2. Creole Coffee Co./The Creole
3. Saddleback BBQ
Best Pizza: DeLuca’s This north Lansing pizza joint serves up everything from traditional pies to a seafood pizza with imitation crab and shrimp to a Philadelphia special topped with roast beef and onions.
3. Pizza House
Best Sandwich/Deli: Jersey Giant Michigan-based sandwich chain Jersey Giant has been serving up New Jersey-style subs to Greater Lansing since 1979.
2. Soup Spoon Café
3. Jimmy Johns
Best Seafood: Mitchell’s Fish Market Guests can treat themselves to seafood dishes like bacon wrapped barbeque shrimp and tempura lobster bites and happy hour martinis at Eastwood Towne Center’s Mitchell’s Fish Market.
2. Red Lobster
Best Steak: Capital Prime Eastwood Towne Center’s Capital Prime has become Greater Lansing’s go-to spot for quality steak. Guests can treat themselves to steaks like the New York strip and the hanger steak in an upscale atmosphere.
2. Texas Roadhouse
3. Knight Cap
Best Sushi: Maru Maru offers beautiful, colorful displays of sushi, featuring fresh ingredients like tuna, squid, salmon and eel.
3. Ukai (West Lansing)
Best Thai: Bangkok House Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Bangkok House, which reopened in January after a kitchen fire forced it to close for seven months, returns to capture this year’s Best Thai award.
2. No Thai!
3. Thai Princess
Best Upscale Dining: Capital Prime Eastwood Towne Center steakhouse Capital Prime is known for its high-quality entrees and upscale atmosphere.
2. English Inn
3. Soup Spoon Café
Best Vegetarian/Vegan/Glutenfree: Soup Spoon Cafe City Pulse readers voted Soup Spoon Cafe’s variety of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options as the best in the region.
2. Red Haven
3. Better Health Store
Best Biggby: Delta Township — 2002 W. Saginaw Highway In Greater Lansing, it feels like you’re never more than a scone’s throw away from a Biggby. Our readers chose the chain’s Delta Township location as this year’s Best Biggby.
2. East Lansing — 3499 E. Lake Lansing Road
3. Okemos — 4756 Marsh Road
Best Coffee Shop (non-Biggby):
Strange Matter Coffee Co. Upscale coffee stop Strange Matter Coffee Co. is winning over Lansing coffee snobs with its assortment of espresso drinks, pour-over coffees and cold brews, not to mention its oh-so-Instagramable drinkware.
3. (tie) Coffee Barrel and Espresso Royale
Best Dance Bar: Green Door Offering live entertainment seven nights a week with music ranging from blues to classic rock to upbeat funk, Green Door was voted the best spot to break it down on the dance floor.
2. Spiral Dance Bar
3. Tequila Cowboy
Best Hangout for Students:
Crunchy’s Known for its burgers, buckets of beer and popular karaoke nights, Crunchy’s took the top spot as the Best Hangout for Students.
3. Pinball Pete’s
Best Gay/Lesbian Bar: Spiral Dance Bar Catering to the LGBTQ community since 1998, Spiral’s funky decor, expansive bar and extravagant events helped it take the top spot for the Best Gay/Lesbian bar.
Best Happy Hour: Houlihan’s With drink specials starting at $2 and small portions of appetizers just $3.95, Houlihan’s is the place to be during happy hour. Happy “hour” is a misnomer here; the bar offers specials from 3 p.m. to close Monday through Friday and all day on Saturdays and Sundays.
Best Karaoke: Crunchy’s Crunchy’s has been offering its popular karaoke nights since 1995. Warm up your vocal cords and get in on the fun Thursday, Friday or Saturday nights, or just grab a craft brew and enjoy the show.
2. Green Door
3. Sir Pizza Grand Café
Best Lansing-area Brewery:
Lansing Brewing Co. Lansing Brewing Co. hit the ground running this year, opening in October with 12 taps of locally brewed beers. The Stadium District brewery edged out fellow newcomer Ellison Brewery + Spirits and pushed some of the area’s established breweries out of the top three.
2. Ellison Brewery + Spirits
3. Eaglemonk Pub & Brewery
Best Lansing-area Distillery: American Fifth Spirits American Fifth Spirits is proud that it is Lansing’s first distillery. Using locally sourced ingredients, the Stadium District distillery churns out its flagship vodka, Hue, as well as Fat Five unaged whiskey, Capital Gin and the brand new Turtleback Rum.
2. Lansing Brewing Co.
3. Red Cedar Spirits
Best Movie Theater: NCG Known for its wide selection of movies, family-friendly environment and $2 Tuesdays, NCG took this year’s award for Best Movie Theater.
2. Celebration! Cinema
3. Studio C!
Best Music Venue: Green Door The Green Door is a prime spot to catch live music seven nights a week. The Michigan Avenue venue hosts everything from blues to funk to hip hop.
3. Wharton Center
Best Open-mic night: Green Door — Comedy Night Green Door’s Comedy Night took this year’s award for Best Open-mic Night, beating out some of the region’s best known musical open mic nights.
2. Avenue Café
Best Patio: Waterfront Bar & Grill While there are plenty of places to enjoy a burger in the open air, it’s hard to beat Waterfront Bar & Grill’s riverside location and killer view of the downtown Lansing skyline.
2. El Azteco
3. Peanut Barrel
Best Place to Take Kids: Impression 5 Science Center Since 1972, Impression 5 has offered a fun, interactive space where kids and families can learn more about science.
2. Potter Park Zoo
3. Hawk Island Park
Best Pub/Tavern: Zoobie’s A former factory bar, Zoobie’s has become one of Lansing’s hippest watering holes under the direction of the Potent Potables Project. The ownership group opened the Creole/Creole Coffee Co. last year and will break ground soon on a Frandor taco joint.
Best Spartan Sports Hangout: Buffalo Wild Wings Chain bar/restaurant Buffalo Wild Wings, known to many to as B-Dubs, specializes in chicken wings tossed in a variety of sauces. Featuring televisions and projection screens mounted on virtually every inch of available wall space, the bar was voted best place to catch some MSU sports.
2. Spartan Hall of Fame
Best Sports Bar: Nuthouse Sports Bar Downtown Lansing’s Nuthouse, with its wall of televisions, was voted the best place to watch sports.
2. Buffalo Wild Wings
3. Buddies – Holt
Best Vacation Spot in Michigan: Traverse City Known for its freshwater beaches, picturesque wineries and its annual Cherry Festival, Traverse City was voted as the Best Vacation Spot in Michigan.
2. Mackinac Island
3. Upper Peninsula
Best Local Music
Best Cover Band: Starfarm Local ‘80s cover band Starfarm celebrates the era of pegged jeans, mullets and Aqua Net, performing a mix of the decade’s greatest hits.
3. Frog & the Beeftones
Best Classical Musician: Ed Fedewa When he’s not leading the bass section at the Lansing Symphony, Ed Fedewa teaches at Central Michigan University and Lansing Community College. He’s a well-rounded musician who can often be found holding down the low end in local rock and jazz outfits.
2. Sergei Kvitko
3. Rodney Page
Best Club DJ: Donnie D DJ Donnie D is known for his wide range of of influences and high-energy live show. The Michigan native has warmed up the stage for acts like Kid Rock, Jason Aldean and LMFAO.
2. Capitol City DJs
Best Folk Band/Artist: Lansing Unionized Vaudeville Spectacle With original tunes and covers ranging from Americana to gypsyjazz to blues and vaudeville, the Lansing Unionized Vaudeville Spectacle combines music, puppets, dancers and over-the-top stage antics into wildly creative live show.
2. Frog & the Beeftones
3. Jen Sygit
Best Hip-Hop Group/Artist: Scratch Pilots Local DJ team Scratch Pilots took the win for Best Hip-Hop Group/Artist this year. The group’s weekly DJ jam session, Turntable Tuesday, takes over the Green Door most Tuesday nights.
2. James Gardin
Best Jazz Group/Artist: MSU Professors of Jazz MSU’s Professors of Jazz, a supergroup of MSU jazz faculty, takes home the brand new award for Best Jazz Group/Artist.
2. Phil Denny
3. Root Doctor
Best Radio Station: 89FM The Impact MSU’s college radio station hit the airwaves in 1989, bringing the East Lansing community a steady stream of alternative rock, local music and under-the-radar gems.
2. 97.5 Now FM
3. 100.7 WITL
Best Rock Band/Artist: Cheap Girls Comprised of Ian Graham, Ben Graham and Adam Aymor, local power pop band Cheap Girls takes home the award for Best Rock Band/ Artist.
2. Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers
3. Taylor TaylorBest People
Best Bartender: Caitlan McSweeney at Zoobie’s Zoobie’s drink-slinger Caitlan McSweeney captures the Best Bartender award for the second year in a row.
2. Craig Doepker at Mac’s
3. Sarah Fandel at REO Town Pub
Best CATA Bus Driver: Ron De Leon CATA driver and local MMA promoter Ron DeLeon takes home this year’s award for Best CATA Bus Driver.
2. Lamarr Braggs
3. Colleen Whalen
Best Local Advocate/Activist:
Rick Preuss Owner and operator of Preuss Pets, Rick Preuss was voted Best Local Advocate/Activist. Preuss Pets has been operating for over 31 years, offering training and information on keeping pets happy and healthy.
2. Barb Byrum
3. Mike Karl
Best Local Comedian: Dwayne Gill Lansing-based comedian Dwayne Gill tours the country performing comedy, hitting iconic venues like Caroline’s Comedy Club in New York and the Comedy Connection in Boston.
2. Melik Brown
3. Jason Carlen
Best Local FM/AM Radio Personality: Josh Strickland Josh Strickland anchors the morning slot on 97.5 NOW FM. A 20-year veteran in radio, Strickland has been an on-air DJ with 97.5 since 2007.
2. Banana Don and Stephanie Mc- Coy
3. Joey Pants and Deb Hart
Best Local TV News Personality:
Andy Provenzano Our readers trust WILX meteorologist Andy Provenzano, this year’s choice for Best Local TV News Personality.
2. Sheri Jones
3. Jane Aldrich
Best Massage Therapist: Creative Wellness Creative Wellness offers a wide selection of natural health services, classes and products, including massage therapy, acupuncture, and yoga classes.
2. Bee Queener Massage Therapy
3. Maryann Hancock
Best Restaurant Wait Staff: Tim Gleason at Golden Harvest Tim Gleason earned this year’s Best Restaurant Wait Staff award, delivering Cereal Killer San’wiches and S&M Scrambles in a dining room that’s roughly the size of a walk-in closet.
2. Keisha Lomax at Soup Spoon
3. Vanessa Vicknair at Golden Harvest
Best Seamstress/Tailor: Nu the Tailor West Lansing’s Nu the Tailor takes this year’s award for Best Seamstress/ Tailor.
2. Liz’s Alteration Shop
3. (tie) Silver Threads and Kim the Tailor
Best Uber Driver: Nick Berry Uber Drivers has arrived in Lansing, and our readers selected Nick Berry as Best Uber Driver.
2. Travis Stoliker
3. Amanda Bernes
Best Local/State Politician:
Gretchen Whitmer Former state senator and newly minted interim Ingham County prosecutor, Gretchen Whitmer takes home this year’s award for Best Local/State Politician. Last year, Whitmer said she is “seriously looking at” a gubernatorial run in 2018. That office, of course, is held by … .
2. Virg Bernero
3. Debbie Stabenow
Worst State/Local Politician:
Rick Snyder Thanks to a water crisis in Flint that has drawn the ire of pundits and politicians nationwide, Gov. Rick Snyder coasted to an easy victory in Worst State/Local Politician. In a year of prostitution scandals, City Hall shenanigans and adulterous lawmakers, the tough nerd still pets the most peeves among our readers.
2. Stuart Dunnings III
3. Virg Bernero
Best Accountant/CPA: Simplified Tax & Accounting Services For over 65 years, Michigan-based accounting chain Simplified Tax has offered tax and bookkeeping services to businesses and individuals.
2. H&R Block
3. Abraham & Gaffney
Best Audiologist/Hearing: Mid- Michigan Ear Nose & Throat Can you hear me now? Mid-Michigan Ear, Nose, and Throat was voted Best Audiologist/Hearing center.
2. Fluke Hearing
3. Advanced Audiology – Linda Wright
Best Auto Repair: Frankie D’s – Holt When City Pulse readers need to take their cars in for a little TLC, Frankie D’s Auto and Truck Repair is there. Open since 1986, the shop offers discounts and coupons on its website, carandtruckrepair.com.
3. Shaheen Chevrolet
Best Bank/Credit Union: MSUF- CU Credit unions snagged the top three spots in Best Bank/Credit Union this year, with MSUFCU snagging the top spot. Based out of a north Lansing headquarters that looks something like the Emerald City, the local banking behemoth recently passed 200,000 members.
2. Lake Trust Credit Union
Best Barber Shop: Douglas J Salon & Aveda Institute For more than 45 years, Douglas J Salon and Aveda Institute has offered its expertise and high-end hair and skin care services. Located on East Grand River Avenue in the heart of East Lansing, this location was voted as the best barber shop.
2. Jude’s Barbershop
3. Matthew Ryan Salon & Spa
Best Bicycle Shop: SPIN Bicycle Shop If your velocipede needs a little work, ride in to SPIN Bicycle Shop. The full service bicycle repair shop and retail joint has provided services to the Greater Lansing cycling community since 2008.
2. Riverfront Cycle
3. (tie) Velocipede Peddler and Denny’s Central Park Bikes
Best Car Wash: Kwik Car Wash Kwik Car Wash stands out to City Pulse readers — not just for its giant sign that towers over Cedar Street, but also for its extensive menu of washing and detailing services.
2. Fast Eddie’s
3. Showroom Shine
Best Chiropractor: Delta Chiropractic Center Delta Chiropractic Center offers extensive treatment options and cutting-edge technology. It’s office combines massage therapy, nutritional health and the computerized Pro Adjuster for optimal spinal health.
2. Volz Family Chiropractic
3. Infinity Chiropractic
Best Dance Studio: Happendance Okemos dance studio Happendance takes the prize for Best Dance Studio. Through dance instruction and choreography, the studio strives to support the art of dance in the community while fostering lifelong physical and mental fitness in its dancers.
2. Stilettos & Steel
3. Spartan Dance
Best Electrical: Bohnet Electric Bohnet Electric has been family owned and operated for over 110 years. It’s retail lighting store sells a variety of light fixtures, including custom lighting, and offers repair and resoration of vintage lighting fixtures.
2. Hager Fox
3. Sparky’s Electric
Best Gym/Fitness Center: Planet Fitness Planet Fitness aims to provide a unique environment to guests with low membership rates, on-site trainers and an encouraging, “judgement-free” atmosphere.
3. Michigan Athletic Club
Best Heating/Cooling: A-1 Mechanical A-1 Mechanical has been serving Lansing for over 33 years, installing and servicing commercial and residential heating/cooling systems and offering 24-hour emergency service.
2. Hager Fox
Best Hotel/Bed & Breakfast: English Inn Whether you’re looking for an upscale dinner or a week-long getaway, English Inn offers a variety of options on its historic estate.
2. Wild Goose Inn
3. Kellogg Center
Best Laundromat/Dry Cleaners: Baryames Cleaners Local chain Baryames Cleaners is our readers’ go-to business for dry cleaning and laundry needs.
3. Sunshine Laundromat
Best Lawyer/Law Firm: Abood Law Firm The Abood Law Firm has been family owned and run since 1961. The firm takes on a variety of cases, including criminal defence, divorce and personal injury.
2. Sinas Dramis Law Firm
3. Sam Bernstein Law Firm
Best Library Programming: Capital Area District Libraries – Downtown Lansing The Downtown Branch of Capital Area District Libraries takes this year’s award for Best Library Programming. The branch hosts everything from author visits to social clubs to reading programs for kids.
2. Delta Township Library
3. East Lansing Public Library
Best Maid Service: Molly Maid Lansing’s Molly Maid, the local branch of a nation-wide residential cleaning business, is the top pick for Best Maid Service according to City Pulse readers.
2. Discreet Divas
3. Merry Maids
Best Nail Salon: Douglas J Salon & Aveda Institute Offering manicures, pedicures, nail art and more, Douglas J nails the victory in Best Nail Salon this year.
2. Jenny Nails
3. Polished Nail Salon
Best Pet Care/Services: Preuss Pets Beyond stocking products to help care for pets, Preuss Pets offers store tours, animal education programs and in-store advice from experts, scoring them the Best Pet Care/Services award this year.
2. Nana n’ Paws
3. Doggy Daycare & Spa
Best Photographer: McShane Photography – Jena McShane Local photographer — and recently addicted storm-chaser — Jena Mc- Shane takes home this year’s award for Best Photographer. For samples of her work (and cute pics of her dog, Dexter) follow @mcshanephoto on Instagram.
2. Studio M
3. Decadence Dolls – Autumn Luciano
Best Plumber: Michigan Plumbing Has Michigan Plumbing exceeded your expectations? Its commercials certainly promise to do so, and City Pulse readers agree, selecting the business as Best Plumber this year.
2. Hedlund Plumbing
3. Meridian Plumbing
Best Salon/Spa: Douglas J Salon & Aveda Institute Okemos-based Douglas J Salon pampers Top of the Town voters with the works: hair styling, skin care, waxing, makeup, nail and massage services. At the associated Aveda In stitute across town, the next generation of cosmetologists prepare to step into the job market.
2. Matthew Ryan Salon
Best Tanning Salon: J2 Tanning For readers who prefer to be tan even before they hit the beach, J2 Tanning is the salon of choice.
2. Pacific Tan – S. Cedar
3. Planet Fitness
Best Tattoo Parlor: Fish Ladder Tattoo Co. Are you finally going to take the plunge and get that killer back piece you’ve always wanted? Our readers selected Old Town ink-slingers Fish Ladder Tattoo Co. as the Best Tattoo Parlor in Greater Lansing.
2. Splash of Color
3. Vivid Ink
Best Vet Services: MSU Veterinary Medical Center With the resources of MSU’s animal medicine backing them up, the veterinarians at MSU Veterinary Medical Center are able to take care of both small and large animals. Whether they have a dog with a broken leg or an under-the-weather sheep, City Pulse readers count on the 24-hour clinic for animal emergencies.
2. Miller Animal Clinic
3. Patterson Veterinary
Best Wedding Vendor: Becker’s Bridal The summer wedding season is already underway, and many local brides are decked out in gowns purchased at long-time Lansing staple Becker’s Bridal. The family-owned store has been around since 1934.
2. Old Town Marquee
3. Fantastic Finds
Best Yoga Studio: Hilltop Yoga Hilltop Yoga stretched its way into City Pulse readers’ hearts this year. The Old Town-based studio hosts over sixty classes a week, including teacher training courses. Other courses target kids, teens, expectant mothers and those seeking a therapeutic experience.
2. Just B Yoga
3. East Lansing Hot Yoga
Best Antique Shop: Mega Mall It’s not just any mall — it’s the Mega Mall. Promising “something for everyone,” the former grocery store site hosts over 200 vendors dealing in antiques, collectibles and miscellaneous treasures.
2. Lamb’s Gate Antiques
3. Mason Maple Street Mall
Best Art Gallery: Broad Art Museum It was a big year for the Broad. The contemporary art gallery made its silver screen debut in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” earlier this year. The museum probably won’t win any Oscars for its cameo, but it does take home the Top of the Town award for Best Art Museum.
2. Lansing Art Gallery
Best Beer Selection: Horrocks Horrocks’ beer aisles are overflowing with brews from all over the world. If you prefer to try before you buy, the tavern at the back of the store features 49 taps of beers, including a healthy contingent of Michigan microbrews.
2. Oade’s Big Ten — East Lansing
3. Big Ten — Okemos
Best Bookstore: Schuler Books & Music — Eastwood Towne Center Michigan-based bookstore chain Schuler Books & Music carries a wide selection of books, CDs, DVDs, children’s toys and more. Its Eastwood Towne Center location takes this year’s award for Best Bookstore.
2. Barnes & Noble
3. Curious Book Shop
Best Butcher: Monticello’s Market & Butcher Block Monticello’s Market & Butcher Block, located on the northern fringes of Haslett, takes this year’s award for Best Butcher.
2. Mert’s Meats – Okemos
3. Merindorf Meats – Mason
Best Candy Shop: Fabiano’s The Fabiano family has been turning out specialty chocolates and sweet treats from its Michigan Avenue shop since 1979. Founded by Michael Fabiano and Jane Coscarelli, the shop is run by Madeline Fabiano and Steven Blair, the couple’s daughter and grandson.
3. Cravings Popcorn – Old Town
Best Consignment/Thrift Shop: Kellie’s Consignments Okemos’ Kellie’s Consignments, now open at its new Marsh Road location, carries an assortment of men’s and women’s clothing, furniture, jewelry, home goods and more.
2. Volunteers of America
Best Convenience/Liquor Store: Horrocks Our readers selected Horrocks as Best Convenience/Liquor Store, even though the store doesn’t carry any liquor. Apparently the sizable beer and wine section was enough to win over the voters.
2. Oade’s Big Ten – Kalamazoo St.
3. Quality Dairy
Best Florist: Horrocks Put another notch in Horrocks' belt, this time for its impressive floral department.
2. Smith Floral & Greenhouse
3. VanAtta’s Greenhouse and Flower Shop
Best Gardening Center: Horrocks Horrocks’ sprawling outdoor nursery and greenhouses take this year’s award for Best Gardening Center.
2. Van Atta’s Greenhouse and Flower Shop
3. (tie) Lansing Gardens and Christian’s Greenhouse
Best Gift Shop: October Moon Old Town boutique October Moon offers a variety of fun and funky home and kitchen goods.
3. Schuler’s Books and Music
Indoor Grow Shop: H20 Hydroponics West Lansing shop H2O Hydroponics carries everything you need for your indoor growing needs, including sunlamps, fertilizers and gardening tools.
2. Capital City Grower Supply
3. Superior Growers
Best Jewelry Store: Becky Beauchine Kulka Becky Beauchine Kulka — both the woman and the business — have made their name known in Lansing for world-class jewelry and designs — and also for an extremely catchy commercial jingle. The local store is one of the 5 percent of jewelers to receive an American Gem Society certification.
2. Sweet Custom Jewelry
Best Local Clothing Store: Playmakers Okemos shop Playmakers has become the epicenter of running/walking sports in Lansing. In addition to a huge selection of athletic footwear and apparel, the shop hosts running clinics and maintains one of the best calendars of local races and running events.
2. Curvaceous Lingerie
3. Grace Boutique
Best Local Grocery Store: Horrocks Horrocks’ selection of fresh produce, locally made goods and vast beer and wine selection earned the west Lansing shop this year’s award for Best Local Grocery Store.
2. Fresh Thyme
3. Monticello’s Market & Butcher Block
Best Michigan-made Wine: Chateau Grand Traverse Located on the picturesque Old Mission Peninsula just north of Traverse City, Chateau Grand Traverse is northern Michigan’s oldest winery.
2. Burgdorf’s Winery
3. Uncle John’s
Best Michigan Products: Horrocks From locally grown produce to Michigan beer and wine to housemade jams and jellies, Horrocks has plenty of options for the discerning locavore.
2. Old Town General Store
3. Grand Traverse Pie Co.
Best Musical Instruments Store: Elderly Instruments Old Town’s Elderly Instruments is nationally known for its collection of rare and vintage instruments. Touring folk artists from all over the world swing through the shop whenever they’re in the area to check out hardto-find guitars, mandolins, banjos and more.
2. Marshall Music
3. Guitar Center
Best Organic/Natural Market: Horrocks Horrocks Farm Market has organic produce in piles. The supermarket wins Best Organic/Natural Market this year, beating out newcomer Fresh Thyme and locally-based Foods for Living.
2. Fresh Thyme
3. Foods for Living
Best Pawn/Secondhand Store: Dicker & Deal City Pulse readers voted Dicker & Deal Best Pawn/Secondhand store this year. Now with multiple locations in Lansing and Jackson, the shop has been servicing the area since 1973.
2. Kellie’s Consignments
Best Pet Store: Preuss Pets Step into Preuss Pets’ Old Town location, and you might think that you’ve entered a tiny jungle. Its indoor stream and lush greenery provide a fitting backdrop for a large inventory of birds, fish, lizards and other small pets.
3. Pet Supplies Plus
Best Produce/Farmers Market: Horrocks With its wide selection of fresh and local fruits and vegetables, grocery store/garden center Horrocks Farm Market rivals Greater Lansing’s many traditional farmers markets.
2. Allen Farmers Market
3. Meridian Farmers Market
Best Record/CD Store: Flat, Black & Circular Flat, Black & Circular has been supplying used records and CDs to locals since 1977. Readers who enjoy losing themselves in the crates of vinyl once again voted the East Lansing staple as Best Record/CD store.
2. Record Lounge
3. Schuler Books & Music — Eastwood
Best Wine Shop: Horrocks The wine aisle at Horrocks is packed to the gills with quality wines from Michigan and beyond. Not sure what you like? Stop by the wine bar in the back and sample a few.
2. Dusty’s Cellar
3. Vine & Brew
Best Annual Event/Festival: Common Ground Music Festival The week-long Common Ground Music Festival drew nearly 50,000 people to Adado Riverfront Park last year, even with the last minute cancellation of headliner Meghan Trainor. This year’s festival is betting big on country, with superstars Tim Mc- Graw and Dierks Bently each headlining a night this July.
2. East Lansing Art Festival
3. Silver Bells
Best Eye Candy Place: MSU Campus On the banks of the Red Cedar, there’s a school that’s known to all… for its scenic beauty. From its monumental Beaumont Tower to its many trees and gardens, MSU’s historic campus delights both student and non-students.
2. Old Town
3. Fitzgerald Park (the ledges) — Grand Ledge
Best First Date Place: Old Town Lansing’s hip boutique district offers plenty of first date options. Whether you’re looking for a casual breakfast, a swanky dinner or stroll along the river, Old Town has you covered.
2. Soup Spoon
Best Local Outing With Friends: Lansing Lugnuts Go nuts! Our readers selected Lansing’s minor league baseball team as the Best Local Outing with Friends. With weekly promotions like Thirsty Thursday and wacky theme nights like Jimmy Buffett night, Greater Lansing residents love wasting away in Lugnutville.
2. Lansing Brewing Co.
3. Painting with a Twist
Best Local Theater Group: Riverwalk Theatre Downtown Lansing’s theater company takes home this year’s award for Best Local Theater Group. From its riverside home next to Impression 5 Science Center, Riverwalk Theatre mounts productions ranging from intimate black box plays to Broadway musicals.
2. MSU Department of Theatre
3. Williamston Theatre
Best Dispensary: Best Buds Medical marijuana users selected Best Buds as their BFF this year. The dispensary, now at a new location just west of U.S. 127, boasts a selection of top-shelf meds as well as a snazzy vintage gold ceiling.
3. Emerald City
Worst Eyesore Place: Abandoned building at Grand River Avenue and Abbot Road, East Lansing Voters may say this site hurts their eyes, but we all know the building just needs some love. Or to be torn down. Either works.
2. Life O’Riley Mobile Home Park
3. General Motors