May 25 2016 11:59 AM

City Pulse celebrates Top of the Town winners at River Rock Concert

City Pulse Publisher/Editor Berl Schwartz recognizes a group of 2015 Top of the Town winners at last year's Top of the Town party.
Photo by Nicole Rico

After battling it out with hundreds of contenders and two rounds of voting, a select group of Greater Lansing warriors will soon be named as winners in the 2016 City Pulse/ Fox 47 News Top of the Town Awards. Over 16,000 participants cast votes in this year’s contest, and the winners will be announced in the June 1 issue of City Pulse. Eastside Fish Fry, which placed third for best fish fry in last year’s contest, is one of the businesses gunning for a first place finish this year.

"I think any recognition in the city is good. The fact that some people think we're the best fish fry is something to be proud of," said Patrick Duke, general manager of Eastside Fish Fry.

City Pulse will celebrate the winners of the contest June 11 at the first-ever City Pulse River Rock Concert. The Top of the Town Party will feature food and beverage options from Eastside Fish Fry, Cravings Popcorn, El Azteco, Jersey Giant, Lou and Harry’s, Sweetie-licious Bakery Café, Zaytoon and Strange Matter Coffee Co. A beer tent is also available for party attendees.

Being a contender in Top of the Town means more than just bragging rights. It’s also a great opportunity to promote local businesses. Sam Rashed is owner/operator of west Lansing’s Zaytoon Mediterranean restaurant, which placed second for best Mediterranean restaurant in last year’s contest. He sees Top of the Town voting as a show of support from the community.

"I'm already very proud about how far we've come since we opened two and a half years ago,” he said. “It makes me feel very proud knowing I have a good, quality product."

The two-day River Rock Concert is a fundraiser for the Michigan Institute for Contemporary Art, better known as MICA, which runs the MICA Gallery in Old Town and hosts Old Town JazzFest and Michigan BluesFest. The weekend includes a diverse slate of music, food and community events.

The soundtrack for June 11’s festivities is provided by James Gardin, Stefanie Haapala, City Mouse and Elliot Street Lunatic. The festival kicks off June 10 with a performance by the Verve Pipe, who will present a 20th anniversary performance of its multi-platinum "Villains" album in its entirety. Singer/songwriter Wally Pleasant is also on the bill, performing his 1992 debut album, “Songs About Stuff,” cover to cover. Local ‘80s cover band Triple Lindy will open the show.