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Best of the Bay - 2011

And the winners are ...

For 12 years now, we’ve asked you, dear reader, to weigh in on your favorite things here in Chesapeake Country and determine the Best of the Bay.
    By no means a scientific study, this readers poll is more a reflection of your passions. You cast thousands of votes, and after long hours tallying the ballots, intern Rose Anderson had the winners.
    What the ballots couldn’t reveal, however, was the thinking behind your votes — What makes these winners Best of the Bay?
    So we turned to you, asking that very question. Here, along with the winners, is what you had to say about these Bests of the Bay.

      Around the Bay      

Best Art Gallery ~ TIE
Artworks@7th

I like the fact that Artworks@7th is a co-op, where I don’t see a lot of ego getting in the way, which gives space and opportunity for a lot of local artists to exhibit and get encouragement, not to mention sell their works.
     –Kirsti Uunila, North Beach

The artists on Artworks@7th’s secret

    We are thrilled to win Best Gallery for 2011. Thanks to all of your readers!
    Why do people come from Annapolis, from all over Baltimore, and from across the Potomac River to visit us? Why is ArtWorks worth the visit? Aside from being nestled amid fun shops right off the boardwalk in the ever more-and-more popular beach community of North Beach, one of the main differences between Artworks and other galleries in the area is that it is managed and funded 100 percent by its artists.
    As artists, we are true professionals who are serious about our art. We may live here and be local artists, but we will surprise you with our national and international representation in private collections and elsewhere.
    We are dedicated to the future of the gallery, and we are very excited to announce our upcoming move to an elegant new location this spring. Stay tuned to hear more about our grand opening celebration on Saturday, April 7, 2012.
    Meanwhile join us Saturday, January 7 from 1 to 5pm as we celebrate Best of the Bay and the opening of our new show, featuring visiting artist Lauren Kingsland’s Warm Thoughts: Inspired Quilts to Beautify your Life.
    To learn more or go to www.artworksat7th.com. 9128 Bay Ave., North Beach, 410-286-5278. Th-Su 11am to 5pm.

Best Art Gallery ~ TIE
McBride Gallery

I first discovered McBride’s about 20 years ago while walking the streets browsing for shops. Its significant to me not only because it’s a local business but because it has a good collection of artists and features local artists, and that’s important to the community.
     –Doris Howie, Annapolis

Owner Cynthia McBride on McBride Gallery’s secret

    I’m honored to have your readers’ recognition as the Best Gallery on the Bay.
    I love what I do. So I select art I love. The basic is always good design, whether in painting or pottery. Beauty comes through in a design pleasing to the human eye. When you come in to the gallery, you’re surrounded by beauty and serenity, and it makes you feel good. That’s what you respond to in nature or a gallery, when you see beauty and you just can’t take your eyes off it.
    Then I look for customer appeal, creating an emotion so you can feel what an artist is trying to tell you, because art is a communication between you and the artist.
    As well as art, McBride Gallery offers custom framing, art installation, corporate services, art restoration, art appraisals, art layaways and wedding registry.
    I hire talented dedicated employees, more talented than me in many ways, because they make all we do possible.
    I find ways to support and give back to the community by helping organizations working to help others in need.
    And I believe in working for the success of all of the galleries in Annapolis, not just my own. Annapolis has become known for the growing number and quality of art galleries and cultural opportunities in the visual and performing arts. One gallery in a town will not attract very many from a great distance; 20 galleries are worth driving an hour or more, and even staying overnight to see them all.
    To learn more go to www.mcbridegallery.com. 215 Main St., Annapolis, 410-267-7077. M-Sa 10am-5:30pm; Th 10am-9pm; Su noon-5:30pm.

Best Beach
Sandy Point State Park

I voted for Sandy Point because of its amenities. It’s not often crowded. It gives a great bird’s-eye view of the waterfront, it has always had clean bathrooms, a good-sized snack area and it’s also good for people with boats.
    –Frank Herrmann, Annapolis

Best Book Store
Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble is a one-stop shop. It’s also my favorite holiday store; you can get books for everyone there. The record department is great.
     –Linda Johnson, New Freedom, Penn.

Best Charity Fundraiser
Cancer Crusade Celebration of Life Gala

I went to the Cancer Gala because I lost my wife to cancer. Being a hard-working blue-collar guy, I expected it to be a snotty affair. After attending the event, out of one to 10, I would rate it a 12. The sense of community was overwhelming, and it was comforting to see that people weren’t only there to share their stories and show respect for their loved ones but also to spill their pockets for the event. It was worth the bucks as much as it was worth meeting the survivors. Local businesses chipped in and the entire event was fabulous. I will definitely be attending every year.
     –Bill Barnes, Dunkirk

Best Dog Park
Quiet Waters Park

I would recommend Quiet Waters to others for the same reasons I’ve been gong there for 14 years myself and 10 years with my dogs. It’s a friendly, comfortable, safe place with pleasant people.
     –Jeffery Ross, Annapolis

Best Festival
Maryland Renaissance Festival

I’ve been going to the Renaissance Festival for years and voted it the Best of the Bay because it is so curious and out of the ordinary. I love to try the different foods. My favorite is the smoked turkey legs. The little shops are fascinating and enchanting with all their odds and ends. The whole experience — the people, the food, the atmosphere, the sights, sounds and smells of the Renaissance Festival — all that is what I keep going back for every year.
     –Christine Webb, Lothian

Best Fishing Hole
Chesapeake Bay

Everybody agrees that the Bay provides great fishing. Few anglers wanted to give away their secret honey hole. They did, however, suggest dipping your line at the Chesapeake Beach Radar Tower, Buoy 81, the Bay Bridge, Breezy Point and Poplar Island.

Best Getaway
St. Micheals

St. Micheals is neither urban nor metropolitan. It has charming shops and restaurants, and the views are breathtaking. This is a great close-by place for a fantastic day trip.
     –Joyce Hough, Annapolis

Best Library
Prince Fredrick Branch Calvert County Library

After the news that the old Prince Fredrick library was being closed and a new one was being built in its place, local residents and I watched the Bay’s Best Library be built over time. The staff is exceptional and very knowledgeable. The library encourages public and community social gatherings such as Calvert Eats and book discussions. This library is all-around top-notch.
     –Steve Kullen, Port Republic

Best Local Musician
Deanna Dove

I first heard Deanna Dove in 2006. I would describe her as a soulful country singer who does great covers of Sweet Home Alabama and Tom Petty. She’s a local girl from Calvert County and has elements in her songs that my wife and I could easily relate to. We have continued to go and see her perform at least four or five times a year.
     –Michael White, Chesapeake Beach

Best Museum
Calvert Marine Museum

I’ve enjoyed Calvert Marine for the six years I’ve lived in the area. It has interesting displays and fun events for the family during all parts of the year.
    –Mary Beth Jackson, Solomon’s Island

Best People Watching
Annapolis City Dock

Annapolis is one of the prettiest towns in America. Annapolis City Dock is lovely not only in the summer but also all seasons. The City Dock is mainly where people congregate in downtown historic Annapolis, thus making it the best place for people watching.
     –Craig R., Severna Park

Best Place to Let Kids Run Wild
Quiet Waters Park

I’ve been going to Quiet Waters with my kids since my daughter could walk. I definitely feel like it’s a safe environment. The kids love it. The equipment is great and the environment is quiet and clean. You never have to worry about finding something on the playground that shouldn’t be there. The park itself is big enough where it’s not close to any roads. Quiet Waters also has activities for all age groups.
     –Amanda Jackson, Annapolis

Best Radio Station
WRNR

WRNR definitely has a finger on the pulse of the current vibes and music. I remember always listening to WRNR. When I’m in the car, it’s my favorite radio station to listen to.
     –Julie Buckley, Annapolis

Biggest Issue Needing More Attention
Health of the Bay

The Bay is right outside my window. I’ve lived next to the Bay for many years and watched the land disappear. I have also heard about the declining health of the fish and the oysters that come from the Bay.
     –Barbara Miller, Fairhaven

Favorite Place to Pick up Bay Weekly
Zü Coffee

I am a locavore. I’ve been going to Zü Coffee for years. I support a real-people business like Zü. What better place to pick up Bay Weekly?
     –Ann Bergstrom, Annapolis

Most Scenic Drive
Bay Ridge Road

My son and I used to drive through Bay Ridge to see the Christmas lights. My favorite time of the year to drive through Bay Ridge is summer, because seeing the animals and community life mixed in with the sun and water always creates a wonderful sense of the Bay life for me. What makes Bay Ridge is the wide, expansive view of the Bay.
     –Bobbie Carew, Annapolis

      Goods and Services      

Best Acupuncture ~ TIE
Meadow Hill Wellness

A back injury from a bike ride led me to seek alternative therapy for my back pain. I had tried physical therapy and a chiropractor, and neither of them had been quite right. When I started acupuncture at Meadow Hill Wellness, I had results very quickly. As much as the acupuncture changed my perspective on alternative therapy so did the calm, comfortable relaxing space that Meadow Hill Wellness created.
     –Suzanne Blais, Edgewater

Owner Sara Poldmae on Meadow Hill Wellness’ secret

First, I carefully select the most passionate caregivers in the field of acupuncture. As well as myself, that’s Tracy Soltesz and Alyson Ciotola-Guiffreda. I especially enjoy working with practitioners who are comfortable working with Western medical professionals to provide high-quality patient care.
    Through acupuncture, we help your central nervous system cope with whatever internal or external stressors you have going on and their results, such as pain, digestive complaints, infertility and any kind of stress or anxiety-related depression.
    Warning! The side effects of acupuncture include improved sleep, a sense of well-being and better digestion. Acupuncture may also cause excessive happiness.
    To learn more go to www.meadowhillwellness.com. 53-C Old Solomons Island Rd., Annapolis, 410-263-0411. M-Th 9am-7pm; F 9am-5pm; SaSu by appointment.

Best Acupuncture ~ TIE
Edgewater Acupuncture

I found Edgewater Acupuncture through livingsocial.com and it was the best things that ever happened to me. I had a torn knee and a sharp stabbing pain. The treatment from Edgewater Acupuncture was great. Pricing is extremely fair and affordable with a sliding scale for payment. It is such a calm comfortable environment. I would recommend it also for your overall sense of well-being. [Owner] Meagan [Massella Walker] is a wonderful human being. She practices acupuncture for the right reasons. And she does her job well.
     –Connie Hugya, Mitchellville

Owner Meagan Massella Walker on Edgewater Acupuncture’s secret

It’s my patients! I am honored and privileged to serve everyone who walks through my door. This is an amazing community of people, and I would not be able to practice what I love without their support. Thank you!
    To learn more go to www.edgewateracupuncture.com. 153 Mayo Rd., Edgewater, 443-540-3350. TuFSa 9am-2pm; WTh 2-7pm.

Best Antique Store
Gypsy Vintage

My partner Melissa Gertz and I travel and buy stuff, bring it back and work on it to make it unique and useful. We get a lot of furniture, including some really big pieces. Last month, we had a 10-foot-long mahogany trestle table.
    People are really into industrial pieces that that we refinish and make pretty. We make old wheeled carts into coffee tables. I made a vintage dress form into a floor lamp with a slipcover shade.
    We try to show a little of everything on Facebook so everybody can see it ahead of sale weekend. When we open at 8am on the first Saturday of every month, it’s really crazy with a big line of people waiting to come in.
    People like the unusual things we sell, and they like our prices, which are really low because we keep our overhead low, get good deals and do most of the work ourselves.
    To learn more go to http://www.facebook.com/gypsyvintageltd. 5911 Southern Maryland Blvd., Lothian, 443-624-0022. Open Jan. 7 and 8 and the first Sa and Su of every month.
    -Co-owner Anne Kawecki on Gypsy Vintage’s secret

Best Consignment Shop
Return to Oz

I’ve been going to Return to Oz since my children were young. I especially like the toys, paper and crayons set out for the children to play with when the mothers are doing their shopping.
     –Lea Hurt, Annapolis

Best Dentist
Dr. John Cutting

Dr. Cutting has a terrific family dentistry business and a great way with children. He works in preventive and cosmetic dentistry, as well. He pays attention to all of his clients, and I have heard nothing but positive responses from people I’ve recommended to him.
     –Alexander Westmoreland, Annapolis

Dr. Cutting on his secret

I think most important is chair-side manner. Nobody really enjoys going to the dentist. We make it a little easier by treating each patient as a person, explaining and educating what needs to be done and what they can do right to keep their mouths healthy. Self-care is important because we see most patients only once every six months.
    We’re always taking courses on the latest and greatest techniques so we can give our patients the best education and treatment. Many of the new cosmetic procedures, for example, are not at all invasive and can make dramatic improvements in the way you look and smile. With a new smile, people who were shy and retiring often come out of themselves. I’ve seen it.
    To learn more go to www.edgewaterdentalarts.com. 1 Dental Rd., Edgewater, 410-956-3525. M 9am-6pm; TuF 8am-2pm; Th 9am-5pm.

Best Doctor ~ Tie
Dr. William Jones, Shady Side Medical

I like him very much. No thrills, straight to the problem, addresses it and takes care of it, but still personalized. You’re not just a number on a piece of paper. Dr. Jones knows who you are.
     –Robby Gordon, Churchton

Best Doctor ~ Tie
Dr. Goodman, Green Street Urgent Care

Green Street Urgent Care is so convenient, and Dr. Goodman is an excellent doctor: very attentive, and he takes time to explain things to you and guide you through the system. It’s all very personalized.
     –Ken Aiken, Annapolis

Best Florist
Gateway Florist

I once brought in an antique vase and asked Gateway Florist to create a floral arrangement that best accented the vase. They were very attentive and careful and created a nice floral arrangement for my mother. I’ve been going there many years and they always have creative floral arrangements.
    –Robin Smith, Annapolis

Best Ladies Boutique
A La Mode Intimates

It was an uplifting experience!
     –Farley Peters, Fairhaven

Owner Patti Platt on A La Mode’s secret

With many things, going to do-it-yourself is good. But bras are one item women really need help with. The bra is one of most difficult articles of clothing to fit. Over 80 percent of women are wearing wrong size bra. One of women’s biggest complaints is that their bra is uncomfortable
    A bra has a lot to do. You want it to support, lift, separate, perhaps minimize.
    Women come in all sizes and shapes, so we offer over 100 sizes — plus personalized fitting and attention — so each women gets an individualized experience and a bra that’s right for her.
    We also offer bras for all aspect of a women’s life, including sports bras and nursing bras.
    And pretty bras!
    Women, especially women who take larger sizes, also complain they can’t find anything pretty. In French, our name, a la mode, means in the fashion. We’ve made it our job to make sure your bra not only gives you a really good fit and support but is also nice, pretty and in fashion. We women work hard; we deserve that!
    To learn more, see our ad on page 10, or go to www.alamodeintimates.com. 1910 Towne Centre Blvd., Suite 115, Annapolis, 410-280-9771. M-Sa 10am-8pm; Su 11am-6pm

Best Marina
Herrington Harbor

Herrington Harbor is a great family pastime. I grew up right down the street from the marina. I can remember playing on the docks and just always hanging out having fun since forever.
     –Michelle Weaver, Deale

Best Massage
Alexander’s of Annapolis Salon & Day Spa

My previous masseuse had moved to Florida and it just so happened that I met Alexander, a great guy, at a local event. As a local business computer consultant, I am a supporter of the local business community. As Alexander is a local business owner himself, I went to experience a massage at Alexander’s Spa. I’ve been going there for about a year now and am very satisfied with the massages. The atmosphere is relaxing, the massage table heated. They have hot towels and hot stones.
     –Will Small, Annapolis

Owner Alexander Westmoreland on
Alexander’s of Annapolis Salon & Day Spa’s secret

When it comes to massage, Bay Weekly readers know they’re in good hands at Alexannder’s of Annapolis. A good massage takes you to a special place, and our licensed massage therapists are versed in a wide range of techniques and styles. We strive to give you an awesome massage that you won’t forget.
    To learn more go to www.alexandersdayspa.com. 2307-B Forest Dr., Annapolis, 410-266-6694. M 9am-5pm, Tu-F 9am-8pm; SaSu 9am-5pm.

Best Mechanic
Boone’s Automotive

Boone’s Automotive is a family business that takes pride in their work. They were recommended to me by someone I know, which meant that they had trust in Boone’s. Being a local business owner myself, I admire their diligence. I voted for Boone’s Automotive because they have not only been an asset to our community but also a trusted asset to my wife and me for over four years.
     –John Hiser, Fairhaven

Owner Kent Boone on Boone’s Automotive’s secret

In our little family-owned business, we treat everybody who comes through our door like our family. We personalize to everybody, and we service all makes and models, foreign and domestic.
    We are constantly in training to keep up with new vehicles. I started this business by myself and was a technician for years before that, so I, too, try to keep up so I can be more knowledgeable when I speak to my customers. I try to explain everything as thoroughly as I can so they know what went wrong and what we’re doing to repair it.
    I’ve been in business 30 years, and in the shop overall, we have about 130 years experience.
    My personal philosophy is when customers leave my shop, I want them to feel like I want to feel when I leave their business: satisfied and happy.
    To learn more go to www.merchantcircle.com/business/Boones.Automotive. 5861 Deale-Churchton Rd., Deale, 410-867-4191. M-F 8am-6pm.

Best New Business of 2011
Grapes Wine Bar

Grapes is a loveable place with wonderful food, good wine and a warm friendly atmosphere.
     –Kate Quinn, Annapolis

Best Pet Shop
Pet Valu

I had a problem with my cat not using its litter box. An employee advised me that it may have been the new litter I switched to. I switched back to the original litter, and my cat began using the litter box again. Pet Valu also just recently expanded and the renovation is great for accommodating their huge selection.
     –Claudia Stout, Silverwood Circle

Best Place to Buy a Bauble
Off the Cuff Jewelry

I work at the Deale Elks Lodge and was out searching for a few things for the business. I wandered into Off the Cuff and thus stumbled upon a great find. I found out that the business was locally owned by a woman. I was impressed by her fantastic marketing tactics and also how well she has built up the business. She started as a bead store and branched out into lovely gift items and excellent functional effects.
     –Cyndy Hamilton, Deale

Owner Natalie Fluharty on Off the Cuff Jewelry’s secret

In a small town where word of mouth brings people in, I’ve surrounded myself with friendly, helpful people who know everybody and spread the word. Women like to come in for the energy, the company and to see what we’ve got. What we’ve got are unique interchangeable items you can use more than one way, which is a plus in this economy. With scarves, beads that work for bracelets, earrings or necklaces, Hobo handbags based in Annapolis and lots more, we can accessorize any lady who comes in. And she’ll have a good time shopping, too.
    To learn more go to www.facebook.com/pages/Off-The-Cuff-Jewelry/130490540297307. 534-B Deale Rd., Deale, 410-353-5514. Tu-Sa 10am-6pm.

Best Produce
Whole Foods Market

I voted for Whole Foods in the Best of the Bay because of their steady good sales, organic produce and wide range in brand selection. It’s just a good shopping opportunity.
     –Craig Stevens, Cape St. Claire

Best Public Restroom
Zü Coffee

We try and keep it clean and make it look nice! From the beginning, clean restrooms have been one of the reasons McDonald’s does so well, and it’s one of the things I keep stressing to my staff: keep it clean!
    To learn more go to www.zucoffee.com. 934 Bay Ridge Rd, Annapolis, 410-990-0731. M-Sa 5:30am-7pm; Su 6:30am-7pm.
    -Zü Coffee owner Doug Henderson

Best Salon
Alexander’s of Annapolis Salon & Day Spa

I first heard of Alexander’s after I came back from living abroad. My daughter, who lives in Annapolis, recommended Alexander’s to me because I wanted a professional first-rate hairstylist. That was 15 years ago. Alexander’s of Annapolis is so fabulous that I travel from my home in Pennsylvania. When you find something good that works for you, you keep going back. Without my hairstylist I wouldn’t know what to do.
     –Linda Johnson, New Freedom, Penn.

Owner Alexander Westmoreland on Alexander’s of Annapolis Salon &
Day Spa’s secret

    Thanks to Bay Weekly’s readers for recognizing our commitment to excellence at Alexander’s. As a family-owned business, we’re passionate about what we do, and we pride ourselves in our customer service. When you come to our salon, it’s all about being satisfied. Our hair professionals are trained in the latest styles and trends, like the Beach Wave, the Brazilian Blowout and hair feathers.
    To learn more, see our ad on page 5, or go to www.alexandersdayspa.com. 2307-B Forest Dr., Annapolis, 410-266-6694. M 9am-5pm, Tu-F 9am-8pm; SaSu 9am-5pm.

Best Shoe Store
Nordstrom

I first was introduced to Nordstrom in 1998 as a high school senior. I actually got my first pair of high-heeled boots there. I call that my first big purchase. The service is always above and beyond pleasant and helpful. The quality of shoes — as far as comfort, support and reliability — is great, and the selection of casual, conservative and trendy shoes fits my taste. Also the clearance section has great deals with the same quality and selection as full-priced shoes. Nordstrom is my favorite place to shop shoes!
     –Elisa Rose Lupton, Glen Burnie

Best Yoga Studio
Prana Yoga Studio

Most large gyms offer yoga, but Prana offers a specialized type of yoga that’s different. I had never been to a yoga studio before, but what I like about Prana is they make it more spiritual, and that’s what I had been looking for. They offered hot yoga, and I thought that was unique.
     –Shelby Calambokidis, Annapolis

Best Veterinarian ~ TIE
South Arundel Veterinary Hospital

I’ve been going to South Arundel for about five years. We have three dogs that we board at South Arundel from time to time. Customer service is great. They connect with our animals, and the staff is very responsive.
     –Ken Salm, Edgewater

Best Veterinarian ~ TIE
Severn River Animal Hospital

I personally know practice manager Kimberly Beverly and her staff. They are great people and dedicated to their profession at the animal hospital. The atmosphere is welcoming: You couldn’t ask for a better place.
     –Kelly Stevens, Hanover

      Food and Drink      

Best Asian Food
Lemongrass

I’ve been going to Lemograss for about four years. The atmosphere is great, the food is flavorful and it’s such a popular place. One of my favorite things to do when I go to Lemongrass is to look and see what other people are eating and then order what they have just so that I try something new every time.
     –Emily Dupont, Annapolis

Owner Gavin Buckley on Lemongrass’ secret

Annapolis is a pretty well traveled town, but it doesn’t have a ton of diversity in its food. So we managed to hit it with a thing the town was missing.
    The other secret is that little old Thai lady in the kitchen. Our head chef is fantastic. It’s like mom is in the kitchen for people like me who grew up with Thai.
    To learn more go to www.kapowgroup.com.
Lemongrass: 167 West St., Annapolis, 410-280-0086. M-Th 11:30am-3pm & 5pm-10pm; F 11:30am-3pm & 5pm-11pm; Sa noon-4pm & 5pm-11pm; Su 4pm-9pm.
Lemongrass Too: 2625A Housely Rd., Annapolis. 410-224-THAI (8424)
M-Th 11am-4pm & 5pm-10pm; F11am-4pm & 5pm-11pm; Sa noon-4pm & 5pm-11pm; Su 4pm-10pm.

Best Bakery
Zü Coffee

Kate Quinn one of our baristas, has started doing our baking. She started with cookies, and they got a good reception, added muffins — and they got a great reception — which turned into scones, fruit breads, short breads, Linzer tortes. She constantly comes up with innovative things I’ve never heard of before, like apricot bran or chocolate mango muffins. There’s always some surprise. I like that because if she can surprise me, my customers will get surprised
    To learn more go to www.zucoffee.com. 934 Bay Ridge Rd, Annapolis, 410-990-0731. M-Sa 5:30am-7pm; Su 6:30am-7pm.
     -Zü Coffee owner Doug Henderson

Best Bar ~ TIE
O’Brien’s Oyster Bar and Restaurant

O’Brien’s has an amazing staff, nice clientele and it’s always a fun night. The atmosphere is really relaxing. It’s a cool place to have a good time and comfortable conversations.
     –Andrew Wingo, Annapolis

Best Bar ~ TIE

Skipper’s Pier

As far as winning two Best Bar awards, I think location, being right on the water is probably Number One. But bartenders create the atmosphere, and these awards are compliments to our bartenders, especially the four to five who run year-round with us.
    Sure we use all fresh-squeezed juices and make our drinks a quality product, but you can get a good drink and view at a lot of different place. But it’s bartenders who make the difference. Bay Weekly readers who take the time to vote on Best Bars probably spend a little time at the bar and build rapport with the bartender.
    To learn more, see our ad on page 9, or go to www.skipperspier.com. 158 Drum Point Rd., Deale, 410-867-7110. T-Th 3-9:30pm; Sa 11:30am-9pm; Su 11:30am-8:30pm.
    -Owner John Kozick on Skipper’s Pier’s secret

Best Barbecue
Adam’s the Place for Ribs

It’s a friendly neighborhood joint. I’ve been eating at Adams Ribs for about 20 years. My favorite menu choices are the pulled pork sandwich and the baby back ribs. I’ve had ribs all over the country, and Adam’s Ribs are the best.
     –Dave Bontempo, Annapolis

Adam’s Prince Frederick general manager Chris Walker on Adams’ secret

Consistency and quality! We have consistency in Adams’ famous recipes for slow-cooked, home-style, Southern-style sauced ribs, pulled pork and chopped beef. We have consistency in the number of years we’ve been open and staff who grow with us over the years. We have home recipes cooked from scratch with fresh ingredients; the prep crew gets started every day at 8am. Plus, of course, the tender loving care we put into it. If we’ve got a secret, that’s it.
    To learn more go to www.adamsribs.com. 2200 Old Solomons Island Rd., Prince Frederick, 410-586-0001. M-Th 11am-9pm; FSa 11am-10pm; Su 9am-9pm.

Best Burger
Five Guys Burgers & Fries

Five Guys has a cafeteria atmosphere that’s nothing fancy, but then again you don’t go to Five Guys for the atmosphere. You go there for the best burger. Along with the reasonable prices, you can customize your burger with any toppings you want. My husband introduced me to Five Guys about three years ago, and because we eat late the fact that Five Guys is open every night till 10pm is great for us.
     –Tracy Uhthoff, Annapolis

Best Butcher
My Butcher and More

I’ve been visiting My Butcher for about five years. The shop has really great quality meats; I mainly like to get steaks, New York strip and T-bone. I’ve always liked the selection and that the business is a local establishment. The atmosphere is friendly and outgoing, and staff always answer any questions.
     –Thomas Smith, Annapolis

Owner Mike Smollon on My Butcher and More’s secret

It’s quality and service. I personally source out the finest meats available, and we further dry each meat to perfection. As far as service goes, our customers get knowledgeable one-on-one service about meats and how to serve them. We also make it a point to find those special desires customers have that normal stores won’t carry.
    To learn more go to www.mybutcherandmore.com. 1410 Forest Dr., Annapolis, 410-295-7500. Tu-F 11am-7pm; Sa 10am-6pm Sa; Su 11am-4pm.

Best Catering
The Main Ingredient

Food is wonderful, service is excellent, and desserts are outstanding. I highly recommend The Main Ingredient. They cater corporate events on a large scale to small family parties or weddings at Paca House.
     –Bobbie Carew, Annapolis

Owner Evie Loftus Turner on The Main Ingredient’s secret

Events people want catered often have a big emotional stake. It’s your wedding or anniversary party, your holiday dinner when family comes together, even a funeral. During the week, it’s often an important business meeting. We have a wonderful staff who’ve been with us a long time who you can rely on to help plan your menu and tables, preparing and deliver just what you ordered and — if you want — serve it. We make sure you don’t have to worry about anything but enjoying your guests and your event.
    To learn more, go to www.themainingredient.com. 914 Bay Ridge Rd., Annapolis, 410-626-0388. Café hours M-Th 7:30am-8:30pm; FSa 7:30am-9:30pm; Su 7:30am-8pm.

Best Coffee House
Zü Coffee

Zü Coffeehouse has good service and a friendly atmosphere. I didn’t feel like I was being shuffled in and out as in large corporate coffee places. I go to Zü Coffee weekly if not twice a week. Oh yeah, and the coffee is really, really good.
     –Kevin Doyle, Annapolis

Owner Doug Henderson on Zü Coffee’s secret

The product, the value, the place to have it in: That’s the formula, and it works every time. The community has really taken to us, and I treat Zü Coffee like a good place for the community I’m part of. When you’re inviting neighbors in, it’s got to be good. And I keep trying to find the best I can in everything, pastries, cups, lids and of course coffees.
    I love coffee! I’m a coffee hound and an airline pilot, and coffee makes the airplane fly!
    We serve different coffees and, of course, seasonal coffee drinks. For all our coffees, fortunately or unfortunately, I pick the most expensive green beans. Then we roast the beans right to get the best product. Our main Zü blend of four different beans is by far the most popular of all our coffees.
    To learn more go to www.zucoffee.com. 934 Bay Ridge Rd, Annapolis, 410-990-0731. M-Sa 5:30am-7pm; Su 6:30am-7pm.

Best Crab Cake
Edgewater Restaurant

Edgewater Restaurant’s crab cakes have the Wow! factor. They are very good and big!
     –Michelle Weaver, Deale

Best Crab House
Cantler’s Riverside Inn

The myth is that Jimmy Buffet visited once and put the place on the map. It’s the Bay’s best-kept secret for hot crabs and cold beer. I’ve been going there for what seems like my whole life, and it’s nice to have a good restaurant like Cantler’s so close to home. The atmosphere is pure Annapolis.
     –Peyton Whitford, Sherwood Forest

Best Deli ~ TIE
The Big Cheese

I’ve been going to the Big Cheese Deli in Annapolis for about 10 years. I love that they have the biggest selection of cheeses and sandwiches anywhere. The food is always good. My favorite thing to order from The Big Cheese is the vegetarian sandwich, with my favorite cheese, port wine cheddar.
     –Robin Kick, Annapolis

Best Deli ~ TIE
Giolitti Delicatessen

I love Giolitti’s. Every time I’m in the mood for a fresh Italian treat, I go there. The atmosphere is friendly, and I love the way the deli displays meats and cheeses. My favorite things to order are the muffaletta and the chicken salad, though this deli has something in it to suit everyone.
     –Marcie Stone, Sunderland

Best Dock Bar ~ TIE
Pusser’s Caribbean Grille

Great atmosphere. The water’s right there. Good people, live music, bands and good drinks.
     –Michelle Weaver, Deale

Best Dock Bar ~ TIE
Skipper’s Pier

I’ve been going to Skipper’s for 10 years. Crabs are great, music’s good and I’ve always had fun whenever I go. It’s rustic and friendly.
     –Michael White, Chesapeake Beach

Best French Fries
Five Guys Burger & Fries

They’re good and they’re fun. They come is a big brown bag. There are lots of them. You can share.
     –Brenda Robertson, Dunkirk

Best Happy Hour
Yellowfin Steak & Fish House

Yellowfin is hands-down the best happy hour in Annapolis. I’ve been going there for several years. The service is great, the seafood is local and the place is both for the upscale and those just passing through. I would definitely rate Yellowfin a 10 out 10.
     –Jessica Sterling, Annapolis

Best Ice Cream
Storm Brothers

Storm Brothers has the best selection of ice cream. It’s also at such a fun location. My husband and I take a dingy through Ego Alley to get there. My favorite flavor to get is strawberry cheesecake, and my husband likes banana ice cream. It’s great to have Storm Brothers; it’s very much a local tradition.
     –Tracy Uhthoff, Annapolis

Best Italian Food
Mamma Lucia

I own a business myself, a daycare, and on occasion I take everyone out to Mamma Lucia. The atmosphere is warm and friendly. The pizza and pasta are excellent. I usually order their gourmet pizza. Mama Lucia’s is my favorite Italian restaurant anywhere.
     –April Grieson, Owings

Owner Maria Lubrano on Mamma Lucia’s secret

We make true Italian food,” says owner Maria Lubrano. “We only use fresh ingredients.
    To learn more go to www.mammaluciarestaurant.com.
    10136 Southern Maryland Blvd., Dunkirk, 301-812-1240; www.mammaluciadunkirk.com/index.html.
    862 Costley Way, Prince Frederick, 443-486-4701.
M-Th 11am-10pm; FSa 11am-11pm; Su 11am-9pm.

Best Kids Menu
Friendly’s Restaurant

Every Valentines Day, my sister and I would wake up to find a chocolate rose from our father and a Friendly’s coupon for a free ice cream from our mother. It was a tradition to walk into Friendly’s and pick out our favorite ice cream. Mine was always mint chocolate chip. When I think of Friendly’s I think of two things, the kids menu and ice cream. I can remember how special I would feel sliding in to the diner-style booths and staring down at the bright colors and pictures on the kid’s menu. Mom would say, Pick out what you want. Chicken fingers with the dipping sauce or a grilled turkey and cheese were my favorites. Friendly’s is the best because as a kid you love going there, and as a grown up you can’t wait to take your kids there to feel that same way you felt.
     –Rose Anderson, Annapolis

Edgewater Friendly’s owner Allison Ice on Friendly’s secret

We’re a bright, colorful restaurant with extremely kid-friendly food: mac and cheese, chicken tenders, hot dogs, sliders — plus healthy choices like grilled chicken, broccoli and fresh apple slices. Each kids meal comes with both drink and special kids dessert included. Kids get coloring placemats and crayons, which is good for mom, too.
    We try to live up to our name for people of all ages. We’ll even sing you a special song on your birthday.
    To learn more go to www.friendlys.com. 112 Mitchells Chance Rd., Edgewater, 410-956-1732. Su-Th 7am-10pm; FSa 7am-11pm.

Best Mexican Food
Mexican Cafe

I voted Mexican Café Best of the Bay because they have fair prices and a relaxing atmosphere. I’ve been going there for about nine years, and I like it because it’s not seafood and it’s not an average place to eat. My favorite thing to order is the Stuffed Avocado.
     –Heidi Dittes, Edgewater

Best New Restaurant of 2011
Vin 909

Vin 909 is really creative, new and fresh, with spectacular food and different from what’s been done in town before. It’s unique, casual dining with a lot of great wine selections.
     –Rob Beall, Annapolis

Best Overall Restaurant
The Main Ingredient

Since Main Ingredient opened about 20 years ago, I have always considered this local restaurant a nice, friendly, neighborhood place. Main Ingredient has the best home-style food and desserts anywhere.
     –Bobbie Carew, Annapolis

Owner Evie Loftus Turner on The Main Ingredient’s secret

Thanks to our great base of loyal customers, some who come in three or four times a week! We’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the atmosphere is different at each hour, but the food and service always equally good.
    Our secret in pleasing our customers is extreme consistency — in the café, carry out and or catering.
    Chef Jeff Williams does an exceptional job of keeping things creative and delicious, as with his really wonderful specials at night, while keeping our signature items consistent, so our Hungarian mushroom soup, for example, is just as good — and the same — every time.
    To learn more go to www.themainingredient.com. 914 Bay Ridge Rd., Annapolis, 410-626-0388. Café hours M-Th 7:30am-8:30pm; FSa 7:30am-9:30pm; Su 7:30am-8pm.

Best Oysters
Middleton Tavern

Twelve years ago when I moved to Annapolis, Middleton’s became my favorite place to go for seafood.
    I’m from Southern Maryland, and I was raised on seafood. My grandfather was a waterman who farmed his own oysters. Middleton’s has their own shucker. The oysters are very fresh and always good.
     –Lindsey Sturdivant, Annapolis

Best Pizza
Rocco’s Pizzeria

In the late ’70s, I helped run a pizza operation in California, and I have to say that Rocco’s has the best pizza I’ve had since then. To borrow a quote from a movie (Fried Green Tomatoes), the secret’s in the sauce. It’s a great sauce!
     –Doug Henderson, Annapolis

I voted for Rocco’s because I’m a pizza-holic, and I love Rocco’s crust!
     –Ann Bergstrom, Annapolis

Owner Joe Gargano on Rocco’s secret

The key ingredient of our success? Everything’s fresh with no preservatives. We make the sauce and dough fresh every day. All veggies are fresh and cut in house, and our cheese is whole milk mozzarella that we shred fresh every day. That’s what goes into the traditional New York-style pizza we make.
    To learn more, see our ad on page 13, or go to www.roccospizzashop.com. 954 Bay Ridge Rd., Annapolis, 410-263-9444. Open at 11am daily

Best Seafood
Annapolis Seafood Markets

Annapolis Seafood Market is reliable at delivering fresh seafood and great variety. I’ve been going for at least 20 years. I like to order oysters, one of my favorite types of seafood, from them.
     –Joe Tucker, West River

Best Splurge Restaurant
Lewnes’ Steakhouse

Lewnes’ is the absolute best local restaurant to splurge for any special occasion. The ambience of the is clean and traditional. It has an upscale feel though very comfortable. Lewnes’ has the biggest steaks and the biggest lobsters I’ve ever seen. At Lewnes’, you definitely get your bang for the buck.
     –Tracy Uhthoff, Annapolis

Best Steak
Lewnes’ Steakhouse

Lewnes’ steaks are among the best anywhere. The atmosphere is more personable then most steakhouses. My wife and my favorite steak to order is the filet mignon. We’ve been going there for a good 20 years, and the whole experience is always comfortable.
     –Bob Nichols, Annapolis

Best Sunday Brunch
Carrol’s Creek

Lots of delicious food, great variety and beautiful scenery. What’s not to love?
     –Keith Manuel, Annapolis

Best Take-out ~ Tie
Heavenly Chicken & Ribs

Buckets of food for delivery during football games: Heavenly Grill’s fresh Memphis-style ribs in a honey hickory sauce; spicy Asian buffalo chicken wings; fresh fried rockfish. It’s a place with no frills, down to earth and friendly. A great local value!
    –Fever Armstrong, Dunkirk

Owner Gary Armstrong on Heavenly Chicken & Ribs’ secret

Family, friendly and fresh: That’s our key to success. Our family is our community, our church, our neighbors, our county, our state. We do philanthropic thru the year on behalf of our military, our fire fighters and police, all the help agencies in county.
    Our product is fresh, and we make it fresh for you. We offer quick service, not fast food. You can’t get a burger or chicken in a minute, because we’re not giving you a lot of frozen products. We cook it fresh — including fresh rockfish and wild salmon. We also buy local when available, and that’s such a big factor in our economies now. Without the support of our community, our business wouldn’t survive, so we try to hold up our end of the bargain, performing a little better than big national chains.
    To learn more go to www.heavenlychickenandribs.com. 10812 Town Center Blvd., Dunkirk, 410-286-9660. MTu 10:30am-9:30pm; WTh 10:30am-10pm; FSa 10:30am-11pm; Su 10:30am-9pm.

Best Take-out ~ Tie
The Main Ingredient

Your food has to be quick, fresh and — unless you’re ordering a salad — hot! If you call in, we’ll get your order ready quickly for you. Our orders are well packaged in a shopping bag, and inside the food is displayed in containers as it would be on a plate. We make it simple for you to walk in and walk out quick with the same delicious food you’d eat at our tables.
    To learn more, see our ad on page ___ or go to www.themainingredient.com. 914 Bay Ridge Rd., Annapolis, 410-626-0388. Café hours M-Th 7:30am-8:30pm; FSa 7:30am-9:30pm; Su 7:30am-8pm.
     -The Main Ingredient owner Evie Loftus Turner

Best Vegetarian Food
Lemongrass

My favorite dish is green curry with fried tofu. The ingredients are fresh, and the taste rivals my favorite Thai anywhere. The service is also excellent, and I like the informality. It’s a good place to meet friends for dinner.
     –Kirsti Uunila, North Beach

Owner Gavin Buckley on Lemongrass’ secret

Vegetarian dishes are a regular part of Thai cooking.
    To learn more go to www.kapowgroup.com.
Lemongrass: 167 West St., Annapolis, 410-280-0086. M-Th 11:30am-3pm & 5pm-10pm; F 11:30am-3pm & 5pm-11pm; Sa noon-4pm & 5pm-11pm; Su 4pm-9pm.
Lemongrass Too, 2625A Housely Rd., Annapolis. 410-224-THAI (8424)
M-Th 11am-4pm & 5pm-10pm; F 11am-4pm & 5pm-11pm; Sa noon-4pm & 5pm-11pm; Su 4pm-10pm.

Best Wings
Buffalo Wild Wings

Something so simple, and they’re fantastic! Lots of variety. Oh my gosh, the number of sauces is incredible.
     –Karen Pouliot, Annapolis

Most Romantic Restaurant
Chart House Restaurant

My Husband planned a surprise birthday dinner for me at the Chart House. The service and staff were great. They made printed menus for my birthday and set our table off to the side to create a more romantic setting.
     –Erika Hall, Annapolis

General Manager Paul Broccolina on Chart House’s secret

Our unparalleled views of downtown Annapolis and the Naval Academy, impeccable service and first-rate cuisine make us a unique part of the Annapolis community. We would like to thank our loyal customers for voting us the best restaurant for romantic dining.
    To learn more go to www.chart-house.com. 300 2nd St., Eastport, 410-268-7166. M-Th 4:30-10pm; FSa 4:30-11pm; Su 10am-9pm.

Most Scenic Dining
Severn Inn

I voted Severn Inn Most Scenic Dining because of the beautiful water views and exceptional service.
     –Margo Siegel, Severna Park