WELCOME!! If there are, in fact, billions of other civilizations, where does that leave our celebrities? If worth is measured on a sliding scale of recognition, what would it mean it we were all suddenly obscure? How would we know our place? What if I'd wasted my entire life comparing myself with people who didn't really matter? Try as I might, I still can't wrap my mind around it.
—David Sedaris, Dress Your Family in Corduroy &Denim
Welcome to the eighth annual Real Best of Lexington. The "Real" was a necessary qualifier in the first year, because everybody (radio, tv, Ham Radio operators, etc) was doing some sort of Best of the Bluegrass poll. Then they died down, and in 2002, resurfaced—with billboards all over town suddenly proclaiming that somebody was the best at something, as measured (in the fine print) by the 4.5 readers of some thrifty shopper, ad-rag, web-zine, or the sporadic newsletter occasionally xeroxed and distributed up and down the railroad tracks by the one-string banjo player who lives in a nearby parking lot and resides under our cars. The other qualifications that apply to "real" is that the poll reflects the votes of real readers—as determined by their ability to find any Ace during the month of August (the ballot is published in every edition); complete 50 percent of the categories; fold it; put it in an envelope; and mail it to us. (Online voting was eliminated a few years ago because of the spectacular attempts at fraud.) By next year, perhaps we'll have those thought portals installed in the base of every readers' skull, and the whole process will become still more efficient. As for this year, we thank the Interns right down to the bloody nubs of their fingertips and the well-worn beads of their trusty abacus. They remain stalwart bastions of bribe-proof integrity (it helps that they're so new in town that they don't understand most of the categories, much less know the contenders). Undoubtedly, there will still be protests by torch-wielding villagers (there always are)—but again, as always—the staff doesn't get a vote. Just the readers. We only hope as many of them vote for President as participated in the readers' poll. As for the categories you may miss this year (from pancakes to barbecue to banking....) three consecutive wins means the category is retired, at least for a time, to make room for some new faces. (We're not even sure Billy's has enough wall-space to display one more winner's certificate in the BBQ field.) We're happy to be celebrating the Best of Lexington on September 15th—in our 15th anniversary year—grateful for consistently having the best readers in town.n
—Yer Pals at Ace Weekly
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Best art gallery Cross Gate Gallery UK Gallery ArtsPlace Inc. Best visual art exhibit in last year Frederico Pizzuro Nudes 2004 Door Mania Best photographer (artistic) Robert Baker James Archambeault Best local visual artist Joel Petro Arturo Sandoval Frederico Pizzuro Best book by a Kentuckian in last year No Heroes: A Memoir ofComing Home by Chris Offutt Coal Tattoo by Silas House Best local theater production (in last year) Jesus Christ Superstar Shakespeare in the Park Ballet Under the Stars Best new local CD Apples in Stereo Stoll Vaughan Stego Best local band due for a national breakout Barnhouse Effect Stoll Vaughan Club Dub BEAUTY, HEALTH & FITNESS Best Hair Salon Planet Salon Posh Hair Port Best manicure/pedicure Planet Salon Posh Nail Perfection Best wax job Rain Spa at Planet Salon Posh Hair Port Best spa Posh Salon Rain Spa at Planet Salon Hair & Now Day Best gym Gold’s Gym LAC YMCA Best massage (legal please) Posh The Massage Center Best permanent hair removal Aesthetic Surgical Arts Posh Advanced hair Removal Best plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Baker Dr. Andy Moore ) Dr. Henry Wells Best shrink Fiona Young Rob Durham EAT & DRINK Best new restaurant Mellow Mushroom AnnaBelle’s Bellini’s Best date restaurant Murray’s Bellini’s Merrick Inn Best ethnic fare Kashmir Natasha’s Atomic Café Best happy hour Merrick Inn Applebee’s Cheapside Best caterer Annette’s Catering South Van Bleu Ribbon Catering Best dive Tolly Ho Chevy Chase Inn Best restaurant server Jason Parsons (Winchell’s) Louie Bickett (a la Lucie) Best veggie-friendly restaurant Alfalfa’s Ramsey’s Good Foods Market & Cafe Best cup of coffee in town Starbucks Common Grounds Mocha Monkey Best ice cream Graeter’s Cold Stone Baskin-Robbins Best Kentucky bourbon Maker’s Mark Woodford Reserve Wild Turkey Best smoking patio Merrick Inn Cheapside Atomic Café Best role model for a Lexington restaurant (list name of restaurant, and city) Cheesecake Factory Spaghetti Factory Montgomery Inn Boathouse (Cincinnati, OH) THE GOODS Best new store (opened in last year) Hustler Cold Water Creek Wild Oats Boutique Milan Best auto dealer Don Jacobs Glenn Auto Dealer Greene’s Toyota Best used/neighborhood bookstore Black Swan Joseph Beth Glover’s Best place to buy/sell used music CD Central Spy Records Disc Jockey Best women’s clothing Bella Rose Ann Taylor Best men’s clothing Banana Republic Howard & Miller Best eclectic/artsy/funky jewelry Artique Third Street Stuff Black Market Best fine jewelry Sheila Bayes Farmer’s Best gift shop Keeneland For Friends Artique Best store you wish Lexington had Pottery Barn Crate & Barrell Nordstrom HOME & GARDEN Best architectural firm Pohl Rosa Pohl Architecture & Design Brandstetter Carroll Inc. Sherman, Carter, Barnhart & Architects Best interior designer Ivy Downs Emily Dexter (tie for 2nd) Gale Moses Best Landscape Architect/Garden Designer Louis Hillenmeyer Walter Smith Henkel-Denmark Best contemporary/modern furnishings Alteriors B&B Home Furnishing T. K. Designs Best antiques Heritage Angliana Avenue Saturday/Sunday Market Best Plumber Mike Harp Roto Rooter Best Home Inspector Don Pruitt Larry Sills Don R. Hall Inspections Best general contractor Gerald Cissell Padgett Construction Sills Home Inspection Best honest roofer Reliable Roofing Burnett Sons Odessa Best realtor Cheryl Baker Tom Fields Julie Baker Best Luxury apartment community Park Place Grand Reserve Merrick Place SERVICES & PROFESSIONALS Best veterinarian Dr Headley (Chevy Chase Animal Clinic) Dr. Phil McCarthy Dr. Schabel Best law firm McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland Stoll, Keenon Park Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs Best tattoo artist Tattoo Charlie’s Electric Art Skinfinity Best florist Best of Flowers Michler (tie for 2nd) Stephen Hein Best CPA Radwan-Brown Dean Dorton Ford Foley & Luby Best mechanic Charlie’s Foreign Auto B & W Automotive Motorsports of Lexington Best ISP BlueOne.net QX.Net AOL SEX & THE CITY Best eligible bachelorette in Lexington Teresa Isaac Best power couple Alan & Kathy Stein Donna & Tubby Smith Bill & Debbie Owen Sexiest local band Barnhouse Effect Stoll Vaughan Club Dub Sexiest local news anchor (male) Marvin Bartlett Sam Dick T G Shuck Sexiest local news anchor (female) Nancy Cox Dia Davidson Jennifer Nime Sexiest radio personality (male) Kruser (Dave Krusenklaus) Jack Pattie Sticky Sexiest radio personality (female) Julie Ann Hatton Dawn Cox (tie for 2nd) Sue Wylie Sexiest elected official Teresa Isaac Ernesto Scorsone Ernie Fletcher LOCAL COLOR: (PEOPLE & PLACES) Best use for Lexington Mall’s current carapace New mall Orchid Greenhouse Year-round Farmer’s Market Best thing to happen to downtown this year Smoking Ban Completion of new Court House Bars open until 2:30am Best thing to happen to the suburbs this year No ice storm Smoking ban Hamburg Pavilion Public middle schools Best local politician you love-to-hate Teresa Isaac Ernie Fletcher Mike Scanlon Best council member David Stevens Bill Farmer Mike Scanlon Best state legislator Ernesto Scorsone Kathy Stein Greg Stumbo Best charity / nonprofit God’s Pantry Humane Society Nature Conservancy United Way Best idea you’d like to share with LFUCG Buy the water company Synchronize traffic lights Fix LexTran Media Best public access show Channel 3 Heart of Gold Woodsongs Best evening newscast WLEX Channel 18 WKYT Channel 27 WTVQ Channel 36 Best news Hair Dia Davidson Nancy Cox Sam Dick Best local meteorologist Brian Collins Bill Meck T G Shuck Best local radio talk show Jack Pattie Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour Kruser & Co. Best DJ Monkey Boy Ann Deck Sticky Best radio station WUKY 91.3 WLKT 104.5 WLTO 102.5 Best new phonebook Alltel Verizon Bell South Best ACE cover story in last year Bridesmaid’s Ball Junior League Horse Show Swimsuit Season