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


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

Best local band due for a national breakout
Barnhouse Effect
Stoll Vaughan
Club Dub


Best Hair Salon
Planet Salon
Hair Port

Best manicure/pedicure
Planet Salon
Nail Perfection

Best wax job
Rain Spa at Planet Salon
Hair Port

Best spa
Posh Salon
Rain Spa at Planet Salon
Hair & Now Day

Best gym
Gold’s Gym

Best massage (legal please)
The Massage Center

Best permanent hair removal
Aesthetic Surgical Arts
Advanced hair Removal

Best plastic surgeon
Dr. Robert Baker
Dr. Andy Moore )
Dr. Henry Wells

Best shrink
Fiona Young
Rob Durham


Best new restaurant
Mellow Mushroom

Best date restaurant
Merrick Inn

Best ethnic fare
Atomic Café

Best happy hour
Merrick Inn

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
Good Foods Market & Cafe

Best cup of coffee in town
Common Grounds
Mocha Monkey

Best ice cream
Cold Stone

Best Kentucky bourbon
Maker’s Mark
Woodford Reserve
Wild Turkey

Best smoking patio
Merrick Inn
Atomic Café

Best role model for a Lexington restaurant (list name of restaurant, and city)
Cheesecake Factory
Spaghetti Factory
Montgomery Inn Boathouse (Cincinnati, OH)


Best new store (opened in last year)
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

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
Third Street Stuff
Black Market

Best fine jewelry
Sheila Bayes

Best gift shop
For Friends

Best store you wish Lexington had
Pottery Barn
Crate & Barrell


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

Best contemporary/modern furnishings
B&B Home Furnishing
T. K. Designs

Best antiques
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

Best realtor
Cheryl Baker
Tom Fields
Julie Baker

Best Luxury apartment community
Park Place
Grand Reserve
Merrick Place


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

Best florist
Best of Flowers
Michler (tie for 2nd)
Stephen Hein

Best CPA
Dean Dorton Ford
Foley & Luby

Best mechanic
Charlie’s Foreign Auto
B & W Automotive
Motorsports of Lexington

Best ISP


Best eligible
bachelorette In Lex
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

Sexiest radio personality (female)
Julie Ann Hatton
Dawn Cox (tie for 2nd)
Sue Wylie

Sexiest elected official
Teresa Isaac
Ernesto Scorsone
Ernie Fletcher


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


Best public access show
Channel 3
Heart of Gold

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

Best radio station
WUKY 91.3
WLKT 104.5
WLTO 102.5

Best new phonebook
Bell South

Best ACE cover story in last year
Bridesmaid’s Ball
Junior League Horse Show
Swimsuit Season