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Best of Memphis 2014

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Twenty years is a long time to do anything, but this Best of Memphis thing seems to be working out okay. The readers like it; the winners love it. We have a fun party. Since 1994, when the first Best of Memphis appeared, it's been an annual, momentary blast of positivity: Yay, you! Yay, us! Yay, everybody!

(Never mind the grumpypants. They'll eye-roll and harrumph no matter who wins.)

Now, over the years, there have been a select few who have being the best down cold, winning their category since 1994. They are simply better at being the best than anybody else. They are: Huey's (Best Burger); Folk's Folly (Best Steak); Sekisui (Best Japanese/Sushi); Buster's (Best Liquor Store); and Joe Birch (Best TV News Anchor).

For each of the sections, we dug up an old photo (circa late '80s/early '90s) of one of the winners.

Those categories marked "BOM" means the winner won with an overwhelming majority. The categories marked "Readers' Choice" means there was no clear winner.

The Best of Memphis issue was written by Richard Alley, Katherine Barnett, Joe Boone, Shara Clark, Anna Cox, Chris Davis, Susan Ellis, Louis Goggans, Bianca Phillips, Alexandra Pusateri, Toby Sells, Chris Shaw, and Bruce VanWyngarden. The issue was designed by Carrie Beasley. Images were taken by Justin Fox Burks.

As always, we thank our readers for participating in the Best of Memphis each year. Without you, there would be no Best of Memphis. And we thank our advertisers. Without them, there would be no Flyer. Much gratitude goes to Joe Birch of WMC-TV, Kelly Johnson and Jamie Chapman of Molly's La Casita, and Josh Hammond and Caitlin Belisario of Buster's Liquors, all of whom went above and beyond to provide images to use in this issue.

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Huey’s in 1994
  • Huey’s in 1994

Best Lunch
1. Huey's
2. Central BBQ
3. The Elegant Farmer — tie — Young Avenue Deli


a modern-day, award-winning Huey burger
  • a modern-day, award-winning Huey burger

Best Burger
BOM 1. Huey's
2. Earnestine & Hazel's
3. Alex's Tavern — tie — Tops Bar-B-Q

Best Service
1. Huey's
2. Restaurant Iris
3. Flight Restaurant & Wine Bar
tie — Folk's Folly Prime Steak House

Best Server
1. Tony Dortch, Huey's Midtown
2. Calvin Bell, Charles Vergos' Rendezvous
3. Jean Pruett, Aldo's Pizza Pies/Bardog Tavern/Slider Inn

Best Late-Night Dining
1. Huey's
2. Alex's Tavern
3. Earnestine & Hazel's

Best Kid-Friendly Restaurant
1. Huey's
2. Mellow Mushroom
3. Central BBQ — tie — Kooky Canuck — tie — Memphis Pizza Café

Memphians can recite the Huey's menu like the Pledge of Allegiance. We know it's fast and affordable. It's a place where both parents and kids happily feed and where late-night cravings are satisfied. And we know the experience will be pleasant because of servers like Tony Dortch, who embodies everything we love about our favorite burger joint and bar.

Kelly English
  • Kelly English

Best Chef
1. Kelly English, Restaurant Iris/The Second Line
2. Andrew Ticer/Michael Hudman, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen/Hog & Hominy
3. Felicia Willett, Felicia Suzanne's — tie — Joshua Perkins, Flight Restaurant & Wine Bar — tie — Patrick Reilly, Majestic Grille

Kelly English is a scrappy guy. This top-rated chef recently "cut the competition" on Esquire TV's Knife Fight. He's been known to go toe-to-virtual-toe with haters on social media and has hosted benefits to fight politicians who truck in discrimination. Like the man himself, the food at Restaurant Iris and the Second Line is both sophisticated and a little bit wild at heart.

Restaurant Iris
  • Restaurant Iris

Best Romantic Restaurant
1. Restaurant Iris
2. Flight Restaurant & Wine Bar
3. Folk's Folly Prime Steak House

The dim-not-dark lighting in Restaurant Iris is perfect for a night of fine wine and sensual dining. And if you want to get really close in this gorgeous old Midtown home with its long culinary legacy, the "Surf & Turf," a New York strip steak stuffed with fried oysters and blue cheese, is big enough to share.

The Second Line
  • The Second Line

Best New Restaurant
1. The Second Line
2. Babalu Tacos & Tapas
3. Pyro's Fire Fresh Pizza

"First line" Mardi Gras parades consist of a brass band, float, and marching members of a specific krewe. The "second line" is all the people dancing behind the first parade, showing their appreciation of the music. Located next door to Chef Kelly English's flagship Restaurant Iris, the Second Line provides a more casual (and perfectly named) dining experience.

Brother Juniper's
  • Brother Juniper's

Best Breakfast
1. Brother Juniper's
2. Bryant's Breakfast
3. Blue Plate — tie — Café Eclectic

Brother Juniper's is a Memphis tradition serving up perfectly brewed cups of java alongside traditional breakfast dishes that have been ever-so-slightly upscaled. Omelet lovers, rejoice.

Best Brunch
1. Owen Brennan's Restaurant
2. Beauty Shop
3. Majestic Grille

Whether you're in the mood for sausage and eggs, fried catfish in a creamy crawfish sauce, or an order of Eggs Sardou, Owen Brennan's has got you covered. Live jazz music makes this New Orleans-style dining experience complete.

Best New American Restaurant
1. The Elegant Farmer — tie — Local
2. Beauty Shop
3. Majestic Grille

With its cozy interior, comfortable patio, farm-to-table ethos, and menu stuffed with elevated comfort food, Mac Edwards' the Elegant Farmer lives up to its name and exceeds expectations. Meanwhile, Local takes all the things we loved about the original downtown gastropub and gives it a Midtown spin at the corner of Madison and Cooper.

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Best Vegetarian
1. The Elegant Farmer
2. Café Eclectic — tie — Whole Foods Market
3. Fuel

Memphis' savviest eaters appreciate Elegant Farmer's farm-to-table vegetarian options, which include generous salads and a fine veggie plate. They also up the sandwich game with their Bahn You, Bahn-Mi, featuring mushrooms and sesame aioli on a French roll, and the PB&J with house-made pecan butter and preserves.

Best Wine List
1. Flight Restaurant & Wine Bar
2. Greencork
3. Folk's Folly Prime Steak House — tie — Le Chardonnay

The Wine Advocate describes Shafer Cabernet Hillside Select as being "a wonderful monster" boasting "a dense purple color as well as notes of beef blood, creme de cassis, licorice, incense, and spring flowers." If you've got $495 to drop, it pairs nicely with one of Flight's mouthwatering brisket tacos. The cherry mocha notes of Maximo "Limited Edition" Tempranillo? Also a good choice for considerably less. Both on the list, plus more exceptional wines.

Best Steak
1. Folk's Folly Prime Steak House
2. Ruth's Chris Steak House
3. Buckley's Fine Filet Grill — tie — The Butcher Shop

Start with a frosty martini and Southern-fried pickles in the piano bar. Enjoy a satisfying bowl of creamy she-crab soup followed by a tomato and onion salad, and a cowboy rib-eye ... or a lollypop veal chop ... or a 14-ounce filet mignon, all beautifully prepared. Finish with a Folk's Folly Freeze: Your choice of top-shelf liqueurs blended with vanilla ice cream.

Best Barbecue
BOM 1. Central BBQ
2. Germantown Commissary
3. The Bar-B-Q Shop

Best Ribs
1. Central BBQ
2. Charles Vergos' Rendezvous
3. Corky's

Memphians will always fight over who makes the best ribs or the best pulled pork sandwich. But we do agree that Central BBQ is a perfect package, serving mouthwatering ribs, smoked hot wings, pulled pork sandwiches, and generous portions of barbecue nachos. If pork's not your thing, they offer beef, chicken, and turkey options as well.

Best Hot Wings
1. Ching's Hot Wings
2. Central BBQ
3. D'Bo's Wings n' More

Ching's covers all the basic food groups: Hot, Extra Hot, Dry Hot, Honey Hot, Honey Extra Hot, and, of course, Suicide. All of it goes better with some smoked sausage and fried okra on the side.

Best Fried Chicken
BOM 1. Gus's Fried Chicken
2. Jack Pirtle's Chicken
3. Uncle Lou's Fried Chicken

Gus's Fried Chicken wins this category most every year for a reason: Their chicken is addictively good. If you doubt it, check out the mini traffic jam in front of their downtown location at lunch hour every weekday.

Best Cajun/Creole
1. Bayou Bar & Grill
2. DeJaVu
3. Owen Brennan's Restaurant — tie — The Second Line

The Bayou has been an Overton Square mainstay since way before that area's recent renaissance. It's the home of some of Memphis' tastiest Louisiana-style grub, a great pool table, cold beer, and a spritzy patio that is a Midtown favorite.

Best Mediterranean
1. Casablanca
2. Petra Café
3. Kwik Chek

If you're looking for great Middle Eastern food, including kibbeh, baba ghanoush, falafel, hummus, shawarma, and other traditional foods of the region, Flyer readers say head straight to Casablanca.

Best Dessert
1. Muddy's Bake Shop
2. Cheesecake Corner
3. Frost Bake Shop

Best Bakery
BOM 1. Muddy's Bake Shop
2. La Baguette
3. Frost Bake Shop

Muddy's Bake Shop has gained a large and loyal following in just a few years. This year, they won the Best Bakery and Best Dessert categories. If you're feeling the need to treat your sweet tooth, you can't do any better than Muddy's organic, preservative-free delights.

Jerry's Sno Cones
  • Jerry's Sno Cones

Best Frozen Dessert
1. Jerry's Sno Cones
2. YoLo Frozen Yogurt
3. La Michoacana

Jerry's Sno Cones is way off the beaten path in northeast Memphis, but Memphians have been beating their way down the backstreets to this iconic shack for years. There's a reason for that. Jerry's is the best.

Best Italian
1. Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen
2. Pete & Sam's
3. Bari Ristorante e Enoteca

It hasn't taken long for word to get out about the innovative and always delicious cuisine at this Brookhaven Circle hotspot. Chefs Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman have taken Italian food way past pasta and meatballs.

Las Delicias
  • Las Delicias

Best Mexican
1. Las Delicias Mexican Bar & Grill
2. Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana
3. El Mezcal — tie — Molly's La Casita

Las Delicias' reputation and buzz first stemmed from their remarkable fresh guacamole and homemade chips, but the restaurant backs it up with dozens of delicious Mexican entrées that will leave you happy.

Best Chinese
1. Mulan
2. A-Tan — tie —Wang's Mandarin House
3. Formosa Chinese Restaurant — tie — Mosa Asian Bistro

This is the first year Mulan takes the prize in this category. Flyer readers love Mulan's atmosphere, its cozy bar, and its huge menu, filled not only with Chinese standards but also dozens of authentic and exotic entrées for the more adventurous.

Best Thai
1. Bhan Thai
2. Bangkok Alley
3. Jasmine Thai & Vegetarian — tie — Pho Binh

Bhan Thai is a repeat winner in this category. The restaurant is set in a charming old Midtown house on Peabody with a rambling deck and a lively bar out back. And the food ... well, when it comes to Thai, they're second to none.

Best Vietnamese
1. Pho Saigon
2. Pho Binh
3. Saigon Le

As the name implies, Pho Saigon has a number of pho dishes. From steak pho to tofu pho, you'll certainly get your Vietnamese soup fix there. But for something completely different, go off-menu and order the tofu Banh Xeo, a rice flour and coconut milk crepe stuffed with deep-fried tofu and sautéed veggies and topped with carrot-daikon slaw.

Best Japanese
1. Sekisui
2. Osaka
3. Bluefin — tie — Sakura Japanese Restaurant

When it comes to sushi, there's one name that stands out. With six locations in Memphis and the surrounding 'burbs, Jimmy Ishii's Sekisui sushi joints offer top-notch rolls and other Japanese fare.

Best Indian
1. India Palace
2. Bombay House — tie — Golden India
3. Mayuri

Our readers have a thing for North Indian cuisine, and India Palace offers up some of the best curries, daal, naan, and tandoori meats in town. Can't decide what to order? Stop by at lunch and sample a bit of everything on their daily lunch buffet.

Best Home Cooking/Soul Food
1. Soul Fish Cafe
2. Blue Plate Café — tie — The Elegant Farmer
3. The Cupboard

Nothing embodies Southern cookin' like a platter of fried catfish, hush puppies, and slaw. And while that may be the specialty at Soul Fish, there are plenty of other Southern staples on offer — shrimp po'boys, fried okra, smoked pork chops, fried pickled green tomatoes, and collard greens. And it doesn't get more Memphis than Soul Fish's smoked pork po'boy.

Best Seafood
1. Half Shell
2. Bonefish Grill
3. Tsunami

Since 1973, the Half Shell has been serving up fresh seafood in inventive ways — seafood nachos, fried oyster sliders, lobster and shrimp bruschetta, mahi mahi BLTs, and crab cake po'boys. And there's also plenty on the menu for those who'd rather dine on turf than surf.

Best Pizza
1. Memphis Pizza Café
2. Aldo's Pizza Pies
3. Mellow Mushroom

With five locations in the Memphis metro area, Memphis Pizza Café has become something of a local institution. And it's no wonder since they offer such a variety of unique pies — Buffalo chicken, BLT, and a meat-filled pie aptly named Hey Meat! The menu also features calzones, sandwiches, and salads.

Best Sandwiches
1. Young Avenue Deli
2. Fino's From the Hill
3. Bogie's Delicatessen

From Reubens to muffulettas to po'boys, there's a little something for everyone at Young Avenue Deli. And if you can't seem to find what you're looking for on the massive sandwich list, there's a build-your-own option.

Best Place for People-Watching
1. Peabody Lobby Bar
2. Flying Saucer
3. Celtic Crossing

Arrive at the Peabody Lobby Bar around 4:30 p.m. on any day of the week, order a dirty martini, and kick back in one of the lobby's lounge chairs. Not only will you spy all manner of people — Elvis-loving tourists, local barflies, maybe even a celebrity or two — but you'll also get in some quality bird-watching time when the famous Peabody Ducks kick off their march at 5 p.m.

Sweet Noshings
  • Sweet Noshings

Best Specialty Food Store
1. Sweet Noshings
2. Phillip Ashley Chocolates
3. Mighty Olive

Sweet Noshings has jars and jars of brightly colored, sugary treats, milky chocolates, gourmet trail mixes, fresh-baked goods, and popcorn in flavors ranging from pizza to green apple. And what better way to wash down sugar than with caffeine? They also have a full-service coffee bar featuring Memphis-roasted J. Brooks Coffee.

Best Patio
1. Celtic Crossing
2. Chiwawa
3. Bhan Thai

Celtic Crossing's patio is a shrine to patio culture. Covered but open. Spacious but intimate. Plus, the outdoor bar is what Midtown's been missing.

Best Food Truck
1. Fuel Café
2. Central BBQ
3. Rock'n Dough Pizza Co.

Fuel's food truck rides again on the top of this list. It's a seemingly simple formula: Take a truck and pack it with amazing tacos, grilled cheeses, and gallons of delicious hibiscus tea.

Best Delivery
1. Garibaldi's Pizza
2. Trolley Stop Market
3. Young Avenue Deli

Garibaldi's has been answering the call in Memphis since 1975. The local chain's three locations serve most of Memphis with everything from tater tots and hot wings to cannoli and ravioli.

Best Donut Shop
BOM 1. Gibson's Donuts
2. Howard's Donuts
3. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

Hungry Memphians start or end their days at Gibson's Donuts (sometimes both). Open early and late, Gibson's offers everything from the traditional glazed donut to the buttermilk drop, a treat hard to find outside New Orleans.

Best Coffeehouse
1. Café Eclectic
2. Otherlands Coffee Bar
3. Republic Coffee

Looking for a good jolt? Check out Café Eclectic's Americano or the Cubano. For something a little sweeter, there's the Star & Micey with two shots of espresso, white and dark chocolates, and whipped cream.

Best Local Brewery
1. Ghost River Brewing
2. Wiseacre Brewing
3. Boscos Squared

Ghost River, the "first to raise ale" in Memphis, is the first to top this brand-new category. Its flagship beer, the mellow-fresh Golden Ale, is a local favorite not to be missed. 

Taylor James of Madison Avenue Growler Station/Cash Saver
  • Taylor James of Madison Avenue Growler Station/Cash Saver

Best Beer Selection (store)
1. Madison Growler/Cash Saver
2. Buster's Liquors & Wines
3. Kroger

Beer lovers love Cash Saver. They skip down the aisles through a universe of lagers, ales, kolsches, and porters. Then, they double-check their eyes at the prices. Little wonder Cash Saver tops this brand-new category.  

Best Beer Selection (bar/restaurant)
BOM 1. Flying Saucer
2. Young Avenue Deli
3. Boscos Squared

The Flying Saucer's been doing craft beer in Memphis since before craft beer was cool. Beers small and big pour through a big wall of taps, which makes for a great beer menu. 

Best Restaurant
READERS' CHOICE
Flight Restaurant & Wine Bar
Hog & Hominy
Huey's
Restaurant Iris

Consider it a good thing that there are so many great restaurants in Memphis that there wasn't a clear winner in this category. The top vote-getters represent the wide swath of Memphis' finest offerings from casual to upscale.

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Kelly Johnson, Tammy Faye Bakker, and Robert Chapman at Molly’s La Casita, circa late 1980s
  • Kelly Johnson, Tammy Faye Bakker, and Robert Chapman at Molly’s La Casita, circa late 1980s

Best Margarita
1. Molly's La Casita
2. Happy Mexican
3. Café Ole

Molly's La Casita's margaritas are legendary, and if you can't decide whether you want it frozen or on the rocks, you can always get the half-and-half.

Best Place To See Live Music
1. Levitt Shell
2. Minglewood Hall
3. B.B. King's

The best place to see live music in Memphis continues to be the Levitt Shell in Overton Park, with the outdoor amphitheater hosting an impressive list of local and national musical acts that Memphians of all kinds can enjoy.

Best Local Band
1. North Mississippi Allstars
2. Lucero
3. Star & Micey

The North Mississippi Allstars are once again the best local band in Memphis. After dropping the critically acclaimed World Boogie Is Coming last September, the Dickinson brothers have been touring heavily but somehow found time to collaborate with Mavis Staples for a song on the new Memphis music documentary Take Me to the River.

Amy LaVere
  • Amy LaVere

Best Local Singer
1. Amy LaVere
2. Alexis Grace
3. Grace Askew — tie — Yo Gotti

Amy LaVere has made herself a household name, continuing her brand of unique solo work and also starting new projects like the impressive group Motel Mirrors featuring local guitarist John Paul Keith. The rest of the world seems to have found out what Memphians have known for years, as LaVere has been on the road almost nonstop. She's currently on an extensive European tour that doesn't end until mid-October.

Best Karaoke
1. Windjammer Restaurant & Lounge
2. P&H Café
3. Blue Monkey

A wise man once said that karaoke was the key to a healthy life. Okay, maybe we are making that up, but there's really no better way to blow off steam from a long workweek than to head to the Windjammer, down a couple libations, and belt out your favorite song in front of complete strangers.

Best Hole-in-the-Wall
1. Earnestine & Hazel's
2. Alex's Tavern
3. The Cove

Best Jukebox
1. Earnestine & Hazel's
2. Alex's Tavern
3. Young Avenue Deli

How could the winner of Best Hole in the Wall not win Best Jukebox? That seems impossible. Luckily for Memphians and tourists alike, the burger joint on South Main has great music, great beer prices, and great food. Don't have any jukebox money? Don't worry. Rumor has it that the haunted jukebox plays all by itself.

Best College Hangout
1. Newby's
2. RP Tracks
3. Celtic Crossing

Newby's passes the test for the best college bar in Memphis, which means its patrons may spend more time at the bar than at home cracking the books. A place known for wild dance parties as well as laid-back bartenders, Newby's also hosts an array of local and national bands that keep people both young and old coming back for more.

Best After-Hours Club
1. Paula & Raiford's Disco
2. Alex's Tavern
3. Earnestine & Hazel's

Best Dance Club
1. Paula & Raiford's Disco
2. Club 152 Beale
3. Rum Boogie — tie — Rumba Room

The Best Dance Club in town is also the Best After-Hours Club, which is good news for those looking to boogie the night away. With large beers, a light-up dance floor, and enough smoke machines to lose your dance partner if they aren't cutting it, what's not to love about Paula & Raiford's Disco? Go early, stay late, and pay homage to one of the most beloved establishments in Memphis.

Best Pick-up Joint
1. Peabody Rooftop
2. Paula & Raiford's Disco
3. Celtic Crossing

Looking for the best place to show off your killer new outfit? Look no further than the parties at the Peabody Rooftop downtown, where great views of the city come in all shapes and sizes.

Best Martini
1. Alchemy
2. Peabody Lobby Bar
3. Side Street Grill

Best Specialty Cocktails
1. Alchemy
2. The Cove — tie — Peabody Lobby Bar
3. Hog & Hominy

Are you in the mood for a Cooper Street Swizzle? How about a Main Street Shakedown? Those are just a couple examples of some of the expertly crafted cocktails available at Alchemy in Midtown. Crazy concoctions not your thing? Don't worry, Alchemy also reigns supreme when it comes to pouring the perfect martini.

Best Happy Hour
1. Bardog Tavern
2. Local
3. Flying Saucer

Bardog Tavern is like an adult playground downtown without any equipment, and the expertly poured drinks are even better with a dollar off between 5 and 7 p.m.

Best Place To Shoot Pool
1. Fox & Hound
2. Young Avenue Deli
3. RP Billiards

Best Sports Bar
1. Fox & Hound
2. Buffalo Wild Wings
3. Alex's Tavern

The Fox & Hound continues its winning streak in the Best Place To Shoot Pool and Best Sports Bar categories. And no wonder. The pool tables are aplenty and game nights are filled with people whooping and hollering.

Best Gay Bar
1. The Pumping Station
2. Spectrum
3. Dru's Place
The Pumping Station, also known as the Pump, wins Best Gay Bar again. Everyone is welcome at the Pump — even to the treehouse.

Matt Lilly
  • Matt Lilly

Best Bartender
1. Matt Lilly, Local downtown/Midtown
2. Evan Potts, The Cove
3. Allen Creasy, Celtic Crossing — tie — Brittany Bloom, Bardog Tavern

If you've been on the receiving end of a drink from Matt Lilly at Local, you know his drinks are top-notch.

Best New Bar
1. Wiseacre Taproom
2. The Second Line
3. Babalu Tacos & Tapas

Wiseacre's new taproom features a spacious patio and cool décor and, of course, plenty of Wiseacre beer. You'll want to stop by, even if you have to skip out of work early to do so.

Best Bar
READERS' CHOICE
Alchemy
Bardog Tavern
Celtic Crossing
The Cove
Local

No, this list isn't copied and pasted from last year. These bars have maintained their awesomeness, and Memphians can't decide which is the best. These downtown and Midtown mainstays are all known for their food as well as their cocktails.

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Orpheum circa 1989
  • Orpheum circa 1989

Best Live Theater
1. The Orpheum
2. Playhouse on the Square
3. Hattiloo Theatre — tie — Theatre Memphis

First built as the Grand Opera House, the Orpheum is no less grand today as it continues to bring first-rate shows to town such as The Phantom of the Opera, The Book of Mormon, and West Side Story.

Best Museum
1. Memphis Pink Palace Museum
2. Memphis Brooks Museum of Art
3. Children's Museum of Memphis

The Pink Palace has rotating featured exhibits and an impressive 3D theater. No wonder the museum is running a winning streak in our Best of Memphis issue.

Best Gallery
1. Crosstown Arts Gallery
tie — David Lusk Gallery
2. Gallery Fifty Six
3. Jay Etkin Gallery

Crosstown Arts features boundary-pushing works from both local and national artists. David Lusk, a repeat winner of this category, represents some of the best artists of the region, including Greely Myatt and Tad Lauritzen Wright.

Best College Gallery
1. Main Gallery, Memphis College of Art
2. Hyde Gallery, Memphis College of Art Nesin Graduate School — tie — Art Museum at the University of Memphis
3. Clough-Hanson Gallery, Rhodes College

Memphis College of Art's Main Gallery features stunning works from students, alumni, faculty, and visiting artists. A must-see is the annual Horn Island show.

Best Golf Course
1. Mirimichi
2. The Links at Galloway
3. TPC at Southwind

As beautiful as it is challenging, Mirimichi — the name means "place of happy retreat" — scores a hole-in-one for the finest greens and fairways in the area. And, sustainability is par for the course; Mirimichi was the first golf course in the Americas to be certified by the Golf Environment Organization.

Best Casino
1. Horseshoe Casino
2. Gold Strike Casino Resort
3. Hollywood Casino — tie — Southland Park Gaming and Racing
When rolling dice to test our luck against the house, that house inevitably is Horseshoe Casino. Its craps tables, slot machines, and roulette wheels are the odds-on favorite for all gambling activities.

Best Sports Team
1. Memphis Grizzlies
2. Memphis Tigers Men's Basketball
3. Memphis Redbirds

In the 2013-2014 season — and for the fourth straight year — your Memphis Grizzlies made the rims rattle in the Western Conference playoffs. With 50 wins and its grit-n-grind uniting an entire city, the Grizzlies are the favorite among sports junkies and athletic Luddites alike.

Zach Randolph
  • Zach Randolph

Best Grizzlies Player
1. Zach Randolph
2. Marc Gasol
3. Tony Allen

Best Local Athlete
1. Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies
2. Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies
3. Tim Howard, World Cup soccer

Leading the Grizzlies onto the court and into our hearts is Zach Randolph. Z-Bo, his head a mile high on billboards and wrapped in that iconic headband, is driving our hometown loyalties straight for the basket.

Paradiso
  • Paradiso

Best Movie Theater
1. Paradiso
2. Studio on the Square
3. Ridgeway Cinema Grill

It's a multifaceted multiplex replete with wine bar, pizza, and an arcade. Though we could just as easily stay home and stream last year's box office hits, we all seem to much prefer the comfort, amenities, and sound system of the Paradiso.

Memphis Zoo
  • Memphis Zoo

Best Family Entertainment
1. Memphis Zoo
2. Concerts at Levitt Shell
3. Memphis Redbirds Games

Families of moms and dads, grandparents and cousins — and children by the thousands — spend hours on end getting to know families of skinks and sloths, bonobos and birds, day in and day out at the Memphis Zoo.


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Joe Birch with son Joe Birch III, who was born - the same year as the Flyer (1989)
  • Joe Birch with son Joe Birch III, who was born the same year as the Flyer (1989)

Best TV News Anchor
BOM 1. Joe Birch, WMC-TV Channel 5
2. Andrew Douglas, WMC-TV Channel 5 — tie — Claudia Barr, WREG-TV Channel 3
3. Kym Clark, WMC-TV Channel 5 — tie — Mearl Purvis, WHBQ-TV Fox 13

Joe Birch: trusted newsman, good citizen, all-round nice guy. He is, indeed, the whole, perfectly coiffed package, which is why he has absolutely ruled this category for two decades.

Best TV Sportscaster
BOM 1. Jarvis Greer, WMC-TV Channel 5
2. Carrie Anderson, WMC-TV Channel 5
3. Glenn Carver, WREG-TV Channel 3 — tie — Matt Stark, WHBQ-TV Fox 13

Jarvis Greer has gone from being a "Memphis State" defensive back to a University of Memphis football color commentator. His career at WMC-TV Channel 5 exceeds a quarter century, making him one of the city's heralded television personalities. From the Redbirds to the Griz, he's got you covered on the latest sports buzz.

Best TV Weatherperson
BOM 1. Dave Brown, WMC-TV Channel 5
2. Ron Childers, WMC-TV Channel 5
3. Joey Sulipeck, WHBQ-TV Fox 13

Out of his 52 years in broadcasting, Dave Brown has spent 37 of those calendars at WMC-TV Channel 5 as a meteorologist. And over that time frame, he's become the go-to guy for locals when they want to know whether to grab an umbrella, sweater, or ice-cold bottle of water.

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Best FM Station
1. WEVL-FM 89.9 Volunteer Supported Radio
2. WXMX-FM 98.1 The Max
3. WMFS-FM 92.9 ESPN

The people at WEVL-FM 89.9 do what they do for the love of the music. That passion can be heard every day, drive-time to bedtime, in the jangle of a blues chord to the bass of hip-hop.

Best AM Station
1. WHBQ-AM Sports 56
2. WREC-AM 600 News Radio
3. ESPN 790 AM

Memphis is a sports town. From the Grizzlies to the Tigers to the boys of summer playing in AutoZone Park, the one place loyalists go time and again for scores, updates, and in-depth analysis is WHBQ-AM Sports 56.

Best Drive-Time Show
1. Drake & Zeke in the Morning,
98.1 The Max
2. The Gary Parrish Show, 92.9 ESPN
3. The Q Morning Show with CJ & Liz, Q 107.5 — tie — Steve Conley in the Morning, FM 94.1

Best Radio Talk Show
1. Drake & Zeke in the Morning, 98.1 The Max
2. The Chris Vernon Show, 92.9 ESPN
3. The Gary Parrish Show, 92.9 ESPN

The dream team of Drake and Zeke has proven it can hold its own, and your early-morning attention, in discussions of politics, literature, gardening, or classic rock-and-roll. Once again, the duo has driven straight to the top of your list of favorites, talking, laughing, and informing along the way.

Best Radio Personality
1. Drake Hall, 98.1 The Max — tie — Ron Olson, FM 100
2. Chris Vernon, 92.9 ESPN
3. Zeke Logan, 98.1 The Max

Drake Hall shares the title of Best Radio Personality this year with longtime Memphis jockey Ron Olson.

Best Sports Radio Show
1. The Chris Vernon Show, 92.9 ESPN
2. The Gary Parrish Show, 92.9 ESPN
3. The Geoff Calkins Show, 92.9 ESPN

Readers continue to vote The Chris Vernon Show as the Best Sports Radio Show in Memphis. Tune in 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. throughout the week to find out why.

Best Newspaper Columnist
BOM 1. Geoff Calkins,
The Commercial Appeal
2. Jennifer Biggs, The Commercial Appeal
3. Bruce VanWyngarden, The Memphis Flyer — tie — Michael Donahue, The Commercial Appeal

The Commercial Appeal's Geoff Calkins continues his BOM winning streak as the city's Best Newspaper Columnist. For the eighth consecutive year, Calkins has been awarded the title for his ability to provide the scoop on everything from community crime to Tigers basketball.

Best Twitter
1. Choose901, @choose901
2. I Love Memphis, @ilovememphis
3. Tony Allen, @aa000G9

Best Website
READERS' CHOICE
www.choose901.com
www.ilovememphisblog.com
www.memphisflyer.com

Best Blog
READERS' CHOICE
www.choose901.com
www.ilovememphisblog.com
www.paulryburn.com/blog

Best Instagram
READERS' CHOICE
Choose901
iamjoeymiller
ilovememphisblog
thegrindmemphis

Seems fitting that Memphians give their votes to pro-Memphis Choose901. It's not rocket science why that's the case. If you're looking for a new pad or job, weekend entertainment, or an explanation of why Memphis is an awesome place, Choose901 is the go-to resource.

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Buster’s circa 1989
  • Buster’s circa 1989

Best Liquor Store
1. Buster's Liquors
2. Joe's Wines & Liquors
3. Kirby Wines & Liquors

Memphians love basketball. You know what else we love? Fine wines, liquor, and an amazing selection of beer. Flyer readers like to get their slosh and tipple at Buster's. Mark Edgar Stuart works there. He recently profiled a cold Budweiser in Buster's newsletter to promote their new beer sales. That's boss. So is the fact that Memphis has a third-generation liquor store called Buster's.

Best Grocery Store
1. Kroger
2. Whole Foods Market
3. Fresh Market

Barney Kroger started the whole thing in 1883 in Cincinnati. Kroger is the second largest U.S. retailer, led only by Walmart. Kroger employs more than 300,000 people nationwide. They are doing their part to up their game in Memphis, investing $50 million in the local economy in the past three years with plans to invest another $50 million over the next three. What's that Twitter dude done?

Best Department Store
1. Target
2. Macy's
3. Dillard's

If you told us that Target was a plot by super-intelligent aliens to control the minds of retail shoppers, we'd buy it hook, line, and sinker, all of which you can probably find in Target, along with everything you need to run a modern home, car, and human body.

Best Shopping Center
1. Carriage Crossing
2. The Shops at Saddle Creek
3. Laurelwood Shopping Center — tie — Wolfchase Galleria

People who read the Flyer and shop for things in person have spoken: Carriage Crossing is the preferred place to cram the bags full of fine stuff. Shoppers will enjoy a staggering agglomeration of retail establishments in addition to a live-music series, Movie Mania, and Paw Fest, a party for dogs.

Best Gift Shop
1. Babcock Gifts
2. Maggie's Pharm
3. Brooks Museum Gift Shop — tie — More Than Words

Flyer readers are among the generations of newly engaged Memphians who have met their betrothed at Babcock on a Saturday afternoon and told their friends and family what to buy them for wedding presents. But Babcock does more than weddings. Whether it's a new baby, a graduation, or something for your favorite Flyer employee, they have what you need for every occasion. Why wonder what someone wants? Babcock not only knows, they also wrap and deliver it.

Memphis Farmers Market
  • Memphis Farmers Market


Best Farmers Market
1. Memphis Farmers Market
2. Agricenter Farmers Market
3. Cooper-Young Community
Farmers Market

More than a row of fruit stands, the Memphis Farmers Market represents the nexus of a durable food culture that has expanded in Memphis since the market's founding in 2006. There is no resale at the Memphis Farmers Market. It's in the rules. You are buying directly from the farmer or manufacturer.

Booksellers at Laurelwood
  • Booksellers at Laurelwood

Best Bookstore (New)
1. The Booksellers at Laurelwood
2. Barnes & Noble Booksellers
3. Burke's Book Store

So much is lost reading on a digital device. Dog-eared pages, notes, holding old photos. A good book is a record of a time in your life. They offer the real deal at the Booksellers at Laurelwood. Flyer readers go there to find books, people who actually know what they are talking about, lots of smart gifts, and a cafe that is an oasis of calm in an exasperating part of the city. The schedule of readings and signings is one of the things that lets Memphis keep its civilization certificate.

Best Bookstore (Used)
1. Burke's Book Store
2. The Booksellers at Laurelwood
3. Tiger Bookstore

Do yourself a favor: Never live anywhere without a place like Burke's. Founded in 1875, Burke's is at home in Cooper-Young. In its fourth location, current owners Corey and Cheryl Mesler maintain a halfway house for book obsessives. Their local-interest section is the place to learn about this region and its writers. The store continues to host a parade of notable authors including Richard Ford, Ralph Abernathy, Anne Rice, Archie Manning, and Bobbie Ann Mason.

Best Bank
1. First Tennessee Bank
2. Regions
3. Bank of America — tie — SunTrust

First Tennessee has been in Memphis since its inception 150 years ago. It was founded when Abraham Lincoln was in office and still employs thousands of Mid-Southerners. They have more than 40 branches and more than 90 ATMs in the Memphis area. They offer loans, insurance, and financial planning services to boot. Flyer readers dig it. First Tennessee celebrated the 150-year mark with 150 Days of Giving, a campaign that gave $5,000 to a different nonprofit each day for 150 days.

Best Women's Clothing
1. Crazy Beautiful
2. Indigo
3. The Attic — tie — Hoot + Louise — tie — Oak Hall

A go-to spot in the search for that perfect LBD or fresh concert attire. Find Crazy Beautiful downstairs in the Overton Square courtyard, and watch for the newly expanded upstairs location.

Best Men's Clothing
1. Oak Hall
2. Outdoors Inc.
3. James Davis

Best Men's Shoes
1. Oak Hall
2. Outdoors Inc.
3. James Davis

Luxury from head to toe is what Oak Hall does best, with brands such as Armani and Ferragamo. This Memphis staple has been one well-dressed step ahead of men's fashion.

Best Vintage/Used Clothing
1. Goodwill
2. Flashback
3. Hoot + Louise

From vintage T-shirts to fur coats, this thrift classic is still making one man's trash another man's treasure. With locations throughout the city, the Memphis Goodwill is going strong.

Best Women's Shoes
1. Joseph
2. Cook & Love
3. Outdoors Inc.

The shelves of Joseph are the designer-shoe collection of every woman's dreams: Frye boots, Tory Burch flats, and Manolo Blahnik pumps all in one place, with jewelry, handbags, and apparel on hand for any occasion.

Best Home Furnishings
1. Stash
2. Ashley Furniture HomeStore
3. Pottery Barn Outlet

Who doesn't appreciate a well-dressed home and a great deal? With the finest furniture brands at reduced retailer prices, Stash furniture speaks to chic, boho, and traditional shoppers looking for the perfect piece at the right price.

Hollywood Feed
  • Hollywood Feed

Best Pet Store
1. Hollywood Feed
2. Petco
3. PetSmart

We wish that pets could vote in this category, but their owners have made the choice clear. With local products and natural pet food options, this Memphis original offers only the best for our furry friends.

Best Hair Salon
1. Gould's
2. Dabbles
3. Capelli Inc. — tie — Epic Total Salon — tie — Pavo Salon

Best Day Spa
BOM 1. Gould's
2. Germantown Day Spa
3. Serenity Day Spa

Best Place To Get a Facial
BOM 1. Gould's
2. Germantown Day Spa
3. Serenity Day Spa

Best Manicure/Pedicure
1. Gould's
2. Nail Bar on the Island
3. Rose's Nails

Best Place To Get Waxed
1. Gould's
2. European Wax Center
3. The Spa Midtown

Taking advantage of every service Gould's offers would take all day, and it might be the best day you've ever had. From hair to toes and everything in between, Gould's is the best place to be pampered in Memphis. Treat yourself.

Best Health/Fitness Center
1. Kroc Center of Memphis
2. Germantown Athletic Club
3. French Riviera

With more than 100,000 square feet of amenities, including a fully equipped fitness center and NBA-quality basketball courts, it's easy to see why the Kroc is a fast favorite after less than two years of operation.

Best Yoga Studio
1. Midtown Yoga
2. Bikram
3. Delta Groove Yoga
tie — Better Bodies Yoga

Bare feet and open minds are welcomed daily to this Cooper Street studio, with classes in a wide variety of yoga styles for beginners and experts alike.

Best Fine Jewelry Store
1. Mednikow
2. Las Savell
3. Robert Irwin Jewelers

If our readers like it, they put a ring on it — or a necklace or a pair of earrings, basically any type of fine, jeweled gold or silver bling. And locally, they get their fine jewelry at Mednikow. With a unique selection of beautiful jewelry from a variety of designers, Mednikow has something to suit everyone.  

Best Tattoo Parlor
1. No Regrets Tattoo Emporium
2. Underground Art
3. Trilogy

Home to some of the most talented tattoo artists in Memphis, No Regrets Tattoo Emporium offers just that — expertly applied tattoos and no regrets. If you're ready to get that colorful tattoo of a giant octopus crushing a ship in its tentacles or a black-and-white portrait of your favorite pet or person (or anything else you can dream up), they've got you covered.

Sheffield Antiques Mall
  • Sheffield Antiques Mall

Best Antiques Store
1. Sheffield Antiques Mall
2. Flashback
3. Antique Warehouse Mall — tie — Palladio Antiques & Art

With 78,000 square feet of antiques, collectibles, painted furniture, vintage clothing, jewelry, lighting, floral arrangements, decorative accessories, and more, it's no wonder Collierville's Sheffield Antiques Mall is a Memphis favorite. When our readers want to go treasure hunting, they choose the largest antique mall in the Mid-South. A lagniappe: Sheffield is home to Ronnie Grisanti's Italian Restaurant.

Tobacco Corner
  • Tobacco Corner

Best Tobacco Shop
1. Tobacco Corner
2. Whatever
3. Wizard's

A Memphis staple for more than 40 years, Tobacco Corner offers a variety of quality cigars, tobaccos, pipes, and smoking accessories. More than just a place to purchase smokes, they are also the largest distributor of fine writing instruments in the Mid-South area — think top-of-the-line fountain, ballpoint, and rollerball pens. Memphis loves them!

Best Alternative Smoke Shop
1. Whatever
2. Wizard's
3. Cooper-Young Glassworks

Whatever has been a Memphis fixture for more than 40 years, offering glass pipes, glass art, incense, posters, tobacco papers and wraps, tapestries, jewelry, clothes, and more.

Best Dry Cleaner
1. Bensinger's Fine Cleaners
2. Dryve Cleaners
3. Happy Day Cleaners

When our readers want their clothes to look great and feel fresh, they choose Bensinger's. Offering free home pick-up and delivery, Bensinger's makes laundry day much less grueling. In business for more than 50 years, they have 10 locations covering East Memphis, Midtown, Germantown, and Cordova. Now, would you like light, medium, or heavy starch for that dress shirt?

Best Florist
1. Pugh's Flowers
2. Holliday Flowers
3. Garden District

When "Mom" Pugh tells us they offer flowers for any occasion and can ship them anywhere, we trust her. And don't let the skunk fool you — Pugh's flowers, bouquets, and arrangements are fresh and fragrant. They also offer fruit baskets, houseplants, and home accessories. No wonder our readers voted them as a local favorite.

Best Garden Center
1. Dan West Garden Center
2. Midtown Nursery
3. Digger O'Dell Nursery — tie — Stringer's Garden Center

There's nothing like getting out in the yard and dirtying your hands while planting your own veggies, fruits, and flowers. And Dan West Garden Center makes it easy. A premier source for plants, products, expertise, and information, Dan West's associates want to help you become a better gardener. Some of us have a hard time keeping plants alive, and that's why our readers turn to them for the help they need to make their gardens grow.

Best Athletic-Goods Store
1. Outdoors Inc.
2. Breakaway Running
3. Fleet Feet

Whether you're camping, climbing, canoeing, or cycling, Outdoors Inc. has the gear you need. This locally owned and operated specialty outdoor retailer offers clothes, footwear, and equipment for just about any outdoor activity, and customers can shop in-store at any of their five retail locations or online. This year marks their 40th year of meeting the needs of Mid-South outdoor enthusiasts. Here's to 40 more!

Best Bicycle Shop
1. Peddler
2. Midtown Bicycle
3. Outdoors Inc.

Training for a race? In need of training wheels? Peddler has you covered. With the ever-expanding Greenline system, additional bike lanes, and numerous trails to choose from, biking has never been more en vogue. So whether you're looking to commute to work, compete in BMX, take a trip through the mountains, or take a spin down the street with the kiddos, make a pit stop at Peddler first.

Best Record Store (New)
1. Spin Street
2. Goner Records
3. Shangri-La Records

Not only does Spin Street have the best selection of new albums around, it also houses some cool movie memorabilia.

Best Record Store (Used)
1. Shangri-La Records
2. Goner Records
3. Spin Street

Shangri-La's collection of CDs and vintage and new vinyl is keepin' Memphis groovin' to the best tunes around.

Best Music Equipment Store
1. Amro Music
2. Gibson Guitar
tie — Guitar Center
3. Memphis Drum Shop

If music's the game, Amro's the name. Their vast showroom displays just a fraction of their mammoth collection of musical instruments, supplies, and services, including sheet music and lessons. They're the go-to for the majority of schools and orchestras in town and have been a favorite for decades.

Best New-Car Dealership
READERS' CHOICE
Acura of Memphis
AutoNation Honda Mendenhall
Chuck Hutton Chevrolet
Landers Ford
Lexus of Memphis
Wolfchase Honda
Wolfchase Toyota

No clear winner in this category, but from the looks of things, Flyer readers find the car-buying experience as refreshing as that new-car smell.

Best Used-Car Dealership
1. Carmax
2. City Auto
3. Gossett Used Car Supercenter

With a seemingly bottomless inventory from all over the country, it's a no-brainer to check Carmax first. Their user-friendly website and friendly staff help make customers the focus. For as much time as most Memphians spend in their cars, comfort is priceless.

Best Motorcycle Dealership
BOM 1. Bumpus Harley-Davidson
2. Honda Yamaha of Memphis
3. Southern Thunder

Those among us who like their transportation with more vroom-vroom head straight to Bumpus, a repeat and overwhelming winner in this category, and the place for Harley-Davidson bikes and accessories.

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Slider Inn
  • Slider Inn

Best Trivia

Slider Inn on Peabody Avenue has sex-themed team trivia every Monday, and it is hands-down fun. The questions are difficult, the cocktails are expertly crafted, and you will get to know your team very well (too well?) by the end of the night. Not only do the questions feature the weird or funny parts of sex, statistics, and history, timely news questions are thrown in to balance everything out and make you feel smarter about the birds and the bees. It's worth a go, especially if you can come up with a team name that will have the bar groaning or laughing. — Alexandra Pusateri

Best 'Cue

I didn't want to like One & Only BBQ. They took over the former CK's location at Southern and Perkins Ext. Many of us old cats lost our breakfast hookup when the reliable and cheap toast-and-eggs joint closed. Then I broke down and went. Well, they ought to smoke me a big ol' crow. I bet it would be perfectly smoked and served in a manner that should have Houston's shaking in their black duds. One & Only has it down. They catered a party I had. Even my meanest friends were all about it. It's that good. I surrender. Please open for breakfast. — Joe Boone

Best Trout Fishing Spot

Fat Possum Hollow, Little Red River near Heber Springs. Wadeable water, no boats, no crowds. Just lots of herons, geese, and the occasional bald eagle to keep you company. — Bruce VanWyngarden

Best Reason to Watch the Grizzlies on TV

It's the charming color commentary of ex-Griz Brevin Knight. He can barely contain his emotions, but most of the time he does, except for when the refs really, really blow it. And if you have a drink each time he says, "Let's see can we get a basket here...," you'll be pleasantly buzzed by the third quarter. — BV

Best Save

When news broke earlier this year that the historic Tennessee Brewery was slated for the wrecking ball, a group of enterprising Memphians stepped up to try and save it. Restaurateur Taylor Berger, attorney Michael Tauer, commercial real estate executive Andy Cates, and communications specialist Doug Carpenter didn't have the funds or the need to purchase the building themselves. But they hoped to catch the attention of someone who could. So they threw a party — a six-week-long pop-up beer garden party. Every weekend from April 24th to June 1st, "Untapped" at the Tennessee Brewery featured craft beer, food trucks, live music, and other events in the building's courtyard and two interior rooms, and hundreds of people flocked downtown to get what they thought might be their last glimpse of the majestic structure. But four months later, the building's future seems much brighter. Shelby County Schools board member and cell phone tower developer Billy Orgel has a contract to purchase the building. He's currently in a 90-day vetting period, but leasing agent James Rasberry has stated that he thinks this deal is "the genuine article." — Bianca Phillips

Best New Public Space

That view atop Riverside Drive — the river, the bridge, the park — beholds the city's majesty like no other. It's now easier than ever to play in that iconic landscape. Bike, run, or walk freely on the newly protected western lanes, the most comfortable urban roadways for pedestrians in Memphis. In Tom Lee Park, fly kites, have a picnic, or get a workout on the new equipment on the Grizzlies' RiverFit trail. Mad as you are about Beale Street Landing, you might as well enjoy it. Walk the kids through the big catfish. Have a drink. Watch the river. The gift shop's for tourists. The rest is for us. And it's all pretty great. — Toby Sells

Best Local Adventure

Contact John Ruskey of Quapaw Canoe Co. in Helena and book a guided trip on the Mighty Mississippi in one of his giant wooden canoes. You'll drift along like Tom Sawyer and Huck, camp on a sandbar, howl at the moon, and never see the Mississippi the same again. — BV

Best Place to Unleash Your Inner Unicorn

You've seen her — that girl at the music festival effortlessly spinning a hula-hoop from her waist to her chest to her neck. She makes it look so easy. Well, it's not. But practice makes perfect, and that's what you get at Co-Motion Studio, the new hula-hooping studio in Crosstown. They offer classes in hoop dance, plus yoga, hip-hop dance, circus acrobatics, meditation, and all sorts of fun things. And they sell rainbow-colored hula-hoops in all sizes, light-up hoops, unique yoga wear, make-yourself-into-a-fairy kits, cat-print leggings, and unicorn-patterned dresses, among other magical things. — BP

Crazy Noodle
  • Crazy Noodle

Best Ramen Bowl

In the words of ramen master Maezumi from the 2008 Brittany Murphy film The Ramen Girl, "A bowl of ramen is a self-contained universe with life from the sea, the mountains, and the earth. All existing in perfect harmony." And Crazy Noodle has unlocked that universe with their new ramen bowl menu, which features at least 10 ramen options with various vegetable- or meat-based broths and seasonings, such as curry and miso. The very best bowl may just be the Mandu Ramen with vegetable broth, veggie dumplings, cabbage, carrots, and, of course, ramen noodles. — BP


The 2014 Best of Memphis winners gathered to celebrate at Beale Street Landing in downtown Memphis on Wednesday, October 1, 2014. Photos by Don Perry and Josh Miller.

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