Athens Favorites 2011

Every “alternative newsweekly” in the country has its annual “best of” reader contests, but Flagpole has always resisted. All Athens businesses are “the best” to somebody, as you can quickly tell from the Flagpole Guide to Athens. Hey, isn’t the Guide enough?

But, Flagpole readers have got to be some of the most discerning people in town. Wonder what their choices would be? We put it off as long as we could, and finally curiosity got the better of us. Okay, let’s find out. And we did, and here are the results, culled from the votes of just under 2,000 knowledgeable people, whose experience and tastes are honed by plowing through Flagpole every week. We knew Flagpole readers would respond, because they’re out around town eating in restaurants, drinking in bars, soaking up entertainment and are very much interested in the town they inhabit.

When we finally decided to find out Flagpole’s readers’ favorites, we jumped right in and launched this first-annual contest as fast as we could, with as many categories as we could think up on the spur of the moment. After all those years of delay, we figured we’d just throw it out there, making it up as we went along, and fine-tune it next year, learning as we go. A bird in the hand, etc.

The response was almost overwhelming, but we finally got all the votes counted and checked carefully—a lot of the votes were really close, with very few runaway winners like Ort. This surely means that a lot of places that didn’t come in first this year very likely will next year. And it also means that during the next year we’ll all be on the lookout for new favorites while this year’s winners will be displaying their decals and certificates and aiming to repeat their success next year.

We believe, based on our own short experience, that a contest like this is worthwhile because it helps us remember what a special place Athens is and what special people and places make it so. They should be celebrated, and that’s what Athens Favorites does. They’re truly Athens favorites because those who know them best voted for them. Flagpole thanks all the Athens people and places named winners and all those others who can truly say, “Wait ’til next year.” Big thanks also to all who voted. These are your Athens Favorites.

Special thanks to our cover model, Liza Pitts—Miss UGA 2008; our photographers Carlo Nasisse and Cindy Jerrell, The Morton Theatre, interns Sarah Zagorski and Caroline Harris, Max and the entire Flagpole staff.