Best of Winston-Salem – 2015

Welcome to Smitty’s Notes 9th Annual Best of Winston-Salem awards, where we gauged who has the best of what we like and appreciated about our fair city, and add to our general quality of life here as recommended by you – Smittyheads!

Votes were compiled from a survey distributed to recipients of the Smitty’s Notes e-newsletter listserv, and it was also posted on the Web site from mid-May and during the month of June. Although not a scientific polling, it is a good sampling of the businesses, people and places that you like in Winston-Salem. The voting tabulation for each category had a Winner (clear choice); Runner Up (highest second choice); Honorable Mention (enough votes to get noticed) where applicable.  In compiling the list, some categories are intentionally not included. Simply, Smitty’s Notes doesn’t tailor or report on certain content and we are not a newsletter for everything in the city. There were also a couple of comments about the length of the survey. To those, I pose the question: Where would you cut categories that mean something to someone else? Trust me. This thing could have been WAY longer.

In reading it, I hope you find places and people you’ve known all about for a while, found lesser-known highlights in the city and like me, plan to visit (or even meet) some of the places and people you didn’t know about that are worthy of seeking out. I hope you find as much joy in exploring as Smitty’s Notes did putting together its annual Best of Winston-Salem Contest. The 2015 winners will receive a Certificate of Recognition and window decal for their establishments.

General Comments on this year’s awards or input for 2016 Best of Winston-Salem” Contest. Email Best of Winston-Salem Contest Comments

Previous years ‘Best of Winston-Salem’

Local Ad Campaign that caught your attention (Business or Non-Profit)

Winner: Lowes Foods (Billboard and Television)

Runner up: Forsyth Tech (Billboards)

Honorable: Piedmont Opera (Billboard)


Local 501 (c) (3) Non-Profit Organization

Winner: Project Pearl

Runner up: Senior Services, Inc.

Honorable Mention: Old Salem Museums and Gardens and Second Harvest Food Bank


Local Print Columnist  (Newspaper or Magazine)

Winner: Scott Sexton (Winston-Salem Journal)

Runner up: Michael Hastings  (Winston-Salem Journal)

Honorable mention: Chad Nance – (Camel City Dispatch) and Eric Ginsberg (Triad City Beat)


Local Activist

Winner:   Melissa Ball – Project Pearl

Runner up: Anne Griffs Wilson

Honorable mention: Tommy Priest, Tucker Tharpe and Kim Porter


Hyperlocal Print Publication (Magazine Rack or Tabloid)

Winner: Winston-Salem Monthly

Runner up: Relish Magazine

Honorable mention:   Triad City Beat and Forsyth Woman


Local Politician (City, County or State Representative)

Winner:  Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines

Runner Up: Winston-Salem City Councilman Jeff Macintosh

Honorable Mention: United States Senator Richard Burr, North Carolina (lives in Winston-Salem) and Winston-Salem City Councilman Molly Leight


Local Scenester/Mover and Shaker (You know, one of the interesting characters around town)

Winner: Alan Shelton

Runner Up: Brian Cole

Honorable Mention: Harry Knabb, Carroll Leggett and Don Flow


Local Power Couple

Winner: Harry and Julie KnabbRunner Up: Don and Robbin Flow

Honorable Mention: Ralph and Ashley Womble, Brian Cole and Drew Byers, and JD and Janie Wilson


Best Local Blog/Facebook Page/Web Site

Winner:   Camel City Dispatch

Runner Up: Triad Moms on Main

Honorable Mention: Camel City Nightlife


Best Local Twitter Feed

Winner: Camel City Dispatch

Runner Up: Triad Moms on Main

Honorable Mention: Nik Snacks



Winner:  Camino Bakery

Runner Up: Dewey’s Bakery

Honorable Mention: Atelier on Trade, Tart Sweets and The Flour Box



Winner: Gigi’s Cupcakes

Runner Up: Dewey’s Bakery

Honorable Mention: Tart Sweets



Winner: Black Mountain Chocolate

Runner Up: Kilwins

Honorable Mention:  Twin City Hive



Winner:  Midtown Cafe and Dessertery

Runner Up:  Dewey’s Bakery;

Honorable Mention: Camino Bakery and Tart Sweets


Ice Cream

Winner: Blue Ridge Ice Cream @ Dewey’s

Runner Up: Kilwins

Honorable Mention:



Winner: Brynn’s

Runner Up: Sweet Frog

Honorable Mention:



Winner: Café Gelato

Runner Up: Twin City Gelato @ West End Coffeehouse



Winner: Wolfies Custard

Runner up:  None



Winner:  Little Richard’s

Runner Up:  Bib’s Downtown

Honorable Mention:   Mr. Barbeque and Prissy Polly’s 



Winner:  Mary’s Gourmet Diner

Runner Up:  Midtown Café & Dessert-ery

Honorable Mention: Cloverdale Kitchen and Mama Zoe’s



Winner:  Krankie’s

Runner Up: Camino Bakery

Honorable Mention: Twin City Hive, Starbuck’s and Ardmore Coffee



Winner: Kevin McHugh @ Camino Bakery

Runner Up: Jimmy Greer @ Krankie’s Airstream

Honorable Mention: Skyler Brown at Ardmore Coffee



Winner:  Bagel Station

Runner Up: Panera BreadHonorable Mention: Be Nice Bagels 



Winner:  Five Guys

Runner Up: Bad Daddy Burgers

Honorable Mention: Cook Out and Quiet Pint 


Hot Dog

Winner:  Skippy’s

Runner Up: PB’s Hotdogs

Honorable Mention:  Pulliam BBQ and Kermit’s


New Restaurant (Open since July, 1, 2014)

Winner:  Quanto BastaRunner Up: PDQ

Honorable Mention: Dairi-O’s


Italian Restaurant

Winner: Quanto Basta

Runner Up: Di Lisio’s Italian Restaurant

Honorable Mention:  Paul’s Italian Restaurant, Vincenzo and Carmine’s


Mexican Restaurant

Winner: La Botana

Runner Up:  Senor Bravo

Honorable Mention: Mi Pueblo Monte Del Ray and El Maguey


Caribbean Restaurant

Winner: Uncle Desi’s Jamaican Grill

Runner Up: Irie Rhythms

Honorable Mention: Yeh, Mon’s


Soul Food

Winner: Sweet Potatoes

Runner Up:   Pryme Time

Honorable Mention: Meta’s



Winner: Ryan’s

Runner Up:  Fratelli’s  

Honorable Mention: Jeffrey AdamsNoble’s Grille and Putter’s


Fried Chicken

Winner: Mountain Fried Chicken

Runner Up:  Sweet Potatoes

Honorable Mention: Mozelle’s and Pryme Time



Winner: Bib’s Downtown 

Runner up:  Willow’s Bistro

Honorable Mention:  Honkey Tonk Smokehouse


Mom and Pop Restaurant

Winner:  Mama Zoe Michael’s 

Runner Up: Cloverdale Kitchen

Honorable Mention: Cafe Arthur’sCagney’s and Duke’s


Asian Restaurant

Winner:  Thai Sawatdee

Runner Up: Hakka Chow

Honorable Mention:  Mizu  Sampan Restaurant and Ise Restaurant



Winner: Mary Gourmet Diner

Runner Up: Hutch and Harris

Honorable Mention: Five Points Restaurant, Mozelle’s, Village Tavern and  Willow’s Bistro


Indian Cuisine

Winner:  Nawab Indian Cuisine

Runner Up: Golden India


Romantic Dinner

Winner:  Ryan’s

Runner Up: Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen and BarHonorable Mention: Mozelle’s and Noble’s Grill


Take a First Date

Winner:  Mozelle’s 

Runner up:  Willow’s Bistro

Honorable Mention: Segaway Tour, Quanto Basta and Village Tavern


Fine Dining Restaurant

Winner:  Spring House Restaurant Bar and Kitchen

Runner Up:   Ryan’s Restaurant 

Honorable Mention: Bernardin at Zevely House, The Honey Pot,  Meridian Restaurant,  Mozelle’s and Nobles Grille


Seafood Restaurant

Winner: Full Moon Oyster Bar Runner Up: King’s Crab Shack and Oyster Bar

Honorable Mention: Mayflower Seafood Bonefish Grill and Forsyth Seafood


Late Night Place To Eat (after 10 p.m.)

Winner:  Burke Street Pizza

Runner Up:  Waffle House

Honorable Mention:  Cook Out and Finnegan Wake


Pizza Parlor

Winner:  Burke Street Pizza

Runner Up: Mission Pizza Napoletana

Honorable Mention: Mellow Mushroom and Mario’s Pizza



Winner: Mizu

Runner Up: Ishi

Honorable Mention: Basil Leaf


Vegetarian Food

Winner:  Mooney’s

Runner Up:   Whole Foods – Food Bar

Honorable Mention: Nawab Indian Cuisine


Wine List

Winner:  6th and Vine Wine Bar

Runner Up: Meridian Restaurant

Honorable Mention: Vin 205



Winner:   Curtis Hackaday – 1703

Runner Up: Tim Grandinetti – Spring House Restaurant Bar and Kitchen

Honorable Mention: Mark Grohman – Meridian Restaurant; and Jared Keiper – Tavern at Old Salem


Restaurant Service

Winner:   West End Cafe

Runner Up: Mozelle’s

Honorable Mention: Spring House Restaurant



Winner:  Jimmy John’s

Runner Up: Burke Street Pizza

Honorable Mention: Takeout CentralTaste Buds and Vincenzo’s


Food Truck 

Winner: Camel City Grill

Runner Up:  The Screaming Radish

Honorable Mention: Taqueria Luciano and Food Freaks


Farmers Market

Winner: Cobblestone Farmers Market

Runner Up: Piedmont Triad Farmers Market

Honorable Mention: Dixie Classic Fair Farmers Market


Wait Person (Server)

Winner: Holly Ratcliff – Mozelle’s

Runner Up: Will Forte – Mozelle’s

Honorable Mention: Amanda Dunn West End Cafe


Annual Event/Festival

Winner:  Salute! The North Carolina Wine Celebration in Downtown Winston

Runner Up: RiverRun Film Festival

Honorable Mention: Dixie Classic Fair, Twin City RibFest,  and Burke Street Food Truck Festival


People Watching

Winner:  Downtown Winston (Fourth Street and The Arts District)

Runner Up: Hanes Mall

Honorable Mention:  Bowman Gray Stadium on Saturday Night (Racing)



Winner:  Tanglewood Park

Runner Up: Hanes Park

Honorable Mention: Washington Park and Salem Lake


Bike riding

Winner:  Salem Lake

Runner Up: Tanglewood Park

Honorable Mention: Salem Greenway, Miller Park and Washington Park


Walking Trails

Winner:  Salem Lake

Runner Up: Tanglewood Park

Honorable Mention:  Reynolda Gardens


Segway Tour Company

Winner: Revolution Gliding Tours

Runner Up: Triad Eco Adventures


Place For The Pet

Winner:  Washington Park

Runner Up: Tanglewood Dog Park

Honorable Mention: Ruff Housing and Horizon Park


TV News Personality, Male (Any Triad Station)

Winner:  Cameron Kent – WXII

Runner Up: Kenny Beck – WXII

Honorable Mention: Neil McNeill – Fox 8 and Frank Mickens – WFMY


TV News Personality, Female (Any Triad Station)

Winner:  Lanie Pope – WXII

Runner Up: Wanda Starke – WXII

Honorable Mention: Kimberly VanScoy – WXII, Nicole Ducouer – WXII and Emily Byrd – Fox 8


Radio Morning Crew (Any Triad Station)

Winner:   Two Guys named Chris – Rock 92

Runner Up: Katie and Jared – 107.5 KZL

Honorable Mention:  WFDD – 88.5 NPR


Local Brewery

Winner:  Foothills Brewery

Runner Up: Small Batch Beer Co.

Honorable Mention:  Hoots Roller Bar


Tap Beer

Winner: Mellow Mushroom

Runner Up:  Foothills Brewery

Honorable Mention:  Finnegan’s Wakeand Small Batch Beer Co.


New Bar/Nightclub (Open since July 1, 2014)

Winner: Black Lodge

Runner Up:  Luna Lounge and Tiki Bar

Honorable Mention:  Club Snap


Dive Bar

Winner: Silver Moon Saloon

Runner Up:  Single Brothers

Honorable Mention: Black Lodge, Recreation Billiards and West End Opera House


Restaurant Bar

Winner: Finnegan’s Wake

Runner Up: Meridian

Honorable Mention:  Quiet Pint, Quanto Basta and Spring House Restaurant Bar and Kitchen


Meet After Work

Winner:  Tate’s Craft Cocktails

Runner Up:  Small Batch Beer Co.Honorable Mention: Single Brothers and Carolina Wine and Hops


Craft Cocktails

Winner:  Tate’s Craft Cocktails

Runner Up: Single Brothers

Honorable Mention: The Whiskey Box


Bartender, Male (Location)

Winner: Joe Blevins – Silver Moon Saloon

Runner Up:   Brandon Creason – Finnigan’s WakeHonorable Mention: Quentin Williams – Small Batch


Bartender, Female (Location)

Winner:  Michele Russell – Meridian Restaurant

Runner Up: Drew Byers – Single Brothers

Honorable Mention: Liz Alesi-Martin- 6th and Vine


Outdoor Patio

Winner:  Fourth St. Filling Station

Runner Up:  6th & Vine Wine Bar

Honorable Mention: Village Tavern (Reynolda Village)


Pool Tables

Winner:  Recreation Billiards

Runner Up: West End Opera HouseHonorable Mention: Scotty B’s


Live Music Venue

Winner:  Ziggy’s

Runner up: The Garage

Honorable Mention:  Muddy Creek Cafe


Best Place To Meet Single UNDER 40

Winner:  Single BrothersRunner up:  Tate’s Craft Cocktails

Honorable Mention:  6th and Vine  and Old Winston Social Club


Best Place To Meet Single OVER 40

Winner: 6th and Vine

Runner up: Tate’s Craft Cocktails

Honorable Mention: Village Tavern and Vin 205



Winner: RayLen Vineyards

Runner up: Weathervane Vineyards

Honorable Mention: Raffadini Vineyards, Shelton Vineyards and Childress Vineyards


Grocery Store

Winner:  Trader Joe’s

Runner Up:  Lowes Foods

Honorable Mention: Fresh MarketHarris Teeter,   and Whole Foods Market


Beer and/or Wine Shop

Winner: Total Wine and MoreRunner Up:  Stella Brew

Honorable Mention: Wine Merchants Gourmet and City Beverage


Shopping Center

Winner: Thruway Center

Runner Up:   Reynolda Village

Honorable Mention: Hanes Mall


Day Spa

Winner:  Van Davis Aveda

Runner Up: European Touch 

Honorable Mention: Hand and Stone


Exercise/Fitness Center

Winner: YMCA

Runner up:  Pure Barre

Honorable Mention:  Crossfit Amplitude, Planet Fitness and The Gateway YWCA



Winner:  Sunrise Yoga

Runner up: Paz Studios

Honorable Mention: Yoga Gallery


Green-Oriented Business

Winner: Whole Foods

Runner up: Dry Cleaning Station

Honorable Mention:


Free Wi-Fi 

Winner: Twin City Hive

Runner up:  Panera Bread

Honorable Mention: Krankie’s, Starbucks and Fourth Street Downtown Winston-Salem



Winner: Edward McKay

Runner Up: Barnes & Nobles

Honorable Mention:


Gift Shop

Winner: Camel City News and Gifts

Runner Up: Piedmont Craftsmen

Honorable Mention: Fourth and Trade


Movie Theater

Winner: a/perture cinema

Runner Up:  The Grand 18 Theater

Honorable Mention:  Carmike 10


Local Artist

Winner: Laura Lashley

Runner Up:  Nick Bragg

Honorable Mention:  Marianne Dinapoli-Mylet and Cheryl Ann Lipstreu


Local Band

Winner:  The Bo StevensRunner Up:  Eyes Eat Suns

Honorable Mention:  The Genuine


Public Art Display

Winner: ARTivity on the Green

Runner Up:  Trade Street Art Tower

Honorable Mention: Reynolda House


Art Gallery/Shop/Boutique

Winner:  DelurkRunner Up:  Red Dog Gallery

Honorable Mention: Piedmont Craftsmen, Reynolda House and SECCA


Local Performing Theater 

Winner: Winston-Salem Theater Alliance

Runner Up: Twin City Stage

Honorable Mention: Peppercorn Children’s Theater


Performing Arts Group  

Winner:   Winston-Salem Theater Alliance

Runner Up: Piedmont Opera

Honorable Mention: Three Graces Entertainment and UNCSA School of Dance Performances