Way back in July 1983, when we conducted our first readers’ restaurant poll, it only took half a column to report the results. With just 18 categories focusing on the most basic specialties — pizza, steak, seafood — readers probably finished the survey in 10 minutes. The poll, and the city’s dining infrastructure, has certainly expanded in the past three decades. This year’s results present the winning restaurants in more than 40 categories, and judging from the number of entries submitted, it’s obvious that current readers took quite a bit more time to ponder the best places in town, including categories that might have stumped our 1983 subscribers, such as Best Food Truck, Best Craft Cocktails, and Best Local Brew.
With online voting and safeguards to prevent multiple entries, this can rightfully be considered our city’s most definitive and accurate dining poll. The winner in each category is listed in bold type, followed by other contenders in the order of votes received. To be declared a winner, that establishment had to receive at least 10 percent of the total votes. We’re happy to report that our readers had clear opinions about their favorites in every category but one; for “Most Happening Happy Hour” there were so many contenders that we listed the top vote-getters.
We’re also pleased to welcome back so many establishments here, in a wide range of categories, who didn’t make an appearance in last year’s poll. Congratulations to all our winners and finalists, and thanks to all our readers who voted.