Best Of 2007

Readers' poll winners

Best Local Politician
Mayor Pam Iorio

Worst Local Politician
Ronda Storms

Biggest Waste of Tax Money
(Tie) Riverwalk/ Tampa Museum of Art

Best Local Newspaper Reporter
Wayne Garcia, Creative Loafing

Best Local Columnist
Howard Troxler, St. Petersburg Times

Best Local TV Anchor
Gayle Sierens, WFLA NewsChannel 8

Best Local TV News Reporter
Charley Belcher, Fox13

Best Radio Station
WMNF 88.5 FM

Best Radio DJ
MJ (Todd Schnitt), WFLZ-FM

Best Bucs Player
Derrick Brooks

Best Devil Rays Player
Carl Crawford

Best Lightning Player
Vincent Lecavalier

Local Celebrity You Love to Hate
Ronda Storms

Local Celebrity You Hate to Love
Hollywood Hulk Hogan

Local Hero
Joe Redner

Local Zero
Jim Smith

Best Local Troublemaker
Joe Redner


The finalists were:

The top three vote-getters listed alphabetically in each category


Best Local Politician
Governor Charlie Crist
Mayor Pam Iorio
Joe Redner

Worst Local Politician
Rick Baker
Brian Blair
Ronda Storms

Biggest Waste
of Tax Money

Iraq War
Raymond James Stadium
Riverwalk
Tampa Museum of Art

Best Local
Newspaper Reporter

Wayne Garcia, Creative Loafing
Dawn Morgan, Creative Loafing
Susan Taylor Martin, St. Petersburg Times

Best Local Columnist
Steve Otto, Tampa Tribune
Daniel Ruth, Tampa Tribune
Howard Troxler, St. Petersburg Times

Best Local TV Anchor
Bob Hite, WFLA NewsChannel 8
Reginald Roundtree, Tampa
Bay’s 10
Gayle Sierens, WFLA
NewsChannel 8

Best Local TV Reporter
Charley Belcher, FOX13
Mike Deeson, Tampa Bay’s 10
Don Germaise, ABC Action News

Best Radio Station
97.1 (97 New Rock Alternative)
98.7 (Wild 98)
WMNF 88.5 FM

Best Radio DJ
Cowhead, 102.5 The Bone
Fisher, 97X
MJ, WFLZ-FM

Best Bucs Player
Mike Alstott
Ronde Barber
Derrick Brooks

Best Devil Rays Player
Carl Crawford
Scott Kazmir
BJ Upton

Best Lightning Player
Vincent LeCavalier
Brad Richards
Martin St. Louis

Local Celebrity You Love
to Hate

Nancy Alexander
Hulk Hogan
Ronda Storms

Local Celebrity You Hate
to Love

Bubba the Love Sponge
Hollywood Hulk Hogan
Joe Redner

Local Hero
Hulk Hogan
Joe Redner
Susan Stanton

Local Zero
Joe Redner
Jim Smith
Ronda Storms

Best Local Troublemaker
Elijah Dukes
Joe Redner
Ronda Storms

Readers' Poll 2011

Arts & Entertainment

Readers' poll winners

Best Theater Troupe
American Stage

Best Local Actor
Richard Coppinger

Best Local Actress
Eileen Koteles

Best Visual Artist
Amanda Stiles

Best Art Gallery
STUDIO @620

Best Museum
The Salvador Dalí Museum

Best Standup Comedian
Steve Arik

Best Local Band
Giddy-Up, Helicopter!

Best Local Singer-Songwriter
Rebekah Pulley

Best Local Hip-Hop Act
The Stick Martin Show

Best Club DJ
DJ Ray

Best Concert Venue
Jannus Landing

Best Rock Club
State Theatre

Best Concert of the Past 12 Months
Vans Warped Tour


The finalists were:

The top three vote-getters listed alphabetically in each category


Best Theater Troupe
American Stage
Jobsite Theater
Stageworks

Best Local Actor
Larry Buzzeo
Richard Coppinger
Ryan McCarthy

Best Local Actress
Ami Sallee Corley
Eileen Koteles
Brittany Snow

Best Local Visual Artist
Brandon Dunlap
Alex Scott
Amanda Stiles

Best Art Gallery
Craftsman House
Studio @620
Transitions Art Gallery at Skatepark
of Tampa

Best Museum
Museum of Fine Arts, St.
Petersburg
Museum of Science and
Industry (MOSI)
Salvador Dalí Museum

Best Local Standup Comedian
Steve Arik
“ranney”
Whose Idea was
This anyway?

Best Local Band
Giddy-Up, Helicopter!
Red Room Cinema
win win Winter!

Best Local Singer-Songwriter
Stick Martin
Rebekah Pulley
Tommy Simms

Best Local Hip-Hop Act
Da 801 Crew
Red Tide
The Stick Martin Show

Best Club DJ
DJ Hiatus
DJ Mega
DJ Ray

Best Concert Venue
Ford Amphitheatre
Jannus Landing
St. Pete Times Forum

Best Rock Club
Crowbar
Orpheum
State Theatre

Best Concert in Past 12 Months
Dave Matthews Band at the Ford Amp
Police Reunion Tour
Vans Warped Tour

Food & Drink

Readers' poll winners

Best New Restaurant
Fly

Best Splurge Restaurant
Bern`s

Best Bargain Restaurant
La Teresita

Best Barbecue Restaurant
Sonny’s Real Pit Bar-B-Q

Best Sushi Restaurant
Samurai Blue

Best Italian Restaurant
Carrabba’s Italian Grill

Best Asian Restaurant
Jasmine Thai

Best Mexican Restaurant
Vallarta’s Restaurante

Best Vegetarian Restaurant
Sweet Tomatoes

Best Cuban Sandwich
La Teresita

Best Soul Food
Atwater’s

Best Bakery
Alessi Bakery

Best Pizza
Cappy’s Pizzeria

Best Burger
Five Guys

Best Breakfast
First Watch

Best Wine Shop
Total Wine & More


The finalists were:

The top three vote-getters listed alphabetically in each category


Best New Restaurant
Fly
NoHo Bistro
Parkshore Grill

Best Splurge Restaurant
Bern’s Steak House
Ceviche
Charley’s Steakhouse

Best Bargain Restaurant
St. Pete Diner
El Taconazo (“Taco Bus”)
La Teresita

Best Barbecue Restaurant
Big Tim’s
Kojak’s House of Ribs
Sonny’s Real Pit Bar-B-Q

Best Sushi Restaurant
Edo Japanese Steakhouse
Hook’s
Samurai Blue

Best Italian Restaurant
Bella’s
Carrabba’s Italian Grill
Gigi’s

Best Asian Restaurant
Jasmine Thai
Marbo
P.F. Chang’s

Best Mexican Restaurant
Carmelitas
Estela’s
Vallarta’s

Best Vegetarian Restaurant
Evo’s
Grass Root
Sweet Tomatoes

Best Cuban Sandwich
Cuban Delight Cafe
Hugo’s
La Teresita

Best Soul Food
Atwater’s
House of Soul
Lee Roy Selmon’s

Best Bakery
Alessi Bakery
Publix
Cafe Mozart

Best Pizza
Cappy’s Pizzeria
Toby’s Original Little Italy
Westshore

Best Burger
Chattaway
El Cap
Five Guys

Best Breakfast
First Watch
Lenny’s
Skyway Jack’s

Best Wine Shop
Cork & Olive
Total Wine & More
Wine Warehouse

Goods and Services

Readers' poll winners

Best New Store
Kohl’s

Best Tattoo/Piercing Parlor
Atomic Tattoos

Best Personal Trainer
Tim Ganley of Sculptured Bodies

Best Day Spa
Safety Harbor Spa & Resort

Best Men’s Clothing
Men’s Wearhouse

Best Women’s Clothing
Nordstrom

Best Vintage Clothing
La France

Best Bookstore
Barnes & Noble

Best Clothing Designer
Ben Chmura

Best Veterinarian
Dr. Don Morgan

Best Furniture Store
Rooms to Go

Best Gourmet Food Store
Fresh Market


The finalists were:

The top three vote-getters listed alphabetically in each category


Best New Store
Groovy Cats & Dogs
Kohl’s
MOJO Books & Music

Best Tattoo/
Piercing Parlor

Atomic Tattoos
Blue Devil
Lou’s Tattoos

Best Personal Trainer
Steve Bloomberg, Clearwater
Tim Ganley, Sculptured Bodies, St. Pete
David Norrie, Xtreme Total Health and Fitness,
Tampa

Best Day Spa
Botanica Day Spa, Clearwater
Safety Harbor Spa & Resort
Tranquility Day Spa, St Pete

Best Clothing Store/ Men’s
Dillard’s
Macy’s
Men’s Wearhouse

Best Clothing Store/
Women’s

Dillard’s
Macy’s
Nordstrom

Best Vintage Clothing Store
La France
Sherry’s Yesterdaze
Squaresville

Best Bookstore
Barnes & Noble
Borders
Haslam’s

Best Local
Clothing Designer
Ben Chmura
Sauver (Jay Giroux)
Ivanka Ska

Best Veterinarian
Dr. Don Morgan (Bluffs Animal Hospital)
Gateway Animal Hospital
Ehrlich Animal Hospital

Best Furniture Store
Being
Kane’s
Rooms to Go

Best Gourmet Food Store
Fresh Market
Mazzaro’s Italian Market
Wild Oats

Urban Exploring

Readers' poll winners

Best Neighborhood: Hillsborough
Seminole Heights

Best Neighborhood: Pinellas
Old Northeast

Best Beach
Clearwater Beach

Best Party District
Ybor City

Best Sports Bar
Ferg’s Sports Bar and Grill

Best Dance Club
The Castle

Best Gay/Lesbian Bar
Georgie’s Alibi

Best Strip Club
Mons Venus

Best Blog
Sticks of Fire

Best Kept Secret
Kaleisia Tea Lounge

Best Thing to Show Off to Out-of-Town Guests
Beaches


The finalists were:

The top three vote-getters listed alphabetically in each category


Best Neighborhood, Hillsborough
Carrollwood
Old Hyde Park
Seminole Heights

Best Neighborhood, Pinellas
Downtown St. Petersburg
Old Northeast
Pass-A-Grille

Best Beach
Clearwater Beach
Fort De Soto Park
Pass-A-Grille

Best Party District
Central Ave., Downtown St. Pete
Channelside District
Ybor City

Best Sports Bar
Beef O’ Bradys
Ferg’s Sports Bar and Grill
Press Box

Best Dance Club
The Castle
Czar
Orpheum

Best Gay/Lesbian Bar
Flirt
G Bar
Georgie’s Alibi

Best Strip Club
Mons Venus
Thee Doll House
2001 Odyssey

Best Local Blog
Nine Bullets
St. Petersblog
Sticks of Fire

Best Kept Secret
Kaleisia Tea Lounge
Lenny’s
Lowry Park Zoo

Best Thing to Show Off to Out-of-Town Guests
Beaches
Busch Gardens
Ybor City

WE REALLY, REALLY LOAF YOUThank yous for our first Best of the Bay Awards Show

Somewhere around 7 p.m. the night of The Loafies — about a half an hour before Tampa Theatre was scheduled to open its doors — David Jenkins of Jobsite Theater saw me standing by the stage looking frazzled (I believe I had an armful of Cuban bread at the time) and asked if there was anything I needed.

“A bullet to the head, maybe?”

Yup, it looked that bad. We’d only gotten a third of the way through the run-through (which had been scheduled to end at 5), and there was a strange hum in the sound system, the Power Point computer had frozen up and various essential participants had gone missing. In short, it looked like the first edition of our Best of the Bay awards show could end in only one way — disaster.

But you know what they say about bad dress rehearsals auguring great opening nights. If that old showbiz saw is true, then it must follow that one-third of a bad dress rehearsal means that your opening will be three times as great.

Because, if we do say so ourselves, The Loafies was a pretty damn good show. Everyone on the Loaf staff made contributions above and beyond the call of duty, from Joran Oppelt’s seemingly unflappable stage management to Ashle Smith’s dazzling turn as Miss Loafie 2007 to the vital behind-the-scenes machinations of London Fajkus, Kristina Woo, Chris Madalena, Durium Jones and many more. And the duo of Wayne Garcia and ABC Action News’ Brendan McLaughlin, sharing the stage as presenters, may have a future as a comedy team.

None of this would have been half as fun without the effortless comic stylings of host Tim Wilkins from Tampa Bay’s 10. Whether getting body-checked by the Tampa Bay Derby Darlins or cracking wise in the midst of tech-crew setups, he managed to be both suave and hilarious at the same time, no mean combination. Lorna Bracewell, Blac Soap and The Ditchflowers gave bravura performances. Tampa Digital Studios, Naptime Sounds, A List Events, the Tampa Theatre staff and the indispensable wackos of Jobsite were also vital parts of the evening’s success. (And thanks again, Alessi Bakery, for the edible Loafies.)

Eric Snider, Sharry Smith and I lost some sleep about the wisdom of this endeavor, wondering, for instance, whether anyone would come. We were very pleased to see not only that hundreds of you did, but that you also got fully into the awards-show spirit. We saw arrivals by limo and fire engine, outfits from top hats to evening gowns — plus an all-purple zoot suit that drew one of Wilkins’ best lines of the night: “Apparently Barney has a pimp.”

But more important, people cared. It was truly heartening to hear how loudly people cheered for their favorites. Actor Steven Clark Pachosa, a 2006 Best of the Bay winner who handed out the awards for this year’s Best Actor and Actress, mentioned to me after the show how rare it is for the creative talent in this area to get a chance for public recognition.

I agreed — and promised we’d be doing it again.

The links below show the results of the 2007 Best of the Bay Readers’ Poll, the winners of which were announced for the first time during the show Monday night. Congrats again to everyone who won this year’s awards, whether chosen by our readers or our critics and staff.

See you at next year’s Loafies!

– David Warner

Click here for photos from the Red Carpet