Best of Athens

The second and final round of the 2019 Athens NEWS Best of Athens Readers’ Choice Awards is now under way. Click here to start your ballot.

This is the 30th year that The Athens NEWS has presented the Best of Athens Readers’ Choice Awards.

The link to voting is at the top of our home page as clear as the broad side of a barn.

For the third consecutive year, Best of Athens is being conducted in two online rounds – an initial nominating round (which ended last Thursday, Jan. 24) and a second, final round that runs from today (Thursday, Jan. 31) to Thursday, Feb. 7. In this current round, people should select one of (usually) five finalists in each category. (A few categories have more than five choices because of ties in the fifth position, while a few others have fewer than five options because nobody else received enough votes.)

Following is an important detail: The finalists are presented in our online balloting in random order that has no connection to how many nominating votes they received. The same random listing system is used in the list of finalists below.

Results for all Best of Athens categories will be published in The Athens NEWS’ print editions on Feb. 14 and 18 and will be posted online after that.

The nominees in each category are listed below:



Best Real Estate Agent

Ally Rapp Lee

Larry Conrath

Sandi Radcliff

Brittany Silverman

Josh Radcliff


Best Law Enforcement Officer

Destry Flick, Athens Police Department

Tom Pyle, Athens police chief

Bryan Cooper, Athens County Sheriff’s Office

Jimmy Childs, Athens County Sheriff’s Office

Rodney Smith, Athens County sheriff


Best Local Business Owner or Entrepreneur

Chris and Angie Pyle, Donkey Coffee

Emily Christine, Tavolino

Art Oestrike, Jackie O’s

Becky Clark, Pork & Pickles

Barbara Johnson, The Loft


Best Local Journalist

Chris Riddle, WOUB

Conor Morris, The Athens NEWS

Heather Willard, The Athens Messenger

Kayla Beard, The Athens NEWS

Terry Smith, The Athens NEWS

Bob Bayette, WATH/WXTQ

Dennis Powell, The Athens NEWS (columnist)


Best Local Activist

delfin bautista

Roxanne Groff

Andrea Reik

Kerri Shaw

Katherine King


Best Public Figure

Pat McGee, Athens City Council at-large member

Jay Edwards, Ohio 94th House District rep.

Steve Patterson, Athens mayor

Pumpkin, the Board of Elections cat

DJ Barticus, local DJ


Best Local Politician We Hope Will Go Far

Taylor Sappington, Nelsonville City Council member

Chris Chmiel , Athens County commissioner

Eddie Smith, Athens Township trustee

Jay Edwards, Ohio 94th House District rep.

Steve Patterson, Athens mayor


Best Local Politician We Hope Will Go Far Away

Lenny Eliason, Athens County commissioner

Taylor Sappington, Nelsonville City Council member

Keller Blackburn, Athens County prosecutor

Steve Patterson, Athens mayor

Jay Edwards, Ohio 94th House District rep.


Best Community Volunteer

Jenny Stotts

Andrea Reik

Patty Mitchell

Kerri Shaw

Shelley Lieberman

Janalee Stock


Best Medical Provider (Person)

Sergio Ulloa, DO, OhioHealth

Lance Broy, MD, Holzer

Jane Broecker, Ohio Health Physician Group

Margaret (Peggy) Lionberger, DO, Holzer

Penny L. Shelton, MD, Holzer


Best Medical Facility or Practice

River Rose (now OhioHealth Physician Group Heritage College Obstetrics & Gynecology Athens)

Muntean Health Care

Hopewell Health Centers

Holzer Athens

Ohio Health O’Bleness Hospital


Best DJ/Radio Personality

DJ B-Funk

Thom Williams

Chris Riddle

DJ Barticus

DJ A-Roc




Best New Restaurant

Little Fish Brewing Co.

The Kitchen at Devil’s Kettle Brewing

Corner on Union


Lady B’s


Best Pizza

Doctor Pizza

Avalanche Pizza

Courtside Pizza

Goodfellas Pizza

Plus 1 Pizza


Best Breakfast

Bob Evans

Union Street Diner

Gigi’s Country Kitchen


Casa Nueva


Best Chicken Wings

Eclipse Company Store

Wings Over Athens

Shade on State

Buffalo Wild Wings

Miller’s Chicken


Best Ethnic Restaurant

Restaurant Salaam

Thai Paradise

Casa Nueva

Sol Island Bar & Grill

Star of India


Best Fine Dining

Stephen’s on Court


Cutler’s Restaurant

Restaurant Salaam

Lui Lui Restaurant


Best Food Cart

Hot Potato

Cajun Cluckers

Burrito Buggy

The Kitchen at Devil’s Kettle

Dr. May’s Thai Kitchen

Ali Baba’s Kitchen


Best Place to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Insomnia Cookies

Fluff Bakery

Larry’s Dawg House

Whit’s Frozen Custard

Sweet Arts Bakery & Cafe


Best Hamburger

The Pub

Union Street Diner

Jackie O’s

Larry’s Dawg House

The Kitchen at Devil’s Kettle


Best Sandwich

Jimmy John’s

Bagel Street Deli

Jackie O’s

The Pub

Brenen’s Coffee Cafe


Best Restaurant/Bar

Casa Nueva

Stephen’s On Court

Jackie O’s

The Pub

Pigskin Bar & Grille


Best Outdoor Eating/Drinking Venue

Pleasant Hill Winery

Little Fish Brewing Co.

Eclipse Company Store

Jackie O’s Taproom

Courtside Pizza


Best Late Night Food

Union Street Diner


O’Bettys Red Hot

DP Dough

Big Mamma’s Burritos


Best Vegetarian Cuisine

Village Bakery & Cafe

Casa Nueva

Restaurant Salaam

Purple Chopstix

The Kitchen at Devil’s Kettle


Best Coffee House

Town’s End Coffee Bar

Court Street Coffee

Donkey Coffee

Brenen’s Coffee Café

Catalyst Café


Best Uniquely Athens Restaurant

Jackie O’s

O’Betty’s Red Hot

Casa Nueva

Bagel Street Deli

Purple Chopstix


Best Local Food/Drink Product Line

Jackie O’s

Little Fish Brewing Co.

Shagbark Seed & Mill

Pork & Pickles

Frog Ranch




Best New Business

Lush Hair Salon

Butcher’s Bites

The Kitchen at Devil’s Kettle Brewing


The Loft Hair & Spa Salon


Best New Type of Business Athens County Needs

Clothing Store



Italian Restaurant

Department Store


Best Place to Buy a Car in Athens County

Mark Searles – The Plains

Don Wood

Mark Porter

Hugh White Honda


Best Local Market

Athens Farmers Market


The Farmacy

Busy Day Market



Best Veterinarian Clinic

Athens Veterinary Clinic

The Plains Veterinary Hospital

Allen Pet Clinic

Kroner Animal Care

Ohio Valley Animal Clinic of Athens


Best Local Auto Repair Shop

Alvis Auto Repair

Huddle Tire & Auto

Sundown Garage

Athens Auto Repair

Muffler Man

Best Beer and Wine Selection

And Beer

Jackie O's


Bella Vino

Busy Day Market           

Best Place to Find Hard-To-Find Items

White's Mill


Athens Underground

C & E Hardware

The Farmacy

Best Local Contractor

Advanced Painting


Johnson Builders

Mike Myers

Peterson Brothers           

Best Place to Donate Used Items

Salvation Army



Habitat for Humanity ReStore


Best Customer Service Retailer

Friendly Paws & Pet Supplies


Ohio Valley Running Company

White's Mill

Beads 'n' Things

Best Place for Unique Gift Items

White's Mill

Beads 'n' Things


Mountain Laurel

Import House

Best Professional Services Provider

Drs. Quinn, Foster & Associates

MS Accounting

Career Connections

Jean Giroski, nail technician at The Loft

Financial Accounting & Advisory Services – (FAAS)

Best Salon


The Loft Hair & Spa Salon

Standard Salon

The Infinity Salon

Lush Hair Salon

Best Heating and Cooling Business

David White


Dean Heating & Cooling

Advance Heating & Cooling

Dan Inman


Local Issue That Makes Your Blood Boil the Most

Athens City Schools bond issue, buildings


Alexander school levy

Bike lanes on East State Street

Fracking/injection wells

Best Annual Event or Festival

Nelsonville Music Festival

Boogie on the Bricks

Halloween block party

Ohio Brew Week

Pawpaw Festival

Best Non-Profit to Volunteer For

Rural Action

Good Works

Habitat for Humanity

Passion Works

Friends of the Shelter Dogs

Best Thing About Athens County

Natural beauty

The people


Availability of outdoor activities

Ohio University

Athens' Best Kept Secret

Beads and Things           

Pleasant Hill Winery

Butcher's Bites

Sells Park

Strouds Run

Miller's Chicken


Best Building

OU Lin Hall, The Ridges

Athens County Courthouse

OU Baker Center

OU Copeland Hall

Athens Armory

Best OU Campus Site

The Ridges

Emeriti Park

Alden Library

College Green

Baker Center           

Best Small Town in Athens County

The Plains





Best Place for a Fancy Date

Purple Chopstix

Zoe            101

Restaurant Salaam

Cutler's Restaurant, OU Inn

Lui Lui

Best Park in Athens County

The Ridges, OU

Strouds Run State Park

Sells Park, Athens

Southside Park, Athens

West State Street, Athens

Worst Eyesore


New Prokos office/hotel

Clearcut of trees along Rt. 33 near The Plains

East State Street



Best Bartender

Josh Brown, Casa Cantina

Beau Nishimura, Little Fish

AJ Castro

Riley Lange

Sophie Lazuka

Brently Jones

Best Live Music Venue

Eclipse Company Store

Stuart's Opera House

Donkey Coffee

Little Fish Brewing Co.

The Union Bar

Casa Cantina

Best Open Stage

The Union Bar

West End Cider House

Casa Cantina

Donkey Coffee

Smiling Skull Saloon

Best Place to Dance


Stephen's On Court

The Pub

Casa Cantina           

The Union Bar

Best Happy Hour

Jackie O's

Lucky's Sports Tavern

Red Brick Tavern

The Pub

The Union Bar

Best Bar for People Over 30

West End Cider House

Casa Cantina           

Jackie O's

Cat's Eye Saloon

Tony's Tavern

Best Local Band or Performer

Water Witches

Any Colour


Coal Cave Hollow Boys

Wild Honeybees



Best Excuse for Skipping Class




Weather (good and bad)


Best OU Administrator

Kimberly Castor

Jason Pina

M. Duane Nellis

Jenny Hall-Jones

delfin bautista

Best OU Professor

Deb Murray

Richard Vedder

Andrew Pueschel

Annie Brackley

Dan West

Best Student Organization

Phi Chi Theta – Business Fraternity

Alpha Phi Omega – Service Fraternity

Ohio University Dance Team

Student Alumni Board

Schey Sales Centre

Best Place for a Random Hookup

The Crystal

The Pub

Alden Library

Dorm Room

Red Brick

Best Reason to Transfer

There is no reason to transfer

Too much drinking/partying

High number of reported sexual assaults

Town is too small (not enough to do outside of classes)

Tuition and fees too high

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