features

cover story

February 24th, 2011 |

 

 

 

Best Of 2011

 

By Jared Curtis, Amber Williams, Aric Bishop and Matt Miller

 

More than 6,000 votes cast in central Iowa’s original and most prestigious readers’ poll... Results inside!

 

Our “Best of Des Moines” readers’ poll has taken on a life of its own in recent years. Hundreds of the certificates continue to be proudly displayed in businesses throughout central Iowa, some dating back since the first poll. Receiving this recognition is an honor that businesses and people appreciate, and they should. The opinions of many of our 75,000 weekly readers make a difference in many facets of life in and around Des Moines. These are the voices of the people, and we are pleased to provide the poll of all polls and present the findings.

More than 6,000 votes were again cast in a variety of categories including “Best New Bar,” “Best Art Gallery,” “Best Massage Therapist” and “Best Place to ‘Do It’ in Public.” Our readers love to vote and local businesses love being recognized, as seen by the number of businesses that proudly display the award. Each year we face a handful of detractors who question the validity of the poll, but as we frequently remind everyone, these are our readers’ choices, not ours.

So with that, we congratulate the winners and runners-up whose dedication to their crafts has earned the respect of our readers and earns them the title of “The Best.”

Eats

 

Best New Restaurant

Baru 66

Baru 66 has raised the standards for fine dining in Des Moines. There are many types of French restaurants, but Buru 66 does French in a way that our taste buds haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing yet. Baru 66 also has the honor of being a nominee for the James Beard Award in the “Best New Restaurant” category (that’s in the entire U.S. not just Iowa). Our readers know what is good, and if they say Baru 66 is the best, you’d better believe it! 6587 University Ave., Windsor Heights, 277-6627.

Runners-up: Zingaro, Mullets

 

Best Family Restaurant

Latin King

Latin King Restaurant has brought an Italian pizzazz to Des Moines’ east side for 60 years. From appetizers to desserts, one glance at the menu and it’s plain to see why it’s all about families — big families. Special party prices and shared plate options make it clear it’s a family gathering spot recognized by readers. 2200 Hubbell Ave. 266-4466.

Runners-up: Iowa’s Machine Shed, Applebees

 

Best Kept Secret on the Local Restaurant Scene

Flying Mango

The Flying Mango has a reputation for creating uncommon and unparalleled cuisine with a dash of irresistible flair. Bold Caribbean flavors draw the chic with the casual, the formal with the farmer. Our readers apparently agree with the Flying Mango mantra that it is a place to go “for all reasons or no reason at all.” 4345 Hickman Road, 277-1830.

Runners-up: Café di Scala, Tally’s

 

Best Restaurant Period

Centro

No question. Des Moines is an Italian town at the dinner table. Chef George Formaro’s showpiece café combines a fresh and local philosophy with New York City style, coal-fired pizza ovens and painstaking scratch cooking. That amounts to back-to-back-to-back championships for Centro. 1011 Locust St., 244-7033.

Runners-up: Café di Scala, Django

 

Best Chef

George Formaro

George Formaro was raised in an Italian home on the east side of Des Moines. He began his career in several of Des Moines’ restaurants, such as the former City Grill, Winston’s and the Embassy Club. Formaro is a graduate from the Des Moines Area Community College, where he went into the culinary arts program and graduated in 1988. He now owns a number of restaurants including South Union Bread Café, Centro, Django and Gateway Market.

Runners-up: Hal Jasa - Zingaro, Phil Shires - Café di Scala

 

Best Wait Staff

Cafe di Scala

Café di Scala wait staff does it the best. Providing excellent customer service isn’t simply something that can be overlooked, but it is the very requirement to survive in the restaurant industry. Our readers notice a wait staff that goes above and beyond. 644 18th St., 244-1353
Runners-up: Django, Centro

 

Best American Food

Drake Diner

Our readers are holding strong to the comforts that can be found at the Drake Diner. We agree, eating there is always a treat! The service is good, and the grub is delicious, so hunker down for a cup of Joe and enjoy the day… or night, whatever the case may be. 1111 25th St., 277-1111.

Runners-up: Legends, Jethro’s BBQ

 

Best Vegetarian/Vegan Menu

A Dong

No need for meat in a no-frills atmosphere like A Dong. Our readers seem to think the quiet surroundings and tables for four make it a relaxing place to unwind with health-conscious friends and family. 1511 High St., 284-5632.

 

Runners-up: Ritual Café, Fresh Café & Market

 

Best Italian

Latin King

Latin King returns to the throne once more. For as long as many of our readers (and most of our staff) have been alive, The Latin King has served up quality traditional Italian dining in Des Moines. Another Cityview badge of approval is sure to only stoke the King’s already blazing fire. 2200 Hubbell Ave., 266-4466.

 

Runners-up: Café di Scala, Centro

 

Best Mexican

El Rodeo

El Rodeo’s local popularity proves there’s a little sombrero-wearing, LaBamba-loving Latino in us all. To experience authentic Mexican food or a margarita that makes your neck hairs stand up, join our readers and make El Rodeo the place to be. Vamanos! Multiple locations.

Runners-up: El Aguila Real, Monterrey Mexican Restaurant

 

Best Thai

Thai Flavors

Thai Flavors returns as the defending champion for good Thai food in Des Moines. Our readers agree that the essence of tom yum gai has kept them coming back for more, not to mention that last sip of jasmine tea. Vegans, have no fear. Thai Flavors also offers vegetarian options. 1254 E. 14th St., 262-4658.

 

Runners-up: Cool Basil, The King & I

 

Best Chinese

Hy-Vee

Hy-Vee swoops in with an upset in our “Best Chinese” category. Hy-Vee certainly doesn’t shy away from offering a variety of tasty foods in its dining area. We don’t know what the secret is to their Chinese, but our readers just have to have it! Multiple locations.

Runners-up: Tsing Tsao, Red China Bistro

 

Best Japanese

Taki Japanese Steakhouse

The word “Taki” is derived from the Japanese word “waterfall,” and like its name implies, the steakhouse has been voted by readers as an exciting and beautiful place to enjoy a culinary experience. With their professional demeanor and the art they are creating with their cuisine, our readers are left impressed. 2677 86th St., Urbandale, 331-3030.

Runners-up: Miyabi 9, Ohana Steakhouse

 

Best Vietnamese

A Dong

A Dong ascends to the top of another category by Des Moines diners. It’s not only a place to find good Vegan dishes, but it’s the best Vietnamese food in town, according to our readers. It’s probably the freshness of the meats and vegetables and an aesthetic presentation set under the noses of its customers, leaving their mouths watering for more. 1511 High St., 284-5632.

Runners-up: Lucky Dragon, Pho Ha Dao

 

Best Seafood

Waterfront Seafood Market & Restaurant

Waterfront has been a family-owned seafood restaurant for 26 years in this city, rightfully hailed by our readers as having the finest quality fish and seafood available in Des Moines. They have an oyster bar, sushi bar, casual restaurant and seafood market. 2900 University Ave., West Des Moines, 223-5106; 2414 S.E. Tones Drive, Ankeny, 963-1940.

Runners-up: Splash, Red Lobster

 

Best Sushi

Miyabi 9

If you’re looking for the freshest sushi with a laid back atmosphere, Miyabi 9 is the place to be, according to our readers. Miyabi is also a great place for those of us who are concerned about eating healthy and keeping off the pounds. 512 E. Grand Ave. 288-8885.

 

Runners-up: Taki, Waterfront

 

Best Steakhouse

801 Steak & Chop House

The distinguished and proud winner of the highly acclaimed DiRoNA Award, which honors restaurants exemplifying the highest quality standards in all aspects of the dining experience, 801 Steak & Chop House claims top honors by our readers as well. The locals also appreciate the USDA prime steaks from Stock Yards, the choice of discriminating chefs and demanding consumers. 801 Grand Ave., 288-6000.

 

Runners-up: Texas Road House, Flemmings

 

Best Breakfast

Waveland Cafe

Our readers appreciate generous plates of home-grown bacon, eggs, sausage and hash browns made and served with lots of love. For those reasons they choose the Waveland as their favorite place for breakfast. The familiar staff and “everybody-knows-your-name” atmosphere make waiting for a table in a packed house worth every moment. 4708 University Ave., 279-4341.

 

Runners-up: La Mie Bakery, I-HOP

 

Best Delicatessen

Palmer’s Deli

With neighborhood stores all over the metro, this cafeteria-style restaurant has become the primary choice of our readers for homemade soups, salads, sandwiches and desserts. Each location offers dependable food and service but with a slightly distinct atmosphere. Multiple locations.

 

Runners-up: Manhattan, Jason’s Deli

 

Best Burger

B-Bops

The forever king (21 years in a row), B-Bops keeps Des Moines happy with nostalgic rock ‘n’ roll, fresh-grilled burgers, fries that stay hot, chili, pork loin fritters, chicken and shakes. The routine almost leaves you expecting a waitress on rollerskates. While the burgers would be popular at any price, the real winner is your billfold, with quarter-pound burgers, for less than $3. Multiple locations.

Runners-up: Smashburger, Django

 

Best Pizza

Fong’s Pizza

Fong’s has stayed true to the Asian spirit of its location, which once housed King-Ying Low. If you’re sick of the greasy, rubbery regular pizza selections, our readers say Fong’s is the place to find an eclectic mixture of authentic, ethnic and traditional pies. The fusion ingredients have made Fong’s Des Moines’ No. 1 pizza place for the second year in a row. 223 Fourth St., 323-3333.

Runners-up: Big Tomato Pizza Co., Centro

 

Best Bakery

La Mie

Mmmm… that smell. It fills the air outside before you even enter La Mie, which is what has been drawing in customers since the bakery opened in 2003. The bakers begin their day mixing dough, shaping breads and sliding pans of pastries in and out of the oven before the sun rises. The hard work has paid off, and the local patrons have spoken. 841 42nd St., 255-1625.

Runners-up: Highland Bakery, South Union Bread Café

 

Best Dessert

Cheesecake Factory

Once again, the Cheescake Factory takes the cake over its locally-owned competitors. For the second year as reigning cheese cake champ, the Jordan Creek favorite edge’s out some of Des Moines’ finest cafés and diners with its detailed menu and vast selection to please any sweet tooth. 101 Jordan Creek Parkway, West Des Moines, 457-9888.

Runners-up: Alba Restaurant, Café di Scala

 

Best BBQ

Jethro’s

This Des Moines favorite received new accolades when it sent national TV show “Man V. Food” back to the big city defeated. Not even a pro pig can handle the heartiness of Jethro’s. See if you can grace the Wall of Shame by completing the “Adam Emmenecker Challenge,” or get messy mowing a medley of other smokey, juicy, tender meats that can trigger the Homer Simpson drool from anyone. 3100 Forest Ave., 279-3300

Runners-up: Woody’s Smoke Shack, Smokey D’s

 

Best Onion Rings

Maxie’s

New owner but same great rings. This West Des Moines institution repeats last year’s win and makes it four out of five. Hand cut, hand breaded and golden fried, these little addictions are complimentary accompaniments to most Maxie dishes. 1311 Grand Ave., West Des Moines, 223-1463.

 

Runners-up: Drake Diner, Chuck’s

 

Best French Fries

McDonald’s

More than 30 years ago, Ray Kroc risked McDonald’s reputation and changed the food world forever by betting customers would accept frozen, processed fries. Unlike most other fast food competitors, McD has resisted coating its pure potatoes with flours and starches. McMultiple locations.

 

Runners-up: Django, B-Bops

 

Best Chicken Wings

Buffalo Wild Wings

The service is fast enough for a midday hot wing quickie, yet the 14 dipping sauces, trivia games, big screen, HDTV and boisterous spirit invite you to settle in and spend the afternoon, as well. Our readers say this has become the place for wings throughout the metro. Multiple locations.

 

Runners-up: Jethro’s, Hooters

 

Best Nachos

University Library Café

Mom was wrong when she said chips aren’t a meal. At this Dogtown hot spot, they’re a main course. The Library serves lots of great items, but our readers again overwhelmingly stated their love for the nachos. It’s probably more frequented by Drake students than the actual library (you know, the one with books in it). Who needs buns? Try the cheeseburger nachos with a side of fries instead. 3506 University Ave., 255-0433.

 

Runners-up: Jethro’s, Legends

 

Best Soup

Palmer’s Deli and Market

The “No soup for you!” Soup Nazis of New York can’t hold a candle to the friendly staff at Palmer’s. Warm, comfort flavors are served by the bowl or cup. We love dipping our sandwiches in the steamy cheese soup. Multiple locations.

 

Runners-up: Panera Bread, Jason’s Deli

 

Best Bar Food

High Life Lounge

This ’60s-style corner tap offers food and beer that stay true to the era. Deviled eggs, Spam and egg sandwiches, liver and onion platters, fried chicken gizzards and Ma’s pot roast are among the favs — not to mention the truly unique bacon-wrapped tater tots that are the talk of downtown. Fortunately the booths are comfortable enough for a nap, too. 200 S.W. 2nd St., 280-1965.

 

Runners-up: Star Bar, The Royal Mile

 

Best Bistro Fare

Bistro Montage

Enosh Kelley’s place keeps winning this award for good reason. His French recipes were voted truly magnifique! His French-inspired cuisine adds to a menu that changes often with classical treatments of duck and beef. It’s perhaps the closest thing to the City of Love that we can get in Des Moines. 2724 Ingersoll Ave., 557-1924.

 

Runners-up: Django, Le Mie

 

Best Appetizers

Star Bar

Star Bar goes far beyond the popcorn and peanut snack clichés with a bold menu of seared ahi, pot stickers and BBQ egg rolls that are so good you almost forget to enjoy your cocktail. Almost. 2837 Ingersoll Ave., 288-1405.

 

Runners-up: The Continental, Café di Scala

 

Best Coffeehouse

Mars Café

Mars has earned this designation from our readers for five straight years in one of the most competitive food and beverage categories. Des Moines is truly blessed with an original coffeehouse culture that most cities only dream about, featuring catered treats, a wine list including rare East Euro bargains, free Wi-Fi for Drake area residents and more. 2318 University Ave., 369-MARS.

Runners-up: Smokey Row, Zanzibar’s Coffee Adventure

 

Best Coffee

Mars Café

Coffee? Wereallylikecoffee… Yeswedo… It keeps us ticking dayafterdayafterdayafterday… And who would be more fitting to serve up Des Moines’ best coffee but the city’s “Best Coffeehouse?” Makes sense. 2318 University Ave., 369-MARS.

 

Runners-up: Zanzibar’s Coffee Adventure, Starbucks

 

Best Wine Selection

Sbrocco

Who says true winos must be cut from the upper crust? Chef Andrew Meek has crafted a price-conscious, trend-conscious wine bar, and voters have noticed. The café features wine flights for the curious, while the no-corkage arrangement with the downstairs wine store allows a larger selection for those on a budget. 208 Court Ave., 282-3663.

 

Runners-up: Café di Scala, Hy-Vee Wine & Spirits

 

Best Beer Selection

el Bait Shop

Was there any question? With more than 100 beers on tap and more than 100 bottles, el Bait Shop is the ideal place to take beer connoisseurs. And while you’re gazing in awe at the wall of tap beers, trying to decide which new brand best suits your food or your mood, there’s often a local band playing to keep your toes tapping. But don’t spill your brew! 200 S.W. 2nd St., 284-1970.

 

Runners-up: Hy-Vee Wine & Spirits, Old Chicago

 

Best Microbrewed Beer

Court Avenue Brewing Co.

The place to try a truly uniquely crafted beer is reigning king of local breweries for its third year in a row. Stop in and enjoy one of their seven mainstays — Two Rivers Light, Belgian White, Kaplan Hat HefeWeizen, Topping Pale Ale, Honest Lawyer I.P.A, Pointer Brown Ale and BlackHawk Stout, as well as their selection of seasonal brews. Cheers! 309 Court Ave., 282-2739.

 

Runners-up: Raccoon River Brewing Co., Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery

 

Best Power Lunch

Centro

Business leaders, visiting celebs and politicians continue to adore this place, and so do our readers. Centro pleases with cyclic new additions and dishes now earning the honor of being considered classics by all food lovers, proving that lunch doesn’t have to be burgers and fries. 1011 Locust St., 244-7033.

 

Runners-up: Palmer’s Deli & Market, Proof

 

Best Place for a $5 Lunch

Tasty Tacos

Talk about some serious bang for your buck (or $5 bill, rather). Our readers have favored these restaurants many times through the years for an inexpensive lunch that keeps you full until supper. Legislators and other bargain hunters seem to appreciate their familiar Mexican-American menu with unique taco shells. Multiple locations.

 

Runners-up: High Life Lounge, Hy-Vee

 

Best Place for a $10 Dinner

A Dong

You don’t have to be pregnant with twins to have the occasional hankering for Asian food. And when you do, A Dong’s is where our readers go to quiet the beast. The menu covers the delicacies of the Far East. Whether it’s the steaming spring rolls, the pho soup or the stir fry classics, when you’re done you’ll be full. And so will your wallet. 1511 High St., 284-5632.

Runners-up: Hy-Vee, Gateway Market

 

Best Chow After 2 a.m.

Fong’s Pizza

After a night of carousing Court Avenue or a downtown concert, nothing says nightcap like the dimly-lit, cozy booths at Fong’s. Somehow it manages to host a hip after party minus the belligerent frat boys and vomiting vixens. The pizza is adventurous, and the people are cool. 223 Fourth St., 323-3333.

Runners-up: Big Tomato Pizza Co., Perkins

 

Best Spot for a First Date

Mars Coffeehouse

Ah, Des Moines. Such intellectuals, aren’t we? The top three choices here suggest we actually care about getting to know our date before getting him or her so drunk an inappropriate joke or a bad haircut are quickly forgotten. Plus, it offers up opportunities for great one-liners like, “Baby, you’re so sweet, I’ll take my coffee black…” Or not. 2318 W. University Ave., 369-6277.

 

Runners-up: Centro, Django

 

Best Patio

Dos Rios

This is a no brainer — it’s the only patio in town designed by super star architect Greg Wattier and the only patio on Court Avenue wide enough to stagger tables. The cushioned seats are comfy, and the hanging plants add a colorful and often fragrant ambiance to your tequila-sipping outdoor experience. 316 Court Ave., 282-2995.

 

Runners-up: Wellman’s, Mullets

 

 

Best Men’s Clothing Store

Mr. B’s

With nearly 40 years of providing clothing services to men in central Iowa, Mr. B’s has proven to have all the pedigree to win the title for our “Best Men’s Clothing” category. And if you’d prefer not to make the drive, you can conveniently shop at their online store, www.mrbclothing.com. 1995 N.W. 86th St., Clive, 276-8589.

Runners-up: Von Maur, G & L

 

Best Women’s Clothing Store

Von Maur

Von Maur pulls off another win in the “Best Women’s Clothing” category. Our readers still feel the need to stick with a familiar clothing store and to remain loyal customers. 1551 Valley West Drive, West Des Moines, 223-1311.

Runners-up: Kohl’s, Back Country Outfitters

 

Best Children’s Clothing
Store

The Children’s Place

The Children’s Place prides itself on specializing in children’s merchandise from newborns to 14-year-olds. As of 2011, there were 892 The Children’s Place stores in North America. 1551 Valley West Drive, West Des Moines, 223-1311, www.childrensplace.com.

Runners-up: GAP, Kohls

 

Best Thrift Shop

Goodwill

Goodwill once again claimed the “Best Thrift Shop” category. Offering great deals and bargains in every corner can help save a dollar in this tough economy. Multiple locations.

Runners-up: Salvation Army, Bargain Basket

 

Best Vintage Consignment

Dorothea’s Closet Vintage

Dorothea’s Closet claimed the title of “Best Vintage Consignment” category. Dorothea’s Closet provides shoppers a step into the past, while creating an entirely new outfit. Keep it retro at Dorothea’s. 1733 Grand Ave., 288-9982.

Runners-up: Atomic Garage, Fashion Junction

 

Best Local Clothing

Raygun

This store offers a shopping experience that is directly from the future. It’s witty T-shirt slogans can been seen on the chest of men and women in the metro and beyond. Besides, where else can you find fashionable and funny T-shirts for reasonable prices? 432 E. Locust St., 288-1323.

Runners-up: Aimee, Rockabilly Reign

 

Best Bridal Shop

Weddings by Design

Brides around Des Moines will be happy to hear our readers ranked Weddings by Design the “Best Bridal Shop.” Weddings by Design made it back to the list with its wonderful selections and trained consultants. 2020 Grand Ave., Suite 400, West Des Moines, 222-9662.
www.weddingsbydesigndm.com.

Runners-up: Schaffer’s Bridal, David’s Bridal

 

Best Purse Store

Lala Handbags

Handbags are a must in a woman’s world, and it comes as no surprise that Lala Handbags takes home the “Best Purse Store” again. Lala Handbags is an essential store for purchasing your next big accessory. Multiple locations.

Runners-up: Von Maur, Coach

 

Best Shoes

Von Maur

Seeking a new pair of shoes is always a fun experience. Von Maur was voted as having the “Best Shoes,” where anyone can get the latest shoes. 1551 Valley West Drive, West Des Moines, 223-1311.

 

Runners-up: DSW, Younkers, Dillards

 

Best New Store

Trader Joe’s

There’s a fresh new convenience store in town. Bells are ringing at Trader Joe’s, the store that has everything a shopper could need. You won’t find name brand label items, instead you’ll choose from products with the Trader Joe’s label and other everyday basics. It’s the perfect place to stock up for your next party. 6305 Mills Civic Parkway, Suite 2111, West Des Moines, 225-3820. www.traderjoes.com

Runners-up: Rockabilly Reign, Allspice

 

Best Music Store

ZZZ Records

This is proof that people still enjoy the smooth sounds of vinyl. ZZZ Records is the place to find that record you lost 20 years ago, and they offer many helpful ways to obtain music — legally that is. Their selection is as eclectic as their customers. If they don’t have what you need, they’ll special order it for you. 2200 Ingersoll Ave., 284-1401.

Runners-up:
Best Buy, iTunes

 

Best Place to Rent a Movie

Red Box

Yet again, Red Box takes the lead. This comes as no surprise seeing that their movies are only $1. Multiple locations.

Runners-up:

 

Best Place Ever, Blockbuster, Family Video

 

Best Store for Gamers

GameStop

The power is still in the hands of the players, and GameStop wins again. With 6,500 stores across the United States and 17 in countries worldwide, this win comes as no surprise. Multiple locations.

Runners-up: Gamers, Jay’s CD & Hobby

Best Electronics Store

 

Best Buy

Best Buy did it once again. By keeping customers abreast on the latest electronic gadgets at great prices, they’ve created an endearing relationship with our readers. Multiple locations.

Runners-up: Apple Store, Radio Shack

 

Best Book Store

Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble has become the Internet’s largest bookstore with more than 1 million titles for immediate delivery. Barnes & Noble has even released their greatest electronic gadget for readers — the Nook, which offers readers a new way to read magazines, books and to become a dedicated eReader. 101 Jordan Creek Parkway, West Des Moines, 453-2980; 4550 University Ave., West Des Moines, 221-9171.

Runners-up: Half Price Books, Beaverdale Books

 

Best Used Bookstore

Half Price Books

Looking for a great read at half the price? Look no further than Half Price Books. Each store offers a unique mixture of new and used books, movies and games, so it’s hard telling what you’ll find. Get to digging! 8801 University Ave., Clive, 224-4429.

Runners-up: Well Read Books, Beaverdale Books

 

Best Car Wash

Mister Car Wash

Mister Car Wash takes the cake again. A company that claims to provide quality service to customers and their vehicles, and being a good citizen to the world through their efforts of being environmentally conscious, has won over our readers with their reliability. Multiple locations.

Runners-up: Executive Lazer Car Wash, Soaks Express

 

Best Auto Shop

Drake Garage

Got a blown radiator? Our readers say Drake Garage is the “Best Auto Shop” with their fair prices and top notch service. 918 42nd St., 255-6159.

Runners-up: Beckley Automotive, Terry’s Auto

 

Best Car Dealership (Domestic)

Karl Chevrolet

Our readers stuck with the tried and true and voted Karl Chevrolet as the “Best Car Dealership” in central Iowa. Stop by Karl’s Chevrolet and pick up some new wheels. 1101 S.E. Oralabor Road, Ankeny, (800) 622-8264.

Runners-up: Stew Hansen Dodge City, Willis Auto Campus

 

Best Car Dealership (Foreign)

Toyota of Des Moines

Toyota of Des Moines prides itself on being the best with an eagerness to provide exceptional service to their valued customers. Our readers obviously agree. 4475 Merle Hay Road, (888) 593-1952.

Runners-up: Hummel’s Nissan, Smart Honda of Des Moines

 

Best Motorcycle Shop

Big Barn
Harley-Davidson

Dedicated motorcyclists know you have to go with the best. Our readers voted Big Barn Harley-Davidson as the place to fill your Harley needs. 81 N.W. 49th Place, 265-4444.

Runners-up: Struthers Brothers-Kawasaki, Garvis Honda

 

Best Bike Shop

Bike World

Bicycling is a fun activity, but biking into work can also save big dollars. That’s why any smart bicyclist knows that Bike World holds all the essentials for a wonderful bike ride for work or play. So, what are you waiting for? 5970 Ashworth Road, West Des Moines, 222-1880.

Runners-up: Rasmussen Bike Shop, Ichi Bike

 

Best Liquor Store

Ingersoll Wine and Spirits

Ingersoll Wine and Spirits carries all the beer and wine you’ll need, including an assortment of brews from Germany, England, Ireland and Mexico. They also take special orders and can find whatever beverage you’re looking for. 1300 50th St., West Des Moines, 327-9191, 3500 Ingersoll Ave., 255-3191.

Runners-up: Hy-Vee, Central City Liquors

 

Best Wine Store

Ingersoll Wine and Spirits

Ingersoll Wine and Spirits wins again for “Best Wine Store,” and it should come as no surprise considering its 20 years of retail wine experience. New wines arrive daily to the facility, and there are a selection of more than 2,500 different wines at any given moment. Let’s open another bottle and toast to their success. 1300 50th St., West Des Moines, 327-9191; 3500 Ingersoll Ave., 255-3191.

Runners-up: Hy-vee Wine & Spirits, WineStyles

 

Best Pharmacy

Walgreens

How a small store that started in Dixon, Ill. grew to have more than 6,200 locations in the United States is an amazing feat. Charles R. Walgreen would be happy to see his locations in Des Moines has won the “Best Pharmacy” award for 2011. Multiple locations.

Runners-up: Hy-Vee Pharmacy, Bauder Pharmacy

 

Best Health Food Store

Campbell’s

Campbell’s has provided customers with more than 60 years of customer satisfaction and trusted product knowledge. No wonder it’s our readers’ “Best Health Food Store.” Multiple locations.

Runners-up: Trader Joe’s, New City Market

 

Best Grocery Store

Hy-Vee

With its headquarters based in West Des Moines, and with 228 retail stores in eight states, Hy-Vee is the “Best Grocery Store,” according to our readers. Multiple locations.

Runners-up: Dahl’s, Fareway

 

Best Furniture Store

Homemakers

For the past 35 years, Homemakers has been helping its customers turn that house into a home. Cityview readers agree that Homemakers is the best place to acquire the furnishings necessary to spruce up any living space.
10215 Douglas Ave., 276-2772.

Runners-up: Slumberland, Mansion

 

Best Jewelry Store

Josephs Jewelers

Finding that perfect precious stone for a ring or necklace can be overwhelming. But Cityview readers voted Josephs as the place to go for quality merchandise along with a reputation for quality, trust, integrity and value. Multiple locations.

Runners-up: 2AU, Anglo International

 

Best Antique Store

The Brass Armadillo

Offering a unique chain of antique and collectible merchandise, The Brass Armadillo showcases antiques from more than 2,000 antique dealers. The store offers an adventure unlike any other, with anything from vintage antique furniture to movie star memorabilia. 701 N.E. 50th Ave., 282-0082.

Runners-up: A Okay Antiques, Foundthings

 

Best Art Gallery

Finder’s Creepers

A new champ has emerged as Finder’s Creepers has taken the reigns as the “Best Art Gallery” in town. And why shouldn’t it be? The retail/gallery space is an evil delight with both local and national artists taking up space in the creepy basement gallery. The gallery has hosted a number of interesting shows including the recent Stephen King tribute, “Hail to the King,” while continually building a loyal following of people hungry for creep-tastically original art. Upcoming shows include a solo exhibition from Sara Fakhraie in March and a show in May organized by Leanne Kamberg called “Observance,” which will encourage people to not only look, but to see violence for what it is — a widespread societal illness. Stop in and check it out… if you dare! 515 18th St., 288-9815. www.finderscreepers.com

Runners-up: Moberg Gallery, Instinct Gallery

 

Best Hair Salon

Salon Utopia

Salon Utopia provides its clients with an experience rather than simply a service. They stir things up with a free cup of Gong Fu Tea. Oh, and don’t forget your tantalizing piece of Suzette’s Candy as you head out the door with a new and fresh look. 1208 42nd St., 274-1888.

Runners-up: Bombshell Betty’s, Salon Tech

 

Best Spa

East Village Spa

The employees at East Village Spa care about fostering relationships with their clients. They feature treatments and products that offer great results and offer complimentary hot tea and chocolates. Not to mention the awards they boast for waxing. 4100 315 E. 5th St., 309-2904.

Runners-up: Sahar’s Salon & Day Spa, Spa at West Glen

 

Best Tanning Salon

Tan World

No one can resist that golden tan. Tan World uses the finest tanning equipment, technological advancements in premium skin care and tanning product research. With their premium line of products, the tanning experts can help you find the right one for you and answer any questions or concerns you have. Multiple locations.

Runners-up: Soleil Tan Spa, Classic Tan

 

Best Place for Aesthetic Surgery

Skin Solutions Laser Enhancement Center & Spa

Before we run off to Hawaii with Enrique we might want to get some help from experts for a little touch-up. Let’s face it, we’re getting older and all of us could do with a little spa retreat and have some work done every now and again. Skin Solutions offers a wide variety of advanced corrective technology. Their experienced physicians offer services from facials and permanent hair removal to skin tightening and laser treatments. 1601 N.W. 114th St. Suite 355, West Des Moines.

Runners-up: Bergman Cosmetic Surgery, Heartland Plastic Surgery

 

Best Outdoor or Sporting Goods Store

Scheels All Sports

Scheels offers Iowans a large selection of sports equipment, sportswear and footwear. When Scheels first opened it was solely a hardware store. It started adding sporting goods in 1954. Athletic clothing and shoes were added into Scheels’ inventory by 1972 and it is no surprise that its grown even more as central Iowa’s “Best Outdoor or Sporting Goods Store” for 2011. 101 Jordan Creek Parkway, Building 4000, West Des Moines, 727-4065.

Runners-up: Bass Pro Shop, Back Country Outfitters

 

Best Hardware Store

Ace Hardware

With a name like Ace it’s not hard to see why Ace Hardware is acing its way past all the other hardware stores. Ace Hardware prides itself for its helpfulness and for being a local hardware store that is a part of the community. There are currently 4,400 stores across the U.S.A. offering a wide variety of hardware and fix-and-replace products as well as niche items and services relevant to our community. Multiple locations.

Runners-up: Miller Hardware, Menards

 

Best Greenhouse/Nursery

Goode Greenhouses

Goode is doing it beste. Goode Greenhouses took the title again for “Best Greenhouse/Nursery.” The Goode family has been in this business, and at the same location, since 1905. They are committed to providing customers with the best-quality plants, products and personal service they can offer. They grow plants such as poinsettias, easter lilies, beddings plants and fall mums. They hope you’ll leave their greenhouse with something you like. 1050 N.E. 50th Ave., 262-6504.

Runners-up: Earl May, Herndon’s Des Moines Seed & Nursey Co.

Best Locally Owned Store

 

Best Place Ever

If you’re looking for art house, cult and hard-to-find films than Best Place Ever is the place to be. The store opened in 2003 in hopes of providing a place for independent film fans and movie lovers to rent amazing films, and they work hard to immerse themselves into the community by “knowing each of their customers by sight in the most awkward of public situations.” 1159 24th St., 255-4332. www.bestplaceever.com.

Runners-up: Finder’s Creepers, Raygun

 

Best Shopping District

East Village

Cityview readers still stick with the East Village as the “Best Shopping District.” Who can blame them? It hosts a list of diverse stores, restaurants, bars and residents all of which help bring a comfortable feel to this progressive and historically significant part of Des Moines.

Runners-up: Jordan Creek, Valley Junction

 

Best Flower Shop

Boesen The Florist

When you’re named one of the top 25 florists in the country by major floral wire services, you’ve already built a pretty solid reputation with the clients from your community. Boesen the Florist competes with the finest designers, retail and service providers around the world to deliver the best quality product they can produce. It’s no wonder readers have selected them as the “Best Flower Shop” for 2011. Multiple locations.

Runners-up: Hy-vee, Irene’s Flowers and Exotic Plants

 

Best Pet Store

PETCO

If you’re looking to be a good parent you’re going to need the training that comes with it. Having a pet is a lot like having a child. Since the stores opened in 1965, PETCO has made it a priority to help animals live long and happy lives with human companions.


You’ll be scared and you’ll be nervous at times as a new parent, but it’s reassuring to know that PETCO provides the products, services and advice that will make your transition into becoming a quality parent easier. Multiple locations.

Runners-up: Pet Smart, Iowa Pet Food and Supply, Jett and Monkey

 

Best Adult Store

Romantix

Bring on the Romantix. If you’re looking to get down with your significant other in an all-new way than Romantix is the place to go. Cityview readers have always been knowledgeable about where to go to find items to zest up their love lives with lubes, lotions, videos and erotic toys that are sure to satisfy even the most dangerous of desires. 2020 E. Euclid Ave., 266-7992.

Runners-up: Christal’s, The Gallery

 

Best Hotel/Motel

Hotel Fort Des Moines

For more than 80 years, the Hotel Fort Des Moines has been providing cutting-edge comfort, convenience and service to all of its valued customers. It is no wonder why our readers have selected it as the “Best Hotel/Motel” for central Iowa. 1000 Walnut St., 243-1161.

Runners-up: Embassy Suites, Renaissance Savery Hotel

 

Best Mom & Pop

Uncle Wendell’s BBQ

Uncle Wendell’s has more to offer than just barbecue. It offers outdoor seating, when the weather is comfortable, as well as a dine-in atmosphere that is both friendly and laid back. If you can’t stop in for a visit, it also offers take-out services and catering for special events. 2716 Ingersoll Ave., 779-6066.

Runners-up: B&B Grocery, Waveland Café

 

Best Iowa Product

Templeton Rye Whiskey

The fine whiskey of Templeton Rye is the number one pick again for the “Best Iowa Product” by Cityview readers. Now, if we could just find a bottle of Templeton… or five. www.templetonrye.com.

Runners-up: Corn, Pork chops

 

Best Gift Shop

Finder’s Creepers

Are you looking for something strange and bizarre that you can’t find anywhere else? Than Finder’s Creepers is the place to be. They offer everything from horror tees, handmade goods from Serena Rose, novelty items like Nunzilla, switchblade combs, canned monkey brains, used DVD’s, affordable art prints, original water colors, limited edition wall plaques by Dark Vomit and Delusional Photography, zombie shower curtains and wall clings, Teddy Scares, handmade creepy dolls and monsters, skulls, vintage dolls, vintage Garbage Pail Kids cards and buttons, band stickers, local band CDs and 7-inch records, as well as novelty candy like Death Mints and Absinthe Candies. So it is no wonder why they were voted “Best Gift Shop” — they have everything. How could you not find the best gift there? 2722 Ingersoll Ave., 282-1031.

 

Runners-up: Tandem Brick, Wicker & the Works

 

Culture and nightlife

 

Best Annual Event

Iowa State Fair

The biggest event in the state reclaims the throne for “Best Annual Event.” The Iowa State Fair, which runs from Aug. 11-21, offers something for everyone as the east side of Des Moines is descended upon by the thousands. Eat fried food on a stick, watch a concert, chug down overpriced beer and get ready for the best people-watching our state has to offer. This year’s motto speaks the truth: “Nothing Compares.” www.iowastatefair.com

Runners-up: Des Moines Art Festival, 80/35 Music Festival

 

Best Annual Tent/Block Party

Ingersoll Live

A repeat winner, Ingersoll Live continues to keep the party going in one of the coolest neighborhoods in the metro. The celebration is as eclectic as the people, bars, restaurants and shops that populate the street. And if you don’t know about it, stop down this August for Ingersoll Live when thousands of people eat food, drink beer, listen to music and bask in the coolness that is Ingersoll Avenue.

Runners-up: Beaverdale Fall Festival, Oktoberfest

 

Best Place to Take Visitors

Downtown Farmers’ Market

During the spring/summer months, our readers say there isn’t a better place to be on a Saturday morning than the Downtown Farmers’ Market. You can find just about anything your taste buds desire. Not only does the market allow attendees to stock their pantries, but a number of local chefs plan their menus around the Farmers’ Market, too, offering the freshest meals in town. www.desmoinesfarmersmarket.com.

Runners-up: Pappajohn Sculpture Park, East Village

 

Best Place To People Watch

Iowa State Fair

Fried food, animal testicles and East Side Night… Oh my!

Runners-up: Downtown Farmers’ Market, Jordan Creek Town Center

 

Best Place To Take Your Kids

Science Center of Iowa

Instead of some rambunctious and overpriced kid’s restaurant/play area, our readers take their children to a place that is both fun and informative. The Science Center of Iowa (SCI) is devoted to lifelong learning featuring six dynamic experience platforms where visitors can explore and experiment. In addition, SCI showcases a 216-seat Blank IMAX Dome Theater and a 50-foot domed Star Theater. It’s full of fun for all ages. 401 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, Des Moines, 274-6868.

Runners-up: Blank Park Zoo, Adventureland

 

Best Museum

Des Moines Art Center

Was there any question? The Des Moines Art Center reigns supreme when it comes to museums in town and is not slowing down anytime soon. The Art Center presents thought-provoking exhibitions and educational programs, as well as hands-on studio art classes. Their current exhibition from Anselm Reyle runs through April 17. 4700 Grand Ave., 277-4405.

Runners-up: Science Center of Iowa, State Historical Museum

 

Best Place to Catch a Flick

Fleur Cinema & Café

Chock another win up for the coolest theater in town. A strong audience following packs the Fleur on a weekly basis, even if it’s showing the same film as one of the local multiplexes. From award-winning independents to documentaries and foreign treats, the Fleur Cinema is the theatre of choice for our readers. 4545 Fleur Drive, 287-4545.

Runners-up: Jordan Creek Century 20, Varsity Theater

 

Best Theatrical Value

Civic Center of Greater Des Moines

Since 1979, the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines has grown from a dream of a small group of local business leaders to the cornerstone of the downtown Des Moines redevelopment initiative. If a show has been on Broadway, chances are the Civic Center will lure its traveling tour to town. The Civic Center has brought mega-selling shows like “The Lion King” and “Wicked” to town but also focuses on quality entertainment to local theatergoers. Get ready to rock in April with the upcoming production of “Rock of Ages.” 221 Walnut St., 246-2300.

Runners-up: Des Moines Playhouse, StageWest

 

Best New Bar

Mullets

The newest member of the Full Court Press family, Mullets has quickly become a popular destination for both bike riders and Iowa Cubs fans. The bar offers a wide variety of drinks, delicious food (try the Sandberg) and one of the best patios (it’s a double-decker!) in town. If you’re business in the front or party in the back, Mullets is the place for you. 1301 S.E. 1st St., 244-1443.

Runners-up: Bombay Bicycle Club, Wellman’s Pub & Rooftop

 

Best Patio Bar

Wellman’s Pub & Rooftop

When you base your entire business on a rooftop patio in Iowa, we’d hope you’d win this competition. 597 Market St., West Des Moines, 222-1100.

Runners-up: Mullets, Saints Pub & Patio

 

Best Irish Bar

Mickey’s Irish Pub

People do go to Irish bars on days other than St. Patrick’s Day, and Mickey’s Irish Pub on 86th Street is one our readers enjoy. We’re also sure people love this place because they throw the biggest and wildest St. Paddy’s Day party in town. Mickey’s is a staple on March 17, as well as days when they’re not serving green beer. 1800 N.W. 86th St., Clive, 252-0248.

Runners-up: Sully’s Irish Pub, Cooney’s Tavern

 

Best Dive Bar

Carl’s Place

When you look up the definition of a dive bar in the dictionary, you’ll see a picture of Carl’s Place. With no sign, cheap drinks and a rocking jukebox, Carl’s has everything you need for a good time. The crowd is so eclectic, you’re bound to find blue collar mingling with white collar and 20-somethings chatting with 50-somethings over cans of classic beer. It’s also a hot spot before and after events at Hoyt Sherman Theater. 1620 Woodland Ave., 243-9727.

Runners-up: Greenwood Lounge, Alpine Tap

 

Best Sports Bar

Johnny’s Hall of Fame

Wow, we have a TKO in the sports bar category as long-time favorite and local sports bar institution, Third Base, was knocked to the canvas by a hungry challenger. Johnny’s has survived a move, a fire that ruined three-quarters of the 4,600 Hall of Fames photos the owners had collected and a flood. If that isn’t perseverance, we don’t what is. With HDTVs everywhere you look, dozens of games and two pool tables, Johnny’s Hall of Fame is the place our readers cheer on their favorite teams. 302 Court Ave., 280-6679.

Runners-up: Third Base, OverTime

 

Best Bar (Overall)

el Bait Shop

This is a testament to the stronghold Full Court Press has over the local bar scene. All three bars in this category belong to them, and all three are completely unique and different than the others. el Bait Shop is their beer bar, offering more than 100 on tap and another 100 in the bottle. The walls are covered in everything from old wrestling photos to classic beer signs to the iconic Farrah Fawcett. In the warmer months, their outdoor patio offers more space as bike riders and attendees of surrounding events spill into their parking lot. If you don’t like the taste of beer, we’d suggest staying clear. But if you do enjoy the elixir of the gods, there is no better selection in town. 200 S.W. 2nd St., 284-1970.

Runners-up: Royal Mile, High Life Lounge

 

Best Bar District

Court Avenue

Once again the Court Avenue bar district reigns supreme. The area features bars that will satisfy anyone’s taste. Shake your booty at Liars Club, Kamodo Klub or Surf Shack; rock out at People’s Court and Sinners and Saints; cheer your favorite team on at Johnny’s Hall of Fame and Legend’s; or relax with some friends at Shorty’s, Heroes, Court Avenue Brewing Co., Pelican Club and Dos Rios. Stroll a block over to Fourth Street and you’ll find good times at places like The Royal Mile, Fong’s Pizza, The Lift, 4th Down and Vaudeville Mews. All three winning districts are in the heart of Des Moines, which proves that you don’t need to drive far to find some of the best bars in town.

Runners-up: Ingersoll Avenue, East Village

 

Best Downtown Bar

The Royal Mile

Named “One of America’s Best Bars” by Esquire Magazine, The Royal Mile is the place to go if you want a trip over the pond but can’t afford the airfare. The Mile has a comfortable atmosphere, great beer selection and wonderful modern and traditional British dishes. With 28 ales and lagers on tap, more than 120 bottled beers and 85 single malt Scotches available, The Royal Mile has you covered. So raise a pint and a ruckus with your mates at the best bar in downtown. 210 Fourth St., 280-3771.

Runners-up: Johnny’s Hall of Fame, el Bait Shop

 

Best West Side Bar

Wellman’s Pub & Patio

In a close race, Wellman’s newest location wrestled the title of “Best West Side Bar” from heavy favorite, Cabaret West Glen. With a massive rooftop patio, the bar has become a favorite of west side dwellers. Stop out and see the crowds of beautiful people who flock to the patio tables. Just bring cash. 597 Market St., West Des Moines, 222-1100.

Runners-up: Cabaret West Glen, Tonic

 

Best Central Bar

Star Bar

Star Bar is very popular with the after work crowd as well as late night and brunch fans looking to cure hangovers. The food gets most of the credit at this establishment, but the bar offers something for everyone. Take a seat outside on the small but comfortable patio that overlooks the hustle and bustle of Ingersoll Avenue or belly up to the classic bar. When our readers want to drink classy on Ingersoll, Star Bar is their destination. 2811 Ingersoll Ave., 244-0790.

Runners-up: Carl’s Place, GT Lounge

 

Best North Bar

Highland Park Country Club

A repeat winner and staple of the Highland Park neighborhood, the Country Club has been satisfying patrons for almost 30 years, even though it’s not a golf course. Its old-school-diner look and feel add to the ambiance of this neighborhood watering hole. If you’re a fan of the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, then the Highland Park CC is a metro destination. It’s the oldest Packer bar in town, with a wide range of memorabilia lining the walls. With cheap drinks, good food and friendly patrons, everyone should stop in for a round at the Highland Park Country Club. 518 Euclid Ave., 245-9229.

Runners-up: Cooney’s Tavern, Outer Limits


Best East Bar

Blazing Saddle

Taking home two awards this year, the Blazing Saddle has established itself as not only the “Best Gay/Lesbian Hangout” but also the “Best East Bar.” The Saddle is known for its good times and strong drinks, which is apparent in their motto, “Always A Double, Never A Cover.” We’ll drink to that. 416 E. 5th St., 246-1299.

Runners-up: Locust Tap, Gerri’s Tavern

 

Best South Bar

Francie’s

Although these three bars have battled over this title for a few years now, Francie’s came out on top in 2011. The friendly neighborhood bar/restaurant vibe keeps our readers coming back to Francie’s, and it’s apparently the reason they were voted “Best South Bar.” You’ll feel like your home with the cozy wood paneling and “everybody knows your name” rapport. It’s a great place to stop in for a drink, food or both. This place is a true south side destination, so take a trip and enjoy what Francie’s has to offer. 2100 Wakonda View Drive, 285-5207.

Runners-up: Manning’s Pour House, Kung Fu Tap & Taco

 

Best Beer Selection

el Bait Shop

Full Court Press knows our readers like beer, which is why all three places in this category were their establishments. Repeat winner el Bait Shop is the place you bring out-of-town guests to blow their beer-loving minds. With more than 100 beers on tap and more than 100 more in the bottle, el Bait shop has brew for any taste. Stop in Thursdays for Jimmy Carter Happy Hour and sample beers you won’t find anywhere else. 200 S.W. 2nd St., 284-1970.

Runners-up: Hessen Haus, High Life Lounge

 

Best Place to Get Drunk for Cheap

High Life Lounge

Like a blast from the past, the High life Lounge does it right, as they keep their prices low and products on point. So what if you can’t get a beer made after 1979? They offer tasty, classic brews including Hamm’s, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Old Milwaukee, Busch Light and their namesake Miller High Life. You want to drink for cheap? Stop in Thursday nights for “Crappy Beer Night” and enjoy $1.25 cans. 200 S.W. 2nd St., 280-1965.

Runners-up: The Blazing Saddle, Home

 

Best Cold Beer

el Bait Shop

They serve it cold, and they serve a lot of it. el Bait Shop clearly has all the frosty barley pops our readers can handle. 200 S.W. 2nd St., 284-1970.

Runners-up: High Life Lounge, Alpine Tap

 

Best Place for the Strongest Drink

Blazing Saddle

If you want a strong drink, look no further. It’s easy to see why the Blazing Saddle continues to dominate this category. 416 E. 5th St., 246-1299.

Runners-up: GT Lounge, Greenwood Lounge

 

Best Bar to Play Games

Johnny’s Hall of Fame

Johnny’s is not only the “Best Sports Bar,” but it also has plenty of games to keep our readers busy during half time. With flat screen TVs pretty much everywhere, and plenty of games including pool tables, darts, shuffleboard, Super Shot basketball, Silver Strike Bowling, Buck Hunter and Golden Tee Golf, Johnny’s is your destination for all things entertainment. Oh yeah, they also serve booze, too. 302 Court Ave., 280-6679.

Runners-up: All Play, The Underground

 

Best Place to Hook Up

Liars Club

Do you see the people who frequent the Liars Club? We have, and we know this win to be true. From the hot waitresses and beer tub girls to the out-of-town hotties who like to flaunt their stuff, the Liars Club has more eye candy than Willy Wonka’s factory. The bar packs them in (especially on the weekends) as it’s known as a staple in downtown Des Moines. 216 Court Ave., 237-5427.

Runners-up: The Garden, Uncle Buck’s

 

Best Place to See Beautiful People

Cabaret West Glen

Cabaret West Glen hosts Cityview’s annual “Des Moines Sexiest” party for a good reason. It says something about the attractive crowds flooding this West Glen hot spot. Sexy people call Cabaret West Glen home, so get out there and join the party. 560 S. Prairie View Drive, 225-1105.

Runners-up: The Garden, Liars Club

 

Best Happy Hour

Fong’s Pizza

For the second year in a row, Fong’s Pizza is the place our readers love to hit after a tough day at the office. Sure the drink specials are great, but Fong’s seals the deal with a free slice of award-winning pizza with every drink purchase. If you can’t make it there during the week, stop in for Sunday Funday and enjoy Happy Hour prices all day long.

Runners-up: Cabaret West Glen, The Alpine Tap Room, Blazing Saddle

 

Best Bartender

John Trotter (Bombay Bicycle Club)

For the first time ever, we have a repeat winner in the “Best Bartender” category. John Trotter must have plenty of loyal customers and friends because he once again dominated the category despite the fact that he is slinging drinks at a different bar this year. Trotter can now be found pouring shots and wrapping 40-ouncers in paper sacks at the Bombay Bicycle Club. According to the number of votes he received, our readers already knows this.

Runners-up: Bryan “Stinky” Smith (The Blazing Saddle) and Noah O’Toole (Lime Lounge)

 

Best Martini Menu

The Lift

Once again The Lift is the premier place to get your martini fix. With more than 30 different kinds (made with Gin or vodka) including the Zissou Zinger, the Sunny Side Up, the Mango Slut and the 4th Street Mimosa, patrons have numerous options to choose from. Stop in on Wednesday nights for Martini Night and enjoy $4 martinis or two for $7. What are you waiting for? 222 Fourth St., 288-3777.

Runners-up: Cabaret West Glen, Goodson’s, Gino's West Glen

 

Best Margarita

Dos Rios

With three years of domination, Dos Rios is solidifying its claim as the place our readers visit when they want the best margarita in town. You can’t call yourself a Cantina and Tequila Lounge unless you make some damn fine margaritas. Their margaritas are created with fresh fruit and agave nectar, and they offer a wide variety of house specialties. 316 Court Ave., 282-2995.

Runners-up: Mi Mexico, El Rodeo

 

Best Gay/Lesbian Hangout

Blazing Saddle

For the second year in a row, Blazing Saddle earned the “Best Gay/Lesbian Hangout” from our readers, as they continue to kick and claw over the top spot with The Garden. Many gay/lesbian hangouts in the metro have come and gone over the years, but Blazing Saddle continues to thrive. Regardless of the day, fun crowds, strong drinks and good times can always be found at The Saddle. 112 S.E. 4th St., 243-3965.

Runners-up: The Garden, Le Boi

 

Best Place for a Game of Pool

Raccoon River Brewery

With five beautiful tables available to rent by the hour, Raccoon River Brewing Company offers a perfect pairing with its numerous in-house brewed beers. Sounds good, right? Well, stop in on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and shoot pool for free. Hand-crafted beers and free pool sounds like a great way to spend an evening. 200 10th St., 362-5222.

Runners-up: Stix, The Underground

 

Best Jukebox

Greenwood Lounge

Reclaiming its title from the Alpine Tap, our readers say the Greenwood Lounge once again offers the best jukebox in town. Everyone has his or her favorite jukebox, but no matter what kind of music you like, the Greenwood’s jukebox is always rocking. From Buddy Holly to Neil Young to Frank Sinatra to Black Sabbath, expect to hear everything. 3707 Ingersoll Ave., 277-1219.

Runners-up: Cabaret West Glen, Alpine Tap, Carl's Place

 

Best Live Music Venue

People’s Court

People’s Court takes home the title once again as the best place to see a live show in town. It says a lot when they continue to win even though they don’t have the capacity of Wells Fargo Arena or Val Air Ballroom. People’s host a wide variety of acts, spanning numerous genres. Already this year, Foxy Shazam and Less Than Jake have rocked the house, and upcoming shows from William Elliott Whitmore/Dave Zollo on Feb. 26 and Rev. Horton Heat on May 19 will continue the trend. People’s Court is an excellent venue to see a show. 216 Court Ave., 244-0038. www.peoplesdm.com.

Runners-up: Vaudeville Mews, The House of Bricks

 

Best Dance Club

The Garden

If you’re looking for a place to shake your booty, look no further than The Garden. The multiple levels and dance floor are always packed, the drinks are continually flowing and the music (they receive new dance tracks before anyone in town) is always thumping. Get down with your bad self at The Garden. 112 S.E. 4th St., 243-3965.

Runners-up: Liars Club, Uncle Buck’s

 

Best Local Artist

D. Ryan Allen

The creepy crawly art of D. Ryan Allen has been a fixture of Finder’s Creepers, but our readers obviously have found out about this talented artist. Allen works in a variety of mediums including drawing, painting, sculpting, stained glass and mixed media. Along with a number of pieces hanging in the Finder’s Creepers gallery, Allen also has his “Shades of Decay” zombie-coloring book available for purchase. According to his bio, Allen’s artwork is a reflection of his passion for the genres of horror, science fiction and fantasy, so get ready for some creature creations unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

Runners-up: Cat Rocketship, Lee Ann Conlan

 

Best Strip Club

The Lumberyard

Their slogan says it all, “Where real men go for wood.” The Lumberyard regained its hold on the “Best Strip Club” in town and for good reason. The bar offers a number of specials throughout the week including two-for-one private dances, $5 admission and a ladies’ night. If you tire of the beautiful women gracing the stage on a regular basis, stop in for Amateur Night (the first and third Fridays of the month) or a wet T-shirt contest (the second and fourth Friday of the month). 1504 N.E. 54th Ave., 265-1019.

Runners-up: The Outer Limits, Beach Girls

 

Best Drag Queen

Champagne Showers

Will anyone ever dethrone the Queen of Des Moines? We doubt it, but there were plenty of new bitches fighting for the title. In the meantime, check out the iconic Queen’s facebook page (Champagne BlondeBombshell Showers) and bask in her greatness.

Runners-up: Tyona Diamond, Yazmine Younique DeMornay

 

Best Local Band

The Nadas

Once again, our readers voted The Nadas as the “Best Local Band.” There are plenty of bands in town, but The Nadas have Des Moines in a chokehold. They just held a weekly concert series at Vaudeville Mews, and their annual “Silent Night” series continues to pack Hoyt Sherman. www.thenadas.com.

Runners-up: Brother Trucker, Dead Horse Trauma

 

Best Local Musician

Roxi Copland

Roxi Copland performs throughout the U.S., entertaining with an engaging combination of original songs and innovative pop-infused arrangements of jazz standards. Copland has played more than 600 shows in the last three years ranging from small, intimate shows with 10 people in attendance to larger gigs, playing in front of 125,000 people. She’ll be headed out on 16 dates this March for her Youthful Indiscretion tour to support the release of her brand new single. www.roxicopland.com.

Runner-up: James Biehn, Maximilian Eubank

 

Best Body Piercing/Tattoo Shop

Iron Heart

A new champ enters the ring as Iron Heart Tattoo takes over the top spot. This Beaverdale shop offers a classic tattoo vibe with plenty of talented artists (Budha, Joshua Bowers, Sean Wilcox and Paul Nycz) on the roster. With the motto, “Clean, Solid Tattooing,” patrons can expect nothing but the best from this crew. They also pierce and sell body jewelry. 2815 Beaver Ave. Suite 108, 270-1500. www.ironhearttattoo.blogspot.com.

Runners-up: Yankee Doodle Dandy Tattoo, Skin Kitchen

 

Best Place to Gamble

Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino

Was it any surprise? Repeat winner Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino has been drawing in patrons looking for fun, excitement and a little bit of luck since 1989. Prairie Meadows offers a wide variety of entertainment options with tournaments, blackjack, slot machines, roulette and horse racing. If testing lady luck isn’t your thing, they also offer great dining options such as Triple Crown Eatery and AJ’s Steakhouse, as well as live concerts (Aaron Lewis of Staind performs a solo acoustic show on March 31, $25). 1 Prairie Meadows Drive, Altoona, 967-1000.

Runners-up: Meskwaki Bingo and Casino, Terrible’s Lakeside Casino

 

Sports and recreation

 

Best Place to Play Golf (Public)

Waveland Golf Course

Over the past few years, Waveland Golf Course and Cityview’s “Best of Des Moines” readers’ poll have been synonymous with each other. The public golf course once again takes the No. 1 spot as the place where our readers want to tee off. Located along University Avenue, Waveland Golf Course features fast and difficult greens that challenge the beginner and the veteran. Add in the statistic that more than 40,000 rounds of golf are played here annually, and you have a real winner. 4908 University Ave., 248-8725.

Runners-up: Legacy Golf Course, Jester Park Golf Course

 

Best Place to Play Golf (Private)

Glen Oaks Country Club

What once was 532 acres of farmland has turned into a goldmine for golfers in West Des Moines. Designed by the top United States golf architect, Tom Fazio, Glen Oaks Country Club is recognized as the premier club in the state for superb food, products and service. What tops this club off is its 18-hole championship golf course that attracts numerous professionals during the annual Principal Charity Classic (June 1-5). 1401 Glen Oaks Drive, West Des Moines, 221-9000.

Runners-up: Des Moines Golf and Country Club, Wakonda Club

 

Best Yoga Instructor

Ben Easter Yoga

Are you in with body and mind? If not, check out Ben Easter Yoga, voted “Best of Des Moines” for the first time. Easter helps participants align the body with the mind during his classes, which are offered three nights a week or through private sessions. His classes have up to 45 students who are focused on getting a full body workout.

Runners-up: Roxianne Classen (Harmony Yoga), Sandi Hoover (The Family Tree)

 

Best Massage Therapist

Kevin Thoren (Inner Prosperity)

Cityview readers have spoken and named Kevin Thoren the best when it comes to massage therapy. Thoren and his staff offer a variety of workshops, group meditations and programs to get clients back on track and ready for the next day. 2807 Grand Ave., 313-1156.

Runners-up: Silla and Rodney (Blades Massage Therapy), Maggie McGinnis (East Village Spa)

 

Best Local Coach

Regg Simon (Des Moines Buccaneers)

Here’s a man who is truly deserving of such an award. Simon, a former Buccaneer defenseman, returned to coach the USHL team this season. Before arriving in Des Moines, Simon spent two seasons at his alma mater, the University of Alaska-Anchorage. Simon suited up for the Bucs from 1994-96 and helped the team win its first “triple-crown” in 1995 — a USHL Anderson Cup (best regular-season record), the Clark Cup (playoff championship) and the Gold Cup (junior hockey’s national championship).

Runners-up: Paul Rhoades (Iowa State University Football), Fred Hoiberg (Iowa State University Men’s Basketball)

 

Best Local Athlete

Shawn Johnson

The 2008 Summer Olympics seem so yesterday, but this Des Moines native continues to stay close to our readers’ hearts. Johnson recently overcame a knee injury while on vacation but has confirmed plans to compete in the 2012 Olympics. Iowa’s “Golden Girl” is the 2008 Olympic women’s balance beam gold medalist and the individual all-around silver medalist. If Johnson makes the team, be sure to watch her and the USA team at the Olympics in London, United Kingdom, from July 27 to Aug. 12, 2012.

Runners-up: Romina Muse, Lolo Jones

 

Best Local Sports Team

Des Moines Buccaneers

It’s clear the Des Moines Buccaneers have a faithful following. The team has already earned the top spot in a number of categories, so why not add “Best Local Sports Team” to the mix? In the highly-contested category, the Bucs beat out the Iowa Cubs and the high-rising Des Moines Derby Dames. With a number of home games left on the schedule, be sure to stop by Buccaneer Arena for great games, cheap tickets and let’s not forget Buc Beer Night. 7201 Hickman Road, 278-2827.

Runners-up: Iowa Cubs, Des Moines Derby Dames

 

Best Bike Trail

Bill Riley Trail

Central Iowa is blessed with bike trails, but none quite receives the admiration from Cityview readers like the Bill Riley Trail. The 1.6-mile path is named after the civic leader and businessman. Starting at Ashworth Park and runing into Water Works Park, the busy trail is commonly used for hiking, nature viewing, biking, cross-country skiing and blading. South of Ashworth Pool to Water Works Park.

Runners-up: Clive Greenbelt Trail, Gray’s Lake

 

Best Place for a Run

Gray’s Lake

When people think “lake” in Des Moines, typically one body of water comes to mind: Gray’s Lake. Nestled along Fleur Drive, the lake is a prime hotspot for hundreds of runners each year. The two-mile trail encompasses the lake and also features a quarter-mile long pedestrian bridge that lights up the night below the Des Moines skyline. 2101 Fleur Drive.

Runners-up: Raccoon River Park, Water Works Park

 

Best Place to Work Out

Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping

Looking to feel the burn? Our readers look to Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping, which combines kickboxing, resistance and nutritional guidelines to keep clients in shape. Lives have been changed by 10-week programs that burn fat and build muscle. If that’s not enough, Farrell’s has a $1,000 contest for motivation. Multiple locations.

Runners-up: Kosama, Goals in Motion

 

Best Place to Kickbox

Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping

It was 10 years ago when founder Lance Farrell began Extreme Bodyshaping. Today, the fitness program has exploded and attracts hundreds of individuals into the 10-week program. Don’t think you have what it takes to get into shape? Farrell’s combines kickboxing, resistance, nutritional guidelines and accountability to help you. Multiple locations.

Runners-up: Kosama, Roundkick Gym

 

Best Place to Practice Your Breast Stroke

YMCA of Greater Des Moines

Looking to take the plunge? Look no further than the YMCA of Greater Des Moines as it offers all the amenities Cityview readers look for when it comes to swimming. More than 66,000 central Iowans swim in the metro’s nine locations each year. The downtown location sports a four-lane pool that hosts lap and open swim times. Multiple locations.

Runners-up: Aspen Athletic Clubs, Urbandale Public Pool

 

Best Place to “Do It” In Public

Gray’s Lake

Over the past few years, it’s been a two-way race between Gray’s Lake and Greenwood Park for the “Best Place to ‘Do It’ in Public.” After taking a back seat to Greenwood Park in 2010, Gray’s Lake once again is the place where individuals like to get hot and heavy. 2101 Fleur Drive.
Runners-up: Greenwood Park, Water Works Park

 

Best Place to Bowl

Air Lanes Bowling Center

Talk about bowling over the competition. After a five-year reign by Plaza Lanes Family Fun Center as the “Best
Place to Bowl,” Air Lanes finally delivers a strike in this category. The center features 24 bowling lanes and is home to leagues, birthday parties, college nights and more. 4200 Fleur Drive, 285-8632.

Runners-up: Plaza Lanes Family Fun Center, Warrior Lanes

 

Best Place to Miniature Golf

A.H. Blank Mini Golf Course

For the second year in a row, this mini golf course takes the top spot over its competition. Opened in 2007, A.H. Blank Mini Golf Course features real sand traps, ponds, water fountains and a 15-foot waterfall. The course is fun and challenging for people of all ages. The course offers a variety of party packages for birthdays and group outings for scout troops, retirement groups and corporate groups. Adults ages 13 and older are $7, while children ages 4 to 12 play for $5. 808 Country Line Road, 248-6300.

Runners-up: West Grand Golf, Toad Valley Golf Course

 

Best Indoor Sporting Event

Des Moines Buccaneers

The Des Moines Buccaneers know how to attract fans. Home to the Bucs of the United States Hockey League (USHL), the arena is jam-packed during the season to see some of the metro’s best young hockey stars. The Bucs have eight home games left on the schedule. Be sure to go check them out. 7201 Hickman Road, 278-2827.

Runners-up: Iowa Barnstormers, Des Moines Derby Dames

 

Best Outdoor Sporting Event

Iowa Cubs

Grab the family and head out to Principal Park for an Iowa Cubs game. The home schedule kicks off April 15 against the Memphis Redbirds, the first of an eight-game home stand. Bill Dancy has been named manager for the 2011 season, taking over for the departed Ryne Sandberg, now with the Philadelphia Phillies’ organization. Dancy ranks No. 4 among active minor league managers in wins, with 1,604 victories. Spring can’t come soon enough. One Line Drive, 243-6111.

Runners-up: Drake Relays, Hy-Vee Triathlon

 

Best Place to Watch a Sporting Event

Principal Park

It’s easy to see why Principal Park is top dog in this category with millions of fans passing through its gates since it was built prior to the start of the 1992 season. The stadium has undergone a number of major renovations in the past 10 years including the addition of new seats and the installation of a new scoreboard and videoboard. In 2005, Principal Park also became the host venue for the Iowa High School Athletic baseball championship tournament. What makes Principal Park even more special is when it’s lit up by fireworks after Friday night Iowa Cubs home games. One Line Drive, 243-6111.

Runners-up: Buccaneer Arena, Wells Fargo Arena

 

Best Running Event

Dam to Dam

Recognized as one of the best long distance races in the United States, the Dam to Dam race is the largest 20K race in the nation. Known as the “Iowa Distance Classic,” runners take off from Saylorville Dam and run to downtown Des Moines. If a 20K is too far, the event also features a 5K and youth runs, too. Online registration begins in March, and the race is scheduled for June 4.

Runners-up: Des Moines Marathon, Living History Farms Race

 

Best Local Iowa Day Trip

Amana Colonies

Over the past few years, Des Moines has enhanced itself with events downtown and west of the metro. But what’s outside of Des Moines? One place is the Amana Colonies, a major tourist attraction known for its restaurants and craft shops. The Amana Colonies Convention and Visitors Bureau, along with the Visitors Center, hosts a number of family, food and culinary, historical and recreational events throughout the year. 622 46th Ave., Amana, (319) 622-7622.

Runners-up: Ledges State Park, Pella

 

Best Farmers’ Market

Downtown Farmers’ Market

Year in and year out, the Downtown Farmers’ Market is where people want to start their Saturday mornings. Beginning in 1976, the farmers’ market has grown to feature approximately 200 vendors from more than 50 counties. Patrons can purchase farm-fresh products from May 7 to Oct. 29. Officials hope they can beat last year’s opening day crowd of more than 30,000 people. 300 Court Ave., 286-4928.

Runners-up: Valley Junction Farmers’ Market, Drake Neighborhood Farmers’ Market

 

Best of the rest

 

Best Elected Official

Terry Branstad

No more love for the mayor of our fair city. Voters wanted a change and apparently so did our readers as Gov. Terry Branstad took over the top spot from Mayor Frank Cownie. Even if certain people believe Branstad is holding Iowa back instead of pushing it forward, his win was no surprise. Let’s just hope he leads Iowa into the history books for the right reason.

Runners-up: Tom Miller, Tom Harkin

 

Best TV Station for News

KCCI

KCCI has taken back its title as the “Best TV Station for News.” The rivalry is as heated as the Hatfields and McCoys. Everyone in the city has his or her choice of what station to watch, but the KCCI news team stands at the top for our readers.

Runners-up: WHO, WOI

 

Best TV Station for Sports

WHO

Was there any question what station would win? The WHO sports team, led by iconic sports director Keith Murphy (who recently won the “Iowa Sportscaster of the Year” award) fires on all cylinders, providing hard hitting, in-depth stories and plenty of laughs. But Murph knows he is only as good as his team, so he has surrounded himself with a top-notch squad including Andy Fales, Chris Hassel and Shawn Terrell. If you’re still awake Sunday night, check out the hilarious “SoundOff,” which is a must for sports fans wanting to talk shop.

Runners-up: KCCI, WOI

 

Best TV Station for Weather

KCCI

John McLaughlin knows a thing or two about the weather, which is why readers turn to him and his weather team (Kurtis Gertz, Wes Callison and Metinka Slater) for the daily forecast. No matter if there is rain, snow or extreme humidity, KCCI will put a smile on your face before you head out the door.

Runners-up: WHO, WOI

 

Best Local TV Anchor

Kevin Cooney (KCCI)

We might as well permanently reserve this spot for Kevin Cooney, as the KCCI anchor has won this award 10 years in a row! Cooney started at KCCI with sports reporting in 1972 and became a news anchor in 1982. Since then, it’s been clear sailing for Cooney as he shines nightly.

Runners-up: John Bachman (WHO), Stacy Horst (KCCI)

 

Best Looking Male Media Personality

Dan Winters (WHO)

Damn, WHO must have some fine looking fellows as our readers helped them sweep the top three selections. The readers love the wit and charm of Andy Fales and the distinguished leadership of John Bachman, but they really enjoy baby-faced anchor, Dan Winters. Winters offers a professional, yet youth-oriented vibe that is unmatched by his competitors. Whether he is filling in on the nightly news or holding down “Today in Iowa Weekends” with sexy co-host Elizabeth Klinge, Winters has the skills to pay the bills and the looks to match.

Runners-up: Andy Fales (WHO), John Bachman (WHO)

 

Best Looking Female Media Personality

Stacey Horst (KCCI)

Another year and another “Best Looking Female Media Personality” award goes to KCCI anchor Stacey Horst. The blonde bombshell continues to knock off her younger competition with ease. Horst is professional yet personal as she highlights the news of the day. And even though Horst is feeling pressure from the WHO beauties (both runner-ups came from the station), she’s still our readers’ choice. Stay foxy, Stacey.

Runners-up: Erin Kiernan (WHO), Elizabeth Klinge (WHO)

 

Best Self-Righteous Media Hog

Steve Deace

Well, we’d like to say congrats to Steve, but he unexpectedly resigned from 1040 WHO a few weeks ago. Truthfully, we figured Deace would be a runner-up in this category, as we didn’t think anyone would defeat the hate-spewing blowhard known as Bob VanderPlatts. Unfortunately, our readers thought differently. Congrats, Steve?

Runners-up: Ed Wilson, Bob VanderPlatts

 

Best Local Sports

Commentator or Columnist

Keith Murphy (WHO)
Murphy keeps his streak alive as the best local sports commentator. There’s a reason people tune in to WHO for sports coverage, and Murphy is at the top of that list. He delivers news with the greatest of ease, adding humor and sincerity with every report. Plus, he does a great John Bachman impression. Congrats, Murph!

Runners-up: Andy Fales (WHO), Andy Garman (KCCI)

 

Best News Commentator or Columnist

Andy Fales (WHO)

Although “What’s Bugging Andy?” is on WHO’s sports opinion/call-in show “SoundOff,” it’s still a damn good segment that would fit well into the nightly news. As Fales expands his role on WHO, the hits just keep on coming. “Andy Answers” is one of the station’s more popular new segments, as Fales seeks out solutions to head-scratching questions. His “Iowa Icons” reports also shine a loving light on our state. Fales is funny, charming and charismatic. So what’s not to like?

Runners-up: Rekha Basu (The Des Moines Register), Marc Hansen (The Des Moines Register)

 

Best Meteorologist

Ed Wilson (WHO)

Ed Wilson returns atop his throne as he takes back the title of “Best Meteorologist” from rival John McLaughlin (KCCI). Even when the weather is bad, Wilson still puts smiles on viewers’ faces. His relaxed demeanor and humorous banter create a friendly vibe in any weather situation. When the snow starts falling, our readers turn to Wilson and his storm team to help them feel safe.

Runners-up: John McLaughlin (KCCI), Jeriann Ritter (WHO)

 

Best Local Talk Radio Show

Big Ken and Colleen (STAR 102.5)

Our readers agree there isn’t a better way to start the morning than with the informative and funny topics discussed on the Big Ken and Colleen show. They’re funny, they’re smart and above all, they make the early morning drive bearable. And did we mention Colleen is hot?

Runners-up: Murph and Andy (1460 KXNO), Van and Bonnie (Newsradio 1040 WHO)

 

Best Radio Voice That Turns You On

Colleen Kelly, Star 102.5 KSTZ

What makes a woman sexy? It might be her looks, but for the Cityview readers who voted, it’s the voice. Colleen Kelly continues to dominate this category, and we can’t argue. Kelly is very easy on the eyes, but it’s her sweet and sexy voice that keeps people tuned to the dial.

Runners Up: Jillian Sonksen (KFMG 99.1), Luke Matthews (STAR 102.5)

 

Best Radio Station

KFMG 99.1

KFMG operates as “Your Community Voice” and actively assists a broad spectrum of central Iowa non-profit groups and organizations to inform residents about services, programs, projects and opportunities in the local fine arts and cultural communities. The primary goal of the station is to assist in making central Iowa a better place to live by providing information about arts, entertainment and culture, and by playing the music Iowans love. Our readers agree.

Runners-up: KGGO 94.9, WHO 1040

 

Best Radio Personality

Bradshaw, 98.3 WOW

Have an opinion on a certain topic? Share it with Chris Bradshaw of 98.3 WOW-FM. The West Des Moines Valley graduate hosts his own show weekdays from 1 to 4 p.m. discussing politics, religion and pop culture. If you like conversation, you’ll enjoy Bradshaw.

Runners-up: Colleen Kelly (STAR 102.5), Ron Sorenson (KMFG 99.1)

 

Best Library

Des Moines Public Library

Looking for something to do instead of watching TV or lounging on the couch? Why not head over to the Des Moines Public Library? The library’s mission is to be “the bridge to a world of information and ideas for personal enjoyment and community growth.” Opening in 2006, the library has more than 60 public computers, a children’s library, teen area and free wireless Internet access. Along with plenty of books, the library also hosts a number of author readings and local events. 1000 Grand Ave., 283-4152.

Runners-up: West Des Moines Public Library, Urbandale Library

 

Best Nonprofit

Animal Rescue League

The Animal Rescue League of Iowa’s (ARL) goals are to promote animal welfare, develop the human animal bond, and prevent the overpopulation of pets. The ARL has grown dramatically since its founding in 1926 — expanding programs that serve both people and homeless animals across Iowa. The most obvious growth is the number of animals the ARL provides shelter and care for each year. Intakes have increased annually from a few thousand animals a decade ago to more than 19,000 animals in 2008. Our readers say thanks, and we do, too.

Runners-up: Habitat for Humanity, Pet Project Midwest

 

Best Place to Worship

Lutheran Church of Hope

While there isn’t a wrong place to praise, Cityview readers recognize that Lutheran Church of Hope is the place to be, as they take home the title once again. Organized as a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the church has worship services on Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 9:15 and 11 a.m. as well as 5 p.m. in the Worship Center. They also host a young adults ministry called “re:vive” on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. 925 Jordan Creek Parkway, West Des Moines, 222-1520.

Runners-up: Plymouth United Church of Christ, New Beginnings Full Gospel Family Church

 

Best Realtor

Seth Walker and Dave Welch, ReMax

Call these two the back-to-back champs, as they continue to keep the title of “Best Realtor.” With more than 15 years of real estate knowledge and experience, Seth Walker and Dave Welch are ready to help you find your next home. They cover a wide spectrum of residential real estate but specialize in foreclosures and helping first-time buyers find their ideal homes. Consider them the dynamic duo of the local reality scene.

Runners-up: Bob Eisenlauer (Eisenlauer Team), Linda McFarland (Prudential First Reality)

 

Best Automotive Salesperson

Larry Middleton

In a new category this year, our readers gave some love to the salespeople who helped put them in their vehicles. Toyota of Des Moines’ Larry Middleton takes home the belt this year as readers named him the best in town. Although Middleton “hasn’t sold a car in 10 years,” our readers love him and his financing powers. If you’re looking at a new or used vehicle, Middleton has you covered.

Runners-up: JP Phillips (European Motors), Ken Scarpino (Willis Auto Campus)

 

Best Tweeter

John Pemble (johnpemble)

In another new category, John Pemble became Des Moines’ official “Best Tweeter.” Kimble, who describes himself as an audio producer, Iowa Public Radio employee, ambient artist and video blogger, has more than 1,700 loyal followers. We’re also intrigued in his feed as he states that didgeridoos, beer and science fiction are part of his regular week. Tweet on, John Pemble, tweet on!

Runners-up: Iowa Radio Guy, Keith Murphy

 

Best Facebook Fan Page

Animal Rescue League

The Animal Rescue League received the first ever “Best Facebook Fan Page” and with good reason. Have you seen all the cute and cuddly animals on their page? Photos of adoptable animals that melt your heart are only one aspect of the page. It also allows fans to discover upcoming events and spread the word about pet love in the metro. But it’s really about all those cute animals.

Runners-up: KCCI, Mid Iowa Rollers

 

Best Local Website

Animal Rescue League (www.arl-iowa.org)

Apparently, the Animal Rescue League has hit the Internet running as it took home two website-based awards.
Its site is an informational bonanza, offering photos of adoptable animals, information on pet care, upcoming classes and programs, as well as volunteering opportunities. Let’s face it, who doesn’t love a site full of kitties and puppies?

Runners-up: KCCI, Raygun

 

Best Do-Gooder

Ed Fallon

Fighter of the good fight, Ed Fallon finally takes his seat in the spotlight, as Cityview readers chose him as the “Best Do-Gooder.” From 1986 to 1992, Fallon organized the Iowa stretch of The Great Peace March and founded Des Moines Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. From 1993 to 2006, Fallon served seven terms in the Iowa Legislature focusing on the needs of constituency groups treated unfairly by government or neglected by the majority of policy makers and became a leader on land use, the environment, reforming tax increment financing, opposing corporate welfare, marriage equality, prison reform and campaign finance reform. Fallon now hosts “The Fallon Forum,” a weekly radio show (Monday through Thursday from 7 to 8 p.m. on 98.3 WOW) bringing local, progressive talk radio to Iowa.

Runners-up: Rick Durant, Sister Stella CV