December 18, 2017
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Best of the City 2016

Evansville, Raise your glasses and shout "Cheers!" to these 36 winners
View the full feature in the January/February 2016 Evansville Living issue.

Each year, readers cast their votes and we, editors of the magazine, share insider information — our own favorites — about the people, places, and experiences that define our city. This is the Best of Evansville.

Donut Bank &

Bakery & Coffee

Best Place for Coffee and Best Place
for a Breakfast Meeting
Readers’ Pick

There’s brand loyalty, and then there is Donut Bank Bakery & Coffee. The family-owned, third-generation donut and coffee shop has earned the reputation for its quality service, delicious donuts, and signature blends. Since Harold Kempf opened the first store in 1967 at 1809 First Ave., the company has expanded to nine locations in Evansville, Newburgh, Princeton, Indiana, and Henderson, Kentucky. Its breadth of treats, including more than 100 different baked goods, paired with its signature coffee blend Harold’s wife Shirley handpicked more than 20 years ago (after working to perfect it for six years) make it the perfect meeting place for countless breakfast
clubs and diners.
* Nine locations in Evansville, Newburgh, Princeton, Indiana, and Henderson, Kentucky, donutbank.com

Gerst Haus

Best Bar/Restaurant Draft Selection   Reader's Pick

▲ Bartender Paul Savage behind the bar at the Gerst Haus. Photo by Jerry Butts. Below, Christopher Hiett doing a skateboarding trick. Photo by Alex Morgan Imaging.

The Gerst Haus opened in 1999 in the Heldt and Voelker Hardware building at 2100 W. Franklin St. With wood floors, a tin ceiling, and several items left over from the hardware store, the German restaurant’s setting is perfect for enjoying its selection of 49 draft beers and a beverage selection imported from around the world. Gerst Haus has a sister restaurant located in Nashville, Tennessee, which was originally owned by William Gerst, the owner of 1910 Kentucky Derby winner Donau. Gerst began brewing Gerst Beer in Nashville in 1890, which can be purchased on draft at
both restaurants.
* 2100 W. Franklin St., 812-424-1420, gersthausevsansville.com

Christopher Hiett

Trickiest Teen   Editor's Pick

Fifteen-year-old Christopher Hiett first stepped on a skateboard at age 11 and has been wowing crowds at skate parks, skate shops, and competitions ever since. “My brother and I started skating together when I was young,” says Hiett. “We went to a camp at Killer’s Skate Park and Shop and I just started learning from the people around me, other skaters, and ‘Glenzig’ Davidson, the owner of the shop.” Hiett, who already is sponsored, participates in competitions whenever he can and plans to either own a skateboarding company or become a professional skateboarder in the future.
* Watch Christopher in action through his YouTube channel!

Doug Rennie

Best Chef   Reader's Pick

▲ Doug Rennie of Just Rennie's Catering. Photo by Zach Straw.

The sign of a great chef is one whose culinary creations can transport you to the country where the ingredients originated. A taste of Chef Doug Rennie’s gourmet menu at Just Rennie’s Catering, owned and operated by Rennie and his wife Marla, takes its patrons to a Tuscan-like bistro. Formerly, the executive chef at Victoria National Golf Club, Rennie left the position to help his wife with the catering business. He is a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute and a former chef at upscale restaurants in Houston and Indianapolis. The Rennies also specialize in gourmet desserts through their Just Rennie’s Cookie Company.
* 100 S.E. Fourth St., 812-401-8098, justrennies.com

SWIRCA & More Brewfest

Best Brew Festival   Reader's Pick

▲ SWIRCA & More Brewfest. Photo by Courtney Ilene Photography. Photo of the Brinker's little green box provided by Brinkers.

To many people, Evansville is synonymous with beer festivals. SWIRCA & More, a nonprofit serving seniors, people with disabilities, and their caregivers, has built on that tradition with Brewfest, held since 2003. Held the last four years at historic Bosse Field, many gather to walk the baselines and sample some of the best craft beers throughout the country. “I think the atmosphere, being at Bosse is one large draw,” says Rachel Sievers, development coordinator for SWIRCA & More. In 2015, the 4,000 attendees of BrewFest were exposed to more than 300 craft beers, 50 wines, 20 liquors, and endless culinary appetizers from 30 favorite local vendors. The event also features two bands on a main stage and up to three acoustic acts around the concourse. “It’s very well run, people know what to expect when they come in,” says Sievers. “You can eat, drink, and be merry.”
* Bosse Field, 23 Don Mattingly Way, 812-464-7800, swirca.org/brewfest 

Brinker's Jewelers

Best Jewelry Store   Reader's Pick

Evansville Living’s readers have named Brinker’s Jewelers the city’s jeweler for the fourth time because of its unique shopping experience, the staff’s commitment to making the customer happy, and the company’s focus on customer service and value. “We pride ourselves the most on integrity,” says Chief Financial Officer Kyle Brinker. “We treat each customer’s jewelry like it is our own, we treat each customer the way we want to be treated, and we do things the right way without cutting corners.” The jewelry store is a third-generation family owned business that has been a part of the community for more than 40 years.
* 111 S. Green River Road, 812-476-0651, brinkersjewelers.com

Zeidler's

Best Flower Shop/Florist   Reader's Pick

When it comes to the perfect floral arrangements or thoughtful gift, you can’t beat more than 100 years experience. Zeidler’s Flowers has served the Tri-State’s flower needs since 1900 and they continue to build upon their reputation for excellent work and customer service. With a previous Best Of win in 2012 for Best Florist, the team of 40 employees at Zeidler’s keeps a tradition of beautiful flower arrangements for any occasion alive and well in Evansville and the surrounding communities.
* Two locations in Evansville, zeidlers.com

Boo At The Zoo

Best Event For Kids   Reader's Pick

“Why is it so fun?” asks Amy Mangold, development director at Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden. “Where else can you watch a magic show, take a hayride, do a craft, interact with an animal, walk through a rainforest, see wildlife from around the world, and leave with a bag full of candy all in one place?” During Boo at the Zoo, held Oct. 21-23 and 28-30 this year, 10,000 average visitors flock to the park’s grounds. “Parents like it because it’s safe, fun, and reasonably priced,” says Mangold of the event now in its 15th year.
* 1545 Mesker Park Drive, 812-435-6143, meskerparkzoo.com

Sauced

Best New Restaurant   Reader's Pick

For seven months prior to Sauced opening, Scott Schymik and his team brainstormed about every detail of what the new Italian restaurant would look and feel like. After several soft openings, the addition to Haynie’s Corner Arts District located at 1113 Parrett St. next door to Kirby’s Private Dining, a catering service Schymik also owns, opened on Dec. 3, 2014. The result was well worth the wait. Sauced offers a romantic feel in a casual Victorian space and features a menu of items made from quality ingredients with nearly every aspect of each dish made from scratch. 
* 1113 Parrett St., 812-402-2230, facebook.com/comegetsauced

The Grey Lady Thermos

Best Disappearing Act   Editor's Pick

One of the most well known local legends is of historic Willard Library’s famous ghost, The Grey Lady. This ghost tale comes from a story told by a former night custodian of the library in 1937, who claimed to see an “all-grey” lady in the basement of the library at 3 a.m. Since that meeting, many have claimed they have seen the ghost in the library or on one of the many “ghost cams” set up throughout the building. To commemorate Evansville’s spooky past, Evansville Design Group (EDG)’s Made in Evansville campaign revealed the Grey Lady Ghost Mug. Pouring your hot drinks into the mug will coax the ghostly apparition of the Grey Lady to appear. “One of our committee members is a designer at Berry Plastics, and she had the great idea of using thermo chromic ink,” says Rachel Wambach, vice president of the EDG Board. “The mug has been pretty popular, especially at the Willard Library ghost tours. We’ve sold over 100 of them so far.” The mugs can be purchased at madeinevansville.com and 25 percent of the proceeds are donated to the Friends of Willard Library. 
* madeinevansville.com

Happy Tails Resale Shop

Best Way To Help Tails Wag   Editor's Pick

▲ VHS Executive Director Kendall Paul and Volunteer Jennifer Laval. Photo by Heather Gray. Photo below of Hacienda margarita provided by Hacienda. Photo of Aaron and Stephanie Peckenpaugh with Pizza Revolution by Jordan Barclay.

In November 2015, Happy Tails Resale Shop celebrated its first anniversary as a thrift store benefitting the Vanderburgh Humane Society. Open just two days a month, the resale shop raised more than $34,000 for the animals in a year. This year, the volunteer-run store is open every Saturday and sells all types of household items and furniture. Before the conclusion of last year, the VHS also held the Empty the Shelter Adopt-a-thon, where the shelter waived adoption fees and lengthened its operating hours. Staff saw 150 dogs, cats, and rabbits adopted in time for Christmas. 
* 400 Millner Industrial Drive, 812-426-2563, vhslifesaver.org

Brad Niemeier (Azzip Pizza)

Best Entrepreneur   Reader's Pick

As Best Of winner for Best Restaurant Opened in 2014, Azzip Pizza owner Brad Niemeier catches another title this year as Best Entrepreneur. Since his first opening, Niemeier’s restaurant has grown to four locations in Evansville, Newburgh, Indiana, and Champaign, Illinois. “I thought about doing it at Purdue, but I decided I wanted to bring my idea back to Evansville,” says Niemeier. Azzip Pizza’s uniqueness comes from the staff’s ability to make personal, customizable pizzas in 2 minutes and 30 seconds flat. “They make it right there in front of you … and all of them are made with fresh ingredients, fresh dough we make and roll out in-house everyday,” says Niemeier.
* Four locations in Evansville, Newburgh, Indiana, and Champaign, Illinois, azzippizza.me

Hacienda

Best Margarita   Reader's Pick

A Hacienda Mexican Restaurant margarita is the perfect complement to every delicious Tex-Mex dish. For more than 30 years, locals have been enjoying their chips and salsa with the tequila infused beverages by the glass, mug, liter, and 24-ounce Agave Grande, which is prepared with authentic Sauza Comemorativo tequila and a full shot of Grand Marnier. Enjoy the frozen or on the rocks treat in lime, strawberry, swirl, or the flavor of the day. The restaurant offers drink specials daily.
Three locations in Evansville, haciendafiesta.com

The Pizza Revolution

Best Food Truck   Reader's Pick

Their pizzas are not double decker but their bus is. The Pizza Revolution, winner of Best Food Truck, debuted its double decker bus on Sept. 18, 2015. Owners Aaron and Stephanie Peckenpaugh visit events and festivals through the Tri-State with their mobile pizzeria that uses a wood fired oven in the bus to bake the thin crust pies to perfection. “Wood fired ovens are more traditional and old school,” says Aaron. The bus certainly turns heads as it travels around the community, and Aaron and Stephanie invite their customers to enjoy their pizza pies in the bus’ top-level seating area.
* Various locations in the Tri-State, 812-430-5945, facebook.com/The-Pizza-Revolution-166603110134924

USI/Burdette Trail

Best Walking/Running Trail   Reader's Pick

Activity bustles all season on the University of Southern Indiana-Burdette Park Trail, a paved walking and running trail, which opened in October 2012. The pathway, connecting the West Side university with Burdette Park, is flooded with locals walking their dogs, runners, students taking a break from class, professors exercising, and the USI Cross Country team practicing. The 3-mile trail begins at USI, between the Recreation, Fitness and Wellness Center and the Physical Activities Center, and ends at Burdette Park near the Discovery Lodge. The trail is a part of the American Discovery Trail, which passes through Southern Indiana.
* usi.edu/trails

Deaconess

Best Gift Shop, Best Company To Work For, Best Daycare, Best Consistent Customer Service   Reader's Pick

▲ Photo of Presents 'N' Posies by Heather Gray.

It has been a big year for Deaconess Health System. Their collective hard work has earned them four “Best Of” spots for Best Gift Shop, Best Company to Work For, Best Daycare, and Best Consistent Customer Service. This gives Deaconess the record for most Best Of accolades awarded to one company in one year.

Volunteers operate the gift shop at Deaconess Hospital, Presents ‘n’ Posies, and the money generated in the shop is reinvested into the hospital. The hundreds of thousands of dollars Presents ‘n’ Posies raised in 2015 helped fund the construction of the new hospice house set to open in the fall of this year. “Every time someone buys a magazine, purse, or stuffed animal from the shop, they’re actually supporting the hospital,” says Ashley Johnson, corporate communication specialist.

The Deaconess childcare center, called the Children’s Enrichment Center, is much more than a daycare. Once the children turn three, they can participate in the Enrichment Center’s preschool program, which focuses on giving the children a well-rounded learning experience.

Last October, Modern Healthcare Magazine named The Women’s Hospital the No. 1 best place to work in 2015, so it’s no surprise Evansville Living readers voted them as the Best Company to Work For. “It’s a team environment here,” says Johnson. “We have a culture of compassion and care. We take care of each other and we take care of our patients.”

Deaconess Health Center customers also feel this culture of compassion and care as they voted the hospital No. 1 in Best Consistent Customer Service. “It all goes back to that teamwork environment,” says Johnson. “No one here says ‘Oh, that’s not my job.’ If someone needs help, we stop and help them. If someone is lost, we don’t just point them to a maze of hallways, we take them where they need to go.”
* deaconess.com

Channel 14 WFIE

Best Local TV News   Reader's Pick

Heading into its 63rd year of broadcasting in Evansville, Channel 14 WFIE continues to be the leader of local broadcasting among readers in the Tri-State. When the station launched on Nov. 15, 1953, it was the first broadcaster in Evansville, which is reflected in its call letters, WFIE: We’re First In Evansville. Since that day in November, the TV station has catalogued many other firsts in the Evansville broadcasting market: in 1977, the station began to broadcast local, live news, weather, and sports coverage outside the studio; in 1985, WFIE was the first in Evansville to broadcast in stereo audio; and in 1988, the station installed its own Doppler radar transmitter/receiver
and antenna system.

With favorite on-air personalities like long-time anchor and broadcaster Mike Blake (winner of Best Local Celebrity in 2013) and Chief Meteorologist Jeff Lyons (winner of Best Local TV Personality 2015), WFIE keeps up the tradition as a top choice for local TV news.
* 14news.com

Amazonia

Best Mesker Zoo Attraction   Reader's Pick

▲ Beliza and Cuxtal, female and male jaguars at Amazonia. Photo provided by Mesker Park Zoo. Photo below provided by Flutter Newburgh.

When Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden introduced the $13 million Amazonia, attendance jumped by 65 percent. More than seven years later, the Amazon Rainforest exhibit still is considered the zoo’s best attraction. Open the massive wooden doors concealing the rainforest and you’ll understand why. Watch beautiful birds preen and monkeys swing from branch to branch as a waterfall roars. Below your feet on a suspension bridge, a capybara and tapir play and drink from a pool of running water. Amazonia saves the best for last as elusive and beautiful jaguars await in an exhibit equipped for all seasons.
* 1545 Mesker Park Drive, 812-435-6143, meskerparkzoo.com

Flutter Newburgh

Best Local Instagram Account   Reader's Pick

In the world of retail, social media has played a big role in increasing sales, attracting customers, and maintaining a following. Erin Morrison, owner of Flutter Newburgh, has taken full advantage of the perks of Instagram to give her customers first looks at new arrivals and an inside look of happenings in the boutique on 100 State St. in Newburgh, Indiana. “I try to run the account as a play-by-play of what’s going on in the store,” says Morrison. “Overall, I just try to be as authentic as possible, making sure what we post is true to our store and to us.”
* 100 State St., Newburgh, IN, 812-490-9642, @flutternewburgh on Instagram, flutternewburgh.com

Sugar Bakers

Best Place To Accessorize Your Home   Reader's Pick

Though Sugar Bakers has a retail storefront, what sets the home fashions business apart is the fact it is a design-based business with a retail arm. “Our resources for designing your space are endless, and the scale we work on is limitless,” says Ann Pate, interior designer and owner of Sugar Bakers. Opened more than 30 years ago and originally known as Meuth Wallpaper located in Henderson, Kentucky, Sugar Bakers has four designers, including Pate, with the ability to help customers design and furnish their home. The business offers all of the products, services, and experiences to create the home of your dreams from accessorizing and custom window treatments, to complete home renovations.

“The best thing about Sugar Bakers is how we care for our clients,” says Pate. “We thoroughly enjoy working with our clients and developing long-lasting relationships … Every person who walks through our doors is important to us.”
* 1100 Tutor Lane, 812-475-1344, sugarbakers.us

Camp Carson

Best Camp   Reader's Pick

▲ Above photo provided by YMCA Camp Carson.

YMCA Camp Carson has been a place of adventure for 76 summers as Southern Indiana’s premier overnight summer camp. Under supervision and encouragement of counselors, campers choose their activities and set personal goals for each. Camp Carson provides something for every camper whether it is sliding down their water zip lines, being launched high from the “blob,” riding horses or dirt bikes, testing your aim in archery, or letting your creativity shine in the pottery and woodworking studios. “I think of camp as a unique place where all children are accepted,” says Mark Scoular, executive director at Camp Carson. “We create an environment where they feel safe and confident to take on new challenges. They leave camp feeling empowered to take on life in so many ways. Camp truly does affect them in many ways for the rest of their lives.”
* 2034 Outer Lake Road, Princeton, IN, 812-385-3597, or campcarson.org 

The Greyhound

Best Use of Neon   Editor's Pick

▲ Photo of the Greyhound Station by Tom Barrows.

Drive by after the sun dips below the horizon to catch the illuminated racing dog sign in action on the Evansville Greyhound Station recently restored by Indiana Landmarks, a nonprofit preservation organization based in Indianapolis. The 1939 building sat vacant after it saw its last bus depart in 2007. Later this summer, the building will find life again with its new tenant, Cunningham Restaurant Group’s BRU Burger Bar. The restaurant will feature gourmet burgers, salads, sandwiches, craft beers, and more. Look for the Greyhound’s doors to open again in June making this our pick for the Best Use of Neon.
* 102. N.W. Third St., indianalandmarks.org

Village East Animal Hospital

Best Veterinary Clinic   Reader's Pick

▲ Dr. William Melchiors, DVM, Dr. Jill Kemp, DVM, Dr. Tara Foldenhauer, DVM, and Dr. Max K. Smith, DVM. Photo by Jerry Butts

Village East Animal Hospital on S. Green River Road understands the responsibility to provide the best care possible for the furry members of your family. The clinic’s team of doctors, which includes Dr. Max Smith, Dr. Bill Melchiors, Dr. Jill Kemp, and Dr. Tara Foldenhauer, have been serving the community since 1974. “Our clientele is very loyal, and generationally deep,” says Tracy Millay, hospital manager at Village East. “We take the time to serve the relationship and communication is extremely important to all of us. Our team is dedicated to working well together and we love what we do. We are very passionate about the kind of care that we provide.” Village East offers up-to-date, progressive medical services such as preventative medicine, dentistry, surgery, radiology, and laser therapy.
* 1305 S. Green River Road, 812-618-1592, villageeastanimalhospital.com

Salad World

Best Place to Eat Healthy   Reader's Pick

▲ Salmon and asparagus salad photo by Hannah Jay

Fresh salads, wraps, pitas, and more are what promoted readers to vote Salad World Cafés the Best Place to Eat Healthy in Evansville. The three locations — Downtown on Main Street, North on Boonville-New Harmony Road, and East on Burkhardt Road — are locally and individually owned, and chefs use fresh-market ingredients to prepare food fresh-to-order for customers. The restaurants offer more than just salads and wraps; menus include deli sandwiches and subs, and baked potatoes topped with a variety of options.
* Three locations in Evansville. Find each location on Facebook for more information.

Lamasco Bar & Grill

Best Place To Catch Live Music   Reader's Pick

Evansville residents know Franklin Street has become synonymous with nightlife. And if live music is your entertainment of choice, then Lamasco Bar & Grill is your scene. Named Best Place for Live Music in 2012 as well, the restaurant and bar was acquired by Amy Rivers-Word in late 2009. “My aunt called me one day to tell me she was selling Lamasco,” says Rivers-Word. “I had a dream that night that I bought Lamasco and turned it into a music venue.”

Four weeks after that dream, Lamasco was hers, and Rivers-Word and her staff have spent the last few years making the bar and grill a well-known destination for live entertainment in Evansville.
* 1331 W. Franklin Street, 812-437-0171, lamascobarandgrill.com

Café Arazu

Best Al Fresco Dining   Reader's Pick

Winner of Evansville Living’s Best Place for Al Fresco Dining in 2013, Café Arazu, known for its large patio in downtown Newburgh, Indiana, takes the title again three years later. The restaurant blends a Midwestern backdrop of the Ohio River with its Middle Eastern cuisine for the best of both worlds. On sunny and warm afternoons, the café’s outdoor seating fills up quickly for patrons wishing to share an intimate conversation or a drink and delicious meal overlooking the water with friends.
* 17 W. Jennings St., Newburgh, IN, 812-842-2200, café-arazu.com

Michael Gray/Gray Photography

Best Photography   Reader's Pick

Michael Gray and his Gray Photography team have been capturing smiles, laughs, pouts, and more for Evansville families since 1990. “For more than 26 years, I have tried to create an environment of trust with my customers, and this trust allows for authenticity in the session,” says Gray. “The resulting portraits usually reflect, what I feel, is an ‘honest flattering’ of the subjects.” On the back end of the Gray Photography operation is Allie Cavins, who for more than 14 years, has been the post-session face of the studio. “She probably remembers the names of everyone we have ever photographed,” says Gray.
* 2605 Lincoln Ave., 812-473-0645, michaelgrayphotography.com

Wesselman Woods

Best Place To Turn Off Your Phone   Write-in Winner

▲ Above photo provided by Wesselman Woods. Below photo of Michelle Crosbie at Shannon's School of Dance by Johnna Nedreberg.

Nestled in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Evansville’s daily life is the tranquil Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve. As the largest old growth forest in Indiana and the largest urban old growth forest in the nation, walking into Wesselman Woods through its beautiful new entrance is like stepping back in time. With six miles of trails and trees 300 to 400 years old, Wesselman entices visitors to leave the smart phone off and explore the woods. “Stop, slow down, and look,” says John Scott Foster, executive director at Wesselman. For him, the joy of Wesselman Woods is the opportunity it provides the community to stop and consider the wonders of the nature preserve, not just to hike through it. “One of the things that I wish everyone would do when they come for a hike is just stop,” he says. “Experience life and don’t rush through it.”
* 551 N. Boeke Road, 812-479-0771, wesselmannaturesociety.org

Shannon's School of Dance

Best Dance Studio   Reader's Pick

Several generations of dancers have trusted Shannon’s School of Dance to provide the best dance education in a non-competitive atmosphere in the Tri-State. “We have a long-standing history in the Tri-State,” says Michelle Crosbie, owner and instructor at the school since 2002. “Our classes are small and structured with open viewing for parents to enjoy.” The school began in 1974 in Albion, Illinois, with dancer Shannon Silkey, who started her teaching career at Hodgini’s, and her mother Kalah Street, who also was a dancer and instructor. In 1976, the mother-and-daughter team relocated the school to Town Center Mall, where it would flourish. Now at 3111 First Ave., the studio’s new home offers more space for its fall, spring, and summer class schedules. “At our studio we truly are a ‘dance family,’” says Crosbie.
* 3111 N. First Ave., Ste. C, 812-425-6060, shannonsschoolofdance.com

USS LST-325

Most Overlooked Tourist Attraction   Reader's Pick

Visitors from around the world are flocking to a rare piece of World War II history that sits docked on the Ohio River near Marina Pointe. But how many Evansville residents can say they’ve toured the USS LST-325? The warship is the last fully-functional WWII LST (Landing Ship, Tank) in existence. Tours are roughly 60 minutes long and run daily in the summer months on the hour with the last tour at 3 p.m. Tours are closed for the winter. Guides narrate the history of the vessel from its beginning at a Philadelphia Navy Yard in 1942 to later making 44 trips between England and France during 1944 and 1945.
* 840 LST Drive, 812-435-8678, lstmemorial.org

Mike's Carwash

Best Car Wash   Reader's Pick

▲ Photo of Mike's Carwash by Jerry Butts.

When Joe Dahm opened Mike’s Minit Man in 1948, it was Indiana’s first automated carwash. Since then, millions of cars have left with a shine and a new car feel after a shower at Mike’s Carwash. With 17 locations in Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky, the car washing service has signature shampoos safe for both your car and the environment and touchless hot air dryers to prevent spotting. If your vehicle is literally saying “wash me,” Mike’s offers several special services such as an underbody wash and wheel brightening.
* 1300 N. Green River Road, 812-618-4000, mikescarwash.com

Turoni's

Best Pizza   Reader's Pick

A slice of Turoni’s pizza has been the object of the community’s pizza cravings for over three decades. This could be due to their specialty crust that is crisp and light, but still strong enough to hold their secret sauce, plenty of mozzarella, and all of your favorite toppings. The restaurant first opened in 1963 before expanding to two more locations (Turoni’s Forget-Me-Not-Inn in the early 1990s, and Turoni’s Newburgh in 2010). Customers often pair pizza with their best-selling Honey Blonde Ale from the tap, which is available to purchase in a half-gallon growler to take home at the bar.
* Three locations in Evansville and Newburgh, Indiana, turonis.com

Best Tailor/Seamstress

Best Bar/Restaurant Draft Selection   Reader's Pick

Fix up those perfect dress pants that drag and your favorite shirt with a missing button. Don’s Claytons Fine Drycleaning, voted for Best Alterations in 2008, offers a Sew Easy Alterations service to alter, hem, and repair clothing. Beginning as a single washer and dryer operation in 1956, today, Don’s Claytons has nine locations in Evansville and Newburgh, Indiana. “In today’s world of clothing repair and alterations, the traditional old world craftsmanship and expertise is fading away when the need is so great,” says President Steve Schmitt. “We work very hard at recruiting the best we can possibly find and they have to meet stringent criteria to become an alteration and repair person. We have so far been very successful in finding the talent we have and people who love what they do.”
* Nine locations in Evansville and Newburgh, Indiana, donscleaners.com

D-Patrick

Best Car Shopping Experience   Reader's Pick

With six new and used car dealerships in Evansville and Boonville, Indiana, D-Patrick is able to provide a quality car shopping experience as well as service to vehicles throughout the Tri-Sate. For more than 65 years, D-Patrick has been the automotive market leader. Winner of the Best Dealership in 2012, the dealerships represent Audi, BMW, Ford, Honda, Lincoln, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Volkswagen with new, used, and certified vehicles. D-Patrick’s commitment to their customers never stops after the sale of the car, either. With body shops throughout Evansville, D-Patrick can ensure vehicles are returned to original safety and craftsmanship standards. Master certified technicians also are employed at all dealership locations.
* Six locations in Evansville and Boonville, dpat.com

Evansville Half Marathon

Best Community Fitness Event   Reader's Pick

Since the Evansville Half Marathon’s inception 13 years ago, the event has raised close to $1 million for the YMCA of Southwestern Indiana, raising tens of thousands of dollars every year. The planning for the 13.1-mile race begins a year in advance. “It’s always rewarding when the gun goes off at a race and we know that we have done everything we can do and then we get to sit back and watch people finish,” says YMCA Special Events Director Heather Lejman.
* Downtown Evansville, 812-491-7713, evansvillehalfmarathon.org

Piece of Cake

Best Smell   Editor's Pick

▲ Rowan Samuels serves customers at Piece of Cake. Photo by Heather Gray.

When customers open the glass door to Piece of Cake, they unlock the aroma of the most magical place. The bakery’s delicious scents of cookies, cakes, cupcakes, caramels, and chocolates tease nostrils and attract guests to the colorful display cases. Sisters Cate Sisco, Kristi White, and Lora Ferguson opened the Downtown staple in 1998. Since then, Piece of Cake has earned readers’ choice nominations for Best Birthday Cake in 2010 and Best No-Bake Cookie in 2008. Often frequented by Evansville Living staffers — especially during deadlines — the bakery is the deserving Editor’s Pick for Best Smell.
* 210 Main St., 812-424-2253, pieceofcakebakery.com

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