It’s easy to get to know Evansville. The city is easy-going, congenial, and straightforward. We’re also informed and happy to share what we like best about the place we call home. Here are the favorites of the city – 43 top picks by readers and editors of Evansville Living. *The Best of Evansville is numbered, not ranked. We love all the winners equally.*
1. Yen Ching
Best Chinese Restaurant Readers’ Pick
Yen Ching (406 S. Green River Road) captures “Best Chinese Restaurant" for the sixth time. The ancient name for Beijing, the owners and staff of Yen Ching take pride in offering an authentic regional Chinese experience. Dine in with a group and ask to be seated at a table with a lazy Susan and share specialties we love, like Hunan fish, lemon chicken, and not-to-be resisted crab Rangoon.
2. Riordan Financial
Best Financial Advisor Readers’ Pick
We all like a financial advisor to have a little experience — in life and business. Matthew Riordan — raised, educated, and still living on Evansville’s West Side — relies on his hometown experience to give his clients the best service possible. Our readers appreciate it and consider him the best in the business.
3. IceMen vs. Brahmas
Best Sports Play Editors’ Pick
After three losses in a row bumped them from first to third place in the Turner Conference of the Central Hockey League, the Evansville IceMen needed a pick-me-up. On Dec. 23, just in time for Christmas, redemption came with a 3-1 win against the Texas Brahmas. The most notable moment of the game came in the last 9.4 seconds. The Brahmas’ goaltender had abandoned the goal to assist attacking, and seeing opportunity, the IceMen’s Malcolm Gwilliam stole the puck and made a swift pass to Josh Beaulieu for an empty-net score.
4. Jan Unfried
Best Artist Readers’ Pick
Jan Unfried loves to paint. She got her mother and sister hooked on painting and has energized the art-appreciating communities of Evansville and New Harmony, Ind. Her specialty, still life, awakens the common sights and smells of home. Her art is displayed at numerous galleries and she also helps coordinate art shows.
5. Mary-Beth Owen
Best Dressed Editors’ Pick
You won’t see Mary-Beth Owen, president of Ad Cetera Promotions, a local promotional product company, in the grocery aisle wearing baggy sweats. Our Editors’ Pick for Evansville’s Best Dressed, Owen says, “When you look good outwardly, you feel better about yourself inwardly. That warmth and confidence shines through.” She’s also a part-time personal shopper at Stein Mart, an upscale discount specialty chain store, where she helps women find their own style. “I also love to flip through fashion magazines such as InStyle, Vogue, W, and Vanity Fair to check out the latest trends,” she says. We love Mary-Beth’s approach to personal style – and her closet.
6. Vanderburgh Humane Society
Best Place to Volunteer Readers’ Pick
The 54-year-old Vanderburgh Humane Society (400 Millner Industrial Drive) is a home to stray animals, a refuge for the furry and abused, and an advocate for keeping the pet population in check. From dogs and cats to rabbits and hamsters, volunteers help groom, walk, and play with each animal as it waits for a loving adoptive home. With the help of these unpaid, committed workers, the shelter found homes for more than 1,000 animals last year.
In this photo, volunteers Margie Cox and Gail Weyer play with Stormy, a 4-year-old spayed shepherd mix. Like our cover dog Roscoe, an 11-month old treeing walker coonhound mix, she is also currently up for adoption.
Best Restaurant Service Readers’ Pick
Linen tablecloths: check. Servers donning aprons who remember your name and know the menu inside and out: check. Olive oil with salt and Parmesan cheese expertly prepared right at your table for your bread: check. Our readers have found the service, atmosphere, and food at Biaggi’s (6401 E. Lloyd Expressway) are worth checking out again and again.
8. Bar Louie
Best Suburban Hot Spot Readers’ Pick
Bar Louie (7700 Eagle Crest Blvd.) took home two “Best Of” awards last year and earned its place on our cover. With great pricing on drinks and food, and open doors until 2 a.m. through the week, Bar Louie is back on the list as Best Suburban Hot Spot.
9. Evansville Riverfront
Best Place to Run, Walk, Bike Readers’ Pick
On a sunny day, lots of folks can be seen running, walking, and bicycling along the Downtown trek that overlooks the Ohio River. According to our readers, locals prefer to do their exercise, sunny or not, along this river-route to any other scenic path in the city — enjoying the frequent barges floating by or using the boat ramp as a hill workout.
10. Howell Wetlands
Best Boardwalk Editors’ Pick
Big, beautiful beaches? You won’t find white sand in the Pocket City, but if you’re looking for a boardwalk, try the West Side’s Howell Wetlands. The 35-acre ecosystem is no longer a dumping ground, and more than two miles of trails spread across the marsh, cypress slough, prairie, and bottomland hardwood forest. Included on those trails are what we’ll call boardwalks that traipse above Oxbow Lake and Bald Cypress Basin. The environment is picture perfect.
11. Germania Maennerchor
Best Beer Fest Readers’ Pick
Each August, Evansville gathers for a three-day celebration in honor of the town’s Deutsch heritage. Voted “Best Beer Fest” by our readers, the 50-year-old annual party showcases German music, food, and beer as partygoers sport old world German apparel such as the lederhosen and dirndl. Who knew those German guys had such great legs?
Best Car Dealership Readers’ Pick
D-Patrick has come a long way since the inception of Downtown’s O’Daniel-Ranes in 1934. Automobile makes and models have come and gone, and many locations have been added (500 Walnut St., 120 N. Green River Road, 4300 E. Division St. Auto Plaza, 3100 Highway 62 West, Boonville, Ind., and 4077 Indiana 261, Newburgh, Ind.). What remains the same is D-Patrick’s dedication to top-notch service to the community: The company supports more than 75 community organizations in the Evansville metro area.
Best Place to Shop for Deals Readers’ Pick
Frequent sales and a customer-friendly return policy earn Kohl’s (4200 Hogue Road and 201 N. Burkhardt Road) the distinction of Best Place to Shop for Deals. With celebrity name designs, such as Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, it’s tough to beat the deals at Kohl’s.
14. Stacey Shanks
Best Yoga Instructor Readers’ Pick
Stacey Shanks remembers the first time she took a yoga class. The stresses of life seemed to melt away, and she knew then that she wanted to help others limber up – physically and spiritually. Now, not only does she teach yoga in two Evansville studios, she has also helped start the Youth Yoga School, dedicated to teaching yoga to children.
15. The Fresh Market
Best Way to Find Cheese You Never Knew Existed Editors’ Pick
Only one of our associates is from Wisconsin, but we love our cheese. So when Fresh Market (6401 E. Lloyd Expressway) CEO Craig Carlock says the store’s atmosphere is reminiscent of old-world European markets, we agree. It’s also refreshingly different and plentiful, especially in the cheese department. Anywhere we can try more than 200 artisan varieties is a winner by our standards.
16. G.D. Ritzy’s
Best French Fries Readers’ Pick
G.D. Ritzy’s has traveled from its 1980 hometown in Texas to supply Evansville with three locations to choose from (4320 N. First Ave., 4810 University Drive, and 601 N. Green River Road). Each location provides a unique feel, but all three work together to serve up our readers’ favorite french fries. Of course, after eating a burger and those crisp, thin, delicious fries, you may want some of their famous ice cream for dessert.
Best Pet Grooming Readers’ Pick
If you’re not sure where to take your best four-legged friends to keep them well groomed, trained, and treated, look no further than PetSmart (215 N. Burkhardt Road). Our readers agree that the services provided there are unmatched by other pet stores. Want to adopt a pet? PetSmart can help you with that also.
18. Gonzo’s Toybox
Best Local Band Readers’ Pick
Gonzo’s Toybox knows how to please a crowd – their energy always leaves fans screaming for more. Making a name for themselves belting out a wide range of popular rock, alternative, and metal hits, the cover band – featuring lead singer Mark Goines and guitarist Fred Hunt – indulges a broad list of genres.
19. Larry Zoller
Best Role Model Editors’ Pick
Larry Zoller is a tough-as-nails swim coach at Mount Vernon High School, just west of Evansville, and his approach to swimming brings results. His program regularly ranks nationally in the top 10 men’s and women’s high school teams for schools with fewer than 900 students, and they also rank in the top 20 teams in Indiana, regardless of school size. In his career, Zoller’s swim teams for boys and girls have amassed 30 sectional titles.
20. Race for the Cure
Best 5k Race Readers’ Pick
Since it started in 1982, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization has raised $1.9 billion for breast cancer research, helping millions of women across the globe. The national nonprofit has 121 affiliates across the country, including in Evansville where every September, women, men, and children take part in what our readers dubbed the “Best 5K Race” in town. Since 2003, the 3.1-miler consistently has raised more than $1 million each year.
Best Barbecue Readers’ Pick
Our readers named Shyler’s (405 S. Green River Road) southern comfort and flavor as their favorite place to marinate their chins and empty out napkin dispensers. Its founder, J.B. Simmons, perfected his barbecue recipe in Tennessee, and the wood-fire grilled pork or baby-back ribs, as well as many other choices, reflect his southern heritage.
22. & 23. Lamasco Bar & Grill
Best Plate Lunch, Best Place for Live Music Readers’ Pick
Lamasco Bar & Grill (1331 W. Franklin St.) is renowned for its vibrant live-music scene, boasting such impressive local and regional acts as HeyPenny, Library Trio, and Andrea Wirth. Our readers know they also serve up a mean lunch. Picture “The Lamasco Burger”: 2/3 pound of meat stuffed with cheese and complimented with fresh toppings. If that doesn’t get your mouth watering, you can choose from other burgers, sandwiches, and soups. From the music to the meals, there are many ways to “get Lamascoed.”
24. Flutter, Wildflower Boutique, and Excursions
Best Out-of-Town Styles Editors’ Pick
Our choices for best local shops for out-of-town styles are as different as they are the same. Flutter sits in the heart of historic downtown Newburgh (100 State St.) and gives off a vintage vibe. Wildflower Boutique (2809 Lincoln Ave. and outposts in French Lick, Ind., and West Baden, Ind.) offers a stylish array of resort and casual clothing, including Eileen Fisher designs. Excursions (4910 Lincoln Ave. and 2738 Frederica St., Owensboro, Ky.) offers a bright, modern shopping experience which includes favorite designers BGBG and Trina Turk. What they all have in common are fashion forward designs from the fun and funky to the chic and classy, and everything in between.
25. Brinker’s Jewelers
Best Jewelry Store Readers’ Pick
Family owned and operated since 1972, Brinker’s Jewelers (111 S. Green River Road) is known for fine jewelry and watch lines and quality custom designs. Our readers love that the jewelers at Brinker’s aspire to know each of their customers and to find them the perfect jewelry for their needs and budget. President Dean Brinker says, “Our goal is to bring joy to customers in Evansville and beyond.”
26. Jeff Lyons
Best Meteorologist Readers’ Pick
When Jeff Lyons wrote “Changing Weather” for Evansville Living (May/June 2009), he described the weathercaster’s job as “a fine balance between technical expertise, meteorological knowledge, and personality.” His community service and sense of humor have earned him yet another “seal of approval” — this one from our readers.
27. DIA Photography
Best Photographer Readers’ Pick
David Greene always has been passionate about capturing the best possible images; that’s why our readers voted him Best Photographer. While his portrait work is excellent (we think his photos of children are particularly touching), he recently jumped into the world of fashion photography. Any serious model would be wise to check him out.
28. Jayson Munoz
Best Fresh Ideas Editors’ Pick
From recent additions to his Asian menu, Kanpai owner Jayson Munoz proved he’s fresh with ideas. The mouth-watering updates include the Chilled Tuna Pasta, strips of sashimi grade tuna smothered in a sesame sauce, and the Pow Pow Shrimp, a tempura, rock shrimp served in a garlic cream sauce. “I want to keep things fresh,” says Munoz. “I want to give people new things to try.”
29. Zuki Hibachi Grille and Sushi Lounge
Best Sushi Readers’ Pick
Dinner and a show is the norm at Zuki (1448 N. Green River Road), where the chefs keep you entertained while they cook, and our readers have selected Zuki’s sushi as Evansville’s best (for the second year in a row). Sushi fans can’t go wrong with more than 50 mouth-watering sushi options ranging from cooked (for the sushi timid) or raw (for aficionados). Want to try something else? Zuki also offers other Japanese delicacies, grilled hibachi-style.
30. Susan Hyatt
Best Voice of Inspiration Editors’ Pick
Master Certified Life Coach and author Susan Hyatt is as real as it gets. Her savvy approach to weight loss, career development, and handling the challenges of life is refreshing, fun, and a bit rebellious. “You don’t need to ‘help’ yourself to heal yourself,” she says. “You simply need to start thinking and behaving like the badass you already are.” We like the way she thinks.
31. Molly’s Upscale Consignment Boutique
Best Consignment Shop Readers’ Pick
From the vintage feel of the original Molly’s on Main to the high-exposure of the East Side Shoe Carnival strip mall, Molly’s Upscale Consignment Boutique (511 N. Green River Road) has never been your average consignment shop. Specializing in high-end clothing and designer handbags, the shop also features jewelry and other works by local artists. In love with consignment shopping since she was a little girl, owner Molly Whitley says, “You never know what kind of treasure you’ll find.”
32. Orange Leaf
Best Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt Readers’ Pick
Some things are just good no matter what time of year it is — fruit, cereal, candy, frozen desserts. Fortunately, our readers know that Orange Leaf (701 N. Burkhardt Road) can hook them up with all four. From a cup of smooth, creamy yogurt — winter flavors include gingerbread and eggnog — to a sprinkling of one or more of their 35 toppings, you can be, as they say at Orange Leaf, the “master of your dessert.”
33. Joan Marchand Bridge
Best Underrated Overlook Editors’ Pick
Plenty of beautiful views exist in Evansville — the Ohio River from the upper floors of Old National Bank, the city from the Ohio River. This year we eye a different spot, one restored in October 2009. The 1891-built Joan Marchand Bridge (named for the city’s longtime historic preservation officer who died in 1997) on Ohio Street between Fulton and Wabash Avenues now is bright red.
34. Old Chicago
Best Beer Menu Readers’ Pick
With 110 beers to choose from, it’s no wonder our readers consider the beer menu at Old Chicago (6550 E. Lloyd Expressway) to be the best. Four-beer flights are offered for the curious; the World Beer Tour is for the committed. Who can deny that a tall mug of frosty beer is the best accompaniment to a thick, satisfying deep-dish pizza?
35. & 36. Shannon Aleksandr’s Salon and Spa
Best Place to get a Massage, Best Salon Readers’ Pick
Cut, style, color, texture, conditioning — all performed by skilled professionals who consider a client’s hair type and lifestyle before making a move on her hair — this is what Shannon Aleksandr’s Salon and Spa (5600 Virginia St.) offers. Add to that a long list of spa services, including various massage treatments, for a complete pampering experience. Our readers love that associates are on trend and continually train to provide the newest and best services. Bonus — the shop offers an entire line of organic skincare.
37. Five Guys Burgers and Fries
Best Restaurant Opened in 2011 Readers’ Pick
When Jerry and Janie Murrell decided to open a burger joint in the Washington, D.C., area with their sons, their main concern was serving up a good burger. Now, 25 years and more than 900 locations later, it’s obvious they did something right. When Five Guys (5402 E. Indiana St.) opened their doors on the East Side last February, our readers couldn’t wait to get their hands on a burger and grease-stained bag of fries.
38. Rí Rá Irish Pub
Best Downtown Hot Spot Readers’ Pick
The staff at Rí Rá (701-B N.W. Riverside Drive) say that entering the doors is like stepping “into a small corner of Ireland,” and we agree: a pub that boasts an interior completely salvaged and restored in Ireland, Rí Rá is about as authentic as it gets. Our readers named the restaurant Best Downtown Hot Spot for its delicious food, Pub Quiz Fun nights, music, and sports, including English Premier League soccer.
39. A Day Trip to Owensboro
Best Surprise Editors’ Pick
Downtown Owensboro, Ky., bustles even on a Saturday afternoon. A brief itinerary: The Crème Coffee House, a bohemian shop with cool music, wonderfully rehabbed digs, and damn good desserts; Patti’s ReSale, a consignment shop with a 40-year history; and Famous Bistro, a Mediterranean restaurant with unique dishes and breakfast during the Saturday lunch hours (try the biscuits and gravy).
40. Evansville Museum of Arts, History & Science
Best Art Gallery Readers’ Pick
Our readers agree that the best place in Evansville to visit past, present, and future worlds is the Evansville Museum of Arts, History, and Science (411 S.E. Riverside Drive). The museum is currently in the 4th phase of a five-phase $17.5 million renovation and expansion, adding a new Learning Center, the interactive Welborn Baptist Foundation Family Place, and Center for History and Science. (Construction is under way; the museum is closed through January.)
Best Florist Readers’ Pick
For more than 100 years, Zeidler’s (2011 N. Fulton Ave., 401 S. Green River Road, and 8666 Ruffian Lane, Newburgh, Ind.) has been the city’s go-to florist for tried-and-true traditions such as roses and floral bouquets. These days, Zeidler’s also offers gifts such as the “Holiday Party Basket,” brimming with 2-liter bottles of pop, crackers, chips, candy, and cheese; and the popular, of course, “Chocoholic Basket.”
42. Mike Shoulders/VPS Architecture
Best Architect Readers’ Pick
No doubt the architectural contributions of Mike Shoulders, CEO of VPS Architecture, will remain significant for decades, if not centuries, here in Evansville. Readers recognized Shoulders as Best Architect for his design achievements, including the Old National Bancorp Headquarters, the Centre, and North High School and Middle School.
43. Cross-Eyed Cricket
Best Survivor Editors’ Pick
We applaud the little West Side restaurant with the unimposing facade and progressive business plan. The Cross-Eyed Cricket (2101 W. Lloyd Expressway) has been serving up homemade specials to hungry diners for more than 20 years. Cross-eyed Cricket now markets straight to patrons’ inboxes with email specials and online ordering. On Sundays, come for free pie with plate lunches.