West is the Best

West is the Best

‘West is the Best’

Scranton StorySlam’s 2013 city tour starts with West Side stories

 
There’s something about the diverse hardscrabble heritage of Scranton that breeds a good story teller. We’re sentimental and family-centered with a staggering work ethic and great love of community. Most feel an almost instinctual inclination to give back for the good fortune given their families who settled here and survived, if not thrived, even in the face of economic chaos and elusive opportunity. Even those who haven’t won or been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for writing, have been known to spin a wild yarn or two over a beer or cup of coffee.
 
At least for this year’s first Scranton StorySlam to be held at Haggerty’s Tavern on Main Avenue on Saturday, March 30, West is the Best. The event will exclusively feature storytellers with a true “West Side Story” to tell. The storytelling competition will move from neighborhood to neighborhood — South Side, North Scranton and maybe the Hill Section as the year continues. A Grand Slam featuring winners from each event and perhaps a few audience favorites will be held at year’s end.
 
It’s said that limitations are actually conducive to creativity, and now entering its second year, the Scranton StorySlam is a perfect example. In her quest to find a downtown venue that met its criteria of food and beverages menus, all-ages access, and limited smoking, slam organizer Pamela Hill McNichols looked to the neighborhoods for alternatives.
 
“We were excited about this idea because of the opportunity it provides to bring the different communities together to celebrate their neighborhood through stories that explore their shared history,” McNichols said. “We’re hoping to capture the spirit of the neighborhood through the stories and … we’re especially looking forward to experiencing the different flavors of each neighborhood.”
 
Saturday’s scheduled storytellers include West side natives Kate Barrett, Mark Dennebaum, Cy Douaihy, Joe Fasula, Mike Foster, Rich Howells, and Maureen Welby McNichols.
 
“We wanted to be sure to capture stories from the various populations that settled (in West Side), such as Italians, Irish and Lebanese,” McNichols offered. “Cy Douaihy is a retired school teacher from West Scranton High School and also an active member of St. Ann’s Maronite Church. Joe Fasula and his family have a long history in the area as the co-owner and operator of the Gerrity’s chain of stores, a popular business that started in West Side.”
 
Judges include Tom Borthwick, JW Colwell, Justine Johnson, and mystery judges selected from the audience on the night of the event. Three slots are open to audience members who are invited to put their name in “the hat” at the top of the evening or at intermission. Emcee Tony Bartocci will randomly pull names from the hat as the evening progresses.
 
“Like all West Siders, I think, my funny stories easily slip into Southern Gothic Horror in the blink of an eye. I love the black humor of home,” Barrett said in promotion of the slam. “I’m going to keep mine on the lighter side with a story about the West Side Missy League, circa early-to-mid 1980s.”
 
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Stories begin at 7 p.m. An admission fee of $5 will be collected. Visit http://scrantonstoryslam.com for more information.
 
 

 

Our readers share their memories of West Scranton …

 
“Back in high school, my friends and I had to read The Great Gatsby for class. As rebellious youths, we hated being forced to read it. On the last day of our senior year, we took an old hardcover copy of the book, tossed it high above Hyde Park Avenue, and hacked it with a katana. The pages exploded and fell like cherry blossoms in a samurai movie. We felt so awesome … until we heard the police siren. The cop at the nearby stoplight saw the whole thing. He made us put the sword inside and clean up the mess.”
— Jason Alan McLain
 
 
“A cigar box on my mother’s dresser is one of the best memories I have of West Scranton. When I was 15 years old, my father was diagnosed with an aggressive, malignant brain tumor and given six months to live. Being a stubborn Irishmen from West Side, his fight with cancer lasted seven and a half years. In that time, things were tough. The cigar box was given to us by friends and family that held a benefit for my Dad. It wasn’t just the money in the cigar box that helped us, it was knowing our community “had our back” at a time when we really needed it. It was a truly humbling experience. This is the West Side I knew as a kid and this is the West Side I know today. When called upon, West Siders have raised money for youth sports, food pantries, tragedies and other families in need. I am, and will always be, proud to be a West Sider!”
— Jerry Haggerty, Jr.
 
 
“When my friends and I think of our younger days in West Side, we always talk about Eiden’s. While the building no longer stands, replaced by the Walgreen’s, Eiden’s on Main Avenue was a staple of high school lunch for decades of West Scranton High School students. Up until the late 1990s, city high schools had open lunch. The one place that a lot of West Scranton students chose to eat their lunch was Eiden’s. Mr. Eiden provided an affordable lunch spot and a great place to hang out with our friends. I remember the days where Mr. Eiden would let us make our own hoagies. He was what made the place great; always asking about us and how we were doing. Some of the best memories I have of high school were the times we spent eating at Eiden’s.”
— Rick Bresser
 
 

“It’s been a few years, but I still remember (with a warm smile) the dances in West Scranton! The era was 1966 through 1969 and the dances were at St. Pat’s School Lyceum on Friday nights and West Scranton Girls’ Gym on Saturday nights. The entertainment was as varied as it was the same — Jimmy V (Vanston) from WICK Radio spinning the top hits, or local bands — Jack and the Rippers, The Whazoos, Mel Wynn & The Rhythm Aces, The Buoys, The El Caminos, and more! After the dances we would gather on the 100 block of South Main Avenue and have a pizza at Brutico’s, or maybe a Texas weiner, burger or fries at Liberty Lunch or Keystone (where Ma & Pa would tend to or yell at you). We “socialized” as we walked back and forth on that block and Officer Allegrucci would give the order, “keep moving,” (and you did so knowing that he could snap your ankles with a skilled throw of the nightstick!”
— Thom Welby
 
 

“Identifying as a “West Sider” has nothing to do with geography. Rather, it evokes a sense of solidarity, a spirit of camaraderie. Vice President Joe Biden has long been identified by national media as “the scrappy kid from Scranton.” Had he hailed from West Scranton rather than Green Ridge, however, he would have been raised amongst the scrappiest. Those lucky enough to have grown up there know that West Siders are “forever” friends: forever loyal, forever dependable, forever genuine. And while our neighborhoods may have been branded black and blue collar, don’t forget that Pulitzer-prize winning playwright Jason Miller, former Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin, and State Attorney General Kathleen Kane all hail from our shores. Our collective battle cry in high school was “West Side is the BEST side.” I still believe that to this day.”
— Wendy Wilson
 
 
Everyone went to the Boys Club (on Lafayette Street). It wasn’t a baby sitting service. You went because your friends were there. You played ping pong and pool and basketball and whiffle ball and volleyball and soccer and everything was organized. Lou DelPrete was the director and if you were too young, he’d let you join anyway. I remember being seven years old and you were supposed to be eight years old. But you didn’t ever cross Lou. No one did. I don’t care who you were … you had more respect for Lou than you had for anyone’s parents. There was a girl’s club down across from Arby’s but it was very short-lived. The girls never went, so they closed it. Eventually it became the Boys & Girls Club. As we got older, we left the Boys Club and we started hanging out on Main Avenue. We would play the pinball machines and play cards up at Marciano’s on Hyde Park Avenue. Later on we’d hang out behind the West Side Theater or on the steps in front of Maxie’s, where the West Side Deli used to be. I remember when (Eugene) Hickey was running for mayor he parked his beer van there and was serving beer right out on the sidewalk. That’s how it was in (the late ‘70s). He was elected. You serve beer to the neighborhood, of course you’re elected.
— Mark Montella
 
 
When I moved my family back to Pennsylvania from Tucson in 1999, the original plan was to settle somewhere near my mother in the Lehigh Valley where there were more job opportunities. After visiting my sister in her former home on Price Street, however, we took advantage of a deal to live one month free in a house around the corner from her in West Scranton with no idea where we might work. What was it about that visit that entranced us? I remember eating Vincenzo’s mouth-watering mushroom pizza and sitting out in the back yard as the neighbors came out into their back yards and socialized from across the fences covered in grapevines. Although my coal mining ancestors had settled in Dickson City and Troop, this was close enough: it was as if the roots I had always longed for in my “gypsy childhood” latched on to this familiar soil. I wanted my kids to have this anchor, this place they could call home no matter where life decided to take them. We’ve lived in six different homes since then but all on one block or another in Hyde Park. Once a west sider, always a west sider.
— Alicia Grega
 
 


 
Jason Miller isn’t the only famous playwright with a West Scranton connection. Scranton native Stephen Karam drew on his Lebanese heritage in his 2012 Pulitzer Prize nominated play The Sons of the Prophet (above). In a widely published interview with dramaturg Ted Sod, Karam explains how he was raised in the Maronite faith and attended a church in West Scranton. The play’s brothers Joseph and Charles were given the last name of Karam’s childhood neighbors, Douaihy. The Prophet, of course, refers to author Kahlil Gibran, to whom the fictional family is distantly related. See the playwright’s recent interview at The University of Scranton, Native Son: Stephen Karam in Conversation with Paul Holdengraber:
 

BEST OF 2016

BEST OF 2016

The Best of the Best

It’s time to announce Electric City’s Best of 2016 Readers’ Poll winners.
Each year, we highlight the fantastic people, places and things we love in Northeast Pennsylvania. Voters registered online at www.the570.com, created a user profile and filled out their online ballot. Each category started completely blank, and users entered the names of nominees in each category. Once a name was entered, it became part of the ballot. Voters then cast their ballots for favorites within nine categories: Love and Romance, Eats and Drinks, Goods and Services, Arts and Entertainment, Nightlife, Media, Health and Recreation, and Superstars. We also wanted our readers to let us know their WTF Moment of 2016. Online voting kicked off early in the morning on Nov. 4, and the votes kept flooding in until noon on Nov. 18. This year’s voting smashed previous records with votes tallying in at more than 245,000. And now the results are in.

Congratulations to all the winners and a sincere thank you to all of the readers who took the time to cast their votes.

We hope to see you at our annual Best of Bash, taking place Wednesday Jan. 11, at 7 p.m. at The Backyard Ale House, 523 Linden St., Scranton. It’s always a legendary party with a room packed full of winners celebrating the best of the best our area has to offer.

Keep on reading Electric City every week as we continue to provide you with exclusive features, photo galleries, columns, a robust calendar of local events and so much more. – tom graham, managing editor

 

Love & Romance

ecbestof15_25_web

Best Place To Buy an Engagement Ring – Boccardo Jewelers

Best Flower Shop
McCarthy Flowers

Best Limo Service
Nasser Limousine Service

Best Place for a Bachelor Party
Mohegan Sun Pocono

Best Place for a Bachelorette Party
Mohegan Sun Pocono

Best Place for a First Date
Electric City winner: Market Street Bar
and Grill
Diamond City winner: Fire and Ice on Toby Creek

Best Place To Buy an Engagement Ring
Boccardo Jewelers

Best Place To Buy Lingerie
Victoria’s Secret

Best Wedding Gowns
David’s Bridal

Best Wedding Registry
Live with It by Lora Hobbs

Best Wedding Venue
Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple

 

Arts & Entertainment

Best New Local CD - “Monsters” — Pat McGlynn

Best New Local CD – “Monsters” — Pat McGlynn

Best All Ages Venue
The Pavilion at Montage Mountain

Best Art Venue
Everhart Museum

Best Casino
Mohegan Sun Pocono

Best Concert Venue
Electric City winner: The Pavilion at Montage Mountain
Diamond City winner: The F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts

Best Dance Company
Dave Ragnacci School of Dance

Best Local Band Name – Clever Clever

Best Theater Production - “Hamlet” — New Vintage Ensemble

Best Theater Production – “Hamlet” — New Vintage Ensemble

Best Local Festival
Electric City winner: La Festa Italiana
Diamond City winner: Pittston Tomato Festival

Best Movie Theater
Electric City winner: Cinemark 20 and XD
Diamond City winner: RC Wilkes-Barre
Movies 14

Best Museum
Everhart Museum

Best New Event
#Bekindscranton

Best New Local CD
“Monsters” — Pat McGlynn

Best Ongoing Cultural Event
Electric City winner: First Friday Scranton
Diamond City winner: Fine Arts Fiesta

Best Open Mic
Legends Saloon

Best Original Band
Clever Clever

Best Party Cover Band
Flaxy Morgan

ecbestof15_22_web

Best Original Band and Best Band Name – Clever Clever

Best Place To Shoot Pool
The V Spot

Best Theater Production
“Hamlet” — New Vintage Ensemble

 

Eats & Drinks

Best Sushi - Osaka Restaurant

Best Sushi – Osaka Restaurant

Best Ambience
State Street Grill

Best Bagels
National Bakery

Best Bakery
Lynn Sandy’s

Best Beer Menu
Electric City winner: Backyard Ale House
Diamond City winner: Sabatini’s Bottleshop and Bar

Best Boneless Wings
Electric City winner: Nina’s Restaurant
Diamond City winner: The Tipsy Turtle

Best Breakfast
The Eatery by Jessica

Best Brunch
Backyard Ale House

Best Cheesesteak
Cosmo’s Cheesesteaks

Best Chinese Restaurant
China Palace Inn

Best Chocolate
Gertrude Hawk Chocolates

Best Coffee Shop
Zummo’s Cafe

Best Cup of Coffee
Northern Lights Espresso Bar and Cafe

Best Deli
Cara Mia’s Delicatessen

Best Desserts
Market Street Sweets

Best Diner
Glider Restaurant

Best Doughnuts
Krispy Crème

Best Food Truck
Electric City winner: The Bitemobile by Nina’s
Diamond City winner: Peculiar Culinary Co.

Best French Fries
Five Guys Burgers and Fries

Best Frozen Yogurt
Manning Farm Dairy

Best Hamburger
Five Guys Burgers and Fries

Best Hoagie
Catalano’s

Best Hot Dogs
Coney Island Lunch

Best Ice Cream
Manning Farm Dairy

Best Italian Food
Casa Bella

Best Italian Ice
Rita’s Italian Ice

Best Japanese Restaurant
Electric City winner: Osaka Japanese
Restaurant
Diamond City winner: Mirakuya Japanese Restaurant

Best Liquid Lunch
Backyard Ale House

Best Long Lunch
The Loading Dock Bar and Grill

Best Lunch on a Budget
Chicano’s Restaurant

Best Lunch on the Go
JJ McNally’s

Best Mexican/Southwestern Restaurant
La Tonalteca, Scranton

Best New Restaurant
Bar Pazzo

Best Patio Dining
State Street Grill

Best Pierogies
Plumpy’s Pierogies

Best Place To Eat Organic
Terra Preta Restaurant

Best Potato Pancakes
Abe’s Deli

Best Restaurant
Electric City winner: Market Street Bar
and Grill
Diamond City winner: Aurants

Best Romantic Restaurant
Electric City winner: POSH at the
Scranton Club
Diamond City winner: Pazzo

Best Round Pizza
Buona Pizza, Inc.

Best Salads
The Loading Dock Bar and Grill

Best Sandwiches
Cara Mia’s Delicatessen

ecbestof15_7_web

Best Seafood- Electric City winner: Cooper’s Seafood House

Best Seafood
Electric City winner: Cooper’s Seafood House
Diamond City winner: J J Banko’s Seafood

Best Service
Casa Bella

Best Soup
Zuppa Del Giorno

Best Square Pizza
Maroni’s Pizza House

Best Steakhouse
Electric City winner: Carl Von Luger Steak
and Seafood
Diamond City winner: Ruth’s Chris
Steak House

Best Stromboli
Fratelli’s Pizza and Pasta House

Best Sushi
Osaka Restaurant

Best Thai Restaurant
Thai Rak Thai

Best Vegetarian Menu
Eden — a vegan café

Best Wine Menu
Bar Pazzo

Best Wings
Kelly’s Pub and Eatery

 
Goods & Services

ecbestof15_2_web

Best Barbershop – Loyalty Barber Shop

Best Animal Hospital Veterinarian
Dr. Robert Noto at Memorial Veterinary Hospital

Best Barbershop
Loyalty Barber Shop

Best Bicycle Shop
Sickler’s Bike and Sport Shop

Best Boutique
The Daisy Collective

Best Car Dealership
Toyota of Scranton

Best Car Wash
Wizard Car Wash

Best Cigar Shop
Big House Tobacco

Best Comic Book Store
Electric City winner: Comics on the Green
Diamond City winner: Rubber Mallet Comics

Best Day Spa
Alexander’s Salon and Spa

Best Dry Cleaner
Spotless Cleaners

Best Farmers Market
Farmers’ Co-Op Market

Best Garden Store
Jerry’s for All Seasons

ecbestof15_5_web

Best Animal Hospital Veterinarian – Dr. Robert Noto at Memorial Veterinary Hospital

Best Hair Salon
Hez Studio Salon and Spa

Best Health Food Store
Everything Natural

Best Jewelry Store
Boccardo Jewelers

Best Local Brewery
Electric City winner: 3 Guys and a Beer’d
Diamond City winner: Susquehanna
Brewing Co.

Best Massage
Electric City winner: Alexander’s Salon and Spa
Diamond City winner: The Sapphire Salon
Best Men’s Clothing Store
Burlap and Bourbon

Best Grocery Store
Gerrity’s Supermarket

Best Pet Supply Store
Pet Supplies Plus

Best Pipe Shop
Headdies Pipe and Vape Shop

Best Place To Buy Beer
Electric City winner: Backyard Ale House
Diamond City winner: Sabatini’s Bottleshop and Bar

Best Place To Buy Music
Joe Nardone’s Gallery of Sound

Best Shoe Store
Scranton Running Co.

Best Ski Shop
The Ski Corner

ecbestof15_1_web

Best Women’s Clothing Store and Best Boutique – The Daisy Collective

Best Store for Music Equipment
Electric City winner: Magdon Music
Diamond City winner: Rock Street Music

Best Tanning Salon
Tanfastic Sun Tan Center

Best Tattoo Parlor
Electric City Tattoo

Best Unique Gift Shop
Willow Tree Shop

Best Vintage Clothing Store
On & On

Best Winery
Maiolatesi Winery

Best Women’s Clothing Store
The Daisy Collective

 

Nightlife

Best Bar in a Restaurant
Backyard Ale House
Best Bar You Can Smoke In
The V Spot

Best Bike Night
Thirst T’s Bar and Grill

Best Cocktails
Billy B’s Martini Bar and Restaurant

Best College Bar
Electric City winner: The Green Frog
Diamond City winner: Senunas’ Bar & Grill

Best Corner Bar
The Roosevelt Beer Garden

Best Drink Specials
Legend’s Saloon

Best Gay/Lesbian-Friendly Bar
Electric City winner: 12 Penny Saloon
Diamond City winner: HEAT

Best Happy Hour
Backyard Ale House

Best Happy Hour Food
Ale Mary’s at the Bittenbender

Best Jukebox
The Bog

Best Karaoke
The V Spot

Best-Looking Bar Crowd
Backyard Ale House

Best Margaritas
La Tonalteca, Scranton

Best Martinis
Alfredo’s Pizza Cafe

Best New Bar/Club
Levels Bar and Grill

Best Place To Shake It
Panked! Dance Party

Best Pub Trivia
The Bog

Best Sports Bar
Happy Valley Sports Bar

Best St. Patrick’s Day Parade Bar
The Bog

Best Strip Club
The Grandview Gentlemen’s Club

Best Venue To Hear Live Music at
Electric City winner: O’Leary’s Pub
Diamond City winner: Breakers at Mohegan Sun Pocono

Best Young Professionals Bar
Ale Mary’s at the Bittenbender

 

Media

ecbestof15_28_web

Best Local Filmmaker – Lindsay Barrasse

Best College Radio Station
Marywood VMFM 91.7

Best Local Website
The570.com

Best Morning Radio Show
Prospector on Rock 107

Best Radio Station
FUZZ 92.1

 

Health & Recreation

Best Bowling Alley
South Side Bowl

Best Gym/Health Club
Crunch Fitness

Best Pilates
Jaya Yoga

Best Place To Picnic
Electric City winner: Lackawanna State Park
Diamond City winner: Kirby Park

Best Place To Go Camping
Ricketts Glen State Park

Best Skiing
Elk Mountain

Best Trip Just an Hour Away
Jim Thorpe

Best Yoga
Mission Yoga

Best Zumba
Studio LA

 

Superstars

Best Bartender - Brian Craig

Best Bartender – Brian Craig

Best Bartender
Brian Craig

Best Bouncer
Rich DePoley at the Bog

Best Caterer
Electric City winner: Stirna’s Restaurant
and Bar
Diamond City winner: Peculiar Culinary Co.

Best Chef
Electric City winner: Rory Flynn (Ale Mary’s)
Diamond City winner: Gene Philbin
(Peculiar Culinary Co.)

Best Dentist
Dr. Corey Chmil

Best DJ
EJ the DJ

Best Doctor
Dr. Linda Barrasse

Best Local Actor
Conor McGuigan

Best Local Actress
Camille Reinecke

Best Local Author
Joe McGurl

Best Local Blogger
Chris Kelly

Best Local Comedian
Here We Are in Spain

Best Local Dancer
Laura Naro

ecbestof15_26_web

Best Local Visual Artist – Allison LaRusso

Best Local Filmmaker
Lindsay Barrasse

Best Local Radio Personality
Prospector on Rock 107

Best Local TV News Personality
Ryan Leckey

Best Local Visual Artist
Allison LaRusso

Best Mechanic
Chris Eibach

Best Newspaper Reporter
Patrice Wilding

Best Nip/Tuck
Electric City winner: Dr. Eric Blomain
Diamond City winner: Dr. Ira Krafchin

Best Pet Groomer
Shampooch Grooming Salon

Best Piercer
Eli Gerrity (Electric City Tattoo)

Best Solo Musician
Jackson Vee

Best Stylist
Thomas Frable (Alexander’s Salon and Spa)

Best Tattoo Artist
Tyler Pawelzik (Black Casket)

Best Travel Agent
John Madden of Travel World

Best Wedding DJ
Mike Walton Entertainment

Best Wedding Photographer
Amanda Krieg Photography

Best Wedding Planner
Kelly Trapper (Constantino’s Catering
and Events)

Best Wedding Singer/Band
Daddy-O and the Sax Maniacs

 

 

WTF Moment of 2016

trumpwtf_2_webWinning, at least here, in the popular vote, by a landslide, Donald J. Trump and his controversial rise to the oval office is the WTF Moment in Electric City’s Best of 2016 Readers’ Poll. Coming in at a close second were the presidential campaigns — including the debates and scandals — of both Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Honorable mention once again goes to two of our repeat offenders: Disgraced former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane — sentenced to 10 to 23 months in prison for her conviction on charges she leaked grand jury information then lied about her actions — and the ever-frustrating traffic, accidents and construction on Interstate 81.
And last but not least, congratulations to the creepy killer clowns who did their best to scare up media attention while roaming dark city streets and wooded areas throughout the country. Your fleeting 15 minutes of fame may have ended, but you still made Electric City readers think, “WTF?!?”

Electric City Best of 2015 Winners

Electric City Best of 2015 Winners

The results of the electric city BEST OF 2015 Readers’ Poll are here once again.
A tradition that began in the ’90s, this year’s voting kicked off on Election Day and kept going strong throughout November with thousands of votes cast.
Voters chose local winners from favorites within nine specific categories: Love and Romance, Eats and Drinks, Goods and Services, Arts and Entertainment, Nightlife, Media, Health and Recreation and Superstars. We also included a short Survey Says category to give you the opportunity to further voice your varied opinions on social issues, local trends and scandals.
Back by popular demand, we featured a number of voting updates each week during the voting process. As usual, we had some very tight races, as well as some blowouts.
Beginning on page 24 of this week’s issue, you can take a look at the list of the BEST OF 2015 winners.
So, you’re a winner. Now what?
You’ll get a chance to hang with the other winners and celebrate being the best in the 570. Keep your eyes peeled for details about our annual (and legendary) BEST OF party — a bash like no other — held at The Backyard Ale House in Scranton on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016.
We look forward to seeing you at the BEST OF Bash for a night to remember.
Congratulations to all of the BEST OF 2015 winners! Here’s to another year of success!

 

Love & Romance

Best Adult Toy Store
Mirage Lingerie

Best Art Venue AFA Gallery

Best Art Venue
AFA Gallery

Best Flower Shop
McCarthy Remick Flowers

Best Hourly Rate Hotel
Trotters Motel

Best Limo Service
Feel Good Limo Inc.

Best Place for a Bachelor Party
Big House Tobacco Outlet

Best Place for a Bachelorette Party
Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs

Best Place for a First Date
Pazzo

Best Place to Buy an Engagement Ring
Boccardo Jewelers

Best Place to Buy Lingerie
Victoria’s Secret

Best Wedding Gowns
David’s Bridal

Best Wedding Registry
Target

SC_TIMES_TRIB-20141116-A-PG3-TT16CULTURAL_1-1565830.JPG

Best Wedding Venue Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple

Best Wedding Venue
Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple

 

Arts & Entertainment

Best All Ages Venue
The Pavilion at Montage Mountain

Best Art Venue
AFA Gallery

Best Casino
Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs

Best Concert Venue
The Pavilion at Montage Mountain

Best Dance Company
Dave Ragnacci School of Dance

Best Local Band Name
UUU

Best Local Festival
La Festa Italiana

Best Movie Theater
Regal Dickson City Stadium 14 & IMAX

Best Museum
Everhart Museum

Best New Event
Scranton Fringe Festival

Best New Local CD Wildfire by Skip Monday

Best New Local CD
Wildfire by Skip Monday

Best New Local CD
Wildfire by Skip Monday

Best Ongoing Cultural Event
First Friday Scranton

Best Open Mic
Legends Saloon

Best Original Band
Family Animals

Best Party Cover Band
M80

Best Place to Shoot Pool
South Side Bowl

Best Theater Production
Behind the Six

 

Eats & Drinks

Best Ambience
Adezzo

Best Bagels
Abe’s Kosher Delicatessen

Best Bakery
Creative Cakes & Desserts

Best Beer Menu
Backyard Ale House

Best Boneless Wings
Andy Gavin’s Eatery and Pub

Best Breakfast
Viewmont Diner

Best New Restaurant Terra Preta

Best New Restaurant
Terra Preta

Best Brunch
Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel Scranton

Best Cheesesteak
Cosmo’s Cheesesteaks

Best Chinese Restaurant
Royal Buffet

Best Chocolate
Gertrude Hawk Chocolates

Best Coffee Shop
Northern Light Espresso Bar and Cafe

Best Cup of Coffee
Dunkin’ Donuts

Best Deli
City Market and Cafe

Best Desserts
Viewmont Diner

Best Diner
Viewmont Diner

Best Doughnuts
Krispy Kreme

Best Food Truck
Southwest Savory Grill

Best French Fries
McDonald’s

Best Frozen Yogurt
TCBY

Best Hamburger
Five Guys Burgers and Fries

Best Place to Buy Music Gallery of Sound

Best Place to Buy Music
Gallery of Sound

Best Hoagie
Mainline Hoagie and Pizza Shop

Best Hot Dogs
Coney Island Lunch Lackawanna Ave

Best Ice Cream
Manning Farm Dairy

Best Italian Food
Arcangelo’s Italian Kitchen

Best Italian Ice
Rita’s Italian Ice

Best Japanese Restaurant
Blu Wasabi

Best Liquid Lunch
Ale Mary’s at the Bittenbender

Best Long Lunch
Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel Scranton

Best Lunch on a Budget
Subway

Best Lunch on the Go
JJ McNally’s

Best Mexican/Southwestern Restaurant
Chicano’s Restaurant

Best New Restaurant
Terra Preta

Best Patio Dining
State Street Grill

Best Pierogies
Mom and Pops Pierogies

Best Place My Friends Make Me Go Against My Will
V Spot

Best Place to Eat Organic
Terra Preta

Best Potato Pancakes
Jones Pancake Shop

Best Restaurant
Casa Bella

Best Theater Production Behind the Six

Best Theater Production
Behind the Six

Best Romantic Restaurant
Palazzo 53

Best Round Pizza
Buona Pizza

Best Salads
Pizza by Pappas

Best Sandwiches
Cara Mia’s Delicatessen

Best Seafood
Cooper’s Seafood House

Best Service
Doc Magrogan’s Oyster House

Best Soup
Cooper’s Seafood House

Best Square Pizza
Alfredo’s Pizza Cafe

Best Steakhouse
Texas Roadhouse

Best Stromboli
Matarazzo’s Pizza and Subs

Best Sushi
Blu Wasabi

Best Thai Restaurant
Thai Rak Thai Restaurant

Best Vegetarian Menu
Eden – A Vegan Cafe

Best Concert Venue The Pavilion at Montage Mountain

Best Concert Venue
The Pavilion at Montage Mountain

Best Wine Menu
La Trattoria

Best Wings
Kelly’s Pub and Eatery

 

Goods & Services

Best Animal Hospital Veterinarian
Citywide Animal Clinic

Best Barbershop
Serge’s Barbershop

Best Bicycle Shop
Cedar Bike and Paddle

Best Boutique
Note Fragrances

Best Car Dealership
Minooka Subaru

Best Car Wash
Johnny’s Car Wash

Best Cigar Shop
Steamtown Cigar Club

Best Comic Book Store
Comics on the Green

Best Day Spa
Alexander’s Salon and Spa

Best Dry Cleaner
Mercury One-Hour Cleaners

Best Farmers Market
Co-Op Farmers Market

Best Garden Store
Jerry’s For All Seasons

Best Hair Salon
The Sapphire Salon and Spa

Best Health Food Store
Everything Natural

Best Radio Station FUZZ 92.1

Best Radio Station
FUZZ 92.1

Best Jewelry
Boccardo Jewelers

Best Local Brewery
Three Guys and a Beer’d

Best Massage
Alexander’s Salon and Spa

Best Men’s Clothing Store
Burlap and Bourbon

Best Mom/Pop Grocery Store
Catalano’s

Best Pet Supply Store
Stately Pet Supply

Best Pipe Shop
Headdies Pipe and Vape Shop

Best Place to Buy Beer
Cadden Brothers Beer Distribution

Best Place to Buy Music
Gallery of Sound

Best Shoe Store
DSW – Designer Shoe Warehouse

Best Ski Shop
The Ski Corner

Best Store for Music Equipment
Magdon Music

Best Tanning Salon
Hollywood Tans of Scranton

Best Tattoo Parlor
Electric City Tattoo Gallery

Best Unique Gifts
Post Home and Body

Best Vintage Clothing
On&On

Best Original Band Family Animals

Best Original Band
Family Animals

Best Winery
Maiolatesi Wine Cellars

Best Women’s Clothing Store
Christopher and Banks

 

Nightlife

Best Bar in a Restaurant
Cooper’s Seafood House

Best Bar Nobody’s Heard Of
The Keys

Best Bar You Can Smoke In
McGrath’s Pub and Eatery

Best Bike Night
Montage Mountain

Best Cocktails
Trax Platform Lounge

Best College Bar
The Green Frog

Best Corner Bar
Joyce’s Cafe

Best Drink Specials
Trax Platform Lounge

Best Gay/Lesbian Friendly Bar
12 Penny Saloon

Best Happy Hour
Trax Platform Lounge

Best Happy Hour Food
Kildare’s Irish Pub

Best Jukebox
The Bog

Best Karaoke
Poor Richard’s Pub

Best Venue to Hear Live Music The Keys

Best Venue to Hear Live Music
The Keys

Best Looking Bar Crowd
Backyard Ale House

Best Margaritas
La Tonalteca Mexican Restaurant

Best Martinis
Billy B’s Martini Bar and Restaurant

Best New Bar Club
The New Venture Lounge and Nightclub

Best Place to Shake It
The Woodlands

Best Pub Trivia
Andy Gavin’s Eatery and Pub

Best Sports Bar
The Penalty Box

Best St. Patrick’s Parade Bar
Kildare’s Irish Pub

Best Strip Club
The Grandview Gentlemen’s Club

Best Venue to Hear Live Music
The Keys

Best Young Professionals Bar
Ale Mary’s at the Bittenbender

 

Media

Best College Radio Station
Marywood VMFM 91.7

Best Local Website
the570.com

Best Morning Radio Show
Prospector on Rock 107

Best Radio Station
FUZZ 92.1

 

Health & Recreation

Best Skiing Montage Mountain Ski Resort

Best Skiing
Montage Mountain Ski Resort

Best Bowling Alley
South Side Bowl

Best Gym/Health Club
Planet Fitness

Best Pilates
UNO Fitness

Best Place to Picnic
Nay Aug Park

Best Place to Go Camping
Lackawanna State Park

Best Skiing
Montage Mountain Ski Resort

Best Trip Just an Hour Away
Jim Thorpe

Best Yoga
Steamtown Hot Yoga

Best Zumba
Studio LA

 

Superstars

Best Bartender Jimmy McGrath

Best Bartender
Jimmy McGrath

Best Bartender
Jimmy McGrath

Best Bouncer
RJ Calvey from The Bog

Best Caterer
Constantino’s Catering and Events

Best Chef
Gene Philbin

Best Dentist
Dr. Corey Chmil

Best DJ
Frank Galdieri

Best Doctor
Dr. Vincent Pollino

Best Local Actor
Conor McGuigan

Best Local Actress
Jessica McDonough

Best Local Author
Brandon Halsey

Best Local Blogger
Rich Howells

Best Local Comedian
Father Paul

Best Local Dancer
Eryn Sullivan

Best Local Filmmaker
Lindsay Barrasse

Best Local Radio Personality
Prospector

Best Local TV News Personality
Tom Williams

Best Local Visual Artist
Keith Perks

Best Mechanic
Steve Patrick

Best Solo Musician Asialena

Best Solo Musician
Asialena

Best Newspaper Reporter
Sarah Hall

Best Nip/Tuck
Dr. George Speace

Best Pet Groomer
Wags to Riches

Best Piercer
Mathew Dapkins

Best Solo Musician
Asialena

Best Stylist
Christopher West

Best Tattoo Artist
Eric Brocious

Best Travel Agent
Danielle Jones from AAA

Best Wedding DJ
EJ the DJ

Best Wedding Photographer
Jim Nicolais

Best Wedding Planner
Ambiance Event Planning and Floral Design

Best Wedding Singer/Band
Picture Perfect

 

EC SURVEY SAYS

WTF moment of 2015
More charges for Kane, Paris shooting and Sandone tire fire.

Our area really needs
Money, leadership and a train to NYC.

Best Scandal
Kathleen Kane

Best local trend
The newly-elected good politicians

Worst local trend
Increasing taxes and corruption

Best local gem
McDade Park and Montage Mountain

If Scranton had an official bumper sticker, it would read …
We’re busted!

Best local improvement
The Mall at Steamtown Mall

What would you like to see improve in your community?
More jobs, lower taxes and less potholes.

Diamond City Best of 2015 Winners

Diamond City Best of 2015 Winners

The results of the diamond city BEST OF 2015 Readers’ Poll are here once again.
A tradition that began in the ’90s, this year’s voting kicked off on Election Day and kept going strong throughout November with thousands of votes cast.
Voters chose local winners from favorites within nine specific categories: Love and Romance, Eats and Drinks, Goods and Services, Arts and Entertainment, Nightlife, Media, Health and Recreation and Superstars. We also included a short Survey Says category to give you the opportunity to further voice your varied opinions on social issues, local trends and scandals.
Back by popular demand, we featured a number of voting updates each week during the voting process. As usual, we had some very tight races, as well as some blowouts.
Beginning on page 24 of this week’s issue, you can take a look at the list of the BEST OF 2015 winners.
So, you’re a winner. Now what?
You’ll get a chance to hang with the other winners and celebrate being the best in the 570. Keep your eyes peeled for details about our annual (and legendary) BEST OF party — a bash like no other — held at The Backyard Ale House in Scranton on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016.
We look forward to seeing you at the BEST OF Bash for a night to remember.
Congratulations to all of the BEST OF 2015 winners! Here’s to another year of success!

 

Love & Romance

Best Adult Toy Store
Adult World

Best Flower Shop
McCarthy Flowers

Best Hourly Rate Hotel
Econo Lodge

Best Limo Service
Nasser Limousine Service

Best Place for a Bachelor Party
Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs

Best Place for a Bachelorette Party
The Woodlands

Best Place for a First Date
Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Best Place to Buy an Engagement Ring
Tovon & Company Jewelers

Best Place to Buy Lingerie
Victoria’s Secret

Best Wedding Gowns
David’s Bridal

Best Wedding Registry
Bed Bath and Beyond

Best Wedding Venue
The Woodlands

 

Arts & Entertainment

Best Concert Venue F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts

Best Concert Venue
F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts

Best All Ages Venue
The Pavilion at Montage Mountain

Best Art Venue
Sordoni Art Gallery

Best Casino
Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs

Best Concert Venue
F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts

Best Dance Company
The Joan Harris Centre for Gifted and Talented

Best Local Band Name
Into The Spin

Best Local Festival
RiverFest

Best Movie Theater
WB Theatre

Best Museum
Everhart Museum

Best New Event
RiverFest

Best New Local CD
Celebration by Cabinet

Best Local Festival RiverFest

Best Local Festival
RiverFest

Best Ongoing Cultural Event
The Fine Arts Fiesta

Best Open Mic
The River Street Jazz Cafe

Best Original Band
SUZE

Best Party Cover Band
Flaxy Morgan

Best Place to Shoot Pool
Chacko’s Family Bowling Center

Best Theater Production
The Addams Family at the Theatre at the Grove

 

Eats & Drinks

Best Ambience
Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Best Bagels
Bagel Art Bakery

Best Bakery
Bakery Delite

Best Beer Menu
Sabatini’s Pizza

Best Boneless Wings
Lucky’s Sporthouse

Best Breakfast
Perkins Family Restaurant and Bakery

Best Brunch
Cooper’s Seafood House Waterfront

Best Cheesesteak
Lucky’s Sporthouse

Best Chinese Restaurant
Golden Star

Best Chocolate
Gertrude Hawk Chocolates

Best Open Mic The River Street Jazz Cafe

Best Open Mic
The River Street Jazz Cafe

Best Coffee Shop
Starbucks

Best Cup of Coffee
Dunkin’ Donuts

Best Deli
Goldstein’s Deli

Best Desserts
Cooper’s Seafood House Waterfront

Best Diner
S & W Restaurant

Best Doughnuts
Goin’ Donuts

Best Food Truck
Peculiar Culinary Company

Best French Fries
The Wandering Chef

Best Frozen Yogurt
Hoopla Froyo

Best Hamburger
Longhorn Steakhouse

Best Hoagie
Grotto Pizza

Best Hot Dogs
Ferris’ Lunch

Best Party Cover Band Flaxy Morgan

Best Party Cover Band
Flaxy Morgan

Best Ice Cream
The Lands at Hillside Farms

Best Italian Food
Pazzo

Best Italian Ice
Rita’s Italian Ice

Best Japanese Restaurant
Katana

Best Liquid Lunch
Lucky’s Sporthouse

Best Long Lunch
Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Best Lunch on a Budget
Subway

Best Lunch on the Go
Peculiar Culinary Company

Best Mexican/Southwestern Restaurant
La Tonalteca Mexican Restaurant

Best New Restaurant
Frank’s Pizzeria & Ristorante

Best Patio Dining
Cooper’s Seafood House Waterfront

Best Pierogies
Mom and Pop’s Pierogies

Best Place My Friends Make Me Go Against My Will

Ole Tyme Charley’s Restaurant and Pub

Best Place to Eat Organic

Nucleus Raw Foods

Best Potato Pancakes
Jones Pancake Shop

Best Restaurant
Pazzo

Best Romantic Restaurant
Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Best Round Pizza
Sabatini’s Pizza

Best Salads
Red Leaf Salad Company

Best Sandwiches
Peculiar Culinary Company

Best Seafood
JJ Banko’s Seafood

Best New Local CD Celebration by Cabinet

Best New Local CD
Celebration by Cabinet

Best Service
Cooper’s Seafood House Waterfront

Best Soup
Cooper’s Seafood House Waterfront

Best Square Pizza
Victory Pig Pizza

Best Steakhouse
Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Best Stromboli
Checkerboard Inn

Best Sushi
Katana

Best Thai Restaurant
Thai Thai

Best Vegetarian Menu
Red Leaf Salad Company

Best Wine Menu
Cork Bar and Restaurant

Best Wings
Bottlenecks Saloon and Eatery

 

Goods & Services

Best Animal Hospital Veterinarian
Plains Animal Hospital

Best Barbershop
Sartorio and Sons Barber Shop

Best Bicycle Shop
Around Town Bicycles

Best Boutique
Buka

Best Car Dealership
Motor World Auto Group

Best Car Wash
Mr. Kleen Kar Wash

Best Cigar Shop
City Tobacco

Best Comic Book Store
Rubber Mallet Comics

Best Day Spa
Alexander’s Salon and Spa

Best Ongoing Cultural Event The Fine Arts Fiesta

Best Ongoing Cultural Event
The Fine Arts Fiesta

Best Dry Cleaner
Valet Garment Care

Best Farmers Market
Wilkes Barre Public Square

Best Garden Store
Dundee Gardens

Best Hair Salon
The Sapphire Salon and Spa

Best Health Food Store
House of Nutrition

Best Jewelry
Tovon and Company Jewelers

Best Local Brewery
Susquehanna Brewing Company

Best Massage
The Woodhouse Day Spa

Best Men’s Clothing Store
Men’s Warehouse

Best Mom/Pop Grocery Store
Ell’s Park Market

Best Pet Supply Store
PetSmart

Best Pipe Shop
Headdies Pipe and Vape Shop

Best Place to Buy Beer
Sabatini’s Pizza

Best Place to Buy Music
Gallery of Sound

Best Shoe Store
DSW – Designer Shoe Warehouse

Best Theater Production The Addams Family at the Theatre at the Grove

Best Theater Production
The Addams Family at the Theatre at the Grove

Best Ski Shop
Top of the Slope Ski Shop

Best Store for Music Equipment
Rock Street Music

Best Tanning Salon
Dream Tan

Best Tattoo Parlor
NEPA Tattoo Club

Best Unique Gifts
Embellish

Best Vintage Clothing
C. Audrey and Daughters

Best Winery
Bartolai Winery

Best Women’s Clothing Store
The Loft

 

Nightlife

Best Bar in a Restaurant
Le Manhattan Bistro

Best Bar Nobody’s Heard Of
Coal City Tavern

Best Bar You Can Smoke In
Senunas’ Bar and Grill

Best Bike Night
Cooper’s Seafood House Waterfront

Best Cocktails
Elixir Bistro Bar

Best College Bar
Senunas’ Bar and Grill

Best Corner Bar
Jim McCarthy’s Tavern On the Hill

Best Drink Specials
Lucky’s Sporthouse

Best Gay/Lesbian Friendly Bar
Twist

Best Pipe Shop Headdies Pipe and Vape Shop

Best Pipe Shop
Headdies Pipe and Vape Shop

Best Happy Hour
The Woodlands

Best Happy Hour Food
The Woodlands

Best Jukebox
Elmer Sudds

Best Karaoke
Cooper’s Seafood House Waterfront

Best Looking Bar Crowd
Breakers at Mohegan Sun Pocono

Best Margaritas
La Tolteca Mexican Restaurant

Best Martinis
Bar Louie

Best New Bar Club
Frank’s Pizzeria & Ristorante

Best Place to Shake It
Breakers at Mohegan Sun Pocono

Best Pub Trivia
Bart and Urby’s

Best Sports Bar
Lucky’s Sporthouse

Best St. Patrick’s Parade Bar
Bart and Urby’s and The Other Side

Best Strip Club
Tattletales Gentlemen’s Club

Best Venue to Hear Live Music
River Street Jazz Cafe

Best Young Professionals Bar
Arena Bar and Grill

 

Media

Best College Radio Station
88.5 WRKC

Best Local Website
the570.com

Best Morning Radio Show
Mike and Mike on ESPN

Best Radio Station
ROCK 107

 

Health & Recreation

Best Place to Buy Beer Sabatini’s Pizza

Best Place to Buy Beer
Sabatini’s Pizza

Best Bowling Alley
Chacko’s Family Bowling Center

Best Gym/Health Club
Planet Fitness

Best Pilates
The Coop

Best Place to Picnic
Kirby Park

Best Place to Go Camping
Ricketts Glen State Park

Best Skiing
Montage Mountain

Best Trip Just an Hour Away
Jim Thorpe

Best Yoga
Melt Hot Yoga

Best Zumba
Fabfitness

 

Superstars

Best Bartender
Joe Philistine from Donahue’s Hourglass Lounge

Best Bouncer
Nicholas Bolesta from River Grille

Best Caterer Peculiar Culinary Company

Best Caterer
Peculiar Culinary Company

Best Caterer
Peculiar Culinary Company

Best Chef
Chef Gwen Le Pape from Le Manhattan Bistro

Best Dentist
Dr. John Spagnuolo

Best DJ
DJ Hersh

Best Doctor
Dr. Vincent Pollino

Best Local Actor
Jim Williams

Best Local Actress
Amanda Reese

Best Local Author
Brandon Halsey

Best Local Blogger
David Yonki

Best Local Comedian
Scott Bruce

Best Local Dancer
Bernardine Vojtko

Best Local Filmmaker
Robert May

Best Local Radio Personality
Frankie Warren

Best Local TV News Personality
Ryan Leckey

Best Local Visual Artist
Chuck Stanley

Best Mechanic
Chris Dalsanto

Best Newspaper Reporter
Kristen Gaydos

Best Pet Groomer
Tails-R-Wag’n

Best Piercer
Pat Riot

Best Solo Musician
Robb Brown

Best Stylist
Maggie Triano

Best Comic Book Store Rubber Mallet Comics

Best Comic Book Store
Rubber Mallet Comics

Best Tattoo Artist
Bob Lewis

Best Travel Agent
Premier Travel

Best Wedding DJ
Electric City Entertainment

Best Wedding Photographer
Zak Zavada

Best Wedding Planner
Ambiance Event Planning and Floral Design

Best Wedding Singer/Band
Picture Perfect

 

DC SURVEY SAYS

WTF moment of 2015
Donald Trump and the crossbow guy.

Our area really needs …
IHOP

Best scandal
Kathleen Kane

Worst local trend
Spice overdoses and man buns

Best local trend
Food

Best local gem
Little Theatre

If Wilkes-Barre had an official bumper sticker, it would read …
I’m not drunk — I’m dodging potholes

Best local improvement
Mary Stegmaier Mansion

What would you like to see improve in your community?
Police presence, improved roads and the revitalization of public square.

ELECTRIC CITY BEST OF 2014

ELECTRIC CITY BEST OF 2014

It’s that time of year again folks! The electric city and diamond city BEST OF 2014 Readers’ Poll is here once again.
A tradition that began in the ’90s, this year’s voting tally shattered previous campaigns as thousands of electric city and diamond city readers flooded the web, casting their ballots at a feverish pace.
Voters chose local winners from favorites within nine specific categories: Love and Romance, Eats and Drinks, Goods and Services, Arts and Entertainment, Nightlife, Media, Health and Recreation and Superstars. We also included a short Survey Says category to give you the opportunity to further voice your varied opinions on social issues, local trends, scandals. You sounded off.
For the first time, we featured a number of voting updates each week during the voting process. As usual, we had some very tight races, some blowouts and even a few ties.
Beginning on page 25 of this week’s issue, you can begin to dive into the extensive list of the BEST OF 2014 winners. Each winner is truly a stand-out in their respected category and rose above the rest to claim the bragging rights.
So, you’re a winner. Now what?
Just imagine a room full of winners, rubbing elbows, accepting awards and celebrating all of the good things about making things happen in the 570. That’s exactly what’s going to go down. Keep your eyes peeled for details about our annual (and legendary) BEST OF party — a throw-down like no other — held at Breakers at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in January.
As soon as the date is set, we’ll let you know. We look forward to seeing you out-and-about and strutting yourself.
Congrats to all of the BEST OF 2014 winners! Here’s to another year of happiness and success!

 

 

BEST ALL AGES VENUE: TWENTYFIVEEIGHT STUDIOS

BEST ALL AGES VENUE: TWENTYFIVEEIGHT STUDIOS

LOVE & ROMANCE
Best Adult Toy Store Playtime Boutique
Best Flower Shop McCarthy Flowers
Best Hour Rate Hotel Econo Lodge
Best Limo Service Feel Good Limo
Best Place for a Bachelor Party Mulligan’s Sports and Spirits
Best Place for a Bachelorette Party Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs
Best Place for a First Date Palazzo 53
Best Place to Buy an Engagement Ring Boccardo Jewelers
Best Place to Buy Lingerie Victoria’s Secret
Best Place to Buy Wedding Gowns Tunis Bridal Shoppe and David’s Bridal
Best Wedding Registry JCPenney
Best Wedding Venue Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel Scranton

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Best All Ages Venue TwentyFiveEight Studios
Best Art Venue AFA Gallery
Best Casino Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs

BEST NEW BAR: ALE MARYS

BEST NEW BAR: ALE MARYS

Best Concert Venue Pavilion at Montage
Best Dance Company Dave Ragnacci School of Dance
Best Local Band Name Into the Spin
Best Local Festival La Festa Italiana
Best Movie Theater Cinemark 20 and XD
Best Museum Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour
Best New Event NEPA Bartender’s Ball
Best New Local CD You Don’t Know Jack, Jack Woodbridge
Best Ongoing Cultural Event First Friday Scranton
Best Open Mic Legends Saloon
Best Original Band Zayre Mountain
Best Party Cover Band The Chatter
Best Place to Shoot Pool Idle Hour Lanes
Best Theater Production A Behanding in Spokane

BEST THETER PRODUCTION: A BEHANDING IN SPOKANE

BEST THETER PRODUCTION: A BEHANDING IN SPOKANE

Worst Local Band Name Graces Downfall

EATS & DRINKS
Best Ambiance Palazzo 53
Best Bagels Main Street Bagel,
Best Bakery Lynn Sandy’s Bakery
Best Beer Menu Backyard Ale House
Best Boneless Wings Kelly’s Pub and Eatery
Best Breakfast Mansour’s Market
Best Brunch Carmen’s Restaurant & Wine Bar
Best Cheesesteak Cosmos Cheesesteaks
Best Chinese Restaurant Peach and Lily
Best Chocolate Gertrude Hawk Chocolates
Best Coffee Shop Northern Light Espresso Bar & Café
Best Cup of Coffee Zummo’s Cafe
Best Deli Cara Mia’s Delicatessen
Best Desserts Viewmont Diner
Best Diner The Glider Diner
Best Doughnuts Krispy Kreme
Best Food Truck Southwest Savory Grill

BEST UNIQUE GIFTS: THE STRANGE AND UNUSUAL

BEST UNIQUE GIFTS: THE STRANGE AND UNUSUAL

Best French Fries McDonald’s
Best Frozen Yogurt Yogo Loco Frozen Yogurt Cafe
Best Hamburger Five Guys Burgers and Fries
Best Hoagie Primo Hoagies
Best Hot Dogs Coney Island Lunch
Best Ice Cream Manning Farm Dairy
Best Italian Food La Trattoria Restaurant
Best Italian Ice Rita’s Italian Ice
Best Japanese Restaurant Blu Wasabi
Best Liquid Lunch State Street Grill
Best Long Lunch Carl Von Luger Steak and Seafood
Best Lunch on a Budget McDonald’ s
Best Lunch on the Go What the Fork
Best Mexican Southwestern Restaurant La Tonalteca
Best New Restaurant JJ McNally’s
Best Patio Dining Morganz Pub and Eatery
Best Pierogies Plumpy’s
Best Place to Eat Organic Eden – A Vegan Cafe
Best Potato Pancakes The Alpine Wurst & Meat House
Best Restaurant Russell’s Restaurant
Best Romantic Restaurant Palazzo 53
Best Round Pizza Pizza by Pappas

BEST LOCAL CD: YOU DON'T KNOW JACK, JACK WOODBRIDGE

BEST LOCAL CD: YOU DON’T KNOW JACK, JACK WOODBRIDGE

Best Salads City Market and Cafe
Best Sandwiches City Market and Cafe
Best Seafood Cooper’s Seafood House
Best Service Doc Magrogan’s Oyster House
Best Soup Cooper’s Seafood House
Best Square Pizza Alfredo’s Pizza Cafe
Best Steakhouse Carl Von Luger Steak and Seafood
Best Stromboli Matarazzo’s Pizza and Subs
Best Sushi Blu Wasabi
Best Thai Restaurant Thai Rak Thai
Best Vegetarian Menu Eden – A Vegan Cafe
Best Wine Menu Doc Magrogan’s Oyster House
Best Wings Kelly’s Pub and Eatery

GOODS & SERVICES
Best Animal Hospital Veterinarian Memorial Veterinary Hospital
Best Barbershop Serge’s Barbershop
Best Bicycle Shop Cedar Bike and Paddle
Best Boutique Well Heeled
Best Car Dealership Dickson City Huyndai
Best Car Wash Johnny’s Car Wash

BEST SKIING: MONTAGE MOUNTAIN

BEST SKIING: MONTAGE MOUNTAIN

Best Cigar Shop Steamtown Cigar Club
Best Comic Book Store Comics on the Green
Best Day Spa Alexander’s Salon and Spa
Best Dry Cleaner Mercury One- Hour Cleaner
Best Farmers Market Co-Op Farmer’s Market
Best Garden Store Jerry’s For All Season
Best Hair Salon Halo Salon
Best Health Food Store Everything Natural
Best Jewelry Duffy Accessories
Best Local Brewery Susquehanna Brewing Company
Best Massage Sapphire Salon and Spa at Montage
Best Men’s Clothing Store Mens Wearhouse
Best Mom/Pop Grocery Store Sabatelle’s Market
Best Pet Supply Store Pet Supplies Plus
Best Pipe Shop Headdies Pipe & Vape Shop
Best Place to Buy Beer Cadden Brothers
Best Place To Buy Music Joe Nardone’s Gallery of Sound
Best Shoe Store Scranton Running Company

BEST CHEF: GENE PHILBIN, PECULIAR CULINARY CO.

BEST CHEF: GENE PHILBIN, PECULIAR CULINARY CO.

Best Ski Shop Bear Creek Ski Shack
Best Store For Music Equipment Magdon Music
Best Tanning Salon Hollywood Tans
Best Tattoo Parlor Guerrilla Studio Tattooing & Piercing
Best Unique Gifts The Strange and Unusual
Best Vintage Clothing Goodwill
Best Winery Maiolatesi Wine Cellars
Best Women’s Clothing Store Suburban Casuals

NIGHTLIFE
Best Bar in a Restaurant Kildare’s Irish Pub
Best Bar Nobody’s Heard Of The Boathouse (Lake Winola)
Best Bar You Can Smoke In The V-Spot
Best Bike Night Quaker Steak and Lube
Best Cocktails Mert’s
Best College Bar Mulligan’s Sports and Spirits
Best Corner Bar Andy Gavin’s Eatery and Pub
Best Drink Specials POSH at The Scranton Club

BEST VISUAL ARTIST: JFLO ART BY JENNIFER FORGIONE

BEST VISUAL ARTIST: JFLO ART BY JENNIFER FORGIONE

Best Gay/Lesbian Friendly Bar The 12 Penny Saloon
Best Happy Hour Backyard Ale House
Best Happy Hour Food Tiffany’s Tap & Grill
Best Jukebox The Bog
Best Karaoke Poor Richards Pub
Best Looking Bar Crowd Backyard Ale House
Best Margaritas La Tolteca
Best Martinis Billy B’s Martini Bar and Restaurant
Best New Bar/Club Ale Mary’s
Best Place to Shake It The Woodlands
Best Pub Trivia Andy Gavin’s Eatery and Pub
Best Sports Bar The Penalty Box
Best St. Patrick’s Parade Bar Kildares Irish Pub
Best Strip Club The Grandview
Best Venue to Hear Live Music The V-Spot
Best Young Professionals Bar Backyard Ale House

MEDIA
Best College Radio Station Marywood VMFM 91.7
Best Local Website www.the570.com
Best Morning Radio Show Frankie in the Morning
Best Radio Station FUZZ 92.1

HEALTH & RECREATION
Best Bowling Alley Idle Hour Lanes
Best Gym Health Club Brown’s Gym
Best Pilates Steamtown Pilates
Best Place My Friends Make Me Go Again and Again Thirst T’s Bar & Grill
Best Place to Go Camping Gouldsboro State Park
Best Place to Picnic McDade park
Best Skiing Montage Mountain
Best Trip Just An Hour Away Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania
Best Yoga Steamtown Hot Yoga
Best Zumba Studio LA Fitness

SUPERTARS

BEST BARTENDERS: BRIAN CRAIG AND JIMMY MCGRATH

BEST BARTENDERS: BRIAN CRAIG AND JIMMY MCGRATH

Best Bartender Brian Craig and Jimmy McGrath
Best Bouncer RJ (The Bog)
Best Caterer Peculiar Culinary Company
Best Chef Gene Philbin (Peculiar Culinary Company)
Best Dentist Corey Chmil at Century Dental
Best DJ Electric City Entertainment
Best Doctor Dr. Vincent Pollino
Best Local Actor Timothy McDermott
Best Local Actress Simone Daniel
Best Local Author Margo Azzarelli
Best Local Blogger Amye Archer
Best Local Comedian Father Paul
Best Local Dancer Erin Sullivan
Best Local Filmmaker Jordan Loftus
Best Local Radio Personality Frankie Warren
Best Local TV News Personality Scott Schaffer
Best Local Visual Artist JFo Art by Jennifer Forgione
Best Mechanic Steve Patrick
Best Newspaper Reporter Chris Kelly
Best Nip Tuck Dr. Ira Krafchin
Best Pet Groomer Rick Melucci
Best Piercer Woody Wodock
Best Solo Musician Phil Hinton
Best Stylist Maggie Triano, Luna Hair Studio
Best Tattoo Artist Vincent Bonitz, NEPA Tattoo Club
Best Travel Agent Danielle Jones/AAA travel
Best Wedding DJ Electric City Entertainment
Best Wedding Photographer Jim Nichols
Best Wedding Planner Ambiance
Best Wedding Singer/Band Picture Perfect

DIAMOND CITY BEST OF 2014

DIAMOND CITY BEST OF 2014

It’s that time of year again folks! The electric city and diamond city BEST OF 2014 Readers’ Poll is here once again.
A tradition that began in the ’90s, this year’s voting tally shattered previous campaigns as thousands of electric city and diamond city readers flooded the web, casting their ballots at a feverish pace.
Voters chose local winners from favorites within nine specific categories: Love and Romance, Eats and Drinks, Goods and Services, Arts and Entertainment, Nightlife, Media, Health and Recreation and Superstars. We also included a short Survey Says category to give you the opportunity to further voice your varied opinions on social issues, local trends, scandals. You sounded off.
For the first time, we featured a number of voting updates each week during the voting process. As usual, we had some very tight races, some blowouts and even a few ties.
Beginning on page 25 of this week’s issue, you can begin to dive into the extensive list of the BEST OF 2014 winners. Each winner is truly a stand-out in their respected category and rose above the rest to claim the bragging rights.
So, you’re a winner. Now what?
Just imagine a room full of winners, rubbing elbows, accepting awards and celebrating all of the good things about making things happen in the 570. That’s exactly what’s going to go down. Keep your eyes peeled for details about our annual (and legendary) BEST OF party — a throw-down like no other — held at Breakers at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in January.
As soon as the date is set, we’ll let you know. We look forward to seeing you out-and-about and strutting yourself.
Congrats to all of the BEST OF 2014 winners! Here’s to another year of happiness and success!

LOVE & ROMANCE

BEST ORIGINAL BAND: HARLOT

BEST ORIGINAL BAND: HARLOT

Best Adult Toy Store Mr. Fashions
Best Flower Shop Ketler’s Florist and Greenhouse
Best Hour Rate Hotel Days Inn
Best Limo Service Black Tie Luxury Limousine
Best Place for a Bachelor Party Tattletales Gentlemen’s Club
Best Place for a Bachelorette Party The Woodlands
Best Place for a First Date Cork Bar and Restaurant
Best Place to Buy an Engagement Ring Tovon & Co.
Best Place to Buy Lingerie Mr. Fashions
Best Place to Buy Wedding Gowns Gerri’s Bridal Shop
Best Wedding Registry Bed Bath & Beyond
Best Wedding Venue The Highlands at Newberry Estate

 

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Best All Ages Venue FM Kirby Center
Best Art Venue Arts Seen Gallery
Best Casino Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs
Best Concert Venue Pavilion at Montage Mountain
Best Dance Company Joan Harris Centre for Gifted & Talented

BEST CONCERT VENUE: PAVILION AT MONTAGE MOUNTAIN

BEST CONCERT VENUE: PAVILION AT MONTAGE MOUNTAIN

Best Local Band Name 40 lb. Head
Best Local Festival Pittston Tomato Festival
Best Movie Theater R/C Movies
Best Museum Luzerne County Historical Society
Best New Event Mr. Hush Weekend of Fear
Best New Local CD Careful What You Wish For, Threatpoint
Best Ongoing Cultural Event Third Friday Wilkes-Barre
Best Open Mic River Street Jazz Cafe
Best Original Band Harlot
Best Party Cover Band Flaxy Morgan
Best Place to Shoot Pool Jack and Jill’s Billiards
Best Theater Production The Glass Menagerie at the Nuangola Grove Center and Theatre
Worst Local Band Name Kartune

 

EATS & DRINKS

Best Ambiance Oyster Seafood & Steakhouse
Best Bagels Bakehouse Bakery and Cafe
Best Bakery Purple Squirrel Pastry Company

BEST PARTY COVER BAND: FLAXY MORGAN

BEST PARTY COVER BAND: FLAXY MORGAN

Best Beer Menu AuRaunts
Best Boneless Wings The Tipsy Turtle Pub
Best Breakfast Eddie’s Place
Best Brunch Holiday Inn Wilkes-Barre  East Mountain
Best Cheesesteak Philly Subs & Pizzeria
Best Chinese Restaurant Peking Chef, Dallas
Best Chocolate Ah! Some Chocolates
Best Coffee Shop Starbucks, Barnes & Noble Wilkes-Kings
Best Cup of Coffee The Main Bean
Best Deli Circles on the Square
Best Desserts Callhan’s Cafe and Coffee House
Best Diner Eddie’s Place
Best Doughnuts Krispy Kreme
Best Food Truck Notis the Gyro King
Best French Fries Hops and Barleys
Best Frozen Yogurt Sweet Frog
Best Hamburger Bottlenecks Saloon and Eatery
Best Hoagie Vino’s Deli
Best Hot Dogs Abe’s Hot Dogs Kingston

BEST COMIC BOOK STORE: RUBBER MALLET COMICS

BEST COMIC BOOK STORE: RUBBER MALLET COMICS

Best Ice Cream Blue Ribbon Dairy
Best Italian Food Agolino’s
Best Italian Ice Rita’s Italian Ice
Best Japanese Restaurant Mirakuya
Best Liquid Lunch Rodano’s
Best Long Lunch Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Best Lunch on a Budget Center City Cafe
Best Lunch on the Go King of Kings Gyros
Best Mexican/Southwestern Restaurant La Tolteca
Best New Restaurant Stations Grill
Best Patio Dining Arena Bar & Grill
Best Pierogies Mom & Pops Pierogi
Best Place to Eat Organic Nucleus Raw Foods
Best Potato Pancakes Jones’ Harvey’s Lake
Best Restaurant Kevin’s Bar & Restaurant
Best Romantic Restaurant Grico’s Restaurant
Best Round Pizza Grotto Pizza
Best Salads Red Leaf Salad Company

BEST VENUE TO HEAR LIVE MUSIC AND BEST OPEN MIC: RIVER STREET JAZZ CAFE

BEST VENUE TO HEAR LIVE MUSIC AND BEST OPEN MIC: RIVER STREET JAZZ CAFE

Best Sandwiches Circles on the Square
Best Seafood Coopers Seafood House Waterfront
Best Service Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
Best Soup Center City Cafe
Best Square Pizza Pizza Loven Hanover
Best Steakhouse Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
Best Stromboli Mimmo’s Pizza
Best Sushi Mizu Sushi and Hibachi
Best Thai Restaurant Thai Thai
Best Vegetarian Menu Nucleus Raw Foods
Best Wine Menu Cork Bar & Restaurant
Best Wings The Chicken Coop

GOODS & SERVICES

Best Animal Hospital/Veterinarian West Side Veterinary Hospital, Sankey and Smith
Best Barbershop Lyons Barber Shop
Best Bicycle Shop Main Bike World
Best Boutique Sultana’s Gifts & Apparel
Best Car Dealership Motorworld Auto Group
Best Car Wash Orloski’s Car Wash and Lube Shop
Best Cigar Shop City Tobacco Company

BEST YOGA: BALANCE YOGA

BEST YOGA: BALANCE YOGA

Best Comic Book Store Rubber Mallet Comics
Best Day Spa Sakari Salon
Best Dry Cleaner Liberty Cleaners
Best Farmers Market Wilkes-Barre Farmers Market
Best Garden Store Skiro’s Garden Center
Best Hair Salon Pure Lavi Salon
Best Health Food Store House of Nutrition, Luzerne
Best Jewelry Rainbow Jeweler’s
Best Local Brewery Susquehanna Brewing Company
Best Massage Sakari Salon
Best Men’s Clothing Store Kranson Clothes Inc.
Best Mom/Pop Grocery Store Malacari’s Produce & Deli
Best Pet Supply Store Village Pet Supplies & Gifts
Best Pipe Shop Utopia
Best Place to Buy Beer Union Beverage
Best Place To Buy Music Joe Nardone’s Gallery of Sound
Best Shoe Store Penn Lee Footwear
Best Ski Shop Top of the Slope Ski Shop
Best Store For Music Equipment Rock Street Music
Best Tanning Salon Sun Tan City
Best Tattoo Parlor Marc’s Tattooing 315
Best Unique Gifts Sultana’s Gifts & Apparel
Best Vintage Clothing Community Family Serices Thrift Store, Plymouth
Best Winery Bartolai Winery
Best Womens Clothing Store Deb Shops

NIGHTLIFE

BEST LOOKING BAR CROWD: BREAKERS AT MOHEGAN SUN AT POCONO DOWNS

BEST LOOKING BAR CROWD: BREAKERS AT MOHEGAN SUN AT POCONO DOWNS

Best Bar in a Restaurant Rodano’s
Best Bar Nobodys Heard Of Donahue’s Hourglass Lounge
Best Bar You Can Smoke In Beer Boys
Best Bike Night JJ Banko’s Seafood
Best Cocktails Bart & Urby’s
Best College Bar Senunas’ Bar and Grill
Best Corner Bar R Bar and Grill
Best Drink Specials Rodano’s
Best Gay Lesbian Friendly Bar Heat
Best Happy Hour Metro Bar & Grill
Best Happy Hour Food Beer Boys
Best Jukebox Tommy Boy’s
Best Karaoke Old Tyme Charley’s
Best Looking Bar Crowd Breakers Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs
Best Margaritas La Tolteca
Best Martinis Madison’s Vodka Bar & Streakhouse
Best New Bar Club Stir
Best Place to Shake It The Woodlands
Best Pub Trivia Bart and Urby’s
Best Sports Bar Patte’s Sports Bar and Restaurant
Best St. Patrick’s Parade Bar Murphy’s Pub

BEST BAR IN A RESTAURANT: RODANO'S

BEST BAR IN A RESTAURANT: RODANO’S

Best Strip Club Tattletales Gentlemen’s Club
Best Venue to Hear Live Music River Street Jazz Cafe
Best Young Professionals Bar Bart & Urby’s

MEDIA

Best College Radio Station WCLH 90.7 FM Wilkes University
Best Local Website www.the570.com
Best Morning Radio Show Frankie in the Morning
Best Radio Station FUZZ 92.1

HEALTH & RECREATION

Best Bowling Alley Chacko’s
Best Gym Health Club Odyssey Fitness
Best Pilates Balance Yoga
Best Place My Friends Make Me Go Again and Again Tattletales Gentlemen’s Club
Best Place to Go Camping Francis Slocum State Park
Best Place to Picnic Francis Slocum State Park
Best Skiing Montage Mountain
Best Trip Just An Hour Away The Poconos
Best Yoga Balance Yoga
Best Zumba Sweat Fitness

SUPERTARS

BEST LOCAL TV NEWS PERSONALITY: RYAN LECKEY

BEST LOCAL TV NEWS PERSONALITY: RYAN LECKEY

Best Bartender Mark Mason, Hops & Barleys
Best Bouncer Nicholas Bolesta / River Grille
Best Caterer Ellis Market Catering
Best Chef Dave Cimenelli, AuRants
Best Dentist David Troynacki
Best DJ DJ Hersh
Best Doctor Dr. Chu, Oncology-Geisinger
Best Local Actor Drew Coffman
Best Local Actress Lynne Zanolini
Best Local Author David Parmelee
Best Local Blogger Dave DeCosmo
Best Local Comedian Scott Bruce
Best Local Dancer Becky Phillips Nuangola Grove Center and Theatre
Best Local Filmmaker Robert May, Kids for Cash
Best Local Radio Personality Jumpin’ Jeff Walker

BEST RADIO STATION: FUZZ 92.1

BEST RADIO STATION: FUZZ 92.1

Best Local TV News Personality Ryan Leckey
Best Local Visual Artist Curtis Salonick
Best Mechanic Chris Dalsanto, Lou’s Garage
Best Newspaper Reporter Kristen Gaydos
Best Nip Tuck Dr. Speace
Best Pet Groomer Tails-R-Wag’n
Best Piercer Bruce Fairchild
Best Solo Musician Rob Brown
Best Stylist Marikate Sullivan – Bruno’s Hair & Nail Boutique
Best Tattoo Artist Bruce Fairchild
Best Travel Agent Vicki Gromel, Tenenbaum’s Travel
Best Wedding DJ Mike Walton
Best Wedding Photographer Angel Berlane, On My Cue Photography
Best Wedding Planner Linday Bezick, Genetti’s
Best Wedding Singer/Band Picture Perfect

Electric City Best Of 2013

Electric City Best Of 2013

On the Cover: The Best Of 2013 Splash
PHOTO By Tom Bonomo. DESIGN BY ERIC TOFFEY.
When we decided we wanted to throw buckets of water over someone’s head, John “DJ Cadillac” Culkin, Best Of 2013 Best DJ in electric city was immediately our go-to guy. Stay dry, Cadillac and thanks for the laughs.
 

Electric City Best Of 2013

Simply The Best

 
Since the dawn of time, the electric city and diamond city Best Of Awards have highlighted the fantastic people, places and things we love in northeastern Pennsylvania. Alright — maybe the dawn of time is stretching it quite a bit, but the frigid holiday season has once again arrived at our doorsteps and that means it’s time to announce the Best Of 2013 winners.
 
Online voting kicked off in early October and the votes kept flooding in until the November 1 deadline arrived. Voters cast their ballots for favorites within nine specific categories: Love and Romance, Eats and Drinks, Goods and Services, Arts and Entertainment, Nightlife, Media, Health and Recreation and Superstars. We also included a short Survey Says category to further pick the brains of our loyal readers (as it turns out, you’re really anti-twerking, which is quite a relief). With thousands of submissions to rifle through, our brilliant tech team worked day and night before submitting the final list of Best Of winners. These lucky winners will now have their names forever etched in stone (or a fancy framed certificate) as being at the top of their game throughout 2013.
 
This year, we here at electric city and diamond city have gone through an extensive redesign ourselves, thus giving us a new and exciting way to deliver the Best Of results to you. Beginning on page 29, you can find all the 2013 winners and a little bit about what makes them the best in their respected categories. This year’s Best Of list features a healthy mix of repeat winners and new kids on the block. We’ve said goodbye to a number of local historic buildings and businesses, but at the same time have witnessed the birth of new restaurants, storefronts, and the controversial arrival of, gasp, food trucks.
 
So keep on reading every week and we hope to see you at our annual Best Of Party, Jan. 22, 2014 at 7 p.m. in Breakers at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs — It’s always a legendary party with a room packed full of personalities celebrating the Best Of the best our area has to offer. —tom graham
 

Love can really get your heart pumping and so can one look at thIS amazing creation from The Sweet Lush Cupcakery, winner of Best Desserts. If you’re in need of a quick cupcake fix, you can find the delicious goods at 105 Chestnut St. in Dunmore.

Love & Romance

Best Adult Toy Store Playtime Boutique
Best Flower Shop Conwell-Cadden Florist
Best Hour Rate Hotel Days Inn
Best Limo Service Feel Good Limo
Best Place for a Bachelor Party The Grandview Gentlemen’s Club
Best Place for a Bachelorette Party The Woodlands Inn and Resort
Best Place for a First Date State Street Grill
Best Place to Buy an Engagement Ring Boccardo Jewelers
Best Place to Buy Lingerie Mirage Lingerie
Best Wedding Gowns Head to Toe Bridal
Best Wedding Registry Macy’s
Best Wedding Venue Fiorelli Family Catering
 

Sure, the coffee is good, but there’s a lot more to Northern Light Espresso Bar that makes it your favorite coffee shop. How about — best place to get a banana for less than $1? Or best spinach salad for less than $6? Craving a cup of yerba mate tea after lunch or decadent baked goods in lieu of lunch — you got it. Whether you prefer the secluded balcony, comfy couches or a window seat, there are so many reasons to linger. PHOTO BY BUTCH COMEGYS


Honk if you like good food prepared quickly in a convenient location. What the Fork won over scores of new fans when its pulled pork tacos came in second on Live with Kelly and Michael’s Truckin’ Amazing Cook Off in August. Not that Mario Bevilacqua’s kitchen on wheels was struggling to attract clientele before that national vote of confidence. Your favorite food truck is one of many in a fleet of mobile entrepreneurs that have sprung up in The 570 in the last couple of years. The movement is still fresh enough that you’re calling it the Best Local Trend of 2013 despite the controversy instigated by fearful brick and mortar restaurants. PHOTO BY MIKE MULLEN


Eats & Drinks


Best Ambience POSH @ The Scranton Club
Best Bagels Bagelmeister
Best Bakery Minooka Pastry Shop
Best Beer Menu Backyard Ale House
Best Boneless Wings Andy Gavin’s Eatery and Pub
Best Breakfast Viewmont Diner
Best Brunch Carmen’s Ristorante and Wine Bar in the Radisson
Best Cheesesteak Cosmos
Best Chinese Restaurant Royal Buffet
Best Chocolate Gertrude Hawks
Best Coffee Shop Northern Light Espresso Bar
Best Cup of Coffee Zummo’s Café
Best Deli Downtown Deli
Best Desserts The Sweet Lush Cupcakery
Best Diner Viewmont Diner
Best Doughnuts Krispy Kreme
Best Food Truck What the Fork
Best French Fries McDonald’s
Best Frozen Yogurt TCBY
Best Hamburger Five Guys Burgers and Fries
Best Hoagie Primo Hoagies
Best Hot Dogs Coney Island Lunch Lackawanna Ave
Best Ice Cream Manning Farm Dairy
Best Italian Food La Trattoria
Best Italian Ice Rita’s Italian Ice
Best Japanese Restaurant Osaka
Best Liquid Lunch Trax Platform Lounge
Best Long Lunch Carl Von Luger Steak and Seafood
Best Lunch on a Budget Pizza by Pappas
Best Lunch on the Go McDonalds
Best Mexican Southwestern Restaurant Chicano’s Restaurant
Best New Restaurant Bar Hill
Best Patio Dining State Street Grill
Best Pierogies Plumpy’s Pierogies
Best Place to Eat Organic Eden a Vegan Cafe
Best Potato Pancakes Abe’s Deli Kosher Delicatessen
Best Restaurant Pazzo
Best Romantic Restaurant AV
Best Round Pizza Pizza by Pappas
Best Salads Pepper’s Pizza
Best Sandwiches Cara Mia’s Gourmet Delicatessen and Pizzeria
Best Seafood Coopers Seafood House Restaurant and Pub
Best Service AV
Best Soup Viewmont Diner
Best Square Pizza Alfredo’s Pizza Cafe
Best Steak House Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Best Stromboli Pehr’s Pizza
Best Sushi Atami Sushi
Best Thai Restaurant Thai Rak Thai
Best Vegetarian Menu Eden, A Vegan Cafe
Best Wine Menu AV
Best Wings Kelly’s Pub and Eatery
 

From classic superheroes to graphic novels, Winner of Best Comic Book Store, Comics on the Green, Scranton, has every colorful page-turner you could imagine.


Christopher West Hair Design took home the Best Of 2013 Award for Best Hair Salon. West looks forward to creating your next look at their 224 Linden St. location in Scranton.


Winner of Best Tattoo Parlor, Electric City Tattoo, are always more than happy to slap some new ink on their loyal customers as well as holding multiple fundraisers to help the local community in times of need.


Goods & Services


Best Animal Hospital Veterinarian Memorial Vet Hospital, Dr. Robert Noto
Best Barbershop Serge’s Barber Shop
Best Bicycle Shop Cedar Bike & Paddle
Best Boutique Dolly’s
Best Car Dealership Minooka Subaru
Best Car Wash Johnnies Car Wash
Best Cigar Shop Steamtown Cigar Club
Best Comic Book Store Comics on The Green
Best Day Spa Alexander Salon and Spa
Best Dry Cleaner Mercury Cleaners
Best Farmers Market Co-Op Farmers Market, Scranton
Best Garden Store Jerry’s For All Seasons
Best Hair Salon Christopher West
Best Health Food Store Everything Natural
Best Jewelry Glint of Gold
Best Local Brewery Three Guys and a Beer’d
Best Massage Alexander’s Salon and Spa
Best Mens Clothing Store JOSEPH A BANK
Best Mom Pop Grocery Store Catalano’s
Best Pet Supply Store Petsmart
Best Pipe Shop Tobacco Road
Best Place to Buy Beer Cadden Brothers
Best Place To Buy Music Joe Nardone’s Gallery of Sound
Best Shoe Store DSW
Best Ski Shop The Ski Corner
Best Store For Music Equipment Guitar Center
Best Tanning Salon Hollywood Tans
Best Tattoo Parlor Electric City Tattoo
Best Unique Gifts Willow Tree
Best Vintage Clothing Magpie
Best Winery Maiolatesi Wine Cellars
Best Womens Clothing Store Macy’s

Three Guys and a Beer’d snagged the Best Of Award in Electric City once again the year. With beers like Wheat the People, Carbond’Alien, Shaving Cream Ale, Ladder Dive and the seasonal hit Augustus Chocolate Porter, the brewery shows no sign of running out of entertaining ideas.


 

If there’s a year Scranton’s AfA Gallery hasn’t won Best Gallery in our annual Readers’ Poll, we don’t remember it. Artists for Art celebrated its 25th anniversary this summer with a Silver Jubilee speakeasy celebration of ever-expanding service to not only its member artists but to the entire community and northeast Pennsylvania region.
“Our mission is to support artists — whether you are somebody who paints every Saturday or paints all the time. And all I ever want us to do is be able to do that better,” gallery president Nikki Moser told ec in August. If this year’s award is any indication, AfA is achieving its goals. Cheers! Here’s to another 25 years.


After a long year of singing the viral hit “Dance Pants” to their faithful followers, The Push can finally say goodbye to a whirlwind 2013 in celebratory fashion as the group earned Best New Local CD for their debut album, Greatest Hits Volume One. When asked about the record, Push cofounder Jimmy Reynolds said “They’re all my favorite songs or they wouldn’t be on the album.” Reynolds and Push-mate Tim McDermott are rumored to be hard at work in the studio and plans for Greatest Hits Volume Two may already be in the works. Stay tuned.


Arts & Entertainment


Best All Ages Venue The Vintage Theater
Best Art Venue AFA Gallery
Best Casino Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs
Best Concert Venue Toyota Pavilion
Best Dance Company Dave Ragnacci Dance Studio
Best Local Band Name Silent Arms Race
Best Local Festival La Festa Italiana
Best Movie Theater Cinemark 20 and XD
Best Museum Everhart Museum
Best New Event Arts on the Square
Best New Local CD Greatest Hits Volume 1, The Push
Best Ongoing Cultural Event First Friday Scranton
Best Open Mic The V-Spot
Best Original Band The Great Party
Best Party Cover Band Groove Train
Best Place to Shoot Pool Shark Tank
Best Theater Production Pride & Prejudice at The Vintage Theater
Worst Local Band Name Kock 107
 
 

Winner of Best Drink Specials, Best Looking Bar Crowd, Best Young Professionals Bar and the ever-so-coveted Best Beer Menu, the newly expanded Backyard Ale House, 523 Linden St., Scranton now features an expansive food menu to accompany your awesome beers.


Yeah. You found it. The V-Spot, 906 Providence Road, Scranton, keeps its strak of accolades pouring in with Best Of nods for Best Bar You Can Smoke In and Best Venue To Hear Live Music. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em or bum one if you don’t.


Nightlife


Best Bar in a Restaurant Coopers Seafood House Restaurant and Pub
Best Bar Nobody’s Heard Of The Dugout
Best  Bar You Can Smoke In The V-Spot
Best Bike Night Quaker Steak and Lube
Best Cocktails Mert’s
Best College Bar The Green Frog
Best Corner Bar The Penalty Box
Best Drink Specials Backyard Ale House
Best Gay Lesbian Friendly Bar The 12 Penny Saloon
Best Happy Hour Trax Platform Lounge
Best Happy Hour Food PJ’s 1910 Pub, Hilton Scranton
Best Jukebox The Bog
Best Karaoke Poor Richards Pub
Best Looking Bar Crowd Backyard Ale House
Best Margaritas La Tonalteca
Best Martinis Billy Bs
Best New Bar Club Lounge 414
Best Place to Shake It Woodlands Club Evolution?
Best Pub Trivia The Bog
Best Sports Bar Damon’s
Best St. Patricks Parade Bar Kildares Irish Pu
Best Strip Club Grandview
Best Venue to Hear Live Music The V Spot
Best Young Professionals Bar Backyard Ale House

Billiy B’s Martini Bar and Restaurant on Smith Street in Dunmore boasts more than 150 different martinis on its specialty drink menu. Why decide between dessert and an after-dinner drink when you can have both? This time of year the Kris Kringle, Gingerbread Cookie and the Mistle Toe are keeping Santa’s little mommy helpers warm between trips to the Mall, or ummmm that is to say the toy workshop at the North Pole.


 

Bands like Walk the Moon (above), Imagine Dragons and The Features are just a few of the names that have stopped by to perform for the Fuzz 92.1 Private Artist Showcase. 92.1 The Fuzz, WFUZ FM won Best Radio Station in both the electric city and diamond city Best Of 2013.


 

Media


Best College Radio Station WVMFM 91.7 Marywood University
Best Local Website the570.com
Best Morning Radio Show Frankie in the Morning, Magic 93 WMGS_FM
Best Radio Station 92.1 The Fuzz, WFUZ FM
 

Can you do what certified yoga instructors Kelly O’Brien and Alex DuBois are doing in this picture? If you said yes, it’s probably because you, likewise, practice yoga. Of course Kelly and Alex also do Cross Fit, bike riding, dance, and pole fitness, as well, among other strengthening work. It’s in keeping with Mission Yoga’s approach to the “full spectrum of the body.” Located in a prime spot on Spruce Street in downtown Scranton, the studio is only celebrating its second anniversary with the New Year but has already secured a place in your balanced minds and bodies as the best.
“Our specialty comes from an Ashtanga background, which essentially is the grandfather of all modern forms of yoga. We like to keep things fun and light. We do have a spiritual background to things but at the same time, we play funky music and we like to get up on our hands,” DuBois told ec back in January.
A new six-week beginner’s series begins Jan. 5. If you want to see what all the fuss is about save $79 of your Christmas money and register before the class is full or drop in for one regularly scheduled class for only $10.


Health & Recreation


Best Bowling Alley South Side Bowl
Best Gym Health Club Planet Fitness
Best Pilates Absolute Pilates w/ Leslie
Best Place My Friends Make Me Go Again and Again Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs
Best Place to Go Camping Lackawanna State Park
Best Place to Picnic Nay Aug Park
Best Skiing Elk Mountain Ski Resort
Best Trip Just An Hour Away Jim Thorpe
Best Yoga Mission Yoga
Best Zumba Zumba Addicts
 

The first artist to take up residence on Bogart Court — a.k.a. the alley behind the 500 block of Lackawanna Avenue a.k.a. Renaissance 500— Benjamin Adcroft was voted 2013’s Best Artist because he makes really smart art and by that we mean sexy. He’s also stepped out of his studio and into the community, creating visibility for his visuals at events like the Bonfire at the Iron Furnaces and most recently at Holiday at the Square. PHOTO BY ALICIA GREGA


Superstars


Best Bartender Jimmy McGrath (McGrath’s Pub)
Best Bouncer RJ Calvey (The Bog)
Best Caterer Constantinos
Best Chef Sam Agelino
Best Dentist Corey Chimel (Century Dental)
Best DJ DJ Cadillac
Best Doctor Vincent Pollino
Best Local Actor Conor McGuigan
Best Local Actress Agnes Cummings
Best Local Author Margo Azzarelli
Best Local Blogger Christina Hitchcock
Best Local Comedian Father Paul
Best Local Dancer Eryn Sullivan @ Dave Ragnacci
Best Local Filmmaker Bobby Keller
Best Local Radio Personality Frankie Warren, Magic 93
Best Local TV News Personality Tom Williams, WNEP
Best Local Visual Artist Benjamin Adcroft
Best Mechanic Rick Brayer Auto
Best Newspaper Reporter Sarah Hofius Hall, The Times-Tribune
Best Nip Tuck Dr. Scot McKenna
Best Pet Groomer Canine Grooming Cottage
Best Piercer Sean Stahl Art Rage Tattoo
Best Solo Musician Ken McGraw
Best Stylist Ally Mela, Supercuts
Best Tattoo Artist Jay Salerno, Vision Burn
Best Travel Agent Daniel Jones @ AAA Travel
Best Wedding DJ Electric City DJs
Best Wedding Photographer Peckville Oaktreephoto.com
Best Wedding Planner Electric City Entertainment
Best Wedding Singer Band Picture Perfect

In 2013, Best Local Filmmaker Bobby Keller made the journey from an intentionally campy and outrageously gory film called Deatherman to a lighter, more “kid friendly” horror comedy short, Mini-Golf Massacre. The film, which Keller describes as “somewhere between Nickelodeon’s Are You Afraid Of The Dark meets Caddyshack II meets some awful horror movie you found on the floor at Montage Video in 1991,” was shot at Lahey Family Fun Park, where it was also screened during the month of October at Lahey’s Haunted Miniature Golf Weekends.
“It’s perfect for kids,” Keller said, laughing. “It’s more of a comedy and the death scenes contain very little blood. There is blood, but it’s not very gory with exploding heads.”
Keller is already in the developmental stages of a few new projects, Deatherman 2 and a possible Mr. Boogedy fan remake.


It’s about time theater stopped taking itself so seriously. The Vintage Theater’s June production of Pride & Prejudice drew large crowds of people who didn’t care whose adaptation of the Jane Austen novel was being staged and what ‘New York City credentials’ its stars were carrying. This audience came to enjoy an evening’s entertainment in a social setting where they could let their hair down and laugh and cry without fear of the theater etiquette police sneaking up behind them and whacking them with a dark stick of shame. They were not disappointed.
Set in mid-century New England, the Vintage’s own adaptation boasted a retro costume design worthy of its own fashion show and just enough romance to make your heart yearn.
Pictured above: Conor O’Brien and Simone Daniel as siblings Charles and Caroline Bingley. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE VINTAGE THEATER

DC Best Of 2013

DC Best Of 2013

Look at all the Winners

Since the dawn of time, the electric city and diamond city Best Of Awards have highlighted the fantastic people, places and things we love in northeastern Pennsylvania. Alright — maybe the dawn of time is stretching it quite a bit, but the frigid holiday season has once again arrived at our doorsteps and that means it’s time to announce the Best Of 2013 winners.
Online voting kicked off in early October and the votes kept flooding in until the November 1 deadline arrived. Voters cast their ballots for favorites within nine specific categories: Love and Romance, Eats and Drinks, Goods and Services, Arts and Entertainment, Nightlife, Media, Health and Recreation and Superstars. We also included a short Survey Says category to further pick the brains of our loyal readers (as it turns out, you’re really anti-twerking, which is quite a relief). With thousands of submissions to rifle through, our brilliant tech team worked day and night before submitting the final list of Best Of winners. These lucky winners will now have their names forever etched in stone (or a fancy framed certificate) as being at the top of their game throughout 2013.
This year, we here at electric city and diamond city have gone through an extensive redesign ourselves, thus giving us a new and exciting way to deliver the Best Of results to you. Beginning on page 29, you can find all the 2013 winners and a little bit about what makes them the best in their respected categories. This year’s Best Of list features a healthy mix of repeat winners and new kids on the block. We’ve said goodbye to a number of local historic buildings and businesses, but at the same time have witnessed the birth of new restaurants, storefronts, and the controversial arrival of, gasp, food trucks.
So keep on reading every week and we hope to see you at our annual Best Of Party, Jan. 22, 2014 at 7 p.m. in Breakers at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs — It’s always a legendary party with a room packed full of personalities celebrating the Best Of the best our area has to offer. — tom graham

 

 

Hollywood’s put out its share of Cinderella stories in which the hapless heroine is whisked off her feet by a worldly knight in three-piece Armani. But it’s got just as many tearjerkers where the happiest ending of all is found between a couple of kids don’t have two dimes to rub together, yet still make more than enough love to withstand all those hardships they write wedding vows about. Here’s where those in the first camp spend their pretty pennies.

Love & Romance

Best Adult Toy Store Adult World
Best Flower Shop Carol Floral and Gifts
Best Limo Service Arrive in Style Limousines Inc.
Best Place for a Bachelor Party Gentlemen’s Club 10
Best Place for a Bachelorette Party Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs
Best Place for a First Date The Tomato Bar and Bistro
Best Place to Buy an Engagement Ring Valentine’s
Best Place to Buy Lingerie Mr. Fashion’s
Best Wedding Gowns David’s Bridal
Best Wedding Registry Bed, Bath & Beyond
Best Wedding Venue Newberry Estates

Eats & Drinks

Bottlenecks Saloon and Eatery took home top honors of Best Hamburger in the diamond city. Located at 2 S. Broad Street in Wilkes-Barre, Bottlenecks also boasts live music nights with musicians from all over the region making the trek to deliver some tasty tunes.

Best Ambience Oyster Seafood and Steakhouse
Best Bagels Bakery Delight!
Best Bakery Purple Squirrel Pastry Company
Best Beer Menu Arena Bar & Grill
Best Boneless Wings The Tipsy Turtle Pub
Best Breakfast Perkins
Best Brunch Southside Bistro
Best Cheesesteak Dagwoods
Best Chinese Restaurant Asian Kitchen
Best Chocolate Gertrude Hawk
Best Coffee Shop IBOP
Best Cup of Coffee Coffee’s Coffee
Best Deli Pierce Street Deli
Best Desserts Purple Squirrel Pastry Company
Best Diner S & W Restaurant
Best Doughnuts Krispy Kreme

You know how you like them. Moist and juicy on the inside, just a flash of fry — not cooked to a harsh crisp — and slathered with coats of sticky, tangy buffalo sauce that’s spicy enough to make you sweat, but not so hot you can’t taste the rest of your meal or (gasp!) your expensive seasonal micro brew. You know, the way The Tipsy Turtle does them. That’s how you like your boneless wings.

Best French Fries Hops and Barley
Best Frozen Yogurt Sweet Frog
Best Hamburger Bottleneck’s Saloon and Eatery
Best Hoagie Vino’s
Best Hot Dogs Abe’s Hot Dog
Best Ice Cream Hillside Farms
Best Italian Food Vino Dolche Italian Restaurant
Best Italian Ice The Snack Shack
Best Japanese Restaurant Mizu Sushi & Hibachi
Best Liquid Lunch Madison’s Vodka Bar and Steakhouse
Best Long Lunch Canteen 900
Best Lunch on a Budget Crown Fried Chicken
Best Lunch on the Go The Backdoor Take Out
Best Mexican Southwestern Restaurant La Tolteca Mexican Restaurant
Best New Restaurant Southside Bistro
Best Patio Dining Cork Bar and Restaurant
Best Pierogies Mom and Pops Pierogies
Best Potato Pancakes John’s Harvey’s Lake
Best Restaurant Cork Bar & Restaurant
Best Romantic Restaurant Fire and Ice on Toby Creek
Best Round Pizza Grotto Pizza
Best Salads River Grille
Best Sandwiches Circles on the Square
Best Seafood Coopers, Pittston
Best Service Four Seasons Asian Bistro
Best Soup The Soupchic
Best Square Pizza Pizza L’oven
Best Steakhouse Logan’s Roadhouse
Best Stromboli Tommy’s Pizza Corner Kingston
Best Sushi Katana
Best Thai Restaurant Thai Thai
Best Wine Menu Cork Bar & Restaurant
Best Wings Pizza Perfect

 

Goods & Services

Want to turn your body into a full-fledged canvas of self-expression? The crew at Marc’s tattooing, Wilkes-Barre have got you covered — literally if that’s what you want. Stop in for some fresh ink or rebel against the folks and get those nipple pierced just in time for the holiday season.

Best Animal Hospital Veterinarian Valley View veterinary Clinic, Dr. Fine
Best Barber Shop Lyons Barber Shop
Best Bicycle Shop Main Bike World
Best Boutique Francis Rose
Best Car Dealership Motorworld
Best Car Wash Mr. Kleen Kar Wash
Best Cigar Shop City Tobacco
Best Comic Book Store Rubber Mallet Comics
Best Day Spa Woodhouse Day Spa
Best Dry Cleaner Easy Clean Laundry
Best Farmers Market Wilkes Barre Public Square
Best Garden Store Dundee Gardens
Best Hair Salon Eclectic Hair Salon

The mighty Susquehanna Brewing Co. is diamond city’s Best Local Brewery, proving yet again, our area not only loves beer, but we can make our beer too ­ and it’s damn good.

Best Health Food Store House of Nutrition
Best Jewelry Tovon & Co
Best Local Brewery Susquehanna Brewing Co
Best Massage Woodhouse Day Spa
Best Mens Clothing Store Men’s Warehouse
Best Mom Pop Grocery Store Malacari’s
Best Pet Supply Store Village Pet Supplies
Best Pipe Shop Headdies
Best Place to Buy Beer Krugel’s Georgetown Deli
Best Place To Buy Music Gallery Of Sound
Best Shoe Store DSW
Best Ski Shop Top of the Slope
Best Store For Music Equipment Rock Street Music
Best Tanning Salon Bloom Again
Best Tattoo Parlor Marc’s Tattooing Wilkes-Barre
Best Unique Gifts 3 Sisters
Best Winery Nimble Hill
Best Womens Clothing Store Kohls

Arts & Entertainment

Best All Ages Venue F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts
Best Art Venue Arts Seen Gallery
Best Casino Mohegan Sun
Best Concert Venue F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts
Best Dance Company Dave Ragnacci School of Dance
Best Local Band Name The Mercury Display

Winner of Best Place To Hear Live Music, River Street Jazz Cafe, Plains has been bringing in all sorts of touring act for years — 20 years to be almost exact. Cheers to the local club that has not only embraced and nurtured local acts, but keeps giving local music fans a place to go see more established acts bring down the house. Here’s to 20 more…

Best Local Festival Fine Arts Fiesta, Wilkes-Barre
Best Movie Theater R/C 14
Best Museum Luzerne County Historical Society
Best New Event Third Friday
Best New Local CD Binary Me, The Mercury Display
Best Ongoing Cultural Event Third Friday
Best Open Mic River Street Jazz Cafe
Best Original Band The Mercury Display
Best Party Cover Band Flaxy Morgan
Best Place to Shoot Pool Guys and Dolls, Kingston
Best Theater Production Annie Get Your Gun, Grove Theatre
Worst Local Band Name Ashlee and the Talents

Nightlife

Best Bar in a Restaurant Rodano’s
Best Bar Nobodys Heard Of Keats Pub
Best Bar You Can Smoke In Boozers Sports Bar
Best Bike Night Outsiders Bar and Restaurant
Best Cocktails Madison’s Vodka Bar & Steakhouse
Best College Bar Senunas Bar and Grill
Best Corner Bar Claire’s Bar
Best Drink Specials The Tomato Bar and Bistro
Best Gay Lesbian Friendly Bar Twist
Best Happy Hour Madison’s Vodka Bar & Steakhouse
Best Happy Hour Food Bart and Urby’s
Best Karaoke Old Tyme Charley’s
Best Looking Bar Crowd Woodlands Inn
Best Margaritas La Tolteca Mexican Restaurant
Best Martinis Madison’s Vodka Bar & Steakhouse
Best New Bar Club Duffys Draft House
Best Place to Shake It Gypsies
Best Pub Trivia Bart and Urby’s
Best Sports Bar Lucky’s Sporthouse
Best Strip Club Gentlemen’s Club 10
Best Venue to Hear Live Music River Street Jazz Cafe
Best Young Professionals Bar Cork Bar and Restaurant

Media

Best College Radio Station 88.5 WRKC King’s College
Best Local Website Film Buff Online by Rich Drees
Best Morning Radio Show Free Beer and Hot Wings Show
Best Radio Station 92.1 Fuzz

Health & Recreation

Best Bowling Alley Chacko’s
Best Gym Health Club FAME strength and conditioning
Best Pilates Rebecca Sitar
Best Place My Friends Make Me Go Again and Again Chili’s
Best Place to Go Camping Moon Lake
Best Place to Picnic Kirby Park
Best Skiing Montage
Best Trip Just An Hour Away Jim Thorpe
Best Yoga Melt yoga
Best Zumba SWEAT Fitness

If you like Robert May now, you’re going to be kissing his clapboard come February. The Dallas-based producer of The Station Agent and Fog of War has produced and directed what Variety has described as a “deeply shocking and continually surprising” documentary about Luzerne County’s Kids for Cash judicial scandal that “rocked the nation.”

Superstars

Rebecca Sitar of Bex Body Sculpting fame won your votes for Best Pilates but the tireless physical fitness promoter is also known for her healthy eating program. A Holistic Personal Trainer and Life Coach, Beckie holds fun social boot camps and designs non-judgemental plans customized to each individual’s personal challenges and goals. What’s not to like that?

Best Bartender Laurie Jones (Boozers)
Best Caterer Back door take out
Best Chef Jack Godwin
Best Dentist Dave Troynacki
Best DJ DJ MO
Best Doctor Toni Jo Parmelee
Best Local Actor John  Sherrick
Best Local Actress Dawn Winarski
Best Local Author Brandon Halsey
Best Local Blogger Gort42
Best Local Comedian James “The Wingman” Holeva
Best Local Dancer Amber Kerestes
Best Local Filmmaker Robert May
Best Local Radio Personality Jumpin’ Jeff Walker
Best Local TV News Personality Candice Kelly
Best Local Visual Artist Curtis Salonick
Best Mechanic Joe Ferrick on w carey st plains
Best Newspaper Reporter Bill O’Boyle
Best Nip Tuck Dr. Speace
Best Pet Groomer Wags to Riches
Best Piercer Marc’s Tattooin
Best Solo Musician Ronnie Williams
Best Stylist April Campas
Best Tattoo Artist Steve Roberts Marcs
Best Travel Agent Candy Bednar
Best Wedding DJ Optimum Entertainment
Best Wedding Photographer Jim Gavenus
Best Wedding Planner Linday Bezick Genetti

The community continues to mourn the loss of Michael Onley, also known as DJ Mo, the 2013 Best DJ Winner. Onley was shot and killed in October near Outsiders Bar at 650 S. Main St. in Wilkes-Barre. A big part of northeastern Pennsylvania’s music scene, the man stood behind a positive message of non-violence and helping others within his beloved community. After graduating from Coughlin High School, Onley attended Wilkes University, where he became highly involved with the school’s radio station, WCLH 90.7 FM. Onley began producing rap and hip-hop segments which he continued the shows, often featuring local artists, years after his graduation from the school.
For more information about the life of Michael Onley, visit facebook.com/pages/Remembering-DJ-Mo.

dc Best Of 2012: Eats & Drinks

Eats & Drinks

 

When that special someone is looking at you with hungry eyes, and not in a good way, there’s no shortage of tasty options to explore in and around the Diamond City. But, a word to the wise, choose carefully. Your dining decisions can make or break the evening, and that’s why it’s good to check out our list of winners in the Eats & Drinks category before making reservations for you and your sweetheart.
A great restaurant for date night is Vino Dolce, which earned top honors in three categories: Best Ambience, Best Romantic Restaurant and Best Italian Food. Offering Italian favorites such as homemade gnocchi (lobster, spinach and classic) to cheese shells, lasagna, polenta, stuffed eggplant and more, there is something to satisfy any taste.
If you’re in the mood for a juicy New York strip or perhaps a Porterhouse is calling your name, head to Logan’s Roadhouse, voted Best Steakhouse. Another wonderful choice is Ruth’s Chris Steak House, where you’ll be treated to the Best Service in the area, according to dc readers.
In the heart of the Back Mountain on Rte. 309, you’ll find an incredible menu in a casual, quaint setting at Fire & Ice on Toby Creek. Chef Gary Edwards, who is well known in the area for his superb culinary skills, never disappoints as he has won the title of Best Chef. Fire & Ice also earned top honors for Best Brunch in Luzerne County.
For those nights when you’re craving that comfort food, the choices are aplenty. Devour a plate of the Best Boneless Wings in the land at the Tipsy Turtle Owen Street Pub (give yourself extra time to review the countless yummy sauce choices on the menu), or head to the Chicken Coop for the Best Wings. If you’re a French fry junkie, and only the best will do, check out Tommy Boys Bar and Grill, winner of Best French Fries. And when a classic hamburger or hot dog is all you can think about, don’t worry. We’ve got it covered. Hops & Barleys is your go-to place for the Best Hamburger, and Abe’s Hot Dogs in Kingston is your top choice for the Best Hot Dog Restaurant in the valley.
If pizza night has you puzzled, we can help. First, find out if your date prefers round or square. If round is on the menu, stop by Grotto Pizza, winner of Best Round Pizza (and also Best Gelato), and if it’s the kind of night when it’s hip to be square, Revello’s Pizza in Old Forge, winner of Best Square Pizza, is a great choice.
Of course, it’s always nice to offer your date a fine beer or wine menu. So when you’re making plans, wine lovers may consider Cork Bar & Restaurant, voted Best Wine Menu, and beer lovers enjoy the variety at Arena Bar and Grill, voted Best Beer Menu. (Incidentally, Arena is a warm-weather favorite, too, because dc readers named Arena the Best Patio Dining experience).
— julie imel

 

Best Ambience Vino Dolce • Best Bagels Bakehouse Bakery & Café • Best Bakery Sanitary Bakery • Best Bar Madison’s Vodka Bar and Steakhouse • Best Beer Menu Arena Bar and Grill • Best Boneless Wings Tipsy Turtle Owen Street Pub • Best Breakfast Avenue Diner • Best Brunch Fire and Ice on Toby Creek • Best Chain Restaurant Olive Garden • Best Cheesesteak Cosmo’s Cheesesteaks • Best Chef Chef Gary Edwards, Fire and Ice on Toby Creek • Best Chinese Restaurant Five Star Chinese Restaurant • Best Chocolate Gertrude Hawk Chocolates • Best Coffee Shop The Coffee Table Café • Best Cookies Bakery Delight • Best Cup of Coffee Dunkin’ Donuts • Best Deli Goldstein’s Deli • Best Desserts Brown Barn Café at Ah! Some Chocolates • Best Diner Avenue Diner • Best Doughnuts Dunkin’ Donuts • Best French Fries Tommy Boys Bar and Grill • Best Gelato Grotto Pizza • Best Hamburger Hops & Barleys • Best Hoagie Geroch’s Hoagies • Best Hot Dog Restaurant Abe’s Hot Dogs (Kingston) • Best Ice Cream Blue Ribbon Dairy • Best Italian Food Vino Dolce • Best Italian Ice Rita’s • Best Japanese Restaurant Katana • Best Kids Menu T.G.I. Friday’s • Best Local Farm The Lands at Hillside Farms • Best Lunch for a Low Price McDonald’s • Best Mexican Southwestern Restaurant Brass Buckle Mexican Restaurant • Best Patio Dining Arena Bar and Grill • Best Pierogies Just R Pierogies • Best Place to Dine With Kids T.G.I. Friday’s • Best Place to Eat Organic AuRants • Best Potato Pancakes Jones Potato Pancakes • Best Quickie Lunch Jimmy’s Quick Lunch • Best Restaurant Kevin’s Bar & Restaurant • Best Romantic Restaurant Vino Dolce • Best Round Pizza Grotto Pizza • Best Salads Canteen 900 • Best Sandwiches Goldstein’s Deli • Best Seafood Doc Magrogan’s • Best Service Ruth’s Chris Steak House • Best Soup Panera Bread • Best Square Pizza Revello’s Pizza • Best Steakhouse Logan’s Roadhouse • Best Stromboli Luigi’s Pizza, Exeter • Best Sushi Mirakuya • Best Thai Restaurant Thai Thai • Best Vegetarian Menu Eden A Vegan Café • Best Veggie Burger UNO Chicago Grill • Best Wine Menu Cork Bar & Restaurant • Best Winery Grovedale Winery • Best Wings The Chicken Coop

dc Best Of 2012: Nightlife

Nightlife

 

Sometimes you just need to go out and blow off some steam. You can always catch some live music or dance away your day into the darkness of the Diamond City. Just look at the Best Of 2013 Winners in the Nightlife Category. They’ll point you in the right direction, whether you’re looking for the perfect cosmopolitan or the coziest corner to get away from the world for a much deserved break.
Sometimes there’s nothing like being in the company of strangers. Pull up a stool at Fat Daddy’s (Best Bar Nobody’s Heard Of) if you can find it or enjoy a brew or two with some of your closest friends at Huns’ West Side Café (Best Corner Bar). Visit Dave Scherbenco, of Senuna’s Bar & Grill (Best Bartender) winner of top bartender honors and ask him to serve you up something special. Known for their packed weekend nights, Senuna’s Bar & Grill (Best College Bar) took home top honors for college co-eds to spend their time after hitting the books.
A hot spot for national touring acts, the River Street Jazz Café (Best Place to Hear Live Music) is also one of the only places in northeastern Pennsylvania where you can catch acts like Cabinet, MiZ, Alexis P. Suter and Clarence Spady on stage. Those looking to cut a rug on the dance floor voted Twist (Best Dance Club, Best Gay/Lesbian Friendly Bar) as the best place to shake their groove thing, while The Woodlands Inn took home honors for having the Best Club Vibe.
Beer Boys (Best Happy Hour) is the place to kick off your evening the right way and Metro Bar and Grill (Best Happy Hour Food) is home to good eats while tipping a couple back. Mulligan’s Sports & Spirits (Best Drink Specials) won the best place to get the most bang for your buck.
Are you in search of the perfect mix of booze? Our readers chose Madison’s Vodka Bar and Steakhouse (Best Cocktails, Best Martinis) as their destination for amazing mixers and martinis. If you like a little salt and tequila in your night, head south of the border to La Tolteca (Best Margaritas) and you’ll find yourself sipping on the area’s best served on the rocks, straight up or blended to perfection. Chances are Lucky’s Sporthouse (Best Pub Trivia, Best Sports Bar) has the big game on one of its screens and may be full of know-it alls flexing their mental muscles during pub trivia. Uptown II (Best Young Professionals’ Bar) is the top place to socialize with the young businessmen and woman of The 570 after a long day at the office or on the road, while Breakers at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs (Best Looking Bar Crowd) won best place to sit back and check out all the eye candy.
Who knows how your night might end. Maybe you’ll finally meet that special someone you’ve been looking for all of these years. Or maybe you’ll end up singing Meat Loaf’s epic tale of young lust, “Paradise By the Dashboard Light”, at Ole Tyme Charley’s Restaurant & Pub (Best Karaoke) in front of a crowd of the Diamond City’s finest night owls.

— tom graham

 

Best Bar in a Restaurant Grotto Pizza (Harvey’s Lake) • Best Bartender Dave Scherbenco, of Senuna’s Bar & Grill • Best Bar Nobody’s Heard Of Fat Daddy’s • Best Bike Night Outsiders Saloon • Best BYOB Thai Thai • Best Place to Hear Live Music River Street Jazz Café • Best Club Vibe The Woodlands Inn • Best Cocktails Madison’s Vodka Bar and Steakhouse • Best College Bar Senuna’s Bar & Grill • Best Corner Bar Huns’ West Side Café • Best Dance Club Twist • Best Drink Specials Mulligan’s Sports & Spirits • Best Gay/Lesbian Friendly Bar Twist • Best Happy Hour Beer Boys • Best Happy Hour Food Metro Bar and Grill • Best Karaoke Ole Tyme Charley’s Restaurant & Pub • Best Looking Bar Crowd Breakers at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs • Best Margaritas La Tolteca • Best Martinis Madison’s Vodka Bar and Steakhouse • Best Pub Trivia Lucky’s Sporthouse • Best Sports Bar Lucky’s Sporthouse • Best St. Patrick’s Parade Bar Rodano’s • Best Strip Club The Diamond Club • Best Young Professionals’ Bar Uptown II

ec Best Of 2012: Eats & Drinks

Eats & Drinks

There are so many choices in The 570 when it comes to satisfying your taste buds or quenching your thirst that sometimes it can become a real production deciding where to go. If you’re in the mood for something in particular, there’s a pretty good chance that the winners on the Best Of Eats and Drinks list can serve you up something right in your wheel house. Prepare yourself for a mouthwatering run down this year’s list of belly-busting best bets.
Get your morning started off on the right foot with some glorious caffeine at Zummo’s Café (Best Cup of Coffee, Best Cookies) or grab a cup and relax at Northern Light Espresso Bar (Best Coffee Shop). If you need more than a cup of Joe to get you going, grab a fresh bagel from Bagel Meister (Best Bagels), or something for the sweet tooth from Minooka Pastry Shop (Best Bakery) or Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (Best Doughnuts). The Glenburn Grill & Bakery (Best Breakfast) can offer you the whole shebang as well while the Viewmont Diner (Best Diner) continues the American tradition of casual dining. For those looking to sleep in, Carmen’s 2.0 Restaurant at Radisson Lackawanna Station (Best Brunch) offers a glorious spread guaranteed to make your Sunday special.
ArcAngelo Italian Kitchen (Best New Restaurant) is voted the best new spot in Scranton while Casa Bella Ristorante (Best Restaurant) took home top overall honors as the place to be. La Cucina Restaurant (Best Ambience, Best Romantic Restaurant) make its customers feel right and home and won two awards for its cozy, romantic environment. Gubbio’s Chef Bill Genovese (Best Chef) is the top man in the kitchen as he wins the award for Best Chef yet again. The waitstaff at AV (Best Service) continues its knack for service with a smile while Pizza by Pappas grabs two key awards (Best Quickie Lunch, Best Lunch for a Low Price) for the downtown lunch seeker on the move. For those lucky ones that can take their time while they dine, State Street Grill (Best Patio Dining) offers the casual setting for visitors to relax and bask in the NEPA sun when it’s available.
If you have a specific craving, these winners can help you narrow down your choices. Best Of specialty winners include Kelly’s Pub and Eatery (Best Wings), Nina’s (Best Boneless Wings), Cosmo’s Cheesesteaks (Best Cheesesteak), UNO Chicago Grill (Best Veggie Burger), Five Guys Burgers and Fries (Best Hamburger), Steve and Irene’s (Best Hoagie) and Plumpy’s Pierogies (Best Pierogies). In the battle of the pizza wars, Mamma Mia’s Pizza Delivery (Best Round Pizza) and Alfredo’s Pizza Café Best (Square Pizza) take home the blue ribbons. Anyone who has ever stepped into Fratelli’s Pizza & Pasta House (Best Stromboli) without giving their legendary stromboli a try, doesn’t know what they are missing.
You can travel the culinary world right here in The Electric City. Order your favorite pasta dish at La Trattoria (Best Italian Food). Save room for the fortune cookie while at Royal Buffet (Best Chinese Restaurant). Find a heavenly escape in the form of a wet burrito at Chicano’s Restaurant (Best Mexican Southwestern Restaurant) or top off your day with succulent tuna sashimi from Atami Sushi (Best Sushi).
The sweet taste of victory is in the mouths of Gertrude Hawk Chocolates (Best Chocolate), Manning Farm Dairy (Best Ice Cream), Bitty Bill’s Ice Cream & Italian Ice (Best Italian Ice), Jessee’s Place Ice Cream (Best Gelato) and My Mother’s Delicacies (Best Desserts).
What the Fork (Best Food Truck) proved that you don’t have to stay in the same place all the time to serve the people some good eats.
— tom graham

 

Best Ambience La Cucina Restaurant • Best Bagels Bagel Meister • Best Bakery Minooka Pastry Shop • Best Beer Menu Backyard Ale House • Best Boneless Wings Nina’s • Best Breakfast The Glenburn Grill & Bakery • Best Brunch Carmen’s 2.0 Restaurant at Radisson Lackawanna Station • Best Chain Restaurant Olive Garden • Best Cheesesteak Cosmo’s Cheesesteaks • Best Chef Chef Bill Genovese • Best Chinese Restaurant Royal Buffet • Best Chocolate Gertrude Hawk Chocolates • Best Coffee Shop Northern Light Espresso Bar • Best Cookies Zummo’s Café • Best Cup of Coffee Zummo’s Café • Best Deli Guiseppe’s Italian Deli • Best Desserts My Mother’s Delicacies • Best Diner Viewmont Diner • Best Doughnuts Krispy Kreme Doughnuts • Best Food Truck What the Fork • Best French Fries McDonald’s • Best Gelato Jessee’s Place Ice Cream • Best Hamburger Five Guys Burgers and Fries • Best Hoagies Steve and Irene’s • Best Hot Dog Restaurant Coney Island Lunch • Best Ice Cream Manning Farm Dairy • Best Italian Food La Trattoria • Best Italian Ice Bitty Bill’s Ice Cream & Italian Ice • Best Japanese Restaurant Osaka • Best Kids’ Menu Colarusso’s Coal Fired Pizza • Best Local Farm Pallman Farms • Best Lunch for a Low Price Pizza by Pappas • Best Mexican/Southwestern Restaurant Chicano’s Restaurant • Best New Restaurant ArcAngelo Italian Kitchen • Best Patio Dining State Street Grill • Best Pierogies Plumpy’s Pierogies • Best Place to Dine With Kids T.G.I. Friday’s • Best Place to Eat Organic Be Life Café and Marketplace • Best Potato Pancakes Mattarazzo’s Pizza & Subs • Best Quickie Lunch Pizza by Pappas • Best Restaurant Casa Bella Ristorante • Best Romantic Restaurant La Cucina Restaurant • Best Round Pizza Mamma Mia’s Pizza Delivery • Best Salads Colarusso’s Coal Fired Pizza • Best Sandwiches Cara Mia’s Delicatessen • Best Seafood Cooper’s Seafood House • Best Service AV • Best Soup PJ Scanlan’s • Best Square Pizza Alfredo’s Pizza Café • Best Steakhouse Carl Von Luger Steak & Seafood • Best Stromboli Fratelli’s Pizza & Pasta House • Best Sushi Atami Sushi • Best Thai Restaurant Thai Rak Thai • Best Vegetarian Menu Eden – A Vegan Café • Best Veggie Burger UNO Chicago Grill • Best Wine Menu Bar Hill • Best Winery Maiolatesi Wine Cellars • Best Wings Kelly’s Pub and Eatery

 

 

ec Best Of 2012: Goods & Services

Goods & Services

From squeaky clean car washes to barbershops and tattoo parlors, the Best Of Goods and Services showcase the people and places that satisfy your every need.
Take your dirty ride on over to Johnny’s Car Wash (Best Car Wash) or scrap your clunker and go car shopping for four new wheels at Minooka Subaru (Best Car Dealership). If you don’t have that kind of coin to drop in this economy, maybe two wheels are more your speed. The staff at Cedar Bicycle (Best Bicycle Shop) can have you pedaling toward your destination in no time. You could always just save up you pennies and get in touch with Danielle Jones at AAA Travel (Best Travel Agent) and you’ll be sitting on a white sandy beach and staring at sparkling blue water.
If a vacation isn’t in the cards, why not treat yourself to a good ol’ pampering anyway? Tighten up your look with the help of Serge’s Barbershop (Best Barbershop) and NOW Hair Studio (Best Hair Salon). Christopher West from Christopher West Hair Design (Best Stylist) was voted a cut above the rest in The 570, and Alexander’s Salon & Spa (Best Day Spa, Best Massage) took home two top nods.
Now that you’re feeling refreshed and refurbished, it’s time to put some clothes on that body. You can’t go wrong with a visit to Nada & Co. (Best Boutique), Luna Bleu (Best Children’s Clothing Store), Suburban Casuals (Best Men’s Clothing Store) Plato’s Closet (Best Thrift or Consignment Store), GreenBeing (Best Vintage Clothing) and New Laundry (Best Women’s Clothing Store) for all of your clothing needs.
Everything Natural (Best Health Food Store) is still helping you keep your body and mind on the healthy path of happiness. The place for shrubs, flowers and everything in between is Jerry’s For All Seasons (Best Garden Store) and Wegmans (Best Grocery Store) is the one stop destination for beer, produce, meats and cheeses.
Readers voted for their pooches as well, crowning Canine Grooming Cottage Spa & Boutique (Best Pet Groomer), Memorial Veterinary Hospital (Best Animal Hospital/Veterinarian) and PetSmart (Best Pet Supply Store) the best bets for their pets.
The Electric City has a solution to every problem. You spilled vodka sauce all over your work pants? Drop off your trousers at Spotless Cleaners (Best Dry Cleaner) and see the wonders they can whip up. Looking for the New Avengers comic? Comics on the Green (Best Comic Book Store) can answer all of your questions and concerns. Need a turkey outfit or a Santa suit? Taney’s Costume Shop (Best Costume Shop) is the year round staple for accessories, make-up, masks, wigs, rentals and more.
If you’re feeling the urge to add to your collection or maybe you want to take the plunge and get your first one; The Electric City Tattoo Gallery (Best Tattoo Parlor) won best place to get some ink while Marc’s Tattooing (Best Piercing Parlor) is the best place to get that body pierced.
If you’re going to raise a glass and toast all of the Best Of Winners, it might as well be with a solid local brew form 3 Guys & A Beer’d Brewing Company (Best Local Brewery).
— tom graham

 

Best Animal Hospital/Veterinarian Memorial Veterinary Hospital  • Best Barbershop Serge’s Barbershop  • Best Bicycle Shop Cedar Bicycle  • Best Boutique Nada & Co. • Best Car Dealership Minooka Subaru • Best Car Wash Johnny’s Car Wash • Best Children’s Clothing Store Luna Bleu  • Best Cigar Shop Montage Tobacco Co. • Best Comic Book Store Comics on the Green  • Best Costume Shop Taney’s Costume Shop • Best Day Spa Alexander’s Salon & Spa • Best Dentist Dr. Frank Cianci • Best Doctor Dr. Phillip Bocaggno • Best Dry Cleaner Spotless Cleaners • Best Furniture Store Penn Furniture  • Best Garden Store Jerry’s For All Seasons • Best Grocery Store Wegmans • Best Hair Salon NOW Hair Studio • Best Health Food Store Everything Natural • Best Hotel Hilton Scranton & Conference Center • Best Jewelry Glint of Gold • Best Store to Buy Cookware/Housewares Boscov’s• Best Local Brewery 3 Guys & A Beer’d Brewing Company • Best Massage Alexander’s Salon & Spa • Best Men’s Clothing Store Suburban Casuals • Best Mom & Pop Grocery Store Catalano’s • Best Party Supply Store Party City • Best Pet Groomer Canine Grooming Cottage Spa & Boutique • Best Pet Supply Store PetSmart • Best Piercing Parlor Marc’s Tattooing • Best Pipe Shop Tobacco Road • Best Place To Buy A New CD Gallery of Sound • Best Place To Buy A Used CD Embassy Vinyl • Best Place to Buy Beer Joe’s Beerman • Best Place To Buy Gas Sheetz • Best Shoe Store Well-Heeled Scranton • Best Skate Shop Zumiez • Best Ski Shop Bear Creek Ski Shack • Best Store For Music Equipment Guitar Center • Best Stylist Christopher West, of Christopher West Hair Design • Best Tailor Domenick’s Expert Tailoring • Best Tanning Salon Hollywood Tans • Best Tattoo Parlor The Electric City Tattoo Gallery  • Best Thrift or Consignment Store Plato’s Closet • Best Travel Agent Danielle Jones at AAA Travel • Best Unique Gifts Willow Tree Shop • Best Vintage Clothing GreenBeing • Best Women’s Clothing Store New Laundry

Best Bets for Holiday Shopping

Best Bets for Holiday Shopping

Making a list, checking it twice

EC and DC Staff’s Best Bets for Holiday Shopping

 

Cool gifts to keep you warm

The idea of making a donation in someone’s name is great in theory but the reality is that giving a tangible gift is so much more fun. Thanks to PACT (www.wearpact.com) you can give physical gifts this season that will make the world a better place. Philanthropy in the form of eco-conscious “socks with soul” and “altruistic underwear,” PACT clothing is cool for all the right reasons and it will keep your loved ones warm.
PACT describes itself as a movement disguised as a clothing company. Each season the company designs a new collection “inspired by someone doing something good: whether it’s about clean water, sustainable food, or affordable housing” and then invests its profits in one such solution-oriented, community-based project that creates independence. This year it’s The Empowerment Plan — a project in Detroit that hires and trains homeless women to make self-heated, waterproof coats that turn into sleeping bags at night for those living on the streets.
“The focus is on the system to create jobs for those that desire them and coats for those that need them at no cost. The importance is not with the product but with the people,” PACT writes.
The company’s green manufacturing policy regulates organic clothing produced in sweat-shop-free facilities. For example, “socks are made with organic yarns at an eco-concept factory in Turkey powered by wind energy.” PACT packaging is “printed with vegetable based inks on paper made from FSC controlled wood in a factory powered by wind energy and the carbon impact is off-set by Climate Partner.”
The nearest physical stores can be found in King of Prussia or New Jersey or you can order online. A free sock box comes with every order over $100. Gift cards are also available.
— alicia grega

 

This year, let’s make the gift-giving experience all about comfort.

From comfort food to creating an ultra-comfy sleeping environment, here’s a few ideas for making life just a little bit more pleasant for family and friends on your holiday list:
1. Mattress pads and body pillows. If there’s one thing we learned from watching our pets this year, it’s that they really appreciate cozy beds. Cats are especially particular about where they perch and snooze, and we’ve noticed that their favorite nooks are ensconced in layers of padding and mooshy warm blankets. So we’re taking a page from their book on comfort this holiday season and buying mattress pads as gifts for our family and friends. It’s hard to understand how much this will make a difference in your night’s sleep if you don’t have one, but trust us, once you add that fluffy layer to your bed, you’ll never want to sleep without one again.  Look for mattress pads that are hypo-allergenic, and avoid anything with down feathers as many people are allergic to down. You can find mattress pads at your favorite department store, with basic models starting at about $40 and those with additional features, like heating elements, starting at about $120.
Another great way to add comfort to your bed or couch is with a body pillow. Again, look for the word “hypoallergenic” so your gift doesn’t prompt a sneezing fit from your loved one, and be sure to pick up a plush cover to go with it. The cover is really imperative because most likely the person you’re giving this to will only have average sized pillow cases at home, which just don’t fit properly even if you double them up. We found great options at Boscov’s and Target. The pillows cost about $10 and the covers are in the $10 range as well. The only down side to adding a body pillow to your bed is that you’ll probably have to fight the cat for it.
2. Fudge. You don’t have to be an expert candy maker to whip up a batch of one of our favorite comfort foods — fudge. If your grandma’s recipe is just too complicated, we have two simple solutions: try the recipe on the back of the jar of Solo Marshmallow Crème (www.solofoods.com/recipes/fabulous-fudge), or pick up a Carnation Famous Fudge Kit at the grocery store. Both are fast, easy and really economical. For less than $10 and a time investment of about 20 minutes, you can make enough fudge for several gifts. Packaging is easy, too. Pick up half-pound or 1-pound candy boxes and some ribbon at A.C. Moore, Michael’s or Jo-Ann Fabrics, and you’re good to go.
3. Remote car starter. There is not a human alive who wouldn’t love the gift of never having to scrape his or her windshield and climb into an ice cold car ever again. With the nasty winters we get in northeastern Pennsylvania, this is one of the best ways to make someone special on your list extra comfortable this winter. This is one purchase that does require some research to find just the right model and price (you can expect to spend a few hundred dollars by the time you buy the starter and pay for installation), but it’s well worth it. Talk to your mechanic for recommendations on models and installation.
—  julie imel

 

Ever hear of a DIY Pick Punch? Well, now you have

My first gift pick is for the musician in your life and it can easily serve as one of those gifts you end up buying yourself. Almost every single pair of pants I own include a mini collection of assorted guitar picks hidden somewhere between pocket lint and loose change. Picks are tiny and are easy to lose, and there always seems to be times (usually when inspiration or boredom strikes) when a pick is nowhere to be found at all. Thankfully there is a new product that can solve the problem; the DIY Guitar Pick Punch. Can’t find a pick? Make one yourself, ya lazy bum.
Just insert the material you want a pick made out of (old credit cards, gym member ships, college ids, club cards and anything else you can think of) into the DIY Guitar Pick Punch and squeeze that thing. Wah-lah! You now have an instant one-of –a-kind guitar pick! Keep the Pick Punch nearby and you’ll never be finger picking again. Check out www.pickpunch.com for more information and custom Pick Punch materials.
My second gift idea is for those who would ike to keep their hard earned greenbacks within the local economy. You can’t go wrong with gift cards, gift cards, gift cards; from local restaurants and pubs to tattoo shops and spas, the choices are limitless.
For those looking for a gift idea that glows, check out Ike Design Group. The locally owned and operated company creates one of a kind lighting, furniture and home accessories using reclaimed barn wood, tin, pallet wood and other discarded materials. All of the pieces are handcrafted by creators Bill Orner and Brian Craig. After nearly selling out of their work on the opening night of an art exhibit featuring their “Hangin’ Lamps” collection, they decided to start Ike Design Group. Not only can customers pick form listed products, but they can also lend their ideas toward custom orders and unique creations. Visit www.ikedesign.com for work samples and contact information.
Record store day may not be here for a few more months, but that doesn’t mean you can’t head on over to your local record shop to pick up all of the holiday’s newest releases. Shops like Gallery of Sound (Mundy St. and Downtown Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton/Dickson City), Embassy Vinyl (352 Adams Ave, Scranton), Musical Energi (Wilkes-Barre), Wayne’s World Music (Dallas) and Wayne’s World of Used Cd’s & More (Pittston) would love to see your smiling face this season.
If these ideas just don’t do it for you, I suggest you look into the Ernest Alexander Flask Set. It claims to be “more sophisticated than some of the stainless steel ones you see grooms buying for their best men.” I agree. Complete with a suave canvas cover, it can make the cheapskate smuggling Old Crow into the bar look like a festive 007 for only $50. Visit www.ernestalexander.com/dean-chocolate-wax-flask-set and fill’er up.
— tom graham

 

DIY Wonderland

You don’t have to be blessed with “the crafty gene” to make unique holiday gifts that will impress even the most pedigreed Suzy Homemakers in your set. Not to keep ringing the Pinterest bell, but the site’s DIY & Crafts section is a windfall of ideas, a few of which you can even pass off on the kids to fashion for you.
The Food Network’s directions for “Recipes in a Jar” not only include the steps to create five different layered jars of colorful fixins’ but also a printable sheet of gift tags and recipe cards to accompany each gift.
Their suggestions include Curried Lentil Soup, Blue Cornbread with Pineapple, Super-Chunky Christmas Cookies, Holiday Panettone, and Spiced Hot Cocoa but its easy enough to package your own favorite recipes along the same lines.
— alicia grega

 

For the anti-rodent, chocolate loving sweetie on your list

Pennsylvania has about 17 million acres of trees. That’s about 60 percent of the state. Extensive research has taught me that this collection of trees are called forests and many animals live in them. Pennsylvania has all kinds of animals — opossums, shrews, rabbits and sasquatches. Most of these animals stay away from humans and their habitat. Most of these animals.
Last week I had my first encounter. It was an average Tuesday night, so I was drunk, eating a bowl of Grape Nuts at 1 a.m. Then I saw it … the dreaded Mus musculus, or as you may call it, a house mouse.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of coming face to foot with a mouse, then you know the depths of my terror. After a sleepless night, I went online to find a remedy. I don’t like the thought of poison, traps or sticky trays. My cat seems to think that mice are just moving socks; she could care less about them. My cat was once a ruthless, cold blooded killer from the streets of Pinebrook, and has since become jaded and soft.
I quickly found a solution to naturally drive mice from a home; fire. Just as I was filling my hallways with gasoline, I found an even better solution; peppermint.
Turns out rodents cannot stand the smell of peppermint. It’s too intense for the little jerks and they won’t go near the stuff. Dab a little bit of peppermint oil on a cotton ball and leave it in the areas that these dirty freaks hang out.
You can get peppermint oil from Amazon, but I went locally to Alchemy Home Company. Alchemy is an organic cleaning company dedicated to creating a sparkling atmosphere in your home using custom made cleaning products that are safe for you and your family.
I told them about my problem with my new roommate and received a bottle of peppermint scent within days. Will it work? My guess is only time will tell, but I’ve slept a little better just knowing that I’m torturing the grimy hairballs.
Now… you can give a mustache comb or a Starbucks gift certificate to your loved ones for Christmas. But think about this… mice are everywhere. As you read this, there are probably 20 of them having a tea party in your attic. They’re most likely doing it on your old photo albums. Right there, on your grandparent’s wedding album, six mice are getting down to business.
We’ve dealt with this long enough people, the time to strike back is now. It’s peppermint time.
For those family members that don’t need woodland creatures driven from their abode, I have another awesome solution. Belgian Chocolates — an exquisite gourmet experience, beautifully packaged, that will linger with you until you find yourself reaching for some more.
Belgian chocolates are so good, they will change your life. I once gave Belgian chocolates to a soiled, booze soaked transient. Not only did it change his life completely, he’s now a full time staff writer for Electric City. Chocolates are sold at LAVISH Body and Home 600 Linden Street, Scranton. Along with S’mores kits, peppermint bark, drinking chocolate, chocolate mice and reindeer pops. Prices range from $7.50 – $20. Pair anyone with a gift certificate to their salon for the ultimate pampering gift.
— eric toffey

 

Awesome nerd gifts

For the nerd (or gadget-lover) on your list this year, it’s quite a buyer’s market. The new mini iPad aside, there are now tons of small, inexpensive tablets — Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire are great buys starting at $199. New tablets also mean new accessories, and there’s a flood of new cases ranging from slim sleeves meant merely to protect the device, all the way up to briefcase-sized to carry multiple gadgets. The stylus is making a comeback as an input device of choice for some folks, and if you’ve got someone to buy for that’s a Draw Something fanatic, the stylus might be an unexpected hit.
Gamers on your list are notoriously difficult to buy for, since they tend to enjoy picking up the latest and greatest on launch day. Naturally, a gift card always works well here, but with a keen ear you might hear a title or two they skipped or were meaning to pick up at a later time. Game releases tend to come in clusters, so it’s possible there’s something on the backburner. There’s no such thing as having too many games to play!
If it seems like you’re buying for the proverbial ‘person who has everything,’ your ace in the hole is always the local hobby stores. If your giftee is a notorious release day buyer, gadget early adopter with shelves filled with DVDs, stop into a game store or hobby shop. There are tons of board games, card games, models, and other pastimes just waiting to captivate your favorite nerd. From collectible card games like Magic: The Gathering to sprawling empire-building board games like Carcassonne to intricately detailed miniature wargaming like Warhammer 40,000, there’s no shortage of TV-free games to discover. Other non-game hobbies await as well, from simple scale model building to massive model railroad construction projects. Introducing a friend of family member to a new hobby or game might be a perfect change of pace — they’ll either love you forever, or curse you eternally.
— tucker hottes

Luzerne County Best Of: Eats & Drinks

For everyone out there blessed with an eccentric auntie who serves up a slice of chocolate mousse pie before dinner because she believes it’s best to eat dessert first in case you’re one to get full quickly (thus risking missing out on dessert), we begin the eats & drinks portion of our dc best of section with our sweetest winners.

Oh the joy of smelling freshly-baked cupcakes…is there nothing better in life? Close your eyes just for a second the next time you visit Bakery Delight and you won’t question why dc readers voted it the Best Bakery and declared theirs the Best Bagels as well. For a delectable dessert menu, including blueberry buckle and peach praline pies, cinnamon buns and more, stop by Bakehouse Bakery & Café, voted Best Desserts.

And when it’s chocolate you crave, you told us Gertrude Hawk Chocolates is the place to find the Best Chocolate. When you need a doughnut to accompany your morning coffee, where do you turn? Dunkin’ Donuts, of course. This yummy hot spot was named Best Doughnuts, and it also won Best Coffee Shop. And When your inner Cookie Monster grumbles for that mid-afternoon sweet pick-me-up, it’s Circles on the Square for you – voted Best Cookies.

If you want some ice cream to go with your cookies, head to Grotto Pizza, winner of Best Gelato, for Italian ice cream, or the famous Curly Creme Soft Ice Cream for traditional favorites. If you’re a fan of Italian Ice, Rita’s is the go-to place in Luzerne County, earning your votes for best Italian Ice.

And whether you eat dessert before or after dinner, there are plenty of great dining choices in the Wyoming Valley, from traditional American cuisine to ethnic specialties. If Asian cuisine is on the menu, visit Thai Thai, voted Best Asian Food and Best Vegetarian, and for hibachi, stop by Katana, voted Best Hibachi. Another favorite is Mizu Sushi, winner of Best Sushi. The winner of Best Mexican/Southwestern cuisine is La Tolteca and Palazzo 53 was named Best Italian Food.

Speaking of Italian food, we must not forget a staple of so many of our diets – pizza! For the Best Square Pizza, readers tell us Pizza Perfect has a corner on the market, and for the best round, you head to Grotto Pizza.

By now, surely you must be hungry. So why are you still reading, silly! Grab this list of winners and mangiare! Mangiare!

– julie imel

 

Best Asian Food Thai Thai • Best Bagels Bakery Delight • Best Bakery Bakery Delight • Best Boneless Wings The Tipsy Turtle Owen Street Pub • Best Breakfast Tony & Sons Diner, Kingston • Best Brunch Canteen 900 • Best Chain Restaurant Olive Garden • Best Cheesesteak Pizza Bella • Best Chef Tony Macri, Metro Bar & Grill • Best Chocolate Gertrude Hawk Chocolates • Best Coffee Shop Dunkin Donuts • Best Cup of Coffee Crescenzo’s Brick Oven Eatery and Espresso Bar • Best Deli Goldstein’s Delicatessen • Best Desserts Bakehouse Bakery & Cafe • Best Diner Hollywood Diner and Sports Bar • Best Doughnuts Dunkin Doughnuts• Best French Fries Abe’s Hot Dogs • Best Gelato Grotto • Best Hamburger Bobby O’s Family Restaurant • Best Happy Hour Food Arena Bar & Grill • Best Hibachi Katana• Best Hot Dog Restaurant Abe’s Hot Dogs • Best Ice Cream Curly Creme Soft Ice Cream • Best Italian Food Palazzo 53 • Best Italian Ice Rita’s Italian Ice • Best Kids’ Menu McDonald’s • Best Lunch For a Low Price Euro Bistro • Best Mexican/Southwestern La Tolteca • Best New Restaurant Karina’s Retreat • Best Old-School Restaurant Hops and Barleys • Best Patio Dining Club Havana, Outdoor Deck Bar at the Woodlands Inn • Best Pierogies Konefal’s Restaurant & Catering • Best Place to Dine with Kids Grotto•  Best Potato Pancakes Jones Pancake Shop • Best Quickie Lunch Crescenzo’s Eatery and Espresso Bar •  Best Restaurant AuRants • Best Romantic Restaurant Bentley’s • Best Round Pizza Grotto • Best Salads Rodano’s • Best Sandwiches Circles on the Square • Best Seafood Cooper’s on the Waterfront • Best Service Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse • Best Soup Twigs Restaurant & Café• Best Square Pizza Pizza Perfect • Best Wine Menu Cork Bar & Restaurant • Best Winery Bartolai Winery • Best Wings Whiskey Business • Best Steakhouse Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse • Best Vegetarian Menu Thai Thai • Best Beer Menu Arena Bar & Grill• Best Ambience Bentley’s • Best Cookies Circle on the Square • Best Sushi Mizu Sushi• Best Stromboli Grotto • Best Veggie Burger Rodano’s

Luzerne County Best Of: Goods & Services

The Wyoming Valley has it all and the diamond city Best Of Readers’ Poll results prove that, when it comes to goods and services, there are so many quality businesses making their customers quite pleased.

From day spas and boutiques to bike shops and beer stores, there is no shortage of award-winning stores and shops where you can find what you’re searching for and get it to you asap.

It seems one man’s trash is another man’s ticket to fashion as The Salvation Army won Best Vintage Clothing and Best Thrift or Consignment Store. You can find vintage dresses and three-piece suits for and not spend your entire paycheck in one spot.

Other fashionable winners include Bratty Nattys (Best Boutique), Casual Male (Best Men’s Clothing Store), Buka (Best Women’s Clothing) and Humphrey’s Children Apparel (Best Children’s Clothing Store).

Relax and treat yourself to a little pampering by the outgoing staff at Sakari (Best Day Spa). Shear Tease, winners of Best Hair Salon, can give you that cut and color that will have the family tossing compliments and presents your way this holiday season.

When you are finished taking care of yourself, you can show your pets some love and attention as well. Stop by Wags to Riches (Best Pet Groomer) and Pets Supplies Plus (Best Pet Supply Store) and show your four-legged fur balls that they are loved and appreciated.

Main Bike World, winner of the Best Bicycle Shop award, has a huge selection of bikes for every rider, from mountain and road bikes to freestyle and BMX .

If you are braving the crowds searching for some musical stocking stuffers, Joe Nardone’s Gallery of Sound is the Best Place to Buy a New CD and Musical Energi is Best place to buy a used CD.

The winner for Best Store for Music Equipment is Music Go Round. Spend hours in the store and sort through a massive cache of used acoustic and electric guitars, basses, amps, and percussion.

– tom graham

Goods & Services

Best Adult Toy Store Adult World- Best Animal Hospital/Veterinarian Pittston Animal Hospital- Best Bicycle Shop Main Bike World- Best Cigar Shop City Tobacco- Best Boutique Bratty Natty’s- Best Flower Shop Floral Design- Best Health Food Store Everything Natural- Best Car Wash Mr. Kleen Car Wash- Best Barbershop Lyons Barbershop- Best Children’s Clothing Store Humphrey’s Children Apparel- Best Car Dealership Motorworld- Best Comic Book Store Hoffman’s Music and Comics- Best Day Spa Sakari- Best Dry Cleaner Gateway Cleaners- Best Furniture Store Ashley Furniture- Best Garden Store Dundee Gardens- Best Grocery Store Gerrity’s- Best Gym/Health Club Odyssey Fitness- Best Hair Salon Shear Tease- Best Massage Woodhouse Day Spa- Best Men’s Clothing Store Casual Male- Best Jewelry Tovon and Co.- Best Place to Buy a New CD Joe Nardone’s Gallery of Sound- Best Place to Buy a Used CD Musical Energi- Best Women’s Clothing Buka – Best Place to Buy Beer Krugel’s Georgetown Deli and Beer- Best Vintage Clothing Salvation Army- Best Pet Groomer Wags to Riches- Best Pet Supply Store Pet Supplie Plus- Best Party Supply Store Factory Card Outlet- Best Piercing Parlor Marcs Tattooing and Piercing- Best Skate Shop Zumiez- Best Ski Shop Top of the Slope- Best Store For Music Equipment Music Go Round- Best Unique Gifts Outragous- Best Stylist Tracy from Sportpage West Pittston- Best Tailor Olympic Tailor- Best Tanning Salon Hollywood Tans- Best Tattoo Parlor Psychic Unicorn- Best Thrift or Consignment Store Salvation Army- Best Travel Agent Sunshine Direct

Best Adult Toy Store Adult World• Best Animal Hospital/Veterinarian Pittston Animal Hospital• Best Bicycle Shop Main Bike World• Best Cigar Shop City Tobacco• Best Boutique Bratty Natty’s• Best Flower Shop Floral Design• Best Health Food Store Everything Natural• Best Car Wash Mr. Kleen Car Wash• Best Barbershop Lyons Barbershop• Best Children’s Clothing Store Humphrey’s Children Apparel• Best Car Dealership Motorworld• Best Comic Book Store Hoffman’s Music and Comics• Best Day Spa Sakari• Best Dry Cleaner Gateway Cleaners• Best Furniture Store Ashley Furniture• Best Garden Store Dundee Gardens• Best Grocery Store Gerrity’s• Best Gym/Health Club Odyssey Fitness• Best Hair Salon Shear Tease• Best Massage Woodhouse Day Spa• Best Men’s Clothing Store Casual Male• Best Jewelry Tovon and Co.• Best Place to Buy a New CD Joe Nardone’s Gallery of Sound• Best Place to Buy a Used CD Musical Energi• Best Women’s Clothing Buka • Best Place to Buy Beer Krugel’s Georgetown Deli and Beer• Best Vintage Clothing Salvation Army• Best Pet Groomer Wags to Riches• Best Pet Supply Store Pet Supplie Plus• Best Party Supply Store Factory Card Outlet• Best Piercing Parlor Marcs Tattooing and Piercing• Best Skate Shop Zumiez• Best Ski Shop Top of the Slope• Best Store For Music Equipment Music Go Round• Best Unique Gifts Outragous• Best Stylist Tracy from Sportpage West Pittston• Best Tailor Olympic Tailor• Best Tanning Salon Hollywood Tans• Best Tattoo Parlor Psychic Unicorn• Best Thrift or Consignment Store Salvation Army• Best Travel Agent Sunshine Direct