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August 9th, 2006 BEN WATERHOUSE | Special Section Stories
 

Best of Portland: READER'S POLL

     
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Stumptown Coffee Roasters
We've spent the last six weeks tracking down the people and places that set this city apart, but we werent' alone. This year more readers than ever participated in our 2006 Best of Portland Readers' Poll , setting us straight on your favorite places to shop, eat, and hang around town. We received 3,607 ballots, of which 69 had no information at all and 228 were duplicates or had answers in fewer than 45 categories (the minimum to be counted). Once we separated the electronic chaff from the tasty oats of your opinions, we still had 3,310 valid ballots—559 more than last year.The list we compiled from your votes is a mix of many venerable Stumptown institutions—RingSide Steakhouse , Kitchen Kaboodle , and Rejuvenation still reign supreme—and few new faces like the Lucky Labrador Beer Hall and OnPoint Community Credit Union . There quite a few close calls this year, and a few surprises.See for yourself. Here are the results:

FOOD

Best Barbecue

RUSSELL STREET BAR-B-QUE You folks like it clean: spotless Russell Street Bar-B-Que wins the crown-o-ribs hands down. (325 NE Russell St., 528-8224)

Best Bread Bakery

GRAND CENTRAL BAKERY The dough-slingers from Seattle continue to reign supreme: Grand Central Bakery turns your favorite loaves, while Ken's Artisan Bakery barely beat out Pearl Bakery for second place. (2230 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 232-0575; 7987 SE 13th Ave., 546-3036; and other locations)

Best Brunch

TIN SHED GARDEN CAFE You love waiting in line at the crack of dawn for a breakfast scramble and French toast on the patio at Tin Shed , all right. Even The New York Times is won over by their potato pancakes and armored exterior. (1438 NE Alberta St., 288-6966)

Best Burger

MCMENAMINS You say the Brothers' burgers can't be beat. And, hey, with a sweet pile of cheese, mushrooms, and onions topping McMenamins' patties, who are we to disagree? (Barley Mill Pub, 1629 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 231-1492; and pretty much everywhere else you look. For a full list, check out mcmenamins.com)

Best Burrito

CHA! CHA! CHA! With prices that give the Big Bell a run for its money and about a billion fillings to choose from, Cha! Cha! Cha! makes the burritos you love best. (1605 SE Bybee Blvd., 232-0437; and other locations)

Best Chain Restaurant (Local)

BURGERVILLE You love the all-local menu at Burgerville even more than those plucky McMenamins, and we think we know why: you can't sip a blueberry milkshake while listening to TheBee Gees' Greatest Hits at Kennedy School. (1122 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 230-0479, and other locations)

Best Chocolate

MOONSTRUCK Once again, you've pledged your chocolatey devotion to Moonstruck Chocolatiers and their addictive chili-pepper truffles. It's been ten years since their fist cafe opened downtown, and it's still the best place to get your fix. (608 SW Alder St., 241-0955; 526 NW 23rd Ave, 542-3400)

Best Coffee (Locally Roasted)

STUMPTOWN You say no one can beat the geeky coffee artistes at Stumptown Coffee Roasters , and the rest of the country agrees: Stumptown has been recognized as the best by Roast and Food & Wine magazines and USA Today, to name a few. (4525 SE Division St., 230-7702)

Best Coffee Shop (Local)

STUMPTOWN You love their coffee and dig their cafes, too. Only Rimsky-Korsakoffee House offered Stumptown's cafes any competition, with about a third as many votes. (4525 SE Division St., 230-7702; 3356 SE Belmont St., 232-8889; 128 SW 3rd Ave., 295-6144)

Best Desserts

PAPA HAYDN The Franco-Austrian sugar war rages on: You chose cake-king Papa Haydn as your favorite dessert dealer over innovative Pix Pâtisserie by only 20 votes. (5829 SE Milwaukie Ave., 232-9440; 701 NW 23rd Ave., 228-7317)

Best Doughnuts

VOODOO DOUGHNUTS You adoration of the deep-fried weirdness at Voodoo Doughnuts leaves all rivals in the sugary dust. (22 SW 3rd Ave., 241-4704)

Best Fancy Restaurant

HIGGINS The European panache of Higgins won your hearts but faced decent competition from, in order, Wildwood , Veritable Quandary , Genoa , Bluehour and clarklewis . (1239 SW Broadway, 222-9070)

Best Fish & Chips

HORSE BRASS PUB What, just because it's a British pub you think its halibut's the best? Well, OK, Horse Brass Tavern does walk the greasy, fishy walk and soaks it in malt vinegar to boot. (4534 SE Belmont St., 232-2202)

Best Gelato

MIO GELATO Most of you dip your tiny plastic spoons at Mio Gelato , but super-hip Staccato Gelato makes a strong second (25 NW 11th Ave., 226-8002; 517 NW Brazee St., 288-4800; 838 NW Kearney St., 241-9300)

Best Hangover Breakfast Joint

ORIGINAL HOTCAKE HOUSE Forget Denny's—you get your fill of greasy eggs and taters at the Original Hotcake & Steak House , open 24 hours. (1002 SE Powell Blvd., 236-7402)

Best Hot Dog

GOOD DOG/BAD DOG You grab your wieners at Good Dog/Bad Dog downtown. The Magma Dog is where it's at, but beware of the "Face Melter" side, a pile of PMDs (peppers of mass destruction) that could turn your stomach into a war zone. (708 SW Alder St., 222-3410)

Best Late-Night Menu

LE BISTRO MONTAGE Readers with midnight munchies still head for Le Bistro Montage to fill up on jambalaya and oyster shooters (and leave with leftovers in swan-shaped tinfoil). (301 SE Morrison St., 234-1324)

Best Mexican Restaurant

ESPARZA'S This year you chose Tex-Mex over, um, Mex-Mex, pushing Esparza's Tex-Mex Cafe to a close win over Taqueria Nueve . (2725 SE Ankeny St., 234-7909)

Best Pizza

HOT LIPS Gourmet pizza joints are popping up all over town like toadstools in a cattle barn, but you still lick your lips at Hot Lips . (2211 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 234-9999, and other locations, hotlipspizza.com)

Best Steak

RINGSIDE STEAKHOUSE Another year, another Readers' Poll win for RingSide Steakhouse , the manliest restaurant in town, where you can smell history in the air. (2165 W Burnside St., 223-1513; 14021 NE Glisan St. at Glendoveer Golf Course, 255-0750)

Best Sushi

MIO SUSHI You will wait hours in the cold just to push Mio Sushi 's fish flesh across your palate. And who can blame you? (3962 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 230-6981; 2271 NW Johnson St., 221-1469; 2735 N Killingsworth St., 286-5123)

Best Tea Shop

TAO OF TEATao of Tea was responsible for making leaf broth hip in the first place, and you still turn to them for a perfect cup. (3430 SE Belmont St., 736-0119; 239 NW Everett St., 224-8455; 2112 NW Hoyt St., 223-3563)

Best Vegetarian Cuisine

LAUGHING PLANET Owner Richard Satnick is swimming in your veggie dollars; you think his Laughing Planet Cafes offer the city's best meatless fare. (3320 SE Belmont St., 235-6472; 3765 N Mississippi Ave., 467-4146; 922 NW 21st Ave., 445-1319)

ARTS

Best Art School

PACIFIC NORTHWEST COLLEGE OF ART Readers recognized the oldest continuously running community arts program in the Northwest as the best, too: PNCA is the place to hone your art chops. (1241 NW Johnson St., 226-4391)

Best Arts Organization (Visual Arts)

PORTLAND ART MUSEUM Our exacting research has determined that most of you aren't freaked out by the Masonic motifs of the Portland Art Museum's new North Building, since you still voted it the best museum in town. (1219 SW Park Ave., 226-2811)

Best Arts Organization (Dance)

OREGON BALLET THEATRE Even in progressive Portland, we like the old ways best: Oregon Ballet Theatre (helmed by neoclassical hottie Christopher Stowell) beat out more modern rivals in the dance-off. (818 SE 6th Ave., 222-5538, obt.org)

Best Arts Organization (Music)

OREGON SYMPHONY Carlos! Carlos! WW's readers turn to Director Kalmar's Oregon Symphony for classical tunes. (921 SW Washington St., 228-1353 for tickets, orsymphony.org)

Best Arts Organization (Theater)

PORTLAND CENTER STAGE Hitchcock said, "Actors should be treated like cattle," and you like the way Portland Center Stage moves 'em on and heads 'em up. (128 NW 11th Ave., 274-6588, pcs.org)

THE BODY

Best Laser Hair Removal

OSWEGO SPA & LASER You're split over where to go for a permanent shave, but you know it's in the suburbs: Oswego Spa & Laser beat outer-Northwest's Waldorf Center by only one vote. (4035 SW Mercantile Drive, Suite 204, Lake Oswego, 699-5088)

Best Men's Haircut

BISHOPS BARBERSHOP A little free Pabst goes a long way, and Bishops Barbershop has ridden beer and bitchin' faux-hawks to the top of the hairdresser heap. You love them, and they love you. Rawk on! (3742 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 238-9600, and other locations, bishopsbs.com)

Best Pilates Studio

BODIES IN BALANCE Evidence suggests you'd rather be strapped to a metal frame in a historic home in Goose Hollow than in a dungeon on Foster Road. We can't blame you. (852 SW 21st Ave., 248-4483)

Best Spa

DOSHA SPA Man, oh man, do you people love Dosha SalonSpa ! Not only have you voted it the best day spa four years running, but this year you also decided it offers the best facials, best pedicures and best women's hairstyling in town. Do they place hypno-spiral discs on your eyes instead of cucumber slices or something? (2281 NW Glisan St., 228-8280; 3490 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 231-4993)

DRINK

Best Bar (Downtown)

SHANGHAI TUNNEL Your choice for the best bar in the heart of town is a dark basement where even the burgers are badass. Lordy, lordy, don't let Portland City Grill know that Shanghai Tunnel is your favorite. (211 SW Ankeny St., 222-4001)

Best Bar (N/NE)

LAURELTHIRST PUBLIC HOUSE Does it indicate a certain bias among our readers that you named a place five blocks north of Burnside the best bar in all of North and Northeast? Maybe, but LaurelThirst Public House still reigns supreme. (2958 NE Glisan St., 232-1504)

Best Bar (NW/Nob Hill)

LUCKY LABRADOR BEER HALL With its massive seating area, homey wooden tables, and vintage ceiling hoist, it's no wonder you love the new Lucky Labrador Beer Hall . And, with our new office within easy staggering distance, so do we! (1945 NW Quimby St., 517-4352)

Best Bar (Old Town)

VOODOO LOUNGE What makes the Voodoo Lounge so appealing to you people? Is it the dirt-cheap appetizer menu? The red velvet furniture? The long lines and overzealous security staff? Regardless, you think its the best in Old Town. (53 NW 1st Ave, 241-3840)

Best Bar (Pearl District)

LOW BROW LOUNGE News flash: Although dimly lit and inexpensive, your favorite bar in the Pearl isn't really all that low brow. Maybe that's why the Low Brow Lounge beat BridgePort Brewing Company by only five votes. (1036 NW Hoyt St., 226-0200)

Best Bar (SE)

DOUG FIR LOUNGE After almost two years, the Doug Fir seems to be about the only place you people drink on the east side. Why? Well, the air's breathable and the music can't be beat, and that's why you also selected Paul Bunyan's spaceship as the Best Live Music Club and Best Non-Smoking Bar . (830 E Burnside St., 231-9663)

Best Bar (Westside)

DUBLIN PUB There are 59 beers on tap, 30 beers in a bottle and 50 varieties of the hard stuff at Dublin Pub . That's 139 reasons why it's your best to the west. (6821 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Highway, 297-2889)

Best Happy Hour

PORTLAND CITY GRILLPortland City Grill serves up $3 appetizers and $4 mojitos on the 30th floor from 4:30 to 6:30 every afternoon. Drink enough and you'll feel like you're flying. Seriously. (111 SW 5th Ave., #30, 450-0030)

Best Karaoke

THE ALIBI The karaoke's great at the recently refurbished Alibi , but it's the badass neon palm tree that really makes it your favorite place to croon. (4024 N Interstate Ave., 287-5335)

Best Local Brewer

BRIDGEPORT BREWING COMPANY The refurbished digs in the Pearl have paid off: BridgePort Brewing Company beat out McMenamins as the makers of your liquid bread of choice. (1313 NW Marshall St., 241-3612)

Best Local Distiller

CLEAR CREEK DISTILLERY WW has been feeling hurt ever since Clear Creek Distillery spurned our offers of friendship and moved down the street to avoid us, but the restraining order is just too much. However, we'll let bygones be bygones: You say they still make the best booze in town. (2389 NW Wilson St., 248-9470, clearcreekdistillery.com)

PUBLIC LIFE

Best Candidate for Governor

TED KULONGOSKITed "Big K" Kulongoski won your hearts this election cycle, with the Dem hauling in over 70 percent of the vote. Independent Ben Westlund came in second, with that GOP flip-flopper Ron Saxton nipping at his heels. (378-4582, governor.oregon.gov)

Best Candidate for Supreme Court

VIRGINIA LINDER You jumped at the chance to put a woman on Oregon's highest court. Virginia Linder won your votes by more than a 2-to-1 margin.

Best Member of City Council

SAM ADAMS Admit it: You like him only because, with a name like that, you still think he can get you free brewskis. Well, he can't! Not that it seems to matter—for the third year running, openly queer Sam Adams is your favorite city commissioner (perhaps it's due to all the "campaigning" he still seems to do; see Best of Portland, page 52). Randy Leonard came in last. Hmmm...interesting.

Best Public High School (PPS)

LINCOLN HIGH SCHOOL The oldest public high school in the Pacific Northwest is tops in your book: Lincoln High nudged out Grant as the hippest school in town. (1600 SW Salmon St., 916-5200)

Best University or College

PORTLAND STATE UNIVERSITY With dozens of new star faculty members and a growing national reputation, it comes as no surprise that you're excited about Portland State University . (724 SW Harrison St., 725-3000)

SHOPPING

Best Appliances

STANDARD TV & APPLIANCE Let's hear it for local business! Standard TV & Appliance has been selling household machinery since 1947, and is still your stove-seller of choice. (5240 SE 82nd Ave., 777-3377, and other locations, standardtv-andappliance.com)

Best Bike Shop

BIKE GALLERY Once again, the family-owned Bike Gallery is your favorite place to go bi-pedal. And once again, River City Bicycles came in a solid second. (1001 SW 10th Ave., 222-3821; 5329 NE Sandy Blvd., 281-9800; and other locations)

Best Car Wash

KAADY CAR WASHES Supporting our rep as the greenest city in the country, environmentally friendly Kaady Car Washes are where you go to wash the grime away. (7400 SW Barbur Blvd., 246-7562, and other locations)

Best Clothing for Hip Chicks (Local)

DRAGONLILY You say Dragonlily , devoted to the threads of Portland's best and brightest designers, is where all the cool girls go. Moxie and Seaplane are close seconds, with one vote separating them. (1740 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 234-5459)

Best Cookware

KITCHEN KABOODLE When you need to furnish your new condo's copper-trimmed kitchen, where else would you go? Williams-Sonoma? Please, that is so California. Kitchen Kaboodle just has that Portland flair, y'know? Yeah, you do. (404 NW 23rd Ave., 241-4040; 535 SW 6th Ave., 464-9545; 1520 NE Broadway, #1600, 288-1500; and other locations)

Best Florist

SAMMY'S FLOWERS You say Sammy's Flowers is the best in town, with their huge selection and reasonable prices. That's local flower power for you. It doesn't hurt that owner Sammy Schwarz also provides petals to some of the hottest restaurants in town. (2120 NW Glisan St., 222-9759)

Best Furniture

DANIA Forget IKEA and Goodwill. Dania brings affordable European furniture to the Northwest. You want them to bring it to your home, and they can do that—in under three weeks. (1905 NE 41st Ave., 284-0880; 13150 SW Dawson Way, Beaverton, 643-6604)

Best Grocer

NEW SEASONS People in other cities have to go to Whole Foods to buy artisan sourdough and Safeway to buy Skippy to spread on it. In Portland they're both in one store, and you love it. (5320 NE 33rd Ave., 288-3838; 1214 SE Tacoma St., 230-4949; and other locations, newseasonsmarket.com)

Best Independent Bookseller (Other than Powell's)

ANNIE BLOOM'S BOOKS Powell's trumps everyone on quantity, but Annie Bloom's Books wins on comfort. The overstuffed chairs and free coffee and tea make you feel right at home, and you go all the way to Multnomah Village to experience it. (7834 SW Capitol Highway, 246-0053)

Best Lighting

REJUVENATION Salvage and chichi come together at Rejuvenation Lamp & Fixture Co. 's 38,000-square-foot store, where you go to pick up period-authentic illumination for your Laurelhurst remodeling projects. (1100 SE Grand Ave., 238-1900)

Best Naughty Attire (Local)

SPARTACUS LEATHERS When someone's been so naughty that the paddle isn't good enough, you head to Spartacus Leathers for a cat-o'-nine-tails and new set of manacles. (300 SW 12th Ave., 224-2604)

Best Optical Store

BINYON'S EYEWORLD Even though it was purchased by Texans years ago, you still get your frames at Binyon's . (803 SW Morrison St., 226-6688, and other locations)

Best Outdoor Gear

REI Our able-bodied readers get their long-haul hiking gear at good old REI , where the tent section is a study in class stratification. (1405 NW Johnson St., 221-1938, and other locations)

Best Women's Shoes

IMELDA'S You say it's worth stepping over the bodies of slain political opponents to get your hands on the chic shoes at Imelda's . (3426 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 233-7476; 935 NW Everett St., 595-4970)

Best Vintage Clothing

BUFFALO EXCHANGE When looking for new-to-you fashion, you head to Buffalo Exchange first. (1420 SE 37th Ave., 234-1302; 1036 W Burnside St., 222-3418; and other locations)

EVERYTHING ELSE

Best Alternative Transportation

TRIMET MAX Don't tell Earl Blumenauer, but you readers like the MAX train even more than you like your bikes. With construction on a new bus-mall line set to begin in January, you may like it even more. (trimet.org)

Best Bank or Credit Union

ONPOINT COMMUNITY CREDIT UNION You think you've finally found a bank as conscientious as you are: OnPoint is your favorite place to stash your cash, with Umpqua Bank a close second. (9730 SE Washington St., 228-7077, and other locations)

Best Hotel

JUPITER HOTEL You really dig the fuzzy pillows, retro-future atmosphere and never-ending cacophony at the Jupiter Hotel . You also like luxury: Swanky Hotel Lucía came in second place. (800 E Burnside St., 230-9200)

Best Mobile Phone Service

VERIZON Yeah, we can hear you now: You chose Verizon Wireless to carry your chatter wherever you go. Guess it must be the network. (verizonwireless.com)

Best Movie Theater (Local)

LAURELHURST Three-dollar admission, five-minute previews and excellent beer. Is there anything not to love about the Laurelhurst Theater ? You don't seem to think so. (2735 E Burnside St., 232-5511)

Best Professional Sports Franchise

PORTLAND BEAVERS It looks like the Beavers are the biggest baseball team we'll ever have in this town, but they're good enough for you! We suspect running the poll during baseball season may have something to do with your choice. (portlandbeavers.com)

Best Radio Station (AM)

KBPS/KPSU 1450 AM Look out, Lars! Our readers are listening to the kids. High school by day and college by night, 1450 AM is your favorite station for amplitude-modulated tunes. KPOJ 620 AM , home of liberal heartthrob Thom Hartmann, came in a close second.

Best Radio Station (FM)

KOPB 91.5 FM You say Kristian Foden-Vencil and the other public-radio mavens at KOPB are back on top of the Portland radio heap this year, and the ratings prove you right. Though no longer the dominant force it was last year, the made-over KNRK 94.7 FM still came in a solid second. (opb.org)

Think our readers are blind, deaf and dumb as rocks? Be sure to vote in the poll next year at wweek.com!


Best of Portland 2006 MENU: BEST OF PORTLAND 2006 | PALATES | PDXSEX | PEOPLE | PETS | PLACES | PLAY | POLYESTER | PORTLANDIA | PUNDITS | PURSUITS | READERS' POLL
 
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