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

  • Father Paul

    Thanks for the honor.

  • Pingback: I was named best blogger of 2013 - It's a Keeper

  • TomandMarlen Kostiw

    What is the best Local Dry Rub or Seasonings for Grilling? I heard it was Babunya’s Gourmet Spice, but I am not sure. Please let me know. Thanks!