43 Favorites of Our City

The 2012 Best of Evansville Awards
View the full feature in the January/February 2012 issue of Evansville Living.

It’s easy to get to know Evansville. The city is easy-going, congenial, and straightforward. We’re also informed and happy to share what we like best about the place we call home. Here are the favorites of the city – 43 top picks by readers and editors of Evansville Living. *The Best of Evansville is numbered, not ranked. We love all the winners equally.*

1. Yen Ching

Best Chinese Restaurant   Readers’ Pick

Yen Ching (406 S. Green River Road) captures “Best Chinese Restaurant" for the sixth time. The ancient name for Beijing, the owners and staff of Yen Ching take pride in offering an authentic regional Chinese experience. Dine in with a group and ask to be seated at a table with a lazy Susan and share specialties we love, like Hunan fish, lemon chicken, and not-to-be resisted crab Rangoon.

2. Riordan Financial

Best Financial Advisor   Readers’ Pick

We all like a financial advisor to have a little experience — in life and business. Matthew Riordan — raised, educated, and still living on Evansville’s West Side — relies on his hometown experience to give his clients the best service possible. Our readers appreciate it and consider him the best in the business.

3. IceMen vs. Brahmas

Best Sports Play   Editors' Pick

After three losses in a row bumped them from first to third place in the Turner Conference of the Central Hockey League, the Evansville IceMen needed a pick-me-up. On Dec. 23, just in time for Christmas, redemption came with a 3-1 win against the Texas Brahmas. The most notable moment of the game came in the last 9.4 seconds. The Brahmas’ goaltender had abandoned the goal to assist attacking, and seeing opportunity, the IceMen’s Malcolm Gwilliam stole the puck and made a swift pass to Josh Beaulieu for an empty-net score.

4. Jan Unfried

Best Artist   Readers' Pick

Jan Unfried loves to paint. She got her mother and sister hooked on painting and has energized the art-appreciating communities of Evansville and New Harmony, Ind. Her specialty, still life, awakens the common sights and smells of home. Her art is displayed at numerous galleries and she also helps coordinate art shows.

5. Mary-Beth Owen

Best Dressed   Editors’ Pick

You won’t see Mary-Beth Owen, president of Ad Cetera Promotions, a local promotional product company, in the grocery aisle wearing baggy sweats. Our Editors’ Pick for Evansville’s Best Dressed, Owen says, “When you look good outwardly, you feel better about yourself inwardly. That warmth and confidence shines through.” She’s also a part-time personal shopper at Stein Mart, an upscale discount specialty chain store, where she helps women find their own style. “I also love to flip through fashion magazines such as InStyle, Vogue, W, and Vanity Fair to check out the latest trends,” she says. We love Mary-Beth’s approach to personal style – and her closet.

6. Vanderburgh Humane Society

Best Place to Volunteer   Readers’ Pick

The 54-year-old Vanderburgh Humane Society (400 Millner Industrial Drive) is a home to stray animals, a refuge for the furry and abused, and an advocate for keeping the pet population in check. From dogs and cats to rabbits and hamsters, volunteers help groom, walk, and play with each animal as it waits for a loving adoptive home. With the help of these unpaid, committed workers, the shelter found homes for more than 1,000 animals last year.

In this photo, volunteers Margie Cox and Gail Weyer play with Stormy, a 4-year-old spayed shepherd mix. Like our cover dog Roscoe, an 11-month old treeing walker coonhound mix, she is also currently up for adoption.

7. Biaggi’s

Best Restaurant Service   Readers' Pick

Linen tablecloths: check. Servers donning aprons who remember your name and know the menu inside and out: check. Olive oil with salt and Parmesan cheese expertly prepared right at your table for your bread: check. Our readers have found the service, atmosphere, and food at Biaggi’s (6401 E. Lloyd Expressway) are worth checking out again and again.

8. Bar Louie

Best Suburban Hot Spot   Readers' Pick

Bar Louie (7700 Eagle Crest Blvd.) took home two “Best Of” awards last year and earned its place on our cover. With great pricing on drinks and food, and open doors until 2 a.m. through the week, Bar Louie is back on the list as Best Suburban Hot Spot.

9. Evansville Riverfront

Best Place to Run, Walk, Bike   Readers' Pick

On a sunny day, lots of folks can be seen running, walking, and bicycling along the Downtown trek that overlooks the Ohio River. According to our readers, locals prefer to do their exercise, sunny or not, along this river-route to any other scenic path in the city — enjoying the frequent barges floating by or using the boat ramp as a hill workout.

10. Howell Wetlands

Best Boardwalk   Editors' Pick

Big, beautiful beaches? You won’t find white sand in the Pocket City, but if you’re looking for a boardwalk, try the West Side’s Howell Wetlands. The 35-acre ecosystem is no longer a dumping ground, and more than two miles of trails spread across the marsh, cypress slough, prairie, and bottomland hardwood forest. Included on those trails are what we’ll call boardwalks that traipse above Oxbow Lake and Bald Cypress Basin. The environment is picture perfect.

11. Germania Maennerchor

Best Beer Fest   Readers’ Pick

Each August, Evansville gathers for a three-day celebration in honor of the town’s Deutsch heritage. Voted “Best Beer Fest” by our readers, the 50-year-old annual party showcases German music, food, and beer as partygoers sport old world German apparel such as the lederhosen and dirndl. Who knew those German guys had such great legs?

12. D-Patrick

Best Car Dealership   Readers' Pick

D-Patrick has come a long way since the inception of Downtown’s O’Daniel-Ranes in 1934. Automobile makes and models have come and gone, and many locations have been added (500 Walnut St., 120 N. Green River Road, 4300 E. Division St. Auto Plaza, 3100 Highway 62 West, Boonville, Ind., and 4077 Indiana 261, Newburgh, Ind.). What remains the same is D-Patrick’s dedication to top-notch service to the community: The company supports more than 75 community organizations in the Evansville metro area.

13. Kohl's

Best Place to Shop for Deals   Readers' Pick

Frequent sales and a customer-friendly return policy earn Kohl’s (4200 Hogue Road and 201 N. Burkhardt Road) the distinction of Best Place to Shop for Deals. With celebrity name designs, such as Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, it’s tough to beat the deals at Kohl’s.

14. Stacey Shanks

Best Yoga Instructor   Readers’ Pick

Stacey Shanks remembers the first time she took a yoga class. The stresses of life seemed to melt away, and she knew then that she wanted to help others limber up – physically and spiritually. Now, not only does she teach yoga in two Evansville studios, she has also helped start the Youth Yoga School, dedicated to teaching yoga to children.

15. The Fresh Market

Best Way to Find Cheese You Never Knew Existed   Editors' Pick

Only one of our associates is from Wisconsin, but we love our cheese. So when Fresh Market (6401 E. Lloyd Expressway) CEO Craig Carlock says the store’s atmosphere is reminiscent of old-world European markets, we agree. It’s also refreshingly different and plentiful, especially in the cheese department. Anywhere we can try more than 200 artisan varieties is a winner by our standards.

16. G.D. Ritzy’s

Best French Fries   Readers’ Pick

G.D. Ritzy’s has traveled from its 1980 hometown in Texas to supply Evansville with three locations to choose from (4320 N. First Ave., 4810 University Drive, and 601 N. Green River Road). Each location provides a unique feel, but all three work together to serve up our readers’ favorite french fries. Of course, after eating a burger and those crisp, thin, delicious fries, you may want some of their famous ice cream for dessert.

17. Petsmart

Best Pet Grooming   Readers' Pick

If you’re not sure where to take your best four-legged friends to keep them well groomed, trained, and treated, look no further than PetSmart (215 N. Burkhardt Road). Our readers agree that the services provided there are unmatched by other pet stores. Want to adopt a pet? PetSmart can help you with that also.

18. Gonzo’s Toybox

Best Local Band   Readers' Pick

Gonzo’s Toybox knows how to please a crowd – their energy always leaves fans screaming for more. Making a name for themselves belting out a wide range of popular rock, alternative, and metal hits, the cover band – featuring lead singer Mark Goines and guitarist Fred Hunt – indulges a broad list of genres.

19. Larry Zoller

Best Role Model   Editors’ Pick

Larry Zoller is a tough-as-nails swim coach at Mount Vernon High School, just west of Evansville, and his approach to swimming brings results. His program regularly ranks nationally in the top 10 men’s and women’s high school teams for schools with fewer than 900 students, and they also rank in the top 20 teams in Indiana, regardless of school size. In his career, Zoller’s swim teams for boys and girls have amassed 30 sectional titles.

20. Race for the Cure

Best 5k Race   Readers' Pick

Since it started in 1982, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization has raised $1.9 billion for breast cancer research, helping millions of women across the globe. The national nonprofit has 121 affiliates across the country, including in Evansville where every September, women, men, and children take part in what our readers dubbed the “Best 5K Race” in town. Since 2003, the 3.1-miler consistently has raised more than $1 million each year.

21. Shyler's

Best Barbecue   Readers' Pick

Our readers named Shyler’s (405 S. Green River Road) southern comfort and flavor as their favorite place to marinate their chins and empty out napkin dispensers. Its founder, J.B. Simmons, perfected his barbecue recipe in Tennessee, and the wood-fire grilled pork or baby-back ribs, as well as many other choices, reflect his southern heritage.

22. & 23. Lamasco Bar & Grill

Best Plate Lunch, Best Place for Live Music   Readers' Pick

Lamasco Bar & Grill (1331 W. Franklin St.) is renowned for its vibrant live-music scene, boasting such impressive local and regional acts as HeyPenny, Library Trio, and Andrea Wirth. Our readers know they also serve up a mean lunch. Picture “The Lamasco Burger”: 2/3 pound of meat stuffed with cheese and complimented with fresh toppings. If that doesn’t get your mouth watering, you can choose from other burgers, sandwiches, and soups. From the music to the meals, there are many ways to “get Lamascoed.”


43 Favorites

The IceMen homegames are great fun for my family. The Fresh Market has wonderful artisan cheeses. Very nice article.

Fall Fest?

Where is the Fall Festival on the list? I know it's on the West Side and organized by a bunch of nuts (literally!), but in 2010 it was named the second largest street festival in America! Plus, who doesn't love all that fried, artery-clogging goodness?

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