Arts & Entertainment
Best Annual Event
INDY GRAND PRIX OF ALABAMA
6040 Barber Motorsports Parkway | (877) 332-7804 | barbermotorsports.com
After three great years, this event has already become the favorite with voters. In terms of pure speed and adrenaline, there's been nothing else like it in town.
FINALISTS | Earth Month at Richard Joseph SalonSpa, Multiple locations, richardjosephsalonspa.com | SEC Baseball Tournament, Regions Park, 100 Ben Chapman Drive, Hoover, (205) 988-3200, secsports.com
Best Art Festival
BBVA COMPASS MAGIC CITY ART CONNECTION
Three decades old, this fantastic downtown arts festival has launched the careers of many artists and has made a name for Birmingham as a cultural destination.
Best Art Gallery
NAKED ART GALLERY
3831 Clairmont Ave., Forest Park | (205) 595-3553 | nakedartusa.com
Funky and fun, this Forest Park gallery, owned by Veronique Vanblaere, is a hit with locals and visitors for its fresh take on art that is meaningful but not intimidating.
FINALISTS | Matt Jones Art Gallery, 2830 6th Avenue South, Birmingham, (205) 521-6656, mattjonesgallery.com | Monty Stabler Galleries, 1811 29th Avenue South, Homewood, (205) 879-9888, montystablergalleries.com
Best Charity Event
EARTH MONTH, RICHARD JOSEPH SALONSPA
This fundraiser is part of Aveda's "Every Drop Matters" Campaign. Locally, the event donates 100 percent of proceeds to the Cahaba River Society. It's a great party with a real purpose.
FINALISTS | Alys Robinson Stephens Center VIVA Health Starlight Gala, 1200 10th Avenue South, Birmingham, (205) 975-2787, alysstephens.uab.edu | CCA Crawfest at Birmingham Zoo, 2630 Cahaba Road, Birmingham, (205) 879-0409, birminghamzoo.com
Best Cultural Institution
BIRMINGHAM MUSEUM OF ART
2000 8th Avenue South, Birmingham | (205) 254-2565 | artsbma.org
With its impressive permanent collection and notable temporary exhibits, not to mention the new Bartís Art Adventure for kids and summertime Art on the Rocks events, the Birmingham Museum of Art continues to justify its role as the city's number-one cultural institution.
FINALISTS | Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, 520 16th Street North, Birmingham, (205) 328-9696, bcri.org | McWane Science Center, 205 19th Street North, Birmingham, (205) 714-8300, mcwane.org
Best Kids' Dance Classes
CHILDREN'S DANCE FOUNDATION
1715 27th Court South, Homewood | (205) 870-0073 | childrensdancefoundation.org
Over the past 37 years, the dance studio in downtown Homewood has become something of an institution. Offering far more than just kids' classes, CDF is the top choice for locals looking for some of the best dance instruction anywhere.
FINALISTS | ArtPlay, 1530 3rd Avenue South, Birmingham, (205) 975-4769, artplayasc.org | Dale Serrano Dance Studio, 2121 Arbor Hill Parkway, Birmingham, (205) 682-0800, daleserranodance.com
Best Kids' Music Lessons
3187 Cahaba Heights Road, Vestavia Hills | (205) 908-7059 | masonmusicstudios.com
This Cahaba Heights studio is the natural next step for owners Will and Sarah Mason, musicians who once traveled to homes around town teaching classes. They offer lessons in guitar, drums, voice, piano and group performance.
FINALISTS | ArtPlay 1530 3rd Avenue South, Birmingham, (205) 975-4769, artplayasc.org | Birmingham School of Music, 800 Olde Towne Road, Vestavia Hills, (205) 969-8763, birminghamschoolofmusic.com
Best Live Music Venue
3719 3rd Avenue South, Birmingham | (205) 533-6288 | thebottletree.com
Although it's not huge, Bottletree has developed such an impressive reputation with both performers and show attendees that many significant acts put the Avondale location on their tour map. The Airstream accommodations and delicious vegetarian food are also big hits.
FINALISTS | Workplay, 500 23rd Street South, Birmingham, (205) 879-4773, workplay.com | Alys Robinson Stephens Performing Arts Center, 1200 10th Avenue South, Birmingham, (205) 975-2787, alysstephens.uab.edu
Best Local Actor or Actress
Hal Word has proven himself to be one of Birmingham's most versatile actors, whether in musicals "The Wild Party" at the Virginia Samford Theatre; "The Sound of Music" at Red Mountain Theatre Company), comedy ("China: The Whole Enchilada" at Terrific New Theatre) or in more dramatic roles ("Becky Shaw" at Birmingham Festival Theatre).
FINALISTS | Ben Taylor | Jan Hunter
Best Local Artist
Painter, printmaker and photographer Michael Swann creates works that celebrate the human form.
Best Local Band (original music)
THE GREAT BOOK OF JOHN
As soon as this handful of area musicians joined forces to form The Great Book of John, the crowd followed. Richly produced and dense with sound, this band is also known for its impressive songwriting.
Best Local Cover Band
205-908-3829 | gentlemanzero.com
This dynamic band features members from diverse backgrounds, a key reason why their sound is so flexible and so exciting. Find them at Café Firenze, Courtyard on 280 and other area bars.
FINALISTS | The Raygun Administration, theraygunadministration.net | Black Jacket Symphony, blackjacketsymphony.com
Best Local Music Festival
SCHAEFFER EYE CENTER CRAWFISH BOIL
It just keeps going-and growing. The Schaeffer Eye Center Crawfish Boil has become the dominant music festival in the metro area with more impressive acts every year.
Best Marching Band
HOMEWOOD HIGH SCHOOL
Music instruction is a key element of education in the Homewood City School System, and the marching band is the most visible example of the system's success. Marching in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Rose Bowl Parade in recent years, this band has a following far beyond its immediate community.
FINALISTS | Hoover High School | UAB
Best Night Club
THE QUEST CLUB
416 24th Street South, Birmingham | (205) 251-4313 | quest-club.com
Great music, an accepting vibe (everyone is welcome, any night of the week), and everything from karaoke, drag shows and more. Oh, and it's open 24/7.
FINALISTS | Aqua, 2824 5th Avenue South, Birmingham (205) 396-7238, aquabham.com | Workplay, 500 23rd Street South, Birmingham, (205) 879-4773, workplay.com
Best Place to Take an Out-of-Towner
VULCAN PARK AND MUSEUM
1701 Valley View Drive, Birmingham | (205) 933-1409 | visitvulcan.com
What's not to like? It's got history, it's got a great view of both Jones Valley and Shades Mountain, it's close to everything-and it has a giant cast iron statue of a Roman god with a bare derriere.
FINALISTS | Barber Motorsports Park, 6040 Barber Motorsports Parkway, (877) 332-7804, barbermotorsports.com | Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, 520 16th Street North, Birmingham (205) 328-9696, bcri.org
Best Place to Watch a Movie
When the latest blockbuster is out, you gotta go big. Big seats, big screen, big popcorn, big drink. Rave is the city's favorite movie location hands down.
Best Radio Station
BIRMINGHAM MOUNTAIN RADIO
Only a few years old, this Internet radio station scored some major local talent from the get-go and built some top-notch programs that have secured a solid listener base. Best of all: You can enjoy it on your computer at work.
Best Theater Company
TERRIFIC NEW THEATRE
2821 2nd Avenue South, Birmingham | (205) 328-0868 | terrificnewtheatre.com
This 26-year-old theater group performs all manner of things from their intimate stage at Pepper Place. No matter what the show, you can bet it's always going to be something memorable at TNT.
FINALISTS | ArtPlay, 1530 3rd Avenue South, Birmingham, (205) 975-4769, artplayasc.org | Red Mountain Theatre Company, 301 19th Street North, Birmingham, (205) 324-2424, redmountaintheatre.org
Best TV Station
With a stable of highly experienced on-air, production and reporting talent, and a deeply entrenched brand in the community, Fox 6 wins this category handily.
FINALISTS | ABC 33/40 | CBS 42
THE BARKING KUDU
2929 7th Avenue South, Birmingham | (205) 328-1748 | thebarkingkudu.com
Now something of a local institution, this Lakeview Bar has enough space to pack in a party. Live music and regular drink specials keep the people coming year round.
FINALISTS | Good People Brewing Company, 114 14th Street South, Birmingham, (205) 286-2337, goodpeoplebrewing.com | Old Car Heaven, 115 35th Street South, Birmingham, (205) 326-8902, oldcarheaven.com
1008 Oxmoor Road, Homewood | (205) 879-1937 | sawsbbq.com
Like a barbecue siren song, Mike Wilson's Edgewood joint beckons customers from far and wide with its ubiquitous wood smoke. Inside, fans are rewarded with fork-tender smoked chicken and pork, massive ribs, and an assortment of homemade sides and desserts that change seasonally.
FINALISTS | Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q, multiple locations, jimnnicks.com | Dreamland BBQ, 1427 14th Avenue South, Birmingham, (205) 933-2133, dreamlandbbq.com
358 Hollywood Boulevard, Homewood | (205) 639-1910 | eatovereasy.com
The relatively new restaurant at Hollywood Boulevard and Highway 280 intersection is packed on weekend mornings, and with good reason. Fresh and healthy menu items, many sourced locally, have made believers out of Birmingham. Make sure to try the blue grits.
FINALISTS | Trattoria Centrale, 207 20th Street South, Birmingham, (205) 202-5612, trattoriacentrale.com | The Bottletree Café, 3719 3rd Avenue South, Birmingham, (205) 533-6288, thebottletree.com
Although it's a chain, the high-quality ingredients, nearly countless combinations of toppings and to-die-for fries at Five Guys has convinced locals that they deserve the top spot. Anyplace that serves malt vinegar has got to be a winner.
FINALISTS | Chez Fonfon, 2007 11th Avenue South, Birmingham, (205) 939-3221, fonfonbham.com | The J. Clyde, 1312 Cobb Lane, Birmingham, (205) 939-1312, jclyde.com
4500 Montevallo Road, Birmingham | (205) 951-3168 | shangrila3168.com
The elegant interior of this Eastwood restaurant is instantly calming; the comprehensive menu and full bar is utterly rewarding.
FINALISTS | Mr. Chen’s, 1917 Hoover Court, Birmingham, (205) 824-8283, mrchenschinesecooking.com | PF Chang’s, Summit Boulevard, Birmingham, (205) 967-0040, pfchangs.com
Best Coffee Shop
LUCY'S COFFEE AND TEA
2007 University Boulevard, Birmingham | (205) 328-2007 | lucyscoffeeandtea.com
This Southside coffee shop is more than just a place to get a cup of joe. It's a community. If you're in need of a pick-me-up, in the form or caffeine or just a cheerful hello and a fresh sandwich on a bright yellow plate, this is the place for you.
FINALISTS | O’Henry’s, Multiple locations, ohenryscoffees.com | Primavera Coffee Roasters, 4133 White Oak Drive, Birmingham, (205) 969-1177, primaveracoffee.com
960 Oxmoor Road, Homewood | (205) 871-9377 | dreamcakes-bakery.com
If you haven't had one of Jan Moon's cupcakes by now, you are in a shrinking minority. The little Cahaba Heights shop relocated to Edgewood, bought a food truck, and watched its business explode. These delectable delights are not to be missed.
FINALISTS | Edgar’s Bakery, Multiple locations, edgarsbakery.com | Gigi’s Cupcakes, 4745 Chace Circle #121, Hoover, (205) 444-4170, gigiscupcakesusa.com
3431 Colonnade Parkway, Birmingham | (205) 968-7600 | maxsdelionline.com
Piled high with meat and cheese and supplemented with delicious salads, chips and pickles, the sandwiches at Max's Deli are the closest thing to the real New York deal anywhere here in Birmingham. The pastrami is amazing.
FINALISTS | Mr. P’s Deli, 813 Shades Crest Road, Hoover, (205) 823-6136, mrpdeli.com | Diplomat Deli, 1425 Montgomery Highway, Vestavia Hills, (205) 979-1515, diplomatdeli.com
Multiple locations, edgarsbakery.com
So many choices, so little time. Cookies? Brownies? Cake? Pie? Cupcakes? Muffins? Pastries? Edgar's has it all, beautifully displayed and lovingly made.
FINALISTS | Cheesecake Factory, 236 Summit Boulevard, Birmingham, (205) 262-1800, thecheesecakefactory.com | Red Mango Frozen Yogurt and Smoothies, two locations, redmangousa.com
Best Food and/or Drink Festival
BREAK 'N BREAD
Now sprawling across Railroad Park and featuring a growing number of participating restaurants, this festival benefits the Birmingham Originals, a collective of local chefs.
Best Food Truck
CANTINA ON WHEELS
Cantina has been at it's brick-and-mortar location in Pepper Place for a decade, so it's no surprise that when the late, great Guillermo Castro took his Mexican street food to, wellÖthe street, that people would respond. Nothing is happier than the sight of hot fish tacos being served just down the block.
FINALISTS | Shindigs Catering, shindigscateringtrucks.com | Dreamcakes Bakery, dreamcakes-bakery.com
Best Girls' Night Out
2240 Highland Avenue South, Birmingham | (205) 939-1000 | bottegarestaurant.com
Yes, it has some of the best food in the nation. But Bottega is also a hip, happening hot spot and wins big in the Girls' Night Out category. If you want to see and be seen, you can't do any better than Bottega.
FINALISTS | Chez Fonfon, 2007 11th Avenue South, Birmingham, (205) 939-3221, fonfonbham.com | Sips ‘n Strokes, Multiple locations, sipsnstrokes.com
Best Italian Food
2240 Highland Avenue South, Birmingham | (205) 939-1000 | bottegarestaurant.com
Frank Stitt's brilliant two-sided restaurant on Highland Avenue has completely transformed the way we think about food in Birmingham. The café side specializes in seasonal, casual Italian food featuring local ingredients.
FINALISTS | Gianmarco’s, 721 Broadway Street, Homewood, (205) 871-9622 | Joe’s Italian, 21 Weatherly Club Drive, Alabaster, (205) 663-4111, joesitalianonline.com
Best Local Chef
2180 11th Court South, Birmingham | (205) 933-5474 | hotandhotfishclub.com
Birmingham's first Iron Chef winner has earned his title through hard work both at home and on the Food Network sound stage. Inside his restaurant, Hot and Hot Fish Club, and through his cookbooks and other regional menus, Hastings has built a mighty reputation all his own.
FINALISTS | Frank Stitt, Highlands Bar and Grill, 2011 11th Avenue South, Birmingham, (205) 939-1400, highlandsbarandgrill.com | Becky Satterfield, Satterfield’s Restaurant, 3161 Cahaba Heights Road, Vestavia Hills, (205) 969-9690, satterfieldsrestaurant.com
Best Mediterranean Food
AL'S DELI AND GRILL
21629 10th Avenue South, Birmingham | (205) 939-4278 | alsdeliandgrill.com
A UAB favorite, Al's Deli and Grill says it all on their website: "Where the service is fast and the portions are large!"
FINALISTS | DoDiYos, 1831 28th Avenue South, Homewood, (205) 453-9300, dodiyos.com | Nabeel’s Café, 1706 Oxmoor Road, Homewood, (205) 879-9292, nabeels.com
Best Mexican Food
SOL Y LUNA
2811 7th Avenue South, Birmingham | (205) 322-1186 | solylunabirmingham.com Guillermo Castro opened his Mexican tapas restaurant more than a decade ago and saw an immediate success. Years later, this local gem still features fresh Gulf seafood, a large selection of high-end tequilas and a gorgeous second-floor patio. We miss you, Guillermo, but your vision lives on.
FINALISTS | El Barrio, 2211 2nd Avenue North, Birmingham, (205) 868-3737, elbarriobirmingham.com | Sol Azteca, 1360 Montgomery Highway, Vestavia Hills, (205) 979-4902
Best New Restaurant
2821 Central Avenue, Homewood | (205) 703-7000 | thelittledonkey.com
Opened by Jim 'N Nicks owners Fresh Hospitality, this authentic taqueria found a home in an underused brick building in Homewood and almost immediately transformed the entire block into a hip food zone. A variety of tacos, served in fresh corn tortillas made on site daily, share menu space with fascinating soups, sides and a cocktail menu you'll be dreaming about for days after.
FINALISTS | O Sushi, 5519 Grove Boulevard, Hoover, (205) 733-3736 | FIVE, 744 29th Street South, Birmingham (205) 868-3841, five-restaurant.com
SLICE PIZZA & BREW
725 29th Street South, Birmingham | (205) 715-9300 | slicebirmingham.com
The Bajalieh brothers have taken a classic pairing: pizza and beer, and have elevated both to a new level. An impressive menu of hand-crafted pizzas and an amazing array of local and national craft beers mean that this is not just your ordinary pitcher-and-pepperoni dinner. This is an experience.
FINALISTS | Mafiaoza’s, 2 Dexter Avenue, Birmingham, (205) 414-7878, mafiaozas.com | California Pizza Kitchen, two locations, cpk.com
Best Place for a Frozen Treat
ZEN YOGURT AND SMOOTHIES
1801 5th Avenue South, Birmingham | (205) 701-1161 | zen-yogurt.com
Zen Yogurt stormed onto the frozen yogurt scene and quickly built a passionate following. Their sweet/tangy treats, bursting with healthy goodness, are the reason why.
FINALISTS | Steel City Pops, 2821 Central Avenue, Suite 109, Homewood, (205) 969-8770, steelcitypops.com | Red Mango Frozen Yogurt and Smoothies, redmangousa.com
Best Romantic Dinner
1218 20th Street South, Birmingham | (205) 933-0999 | oceanbirmingham.com
Maybe it's the groovy, cool-blue interior. Or maybe it's the great service. Or perhaps it's the amazing seafood. Heck, maybe it really is the oysters. No matter what the reason is, it works for couples at Ocean.
FINALISTS | Café Dupont, 113 20th Street North, Birmingham, (205) 322-1282, cafedupont.net | Highlands Bar and Grill, 2011 11th Avenue South, Birmingham, (205) 939-1400, highlandsbarandgrill.com
HIGHLANDS BAR AND GRILL
2011 11th Avenue South, Birmingham | (205) 939-1400 | highlandsbarandgrill.com
It's like a ballet, really. The coordination between hostess, servers, kitchen staff and chef is so beautifully choreographed at Highlands that you take it for granted. And that's just the way they want it. Your every need is met before you realize you even have a need-all so you can focus on the food.
FINALISTS | The TakeOut Birmingham, (205) 823-7424, thetakeoutbham.com | Vino, 1930 Cahaba Road, Birmingham (205) 870-8404, vinobirmingham.com
The editors were surprised but the people have spoken: the steaks at Outback win the category.
FINALISTS | Ruth’s Chris Steak House, 2300 Woodcrest Place, Homewood, (205) 879-9995, ruthschris.com | MetroPrime Steakhouse, 1035 20th Street South, Birmingham, (205) 623-5288, metroprimesteak.com
Even with four locations around the city, Surin's sushi menu has stayed delicious and popular.
FINALISTS | O Sushi, 5519 Grove Boulevard, Hoover, (205) 733-3736 | Sekisui, 700 Montgomery Hwy, Suite 178, (205) 978-7775, sekisuiusa.com
In addition to their extensive sushi menu, Surin also specializes in its native Thai cuisine. After 17 years in Birmingham, the restaurant has built a large and dedicated following.
FINALISTS | Taste of Thailand, 3321 Lorna Road, #3, Birmingham, (205) 978-6863 | Taipei 101, 471 Green Springs Highway, Homewood, (205) 912-7037, taipei101bham.com
Best Vegetarian Food
THE BOTTLETREE CAFÈ
3719 3rd Avenue South, Birmingham | (205) 533-6288 | thebottletree.com
Although they closed for lunch several months ago, this popular music venue and vegetarian restaurant is back open, and folks are thrilled. For a healthy meal that won't weigh you down during the day, check out Bottletreeís fresh and fantastic midday fare.
FINALISTS | Zoe’s Kitchen, Mutiple locations, zoeskitchen.com | Golden Temple, two locations, goldentemplehealthfoods.com
People, Places & Things
Best Beach Getaway
A paradise vacation without the cost of an airline ticket is one of the many reasons Orange Beach should be your next road trip destination. With entertainment like golf courses, amusement parks, and of course the white sand and blue water, this small town has something for everyone.
Most Colorful Politician
Despite (or because of?) imprisonment, the former mayor takes this in a landslide.
FINALISTS | Mary Buckelew | William Bell
A columnist's job isn't an easy one. They have to make sure their readers are constantly engaged with new material. It's clear that this Birmingham News writer knows how to keep the public interested because he's continued his winning streak from last year.
FINALISTS | Micah House-Cargo, B-Metro | Michael Huebner, The Birmingham News
Best Day-Trip Destination
When you feel the need to something a bit bigger than Birmingham, take the short drive to ATL. With easy access to new museums, concert halls, sporting arenas, historical centers, the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coca-Cola, CNN Studio and Underground Atlanta's shops and restaurants, you can get a big-cty cultural experience without jet lag.
1903 29th Avenue South, Homewood | (205) 874-8055 | aloftbirminghamsohosquare.com
With the ability to step outside the front entrance and walk to any of the shops in Homewood and SOHO square, Aloft Hotel is the perfect spot for visitors. With a pool, entertainment for kids and plenty of delicious eatery options, this hotel will please even the pickiest of travelers.
FINALISTS | The Historic Tutwiler Hotel, 2021 Park Place, (205) 322-2100, thetutwilerhotel.com | Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa, 4000 Grand Ave., Hoover, (205) 916-7677, rossbridgeresort.com
Best Lake Getaway
We all know that the best way to cool down is a trip to the lake. Smith Lake offers cabins, fishing piers, boating and the cleanest lake water in the state.
FINALISTS | Lake Martin | Lake Guntersville
HOOVER PUBLIC LIBRARY
200 Municipal Drive, Hoover | (205) 444-7800 | hooverlibrary.org
Libraries are no longer places just for books. While Hoover Public Library offers thousands of printed tomes, there are also video games, movies, classes for adults and children as well as other special events.
FINALISTS | Birmingham Public Library-Central Branch, 2100 Park Place, Birmingham, (205) 226-2604, bham.lib.al.us | Homewood Public Library, 1721 Oxmoor Road, Homewood, (205) 332-6600, homewoodpubliclibrary.org
Best Local Blog
Information abounds on this local blog. With tips on what to do, how to live, what to buy, prizes to win and more, no local mom need ever worry again. And it's all done with a heavy dose of humor and empathy.
Best Local who has Appeared on Reality Television
Martie Duncan has been cooking and entertaining in Birmingham for some time. However, just this year she made it onto "Food Network Star" where she appeared in the finals. Even though she may not have won, she still shines brightly in Birmingham's culinary constellation.
FINALISTS | Taylor Hicks | Tribble Reese
Between 14th and 18th Streets and First Avenue South | railroadpark.org
This 19-acre greenspace has shown up in multiple categories. It has been a crowd favorite since it opened in September 2010, and seems to be just the right amount of outdoors in the midst of our urban cityscape.
FINALISTS | Moss Rock Preserve, Preserve Parkway, Hoover, hooveral.org | Homewood Central Park, 1632 Oxmoor Road, Homewood, homewoodparks.com
Best Place to People Watch
3000 Riverchase Galleria, Hoover, (205) 985-3020 | riverchasegalleria.com
The food court at Riverchase Galleria is prime seating for people watching. With hundreds of tables and plenty of restaurant choices, shoppers can enjoy the view for hours.
FINALISTS | Railroad Park, Between 14th and 18th Streets and First Avenue South, railroadpark.org | Five Points
Best Place to Take a Date
113 20th Street N., (205)-322-1282 | cafedupont.net
Drinks and dinner in this historic building feels like a step back to the romantic Roaring '20s. The French/Southern menu changes constantly, so it's worth making this a regular date spot.
FINALISTS | Highlands Bar and Grill, 2011 11th Ave. S., Five Points South, (205) 939-1400, highlandsbarandgrill.com | Comedy Club Stardome, 1818 Data Drive, Hoover, (205) 444-0008, stardome.com
Best Radio Personality
Reg's Coffeehouse was Scott Register's brainchild 15 years ago, and he's still reaching the Birmingham community, as well as a large syndicated audience, almost daily. Birmingham Mountain Radio hosts him on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m. on The Morning Blend.
Best Sports Commentator
Sheldon Haygood of Fox 6 News is the city's favorite weekend sports anchor. He is on the move during the week covering sporting events in the Birmingham area as well as the Southeast. You can find him on Twitter @SheldonFox6.
FINALISTS | Paul Finebaum, WJOX-FM 94.5 | Rick Karle, FOX 6 News
Best TV Personality
ABC 33/40 viewers know and love Brenda Ladun. The past two years she's won Best News Anchor, and continues her winning streak this year. Ladun delivers the city's news during the stations 6 and 10 p.m. broadcasts and Sunday's "Matters of Faith" reports, but she's also won the community over with her annual Brenda Ladun Conquer Cancer Run.
FINALISTS | James Spann, ABC 33/40 | Mickey Ferguson, FOX 6 News.
Birmingham's meteorologist has over 50,000 followers on Twitter, and who can blame them? With his detailed, clear accounts of weather, Twitter's 140 characters is the perfect medium to get the weather report out quickly and effectively.
Best View of the City
VULCAN PARK AND MUSEUM
1701 Valley View Drive | (205) 933-1409 | visitvulcan.com.
Standing tall on top of Red Mountain is Birmingham's favorite metal god of the forge. Feel free to go up and visit him and share in the iron giant's panoramic overlook of the city. It's just an elevator ride or a few stairs up for Birmingham's most spectacular view.
FINALISTS | The Club, 1 Robert S. Smith Drive, Birmingham, (205) 323-5821, theclubinc.org | Red Mountain Overlook, 1500 22nd Street South
Shopping & Services
Best Antique Store
URBAN SUBURBAN ANTIQUES
5514 Crestwood Boulevard, Birmingham | (205) 592-0777 | urbansuburbanantiques.com
You'll get more than good stuff at this popular shop in the Crestwood Shopping Center. You'll get design inspiration.
FINALISTS | Hanna’s Antiques, 2424 7th Avenue South, Birmingham, (205) 323-6036, hannaantiques.com | What’s on Second?, 2706 2nd Avenue North, Birmingham, (205) 322-2688
Best Auto Mechanic
2706 2nd Avenue North, Birmingham | (205) 322-2688 | duffysgarage.com
Tired of the dealership? See the folks at Duffy's Garage. From repairs on European Imports to handling small fender benders on all models, they are truly a service alternative.
FINALISTS | Kelly Shebs of Technique Automotive, 258 Yeager Parkway, Pelham, (205) 685-0711, techniqueautomotive.com | B.Y.O.P Automotive, two locations, byopbirmingham.com
2717 18th Street South, Homewood | (205) 870-7461 | littleprofessorhomewood.com
This reader's paradise is tucked right in the heart of Homewood and is full of everything from best sellers to used bargains.
FINALISTS | Barnes and Noble, Multiple locations, barnesandnoble.com | Alabama Booksmith, 2626 19th Place South, Homewood, (205) 870-4242, alabamabooksmith.com
1425 Montgomery Highway, Vestavia Hills | (205) 824-9441
A less-than-two-mile move down Highway 31 meant a huge increase in business for this chic boutique.
FINALISTS | Soca Clothing, 2820 18th Street South, Homewood, (205) 879-6788, socaclothing.com | Shaia’s, 2818 18th Street South, Homewood, (205) 871-1312, shaias.com
KATHY G. & CO.
11 West Park Circle, Birmingham | (205) 942-4210 | kathyg.com
Kathy Mezrano has become something of a local catering legend. After countless events big and small, Kathy G has earned the following that secured her win.
FINALISTS | Iz Café, 2514 Rocky Ridge Road, Vestavia Hills, (205) 979-7570, everythingiz.com | Happy Catering, 225 Oxmoor Circle, Suite 802, Homewood, (205) 251-8925, happycatering.net
Best Consignment Store
ZOE CONSIGNMENT AND VINTAGE
3900 Clairmont Avenue South, Birmingham | (205) 595-9049 | zoeshop.com
This Forest Park landmark is a mecca for those looking for an original piece for their wardrobe.
FINALISTS | Renaissance Consignment Boutique, 6801 Cahaba Valley Road, Birmingham, (205) 980-4471, renaissanceconsignment.com | Collage Designer Consignment, Multiple locations, shopcollage.com
2816 Cahaba Road, Mountain Brook | (205) 870-4412
These people are really nice. And they do a great job making your clothes look really nice, too.
FINALISTS | Deluxe Cleaners, Multiple locations, deluxecleanersbirmingham.com | Hunter’s Cleaners, 915 Oxmoor Road, Homewood, (205) 871-6131
Best Farmer's Market
THE PEPPER PLACE MARKET
2829 2nd Avenue South, Birmingham | (205) 802-2100 | pepperplacemarket.com
Pepper Place has probably done more to promote locally grown food and the chefs who cook with it than any other organization in town.
FINALISTS | Alabama Farmers Market, alabamafarmersmarket.org | Freshfully, 200 41st Street South, Avondale, freshfully.com
Birmingham's largest florist can do everything from the smallest bouquet to the largest wedding or corporate installation. Locally owned and full of flower happiness.
FINALISTS | Flowerbuds Inc., 3114 Cahaba Heights Village, Birmingham, (205) 970-3223, flowerbudsinc.com | Dorothy McDaniel’s Flower Market, 2560 18th Street South, Homewood, (205) 871-0092, dorothymcdaniel.com
Best Garden Shop
LEAF & PETAL
Beautiful, unique gifts, gorgeous plants and more are inside all three locations of this great garden shop.
FINALISTS | Collier’s Nursery, 2904 Old Rocky Ridge Road, Birmingham, (205) 822-3133, colliersnursery.com | Andy’s Creekside Nursery, 3351 Morgan Drive, Vestavia Hills, (205) 824-0233, andysgardencenter.com
Best Grocery Store
Still a relative newcomer in a city known for its local grocery chains, Publix has built a committed customer base that couldn't imagine shopping anywhere else. People love the great service, clean stores and great-tasting store brands.
FINALISTS | V. Richards, 3916 Clairmont Avenue South, Birmingham, (205) 591-7000, vrichards.net | Freshfully, 200 41st Street South, Avondale, freshfully.com
Best Hardware Store
BLUFF PARK HARDWARE
597 Shades Crest Road, Birmingham | (205) 823-1953
In a time of constant change, it's nice to know that some things haven't changed much at all. Step into Bluff Park Hardware and be comforted by tradition and DIY knowledge.
FINALISTS | Little Hardware, 2703 Culver Road, Mountain Brook, (205) 871-4616 | Rocky Ridge Hardware, 3354 Morgan Drive, Birmingham, (205) 979-5444, rockyridgehardware.com
Best Home Contractor
2907 Central Avenue, Suite 105, Homewood | (205) 802-3920 | twincompanies.com
Even in a downturn when no one seems to be building much of anything, Twin is going strong. Customers love the company's high-quality work and their honest business practices.
FINALISTS | Michael Eubanks, 5821 7th Ave South, Birmingham | The Townley Corporation, 3312 Sandhurst Road, Birmingham
Best Home Décor
610 Colonial Brookwood Village, Birmingham | (205) 879-1722, | zgallerie.com
Affordable, stylish and more than a little glam, Z Gallerie's distinctive furnishings and accessories are a hit with readers.
FINALISTS | AtHome Furnishings, 2921 18th Street, Birmingham, (205) 879-3510, athome-furnishings.com | I.O. Metro Furniture, Art & Accessories, 4431 Creekside Avenue, Birmingham, (205) 444-0641, iometro.com
BROMBERG & CO., INC.
Tradition counts for something, and Bromberg's has it in spades. For 176 years, Bromberg's has been right here in town serving their neighbors with sophistication and experience.
FINALISTS | Levy’s Fine Jewelry, 2116 2nd Avenue North, Birmingham, (205) 251-3381, levysfinejewelry.com | Steed’s Jewelers Inc., 1425 Montgomery Highway, Vestavia Hills, (205) 822-9173, steedsjewelers.com
Best Kitchen Supplies Store
Summit Boulevard, Birmingham, | (205) 970-4101 | williams-sonoma.com
Williams-Sonoma was known to locals only via catalog until it opened its storefront at the Summit. Now it is the go-to location for everything kitchen and wedding registry.
FINALISTS | The Cook Store, 2841 Cahaba Road, Mountain Brook, (205) 879-5277, thecookstoremtnbrook.com | Birmingham Bake and Cook Co., 5291 Valleydale Road # 125, Birmingham, (205) 980-3661, bakeandcookco.com
Best Landscaping Company
DEEP ROOTS LANDSCAPING
4965 Horst Hill Road, Irondale | (205) 215-1021 | deeproots.biz
This Irondale company is focused on quality, whether it be in design, installation or maintenance.
FINALISTS | NatureScape, Inc., 159 Greenwich Drive, Pelham, (205) 664-7774, naturescape.com | Falkner Gardens Inc., 2337 20th Avenue South, Birmingham, (205) 871-5999, falknergardens.com
Best Makeup Artist
LINDSAY GARRETT AT RICHARD JOSEPH SALONSPA
It's a tricky thing, makeup. Some folks do too much, some do too little. No matter the occasion, Lindsay Garrett does it just right.
FINALISTS | Annette Hyche at Studio A, 2337 20th Avenue South, Birmingham, (205) 871-5999, studioaob.com | Flannery Miles-Hooks, facebook.com/flannery.hooks
Best Moving Company
TWO MEN AND A TRUCK
3114 Belwood Drive, Birmingham | (205) 267-4761 | twomenbirmingham.com
Moving day is no fun for anyone, but the folks at Two Men and a Truck (there are more than two now) help ease the stress.
FINALISTS | New Latitudes, 288 Snow Drive, Birmingham, (205) 988-9000, newlatitudemovers.com | McCorquodale Transfer, 381 Summit Boulevard, Birmingham, (205) 870-7474, mtmoves.com
Best Neighborhood Toy Store
HOMEWOOD TOY & HOBBY
2830 18th Street South, Birmingham | (205) 879-3986 | homewoodtoy-hobby.com
Maybe it's the fun circus-tent-awning out front, or the play tables for the toddlers, or the great selection of toys and gifts. Whatever it is, it's worked for Homewood Toy & Hobby for decades.
FINALISTS | Smith’s Variety Store, 2715 Culver Road, Mountain Brook, (205) 871-0841 | A Tiny Kingdom, 2834 Culver Road, Mountain Brook, (205) 802-8469, atinykingdom.com
RICHARD JOSEPH SALONSPA
For more than two decades, this Aveda salon has helped countless locals find their Zen moment.
FINALISTS | Sanctuary, 1931 29th Avenue South, Homewood, (205) 879-4757, sanctuarywebsite.com | Studio A, 2337 20th Avenue South, Birmingham, (205) 871-5999, studioaob.com
RICHARD JOSEPH SALONSPA
Get pampered at the English Village or Inverness location-either way, you'll leave refreshed and relaxed.
FINALISTS | Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa, 4000 Grand Avenue, Birmingham, (205) 916-7677, sparossbridge.com | Smart Skin Med Spa, 32 Church Street, Birmingham, (205) 871-8707, smartskinmedspa.com
DR. MIKE KILGORE AT HOMEWOOD ANIMAL HOSPITAL
501 Scott Street, Homewood | (205) 943-0008
It takes a special person to be a vet, and Dr. Mike is one of those people. His vote tally is proof of how much his patients love him.
FINALISTS | Standifer Animal Clinic, 2810 19th Place SouthHomewood, (205) 871-8186, standiferanimalclinic.com | Galleria Animal Clinic, 2953 John Hawkins Parkway, Hoover, (205) 987-7297
Sports & Leisure
Best Bike Shop
1944 28th Avenue South, Homewood | (205) 879-2258, bobs-bikes.com
Bob's Bikes is a licensed dealer in Specialized, Giant and other brands. Visit their online ride calendar to see when groups depart from the store for rides through the region.
FINALISTS | Cahaba Cycles, multiple locations, cahabacycles.com for details | Bike Link, 2766 John Hawkins Parkway, Hoover, (205) 991-3335, bikelinkbham.com
Best Bike Trail
OAK MOUNTAIN STATE PARK BIKE TRAILS
(205) 620-2520 | alapark.com/oakmountain
Watch out if you happen to be running or walking on the infamous Red Trail at Oak Mountain. Chances are there is a biker headed toward you, and fast!
FINALISTS | Red Mountain Park Trails, 277 Lyon Lane, Birmingham, (205) 202-6043, redmountainpark.org | Homewood Shades Creek Greenway Trail, homewoodchamber.org
Best Bowling Alley
1429 Montgomery Highway, Vestavia Hills | (205) 979-4420 | vestaviabowl.com
Bowling has retained its retro charm, and when the weather is too hot (or cold) and the kids are restless, it's always a good call. Still good for date nights, too.
FINALISTS | Brunswick Riverview Lanes, 2908 Riverview Road, Birmingham, (205) 991-3900, bowlbrunswick.com | Lightning Strikes Bowling, 3600 Roosevelt Boulevard, Trussville, (205) 655-4500, lightningstrikesbowling.com
Best Fitness Program
ENGAGED IN FITNESS WITH MATT CRANE
3156 Sunview Drive, Birmingham, 35243 | (205) 381-3100 | lifefitnessbham.com
Matt Crane was a banker who left a career in finance to open his fitness training business in Cahaba Heights, and he's never looked back. The "Engaged in Fitness" workout is designed for couples to tone up for their wedding day.
FINALISTS | Firm Body Boot Camp with Roman McDonald, firmbodybootcamps.com | SuperBodies Personal Training with Jeffrey Smith
Best Free Family Outing
1600 1st Avenue South, Birmingham | (205) 521-9933 | railroadpark.org
Some folks still consider the remarkable Railroad Park an experiment in urban planning. Thousands of area families, who flock to the park every day of the week, do not. This park is not just for UAB students and downtown workers. It has been fully and lovingly embraced by parents and kids from every part of town.
FINALISTS | Friday Night Flicks in Homewood, (205) 332-6700, homewoodparks.com | Birmingham Botanical Gardens, 2612 Lane Park Road, Birmingham, (205) 414-3950, bbgardens.org
Best Golf Experience
ROBERT TRENT JONES GOLF TRAIL AT OXMOOR VALLEY
100 SunBelt Parkway, Birmingham | (205) 942-1177, rtjgolf.com/oxmoorvalley
This remarkable golf course has found itself neighbors with two stunning projects: Ross Bridge and Red Mountain Park. All the more reason to play a round at this fantastic course.
FINALISTS | Highland Park Golf Course, 3300 Highland Avenue South, Birmingham, (205) 322-1902, highlandparkgolf.com | Shoal Creek Golf and Country Club, 100 New Williamsburg Drive, Shoal Creek, (205) 991-9000, shoalcreekclub.com
Best Rock Climbing Spot, indoor or outdoor
MOSS ROCK PRESERVE BOULDER FIELDS
617 Preserve Parkway, Hoover | hooveral.org
250 acres within the Greater Birmingham area is a big draw for climbing enthusiasts. Extensive trails also satisfy hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts.
FINALISTS | First Avenue Rocks, 2417 First Avenue South, Birmingham, (205) 320-2277, firstaverocks.com | Oak Mountain State Park, (205) 620-2520, alapark.com/oakmountain
Best Sporting Event
INDY GRAND PRIX OF ALABAMA AT BARBER MOTORSPORTS PARK
6030 Barber Motorsports Parkway, Birmingham | (205) 699-7275 | barbermotorsports.com
For the three years the IndyCars raced around the dramatic twists and turns of the Barber Motorsports Park, the crowds showed up to watch. And what an experience. Here's hoping for more great races at Barber.
FINALISTS | NCAA College Cup, ncaa.com | Birmingham Barons Baseball, 100 Ben Chapman Drive, Birmingham, (205) 988-3200, barons.com
Best Spot for A Picnic
1600 1st Avenue South, Birmingham | (205) 521-9933 | railroadpark.org
Pack a basket at home or better, yet, order lunch from Georgeís Boxcar CafÈ under the big pavilion. Then sit back and watch the world go by.
FINALISTS | Oak Mountain State Park, (205) 620-2520, alapark.com/oakmoutain | Vulcan Park and Museum, 1701 Valley View Drive, Birmingham, (205) 933-1409, visitvulcan.com
FITNESS 4 U 24/7
2539 John Hawkins Parkway, Suite 113, Hoover | (205) 403-3305 | fitness4u247.com
Truly a flexible workout space, members have access to the facility any time, day or night, all week long, with no long-term contracts. Visit during their staffed hours to learn more about the concept.
FINALISTS | Iron Tribe Fitness, 5029 Highway 280, Suite 102, Birmingham, (205) 873-2135, irontribefitness.com | Shaping U, 96 Hinds Street, Pelham, (205) 586-0662, shapingu.com
Best Personal Trainer
MATT CRANE WITH L.I.F.E. FITNESS
3156 Sunview Drive, Birmingham, 35243 | (205) 381-3100 | lifefitnessbham.com
Matt Crane's personal and professional work ethic has inspired many devotees to vote him into the winner's spot. L.I.F.E. stands for Living in Fitness Everyday.
FINALISTS | Jeffrey Smith with SuperBodies Personal Training | William Blake with Fitness 4 U 24/7, 2539 John Hawkins Parkway, Suite 113, Hoover, (205) 403-3305, fitness4u247.com
Best Place to Buy Outdoor Gear
MOUNTAIN HIGH OUTFITTERS
Now with four locations in Birmingham and more outside of the area, Mountain High's approach to selling outdoor gear and clothing has clearly proven to be successful.
FINALISTS | Alabama Outdoors, 3054 Independence Drive, Homewood, (205) 870-1919, alabamaoutdoors.com | Mark’s Outdoor Sports, 1400 Montgomery Highway, Vestavia Hills, (205) 822-2010, marksoutdoors.com
Best Swimming Pool
RENAISSANCE BIRMINGHAM ROSS BRIDGE GOLF RESORT AND SPA
4000 Grand Ave., Hoover, (205) 916-7677 | rossbridgeresort.com
Choose from the serene indoor pool or the expansive outdoor pool (with waterfall and children's play area). Both are adjacent to the spa so you can break up your sunning and swimming with a facial or mani-pedi.
FINALISTS | Homewood Central Pool, (205) 332-6700, homewoodparks.com | Levite Jewish Community Center Pool, 3960 Montclair Road, Birmingham, (205) 879-0411, bhamjcc.org
Best Walking Trail
RED MOUNTAIN PARK
277 Lyon Lane, Birmingham | (205) 202-6043 | redmountainpark.org
If you haven't been yet, you have to go. Just down Lakeshore, toward Bessemer, is an amazing new network of trails and Birmingham mining history, all rolled up into one gorgeous landscape.
FINALISTS | Vulcan Trail, vulcantrailassociation.ws | Homewood Shades Creek Greenway Trail, homewoodchamber.org
Best Yoga Instructor
APRIL JONES WITH SILVER LININGS
1805 11th Avenue South | (205) 401-5010 | thehealingartscenter.blogspot.com
April is a yoga instructor, massage therapist and birthing coach and has lots of fans.
FINALISTS | Brent Scrivner with Birmingham Yoga, 605 37th St South Birmingham, (205) 637-4228 | Kate Jenkins with Bikram Yoga Birmingham, 300 Olde Towne Road, Vestavia Hills, (205) 824-2626, bikrambirmingham.com