The readers have spoken and the votes have been tallied.
This year, CityScene expanded its Best of the ’Bus contest from a mere 23 categories to a whopping 86, and also opened up the nomination process to readers. And with more categories come more winners.
So who were those winners?
Best Interactive Arts Activities for Adults
Columbus Arts Festival
It’s more than just kids who get to make art at the Columbus Arts Festival – adults can also create everything from comic book characters to pottery.
Best Suburban Arts Festival
Arts in the Alley
Don’t miss this year’s Arts in the Alley in Grove City – it’s Sept. 21-22.
Best Bar/Restaurant for Live Music
Give props to Grandview Heights on this one – not only did Woodland’s take first place, but the Grandview Café took second and Jimmy V’s, which has a location in Grandview, took third.
Columbus Museum of Art
The museum cleaned up in this category, but a special mention has to go to the Dublin Arts Council Gallery, which held its own against central Ohio’s visual arts juggernaut.
Best Public Art
Public Art in Westerville Spaces
Westerville’s ever-changing sculpture project, now in its third year, has captured the eyes of readers all across central Ohio.
Best Theater Troupe
Shadowbox faced stiff competition from the likes of CATCO, Available Light Theatre, SNAP! Performance Productions and more, but still came out on top.
Best Performance Venue
The Ohio Theatre takes home this honor for the second year in a row.
Best Moviegoing Experience
CAPA Summer Movie Series
Seeing an old movie at the beautiful Ohio Theatre is always enjoyable, but for a unique experience, check out Fright Nite with Fritz the Nite Owl on July 26.
Best University Art Museum
Wexner Center for the Arts
Best Interactive Arts Activities for Kids
Best Concert Venue
Best Movie Theater
Arena Grand Movie Theatre
Best Suburban Public Art Program
Best Local Author
Best Art on Display at a Restaurant
Barcelona’s walls are always covered with the work of a featured artist, with the artist changing every two months.
Best Face of Columbus
Given how much time Jungle Jack spends talking up Columbus on a national and international level, it’s no wonder his is the face most Columbusites associate with our city.
Best Public Bathroom
It’s not often that a bathroom makes a lasting impression, but Von Maur’s certainly did for a lot of people – the department store won this category handily.
Best Event for People Watching
ComFest takes home the gold for the second year in a row, but Red, White & Boom! came awfully close.
Best Afternoon with Kids
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
When you’ve got the No. 1 zoo in the entire country, it’s a given that the kids are going to flock there.
Best Signature Columbus Experience for Out-of-Towners
Short North Gallery Hop
Any out-of-towner who takes a tour of the Short North and all its incredible offerings on a Saturday night and never wants to return just doesn’t like fun.
Best Annual Event for Out-of-Towners
Dublin Irish Festival
Food, music, Irish dancing, storytelling, shopping – what’s not to appeal to a first-time Irish Festival attendee?
Best Water Feature
Enjoy the sight of the downtown Columbus skyline while the kids enjoy the elaborate fountain setup – everybody wins!
Best Suburban Fireworks
It was an all-out war in this category, but when the smoke cleared, Grove City stood triumphant.
Highbanks Metro Park
Best Public Garden
Franklin Park Conservatory
Best Hiking Trail/Nature Preserve
Old Man’s Cave
Best Park for Dogs
Westerville Bark Park
Best Hometown Product
Cheryl & Co.
Cheryl’s iconic cookies have had a special place in central Ohio’s heart for decades, and it looks like that’s not about to change anytime soon.
Health & Fitness
Best Dance Studio
BalletMet Dance Academy
The talented professional dancers who dance in BalletMet’s major productions aren’t the only ones who can benefit from its instructors’ knowledge.
Best Charitable Opportunity
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio
Columbus has so many great charities to choose from, but accommodations for the families of seriously ill children struck a chord with our readers.
Best Charitable Benefit
The ubiquitous bike ride for cancer research is young, but has become a powerful force in a very short time.
Best Scenic Drive
Best Weekend Trip
It seems Hocking Hills is a great experience whether you’re driving or walking. Give credit to Put-in-Bay, though, for coming so close on Best Weekend Trip.
Best Major Sporting Event
You might think “The Game” would run away with this one, but its opponents, the Memorial Tournament and the Arnold Sports Festival, put up a heck of a fight.
Best Run/Fitness Event
New Albany Walking Classic
Learn more about the largest walking-only event in the U.S. in our special section, starting on page XX.
Premier at Sawmill
Since its early days as Sawmill Athletic Club, the Premier has set a standard in Columbus.
Woodhouse Day Spa
Woodhouse blew away the competition, winning by the largest margin seen in all the categories.
Best Farmers’ Market
Best Sports Venue
Best New Restaurant
Cameron Mitchell Restaurants went all out on its first new restaurant concept in five years, and it shows in the massive popularity of the Pearl.
Best Restaurant for a Night Out in the Suburbs
Best Ground-Level Window Seat
Best Waterfront Dining
Bel Lago cleaned up in this year’s awards, but Milestone 229 deserves an honorable mention for its close call in the Best Waterfront Dining category.
Best Food Coma Potential
Go to the buffet, eat a bunch of doughnuts, slip into a food coma – they’re all connected, if you think about it. Schmidt’s Restaurant und Sausage Haus almost managed to win the Best Buffet category.
This local favorite is making waves outside of central Ohio, too – it has locations all over Ohio, as well as in Kentucky and Indiana.
Chef Honda has only been in business since January, but it’s made a big impression in that time.
Bess’ Cakery doesn’t even have a storefront, but it managed to take down a long list of competitors that do.
Grass Skirt Tiki Room
A proper tiki bar drink can’t just taste good. It also has to look the part, and the Grass Skirt’s concoctions certainly fit the bill.
Best Wine Selection – Retail/Winery
Best Beer Selection – Retail
Giant Eagle Market District
It appears this Upper Arlington favorite is the place to be for whatever spirit tickles your fancy. Its wine events, including Food and Wine Fridays and the Market District Wine School, and its selection of 700-plus beers work in its favor.
Best Restaurant to Take Out-of-Towners to
Best Extravagant Pastries
Schmidt’s Restaurant und Sausage Haus
Those colossal cream puffs are enough to keep anyone coming back. Give credit to Mozart’s Bakery and Piano Café for almost taking the Best Extravagant Pastries category.
Best Comfort Food
Best Business Lunch
Cap City Diner
Well, it’s important for everyone at a business lunch to be comfortable, right?
Best Food Presentation
Best “Price is No Object” Menu
Can you really put a price on beauty, though?
Best Menu Item Name
The Thurmanator, Thurman Café
This old favorite overcame such contenders as the Joe Dirt, the Nina West and Rachel & Nicki Got Stuck in a Closet.
Best Unique Meat on Menu
Kangaroo, De Novo/Turtle, The Olde Mohawk
Against all odds, this one actually ended in a tie between the Olde Mohawk’s turtle soup and De Novo’s cherry wood smoked kangaroo loin.
Best Low-Cost Menu
Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace
Dirty Frank’s is well known around town for its reasonably-priced hot dogs, but it still faced tough competition from central Ohio’s much-beloved Wendy’s.
Best Dessert for a Night Out
Gelato, bon bons and all manner of chocolate-covered treats – if Chocolaterie Stam is on your agenda, you’re sure to go home happy (and full).
Best Outdoor Dining
When a restaurant is located smack in the middle of our Best View/Cityscape winner, it’s a shoo-in for Best Outdoor Dining.
Best Local Wine
This stalwart Gahanna-area winery is a local favorite, but Short North-based Brothers Drake Meadery gave it a run for its money.
Best Local Beer
Columbus Brewing Company
When it comes to local microbrews, competition has gotten stiff in recent years, but Columbus Brewing Company still leads the pack among CityScene readers.
Best Regional Liquor
Middle West Spirits
Middle West is responsible for OYO products. Its current line-up includes three vodkas and three whiskeys.
Best Restaurant for a Night Out Downtown
Hyde Park Steakhouse
Zamarelli’s Pizza Palace
The Old Bag of Nails
Best Small Plates
Best Vegetarian/Vegan Options
Best Extravagant Dessert
Mexican Apple Pie, Cantina Laredo
Best Frozen Desserts
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Best Food Truck
Mikey’s Late Night Slice
Best North Market Food Stand
Sarefino’s Pizzeria & Italian Deli
Best Post-Show Drinks
Best Unique Cocktails
M at Miranova
Best Wine Selection – Restaurant
The Wine Bistro
Best Beer Selection – Bar/Restaurant
World of Beer
Best Happy Hour
Best Wine Events
Best Ethnic Food Market