BEST OF PITTSBURGH 2003 | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper



Click on the links below to read stories about selected winners of this year's "Best of Pittsburgh" readers' poll.


Best commercial art gallery
Concept Art Gallery
1031 S. Braddock Ave., Regent Square, 412-242-9200
2nd: Boxheart Expressions
3rd: Mendelson Gallery

Best museum
Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History

4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland, 412-622-3131
2nd: The Andy Warhol Museum
3rd: Mattress Factory

Best family museum
Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History
4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland, 412-622-3131
2nd: Carnegie Science Center
3rd: Children’s Museum

Best movie theater (independent)
The Oaks Theater
301 Allegheny River Blvd., Oakmont, 412-828-6311
2nd: Regent Square Theater
3rd: Harris Theater

Best place to see live theater
Benedum Center for the Performing
Downtown, 412-456-6666
2nd: City Theatre
3rd: O'Reilly Theater

Best club to see a live band
Club Cafe
56-58 S. 12th St., South Side, 412-431-4950
2nd: Nick’s Fat City
3rd: Rosebud

Best dance club
Station Square, 412-261-2220
2nd: The Upstage
3rd: Sanctuary

Best jazz club
Dowe’s on Ninth
121 Ninth St., Downtown, 412-281-9225
2nd: James Street Tavern
3rd: Crawford Grill

Best new bar/club
Tiki Lounge
2003 E. Carson St., South Side, 412-381-8454
2nd: Deja Vu
3rd: Matrix

Best shot-n-beer bar
Jack’s Bar
1121 E. Carson St., South Side, 412-431-3644
2nd: Dee’s Cafe
3rd: Gooski’s

Best gay/lesbian bar
818 Liberty Ave., Downtown, 412-281-2131
2nd: New York, New York
3rd: The Eagle

Best sports bar
Sports Rock Cafe
1400 Smallman St., Strip District, 412-552-1000
2nd: Dave & Busters
3rd: Philthy McNasty’s Bar & Grill

Best local acoustic artist(s)

Brad Yoder
2nd: Bill Deasy
3rd: Ceann Na Caca

Best local blues band
Jill West and the Blues Attack
2nd: Tony Janflone Jr.
3rd: Blues Orphans

Best local alt-country band
Soda Jerk

2nd: Povertyneck Hillbillies
3rd: Boxstep

Best local jazz band
Boilermaker Jazz Band
2nd: Phat Man Dee
3rd: Etta Cox

Best local hip-hop performers
Strict Flow
2nd: Grand Buffet
3rd: Sho-Nuff

Best local rock band
The Clarks
2nd: Buzz Poets
3rd: Gathering Field

Best radio station
WYEP 91.3 FM
2313 E. Carson St., South Side, 412-381-9131
2nd: WXDX 105.9 FM
3rd: WDVE 102.5 FM

Best talk radio
KDKA 1020 AM
One Gateway Center, Downtown, 412-575-2200
2nd: WDUQ 90.5 FM
3rd: WXDX 105.9 FM -- Howard Stern

Best local morning radio show
WDVE 102.5 FM -- Jim and Randy
200 Fleet St., Green Tree, 412-937-1441
2nd: WXDX 105.9 FM -- Howard Stern
3rd: WBZZ 93.7 FM -- Morning Buzz

Best place to see comedy
The Funnybone
Station Square, 412-281-3130
2nd: The Improv
3rd: City-County Building

Best place to see female strippers
Club Erotica
826 Island Ave., McKees Rock, 412-771-8872
2nd: Bare Elegance
3rd: Club Elite

Best place to see male strippers
Club Erotica
826 Island Ave., McKees Rocks, 412-771-8872
2nd: Gloria’s Exotic Male Dance Club
3rd: My house


Best local family restaurant
Eat ’n Park
Multiple locations
2nd: King’s Family Restaurant
3rd: Del’s Bar & Ristorante

Best new restaurant
La Strada
620 Liberty Ave., Downtown, 412-697-2800
2nd: Zen Garden
3rd: Cafe du Jour

Best beer selection at a local restaurant
Sharp Edge Bar & Restaurant
302 S. Saint Clair St., Friendship, 412-661-3537
2nd: Fat Heads South Shore Saloon
3rd: Smokin’ Joe’s

Best brew pub/microbrewery
Church Brew Works
3525 Liberty Ave., Lawrenceville, 412-688-8200
2nd: Penn Brewery
3rd: Valhalla Microbrewery & Restaurant

Best Cajun restaurant
James Street Tavern
422 Foreland Ave., North Side, 412-323-2222
2nd: Kaya
3rd: Crawford Grill

Best Chinese Restaurant
China Palace
Multiple locations
2nd: Sesame Inn
3rd: New Dumpling House

Best French restaurant
Le Pommier
2104 E. Carson St., South Side, 412-431-1901
2nd: Le Perroquet Bistro Francais
3rd: La Foret

Best German restaurant
Max’s Allegheny Tavern
537 Suismon St., North Side, 412-231-1899
2nd: Penn Brewery
3rd: Kleiner Deutschmann

Best Greek restaurant
Christo’s Mediterranean Grille
130 Sixth St., Downtown, 412-261-6442
2nd: Amel’s Restaurant
3rd: Mike & Tony’s Gyros

Best Indian Restaurant
India Garden
328 Atwood St., Oakland, 412-682-3000 & 3813 William Penn Hwy., Monroeville, 412-372-0400
2nd: Prince of India
3rd: Taste of India

Best Irish restaurant
Piper’s Pub
1828 E. Carson St., South Side, 412-381-3977
2nd: Mullaney’s Harp & Fiddle
3rd: Blarney Stone Restaurant

Best local Italian restaurant
Del’s Bar & Ristorante
4428 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield, 412-683-1448
2nd: Buca di Beppo
3rd: Rebecca Tambellini

Best Japanese restaurant
Kiku Japanese Restaurant
Station Square, 412-765-3200
2nd: Sushi Two
3rd: Umi

Best local Mexican restaurant
Mad Mex
Multiple locations
2nd: Cozumel
3rd: El Campesino

Best Middle-Eastern restaurant
Ali Baba Restaurant
404 S. Craig St., Oakland, 412-682-2829
2nd: Kassab’s Restaurant
3rd: Amel’s Restaurant

Best Polish restaurant

Bloomfield Bridge Tavern
4412 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield, 412-682-8611
2nd: Gooski’s
3rd: Old Europe

Best Spanish restaurant
2228 E. Carson St., South Side, 412-488-1818
2nd: N/A
3rd: N/A

Best Thai restaurant
Thai Place
5528 Walnut Street., Shadyside, 412-687-8586, 1034 Freeport Road, 412-784-8980
2nd: Thai Me Up
3rd: Spice Island Tea House

Best Vietnamese restaurant
Tram’s Kitchen
4039 Penn Ave., Bloomfield, 412-682-2688
2nd (tie): My Ngoc/Pho Minh
3rd: Lemongrass Cafe

Best outdoor dining
Harris Grill
5747 Ellsworth Ave., Shadyside, 412-363-0833
2nd: Mallorca
3rd: Cafe du Jour

Best romantic restaurant
1114 Grandview Ave., Mount Washington, 412-431-3100
2nd: Hyeholde Restaurant
3rd: The Tin Angel

Best local seafood restaurant

The Original Fish Market
1001 Liberty Ave., Downtown, 412-227-3657
2nd: Monterey Bay Fish Grotto
3rd: Poli’s Restaurant

Best soul food restaurant
Crawford Grill
Station Square, 412-281-2885
2nd: Mr. Ribbs
3rd: Kayla’s Place

Best sushi restaurant
Sushi Kim
1241 Penn Ave., Strip District, 412-281-9956
2nd: Sushi Two
3rd: Sushi Too

Best steakhouse
Pittsburgh Steak Company
1924 E. Carson St., South Side, 412-381-5505
2nd: Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
3rd: Morton’s of Chicago

Best vegetarian selection at a local restaurant
East End Food Co-op Café
7516 Meade St., Point Breeze, 412-242-7726
2nd: Zenith Tea Room
3rd: Zen Garden

Best bagels
Multiple locations
2nd: Einstein Brothers Bagels
3rd: Panera Bread

Best barbecue
Damon’s the Place for Ribs
Multiple locations
2nd: Mr. Ribbs
3rd (tie): Red River BBQ & Grill/Smokey Bones BBQ

Best bread
2110 Brighton Road, North Side, 412-231-7555
2nd: Panera Bread
3rd: Mancini’s Bakery

Best breakfast
Multiple locations
2nd: Eat ’n Park
3rd: DeLuca’s Restaurant

Best chocolates
Sarris Candies
511 Adams Ave., Canonsburg, 724-745-4042
2nd: The Chocolate Moose
3rd: Mon Ami

Best coffeehouse
Multiple locations
2nd: Beehive Coffeehouse
3rd: Crazy Mocha

Best deli
Carson Street Deli
1610 E. Carson St., South Side, 412-381-5335
2nd: Pittsburgh Deli Company
3rd: Kazansky’s Delicatessen

Best desserts
Gullifty’s Restaurant
1922 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill, 412-521-8222
2nd: Prantl’s Bakery
3rd: Crazy Mocha

Best French fries
The Original Hot Dog Shop
3901 Forbes Ave., Oakland, 412-621-7388
2nd: Potato Patch at Kennywood
3rd: Primanti Brothers

Best fish sandwich
Wholey’s Fish Market
1711 Penn Ave., Strip District, 412-391-3737
2nd: Benkovitz Seafoods
3rd: Armand’s Bar

Best hamburger
4601 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield, 412-682-6809
2nd: Max & Erma’s
3rd: Fat Heads South Shore Saloon

Best ice cream
Dave & Andy’s Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt
207 Atwood St., 412-681-9906 & Station Square, 412-232-3600
2nd: Bruster’s Old-Fashioned Ice Cream
3rd: Klavon’s Ice Cream Parlor

Best Pierogie
Bloomfield Bridge Tavern
4412 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield, 412-682-8611
2nd: Pierogies Plus, Inc.
3rd: Clara’s Pittsburgh Pierogies

Best Pizza
Mineo’s Pizza House
2128 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill, 412-521-9864 & 713A Washington Road, Mt. Lebanon, 412-344-9467
2nd: Vincent’s Pizza Park
3rd: Pi Pizza

Best sandwich
Primanti Brothers
Multiple locations
2nd (tie): Fat Head’s South Shore Saloon/Pittsburgh Deli Company
3rd: Carson Street Deli

Best wings
Quaker Steak & Lube
110 Andrew Drive, Robinson Twp., 412-494-3344 & 1298 Freedom Road, Cranberry, 724-778-9464
2nd: Fat Head’s South Shore Saloon
3rd: Buffalo Blues

Best happy hour/drink special
Mad Mex
Multiple locations
2nd: Sports Rock Café
3rd: Deja Vu

Best late-night special
Mad Mex
Multiple locations
2nd: Eat ’n Park
3rd: Tom’s Diner

Best Sunday brunch
Grand Concourse
Station Square, 412-261-1717
2nd: Eat ’n Park
3rd: Pamela’s


Best local bookstore
Jay’s Book Stall
3604 Fifth Ave., Oakland, 412-683-2644
2nd (tie): Mystery Lovers Bookshop/City Books
3rd: Eljay’s Used Books

Best used bookstore
Half Price Books
Multiple locations
2nd: Eljay’s Used Books
3rd: Three Penny Books

Best adult bookstore
Adult Merchandise Mart
4611 McKnight Road, North Hills, 412-931-1166
2nd: Monroeville Newsstand
3rd: N/A

Best comic bookstore
Eide’s Entertainment
1111 Penn Ave., Strip District, 412-261-0900
2nd: Phantom of the Attic
3rd: Duncan Comics

Best health food store
East End Food Co-op
7516 Meade St., Point Breeze, 412-242-3598
2nd: GNC
3rd: Whole Foods

Best bicycle shop
Gatto Bicycle Shop
Multiple locations
2nd: Biketek
3rd: Dirty Harry’s

Best furniture store
2220 E. Carson St., South Side, 412-431-2220
2nd: Ikea
3rd: Weisshouse

Best clothing store (women’s)
Multiple locations
2nd: Luxx
3rd: Ann Taylor

Best clothing store (men’s)
5401 Walnut St., Shadyside, 412-681-8640
2nd: Kaufmann’s
3rd (tie): Men’s Wearhouse/Larrimor’s

Best clothing store (children’s)
Newman’s Children's Clothing
5834 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill, 412-421-4000
2nd: Tots ’n’ Tweeds
3rd: Old Navy

Best used clothing (thrift)
Multiple locations
2nd: Red, White & Blue thrift stores
3rd: Salvation Army

Best used clothing (vintage)
Hey Betty
5892 Ellsworth Ave., Shadyside, 412-363-0999
2nd: Eons Fashion Antique
3rd: Yesterday’s News

Best shoe store
Little’s Shoes
5850 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill, 412-521-3530
2nd: Best Made Shoes
3rd: DSW Shoe Warehouse

Best jewelry store
Orr’s Jewelers
5857 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill, 412-421-6777
2nd: Henne Jewelers
3rd: King’s Jewelers

Best place to buy eyeglasses

Multiple locations
2nd: Pearle Vision
3rd: Lenscrafter

Best day spa
The Sewickley Spa
337 Beaver St., Sewickley, 412-741-4240
2nd: Eva Szabo European Skin Care
3rd: Jacques Dessange

Best hair salon
Philip Pelusi
Multiple locations
2nd: Supercuts
3rd: Izzazu International Salon

Best tattoo parlor
Inka Dinka Doo
3627 Butler St., Lawrenceville, 412-683-4320
2nd: South Side Tattoo
3rd: Jester’s Court Tattoos & More

Best body piercer
Hot Rod Piercing Co.
93 S. 16th St., South Side, 412-431-6077 & 115 Oakland Ave., Oakland, 412-687-4320
2nd: Z-Spot Body Art Studio Inc.
3rd: South Side Tattoo

Best new-age shop
Hocus Pocus
113 Meyran Ave., Oakland, 412-622-0113
2nd: Journeys of Life
3rd: The Culture Shop

Best hotel
Omni William Penn
530 William Penn Place, Downtown, 412-281-7100
2nd: Renaissance Fulton Hotel
3rd (tie): Hilton Pittsburgh & Towers/Sheraton Station Square

Best music store
Paul's CDs
4526 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield, 412-621-3256
2nd: Dave’s Music Mine
3rd: Record Exchange

Best place to still buy vinyl

Jerry's Records
2136 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill, 412-421-4533
2nd: Dave’s Music Mine
3rd: Eide’s Entertainment

Best neighborhood bakery
5525 Walnut St., Shadyside, 412-621-2092
2nd: Paddy Cake Bakery
3rd: Oakmont Bakery

Best neighborhood grocer
Giant Eagle
Multiple locations
2nd: Whole Foods
3rd (tie): Donatelli’s/Merante

Best local video store
Heads Together
1914 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill, 412-521-1151
2nd: Hollywood Video
3rd: Incredibly Strange Video

Best dating service
2nd: Match Maker International
3rd: Lava Life


Best bowling alley
Arsenal Lanes
212 44th St., Lawrenceville, 412-683-5992
2nd: Forward Lanes
3rd: Funfest

Best day trip
Ohiopyle State Park
2nd: Fallingwater
3rd: Kennywood

Best golf course
Oakmont Country Club
1233 Hulton Rd., Oakmont, 412-828-5335
2nd: Schenley Park Golf Course
3rd: Nevillewood

Best health club
Bally’s Total Fitness
Multiple locations
2nd (tie): Club One/Extreme Fitness
3rd: Oxford Athletic Club

Best martial arts studio
C. S. Kim Karate Inc.
Multiple locations
2nd: Rothrock’s Kung Fu & Tai Chi
3rd: Tri Mudra

Best miniature golf
Cool Springs
1530 Hamilton Rd., Bethel Park, 412-831-5080
2nd (tie): Putt-Putt/Scally’s Golf Center
3rd: Wildwood Highlands Family Fun Center

Best place to skateboard
Mr. Small’s Skatepark
40 Riverfront Dr., Millvale, 412-821-8388
2nd (tie): UPMC Parking lot/William Penn Rec. Center
3rd: McKinley Park

Best ice skating rink
Schenley Skating Rink
Schenley Park, Oakland, 412-422-6547
2nd: PPG Place
3rd: South Park Rink

Best ski resort
Seven Springs Mountain Resort
Champion, 814-352-7777
2nd: Hidden Valley Four Seasons Resort
3rd: Boyce Park

Best trail to break a sweat
Frick Park
2nd: Montour Trail
3rd: Schenley Park


Best place to take Rick Santorum on a date
Pegasus Lounge
818 Liberty Ave., Downtown, 412-281-2131
2nd: New York New York
3rd: The Eagle

Best example of a local celebrity who’d buy a Hummer
Jerome Bettis

2nd: Plaxico Burress
3rd: Mario Lemieux

Best thing to name one of the new sharks at the zoo
2nd: Mayor Murphy
3rd: Fluffy

Best place to put the Ten Commandments if they’re removed
By the churches
2nd: County jail
3rd: Up Santorum’s ass

Best untried means of raising city tax revenue

2nd: Tax to enter or leave the city
3rd: Legalize prostitution

Best way to lure young people to Pittsburgh
Create more jobs
2nd: Lower taxes
3rd: Better nightlife

Best place to hide from the young people that have been lured
Stay at home
2nd: Downtown at night
3rd: Any library

Best public place to take a nap
Schenley Park (Flagstaff Hill)
2nd: Point State Park
3rd: Cathedral of Learning lawn

Best location for a new casino
Along one of the rivers

2nd: The Waterfront
3rd: Station Square

Best use for Pittsburgh International Airport if US Airways abandons it
2nd: NASCAR racetrack
3rd: Shopping mall

Best place to hide Weapons of Mass Destruction in Pittsburgh
2nd: The bottom of a river
3rd: City-County Building

Best-looking male local personality
Jeff Verszyla -- KDKA TV
2nd: Ken Rice -- KDKA TV
3rd: Scott Blasey -- The Clarks

Best-looking female local personality
Julie Bologna -- WPXI TV
2nd: Phat Man Dee -- Singer and performer
3rd: Susan Barnett -- KDKA TV

Best punishment for the revamped school board if it misbehaves again
Send them back to Pittsburgh public schools
2nd: Paddling/spanking/public flogging
3rd: Fire them

Best art dinosaur
Rick Bach’s "Nino the Crusher"
2nd: Fred Rogers
3rd: Doctor Rex

Worst art dinosaur
Dollar Bank
2nd: All of them
3rd: N/A

Best local street fair
South Side Summer Street Spectacular
2nd: Arts on Ellsworth, Shadyside
3rd: Walnut Street Arts Festival, Shadyside

Best way to save local public transit
Use it!
2nd: Lower fares
3rd: Expand routes -- serve more areas

The Play-at-Home Version

Your categories. Your winners. (You’re medicated?)

After City Paper readers -- God help you all -- had filled out two full pages of readers’ poll categories, we asked you to make up your own categories, winners and explanations. Amazingly, even after all that, many of you obliged. The responses enlighten, amuse and, frankly, make us hope that some of you are not operating heavy machinery.

Click here for some of this year’s responses.