March 15, 2007

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Hippo’s Best of Everything 2007
7th annual readers’ poll
By Hippo staff news@hippopress.com

Everybody eats.

More Hippo readers than ever before voted in our seventh annual readers’ poll and offered up their opinions on everything from public art to local hotties, spas to sports.

But the most responses appeared in the food categories. Not everybody has a favorite Laundromat or a beloved pool hall but just about everyone who answered our poll has definite opinions about tasty categories such as best diner, best Asian and best Mexican. So grab a spoon and dig in to this list of what your neighbors view as the very best this area has to offer.

Results (tallied from reader responses to the online and in-paper ballot) include an overall winner (representing the person, place or event that got the most votes overall) as well as winners in specific cities. Runners-up represent overall votes cast, excluding those that won in a specific city. In some categories, editor’s comments discuss notable votes or voting patterns.

Hippo offers hearty congratulations to all winners and runners-up. And the “Best” goes to …

THE ARTS
• Best lve theater show
Overall winner: Cats at the Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover St. in Manchester.
Runner-up: Recycled Percussion at the Palace Theatre in Manchester.
Best Concord-area show: Beauty and the Beast, an Educational Theater Collaboration presentation at Plymouth State University and the Capitol Center for the Arts, 44 S. Main St., Concord.
Notes on the votes: This category was looking for a specific show, not just a theater venue or company. In addition to votes for specific shows, the Palace Theatre in Manchester received the most votes of any company or venue. In Concord, the Capitol Center for the Arts received the most votes. In Nashua, no specific shows were voted for but the Peacock Players received the most votes of any Nashua-area theater company. (To those who answered Mark’s Showplace in Bedford — yes, ha ha.)

• Best art gallery (not the Currier, which is a museum)
Overall winner: Art 3 Gallery, 44 W. Brook St. in Manchester.
Runner-up: Hatfield Gallery, 55 S. Commercial St. in Manchester
Best Concord-area gallery: Anderson-Soule Gallery, 2 Capitol Plaza in Concord.
Best Nashua-area gallery: Gallery One, 5 Pine St. Extension in Nashua.

• Best art in a public space
Overall winner: City Hall, One City Hall Plaza in Manchester.
Runner-up: Greeley Park, Concord Street in Nashua.
Best Concord-area art in a public space: The Statehouse, 107 N. Main St. in Concord.
Best Nashua area art in a public space: Nashua Public Library, 2 Court St. in Nashua.
Notes on the votes: Some voters specified exactly which art they liked in the chosen locations (at Manchester’s City Hall voters mentioned both the Art on the Wall inside the building and the John Stark statue outside of City Hall; some votes for Greeley specifically mentioned the park’s annual art show). A number of votes were also cast for a variety of local restaurants and cafés that regularly display the works of local artists, which means that even people who don’t go to galleries and official art shows are getting a taste of the local art scene.

BEAUTY
• Best barbershop
Overall winner: Dude’s Barber Shop, 123 Webster St. in Manchester.
Runner-up: The Barber Shop, 1285 Elm St. in Manchester.
Best Concord-area barbershop: Dick’s Barber Shop, 3 Thorndike St. in Concord.
Best Nashua-area barbershop: Chuck’s Barber Shop, 168 Main St. in Nashua.

• Best independent clothing store
Overall winner: George’s Apparel, 675 Elm St. in Manchester.
Runner-up: Alapage, 25 S. River Road # 301 in Bedford.
Best Concord-area independent clothing store: Gondwana, 13 N. Main St. in Concord.
Best Nashua-area independent clothing store: Tallulah Rose, 87 Main St. in Nashua.

• Best Laundromat
Overall winner: Bird Bath Laundromat with locations at 49 Beech St., 253 Lake Ave. and 1000 Hanover St. in Manchester.
Runner-up: Embassy Laundromat, 217 Union St. in Manchester.
Best Concord-area Laundromat: Thirty Pines Laundromat, 15 Village St. in Penacook.
Best Nashua-area Laundromat: Kay’s Home-style Laundromat, 80 Lowell Road in Hudson.

• Best salon
Overall winner: Salon Beauchesne, 32 Hanover St. in Manchester.
Runner-up: Not So Plain Jane’s Salon, 155 Dow St. #102 in Manchester.
Best Concord-area salon: TIE — Creative Colors & Cuts, 50 S. State St. in Concord; Olivia’s A Fine Salon, 126 Loudon Road in Concord.
Best Nashua-area salon: Charle Aiden Salon, 142 Main St. #206 in Nashua.

• Best spa
Overall winner: Not So Plain Jane’s Salon in Manchester.
Runner-up: Anew You Skin Care and Day Spa, 170 Lowell St. in Manchester.
Best Concord-area spa: Serendipity Day Spa, 23 Sheep Davis Road, Pembroke.
Best Merrimack spa: Innovations Salon & Spa, 228 Naticook Road in Merrimack.
Best Nashua-area spa: Cassandra Salon & Spa, 225 DW Highway in Nashua.

FOOD
• Best Asian food
Overall winner: Chen Yang Li, with locations in Woodbury Court, 124 S. River Road in Bedford; 337 Amherst St. in Nashua and 520 South St. in Bow.
Runner-up: Aloha Restaurant, 901 Hanover St. in Manchester.
Best Concord-area Asian food: Siam Orchid, 158 N. Main St. in Concord.
Best Manchester-area Asian food: Thousand Crane, 1000 Elm St. in Manchester.
Best Nashua-area Asian food: Lilac Blossom, with locations at 650 Amherst St. and 385 E. Dunstable Road in Nashua.

• Best beer selection
Overall winner: Strange Brew, 88 Market St. in Manchester.
Runner-up: Milly’s Tavern, 500 N. Commercial St. in Manchester.
Best Concord-area beer selection: The Draft, 67 S. Main St. in Concord.
Best Nashua area beer selection: Martha’s Exchange Restaurant, 185 Main St. in Nashua.

• Best breakfast
Overall winner: Red Arrow Diner, 61 Lowell St. in Manchester.
Runner-up: Chiggy’s Place, 372 Kelley St. in Manchester.
Best Concord-area breakfast: Corner View Restaurant, 80 1/2 South St. in Concord.
Best Derry breakfast: MaryAnn’s Diner, 29 E. Broadway in Derry.
Best Nashua-area breakfast: Jackie’s Diner, 168 Main St. in Nashua.

• Best cheap eats
Overall winner: Red Arrow Diner in Manchester.
Runner-up: Pindos Restaurant & Pizza, 49 Massabesic St. in Manchester.
Best Concord-area cheap eats: Veano’s Italian Kitchen, 142 Loudon Road in Concord.
Best Nashua-area cheap eats: Nathaniel’s Family Eatery, 537 Amherst Road in Nashua.

• Best cocktails
Overall winner: Puritan Backroom, 245 Hooksett Road in Manchester.
Runner-up: Cotton Restaurant, 75 Arms Park Dr. in Manchester.
Best Concord area cocktails: The Draft in Concord.
Best Nashua area cocktails: Manhattan on Pearl, 70 E. Pearl St. in Nashua.

• Best desserts
Overall winner: Piccola Italia Ristorante, 815 Elm St. in Manchester.
Runner-up: Bedford Village Inn, 2 Olde Bedford Way off Route 101 in Bedford.
Best Concord area desserts: Madeleines Elegance Defined, 124 N. Main St. in Concord. Owner Paul Brown pictured.
Best Nashua area desserts: Michael Timothy’s, 212 Main St. in Nashua.

• Best diner
Overall winner: Red Arrow in Manchester.
Runner-up: Airport Diner, 2280 Brown Ave. in Manchester.
Best Concord-area diner: Tilt’n Diner, 61 Laconia Road in Tilton.
Best Derry diner: MaryAnn’s in Derry.
Best Nashua area diner: Jackie’s Diner in Nashua.

• Best grilled cheese
Overall winner: Red Arrow in Manchester.
Runner-up: Puritan Backroom in Manchester.
Best Concord-area grilled cheese: Tilt’n Diner in Tilton.
Best Nashua-area diner: Roland’s Restaurant, 94 Kinsey St. in Nashua.

• Best french fries
Overall winner: Caesarios Pizza, 1057 Elm St. in Manchester.
Runner-up: Strange Brew in Manchester.
Best Concord-area french fries: The Draft in Concord.
Best Nashua-area french fries: Peddler’s Daughter, 48 Main St. in Nashua.

• Best ice cream
Overall winner: Hayward’s Ice Cream with locations at 7 D.W. Highway in Nashua and 383 Elm St. in Milford.
Runner-up: Goldenrod Restaurant, 1681 Candia Road in Manchester.
Best Concord-area ice cream: Arnie’s Place, 164 Loudon Road in Concord.
Best Manchester-area ice cream: Puritan in Manchester.
Notes on the votes: This hotly contested category produced some of the readers’ poll’s most geographically diverse answers. In addition to ice cream favorites in Manchester, Nashua and Concord, there were strong showings by King Kone in Merrimack, Memories Ice Cream in Kingston, Lone Oak Ice Cream in Rochester, Moo’s Place Homemade Ice Cream in Derry and Johnson’s Restaurant and Dairy in Northwood.

• Best Italian restaurant
Overall winner: Piccola Italia Ristorante in Manchester.
Runner-up: Fratello’s Ristorante Italiano, 155 Dow St., # 201, in Manchester.
Best Concord-area Italian restaurant: Angelina’s Ristorante Italiano, 11 Depot St. in Concord.
Best Merrimack Italian restaurant: Ya Mamma’s, 75 D.W. Highway in Merrimack.
Best Nashua-area Italian restaurant: Villa Banca, 194 Main St. in Nashua.
Notes on the votes: Italian restaurant was another geographically diverse category. In addition to a contested race in Merrimack, blocks of votes went to Colosseum in Salem, Mangia Italian Deli Café in Hooksett and Pasquale’s Ristorante in Candia.

• Best menu item
Overall winner: Chicken tenders at the Puritan Backroom in Manchester.
Runner-up: Haddock tacos at Cactus Jack’s (CJ’s Great West Grill) 782 S. Willow St. in Manchester.
Best Nashua-area menu item: The Jeff at Seedling Café, 9 Water St. in Nashua.

• Best Mexican/Latin American restaurant
Overall winner: La Caretta Mexican Restaurant, with locations at 545 Hooksett Road in Manchester, 139 D.W. Highway in Nashua and the Hannford Plaza in Derry.
First runner-up: Shorty’s Mexican Roadhouse with locations at 230 Route 101 in Bedford, Northside Plaza in Manchester and Nashua Mall in Nashua.
Second runner-up: Margarita’s Mexican Restaurant and Watering Hole (Tio Juan’s Margarita’s Mexican Restaurant and Watering Hole), with area locations at 1 Bicentennial Square in Concord, 1037 Elm St. in Manchester, 1 Nashua Drive in Nashua and 1 Keewaydin Drive in Salem.
Best Concord-area Mexican restaurant: Hermano’s Cocina Mexicana, 11 Hills Ave. in Concord.
Best Manchester-area Mexican restaurant: Cactus Jack’s in Manchester.
Best Nashua-area Mexican restaurant: La Hacienda Del Rio, 4 Taggart Dr. in Nashua.
Notes on the votes: The three highest vote-getters in this category are local chains with locations in many of the cities where we tabulated votes. The La Caretta chain received the most votes, followed by Shorty’s and then Margarita’s. Of Mexican/Latin American restaurants with only one local outlet, Hermanos won for Concord, Cactus Jack’s won in Manchester and La Hacienda won in Nashua.

• Best neighborhood market
Overall winner: Bunny’s Superette, 75 Webster St. in Manchester.
Runner-up: Sully’s Superette, 10 N. Mast St. in Goffstown.
Best Concord-area neighborhood market: Ordway’s Market & Deli, 250 South St. in Concord.
Best Nashua-area neighborhood market: Jeannotte’s Market, 2 Courtland St. in Nashua.
Notes on the votes: This was another category with answers from all over. Farther-flung vote-getting markets included Bi-Wise Market in Allenstown and the Harvest Markets in Bedford and Hollis.

• Best new eatery
Overall winner: Commercial Street Fishery, 33 Commercial St. in Manchester.
Runner-up: Airport Diner in Manchester.
Best Concord-area new eatery: The Draft in Concord.
Best Merrimack new eatery: Buckley’s Great Steaks, 435 DW Highway, Merrimack.
Best Nashua-area new eatery: Eden Restaurant & Lounge, Salzburg Square on Route 101 in Amherst.

• Best pizza in your neighborhood
Overall winner: Alley Cat Pizzeria, 486 Chestnut St. in Manchester
Runner-up: Sal’s Pizza, with locations at 80 Storrs St. in Concord, 2 Lenox Road in Derry, 1328 Hooksett Road in Hooksett, 296 S. Willow St. in Manchester, 501 DW Highway in Merrimack, 180 Elm St. in Milford, 24 E. Hollis St. in Nashua and 29 N. Broadway in Salem.
Best Concord-area pizza in your neighborhood: The Draft in Concord.
Best Nashua-area pizza in your neighborhood: Kinsley Street House of Pizza, 118 Kinsley St. in Nashua.

• Best pizza worth the drive
Overall winner: Sal’s (see locations above).
Runner-up: Constantly Pizza, with locations at 39 S. Main St. in Concord and 108 Fisherville Road in Penacook.
Best Concord-area pizza worth the drive: Vinnie’s Pizzeria, 200 S. Main St. in Concord.
Best Manchester-area pizza worth the drive: Alley Cat in Manchester.
Best Nashua-area pizza worth the drive: Lui Lui, 259 D.W. Highway in Nashua.
Notes on the votes: In addition to these local pizzerias serving up slices worth taking a drive for, voters gave several suggestions for more far-flung pizza sources (each of these received multiple votes): Elvios Pizzeria in Lincoln; La Festa in Dover; Pizza by George in Raymond; Pizzeria Regina in Boston, Mass.; Santarpio’s Pizza in Boston, and Tripoli Bakery in Lawrence, Mass.

• Best ribs
Overall winner: KC’s Rib Shack, 837 Second St. in Manchester.
Runner-up: Down N Dirty, 168 Amory St. in Manchester.
Best Concor-area ribs: Beefside, 106 Manchester St. in Concord.
Best Nashua-area ribs: Smokey Bones Barbecue & Grill, 431 Middlesex Road in Tyngsboro, Mass.
Notes on the votes: Willing to take a drive? Some of the far-flung suggestions in this category included Goody Cole’s Smokehouse in Exeter and the Muddy River Smokehouse in Portsmouth.

• Best sandwich (name of sandwich and restaurant)
Overall winner: Steak & cheese at Nadeau’s (locations include Nadeau’s Subs at 100 Cahill Ave. in Manchester; Bob Nadeau’s House of Subs at 776 Mast Road in Manchester; Ben Nadeau’s Subs at 1095 Hanover St. in Manchester).
Runner-up: Nacho-crusted chicken at the Wild Rover, 21 Kosciuszko St. in Manchester.
Best Concord-area sandwich: Larry Bird at The Draft in Concord.
Best Nashua-area sandwich: The Jeff at the Seedling Café in Nashua.

• Best seafood restaurant
Overall winner: Tinker’s Seafood, 545 Hooksett #6 in Manchester.
Best Concord-area seafood: Makris Lobster and Steakhouse, 354 Sheep Davis Road in Concord.
Best Nashua-area seafood: Surf, 207 Main St. in Nashua.
Runner-up: Commercial Street Fishery in Manchester.

• Best steakhouse
Overall winner: Hanover Street Chophouse, 149 Hanover St. in Manchester.
Runner-up: Buckley’s Great Steaks in Merrimack.
Best Concord-area steakhouse: Red Blazer, 72 Manchester St. in Concord.
Best Merrimack-area steakhouse: Silo’s Steakhouse, 641 DW Highway in Merrimack.

• Best subs
Overall winner: Nadeau’s In Manchester (see best sandwich for locations).
Runner-up: Pizza Market, with area locations at 43 Allenstown Road in Allenstown, 30 Manchester St. in Concord, 670 Mast Road in Manchester, 902 # A Hanover St. in Manchester and 418 N. Main St. in Franklin.
Best Concord-area subs: The Yellow Sub, 192 North St. in Concord.
Best Nashua-area subs: Bill Cahill’s Super Subs, 8 Kimball Hill Road in Hudson.

• Best vegetarian menu
Overall winner: Seedling Café in Nashua.
Runner-up: India Palace, 575 S. Willow St. in Manchester.
Best Concord-area vegetarian menu: Concord Food Co-Op, 30 S. Main St. in Concord.
Best Manchester-area vegetarian menu: Café Momo, 1065 Hanover St. in Manchester.

• Best wine list
Overall winner: UnWined, 865 Second St. in Manchester.
Runner-up: CR Sparks, 18 Kilton Road in Bedford.
Best Concord-area wine list: 55 Degrees, 55 N. Main St. in Concord.
Best Nashua-area wine list: Michael Timothy’s in Nashua.

• Best restaurant overall
Overall winner: Puritan Backroom in Manchester.
Runner-up: Piccola Italia Ristorante in Manchester.
Best Concord area restaurant: The Draft in Concord.
Best Nashua area restaurant: Michael Timothy’s in Nashua.

ENTERTAINMENT
• Best CCTV show
Winner: Rapping with Rose Marie. On the air since 1992, this show and its host Rose Marie Lanier focuses on a variety of issues during a 30-minute interview, according to CCTV’s Web site.
Runner-up: Video Report Card, a movie show with host Barry Steelman.

• Best community event
Overall winner: Glendi, the annual fall Greek food and culture festival at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Manchester.
Runner-up: Sky Show, an event featuring live bands, fried dough and fireworks hosted by local radio station WGIR FM Rock 101 over Memorial Day weekend in Manchester.
Best Concord-area community event: Market Days, summertime downtown shopping and entertainment events in Concord.
Best Nashua-area community event: Winter Holiday Stroll, an event focused on entertainment and shopping in downtown Nashua, held the weekend after Thanksgiving.

• Best gym
Overall winner: Planet Fitness with locations at 195 McGregor St., 736 Huse Road and 895 Hanover St. in Manchester.
Runner-up: Gold’s Gym, 89 Dow St. in Manchester.
Best Concord-area gym: Gold’s Gym, 2 Home Ave. in Concord.
Best Nashua-area gym: Best Fitness, 55 Northeastern Blvd. #4 in Nashua.

• Best local radio show (include radio station)
Winner: New Hampshire in the Morning with Mike, Nancy and Ed, 95.7 FM WZID — morning show airing weekdays 5 to 10 a.m.
Runner-up: Greg and The Morning Buzz, 101.1 FM WGIR — morning show airing weekdays 5:30 to 10 a.m.
Second runner-up: Charlie Sherman’s morning show, 610 AM WGIR — morning show airing weekdays 5 to 9 a.m.

• Best local radio station
Winner: 95.7 FM WZID (adult contemporary).
Runner-up: 101.1 FM WGIR (rock).
Second runner-up: 105.5 FM WJYY (top 40).

• Best MCTV/ MCAM show
Winner: WAW (also known as WAW: Aftermath) — local amateur wrestling show. WAW Classics: the Special Events airs Fridays on MCAM on 11 p.m., according to the MCAM Web site.
Runner-up: The Joe Kelly Levasseur Show — with local political personality (one-time alderman, sometime candidate for mayor and current owner of Joe Kelly’s pizza and sub restaurant in downtown Manchester).
Second runner-up: Living Manchvegas — a show about life in Manchester (features include band interviews and a story about tattoo parlors). Not currently on the MCAM schedule.

• Best place to take your kids
Overall winner: SEE Science Center, 200 Bedford St. in Manchester. The museum features interactive science exhibits, including a current exhibit about dinosaurs.
Runner-up: Chuck E. Cheese, 1525 S. Willow St. in Manchester. Part kid-casino (only, instead of gambling, you are almost assured that your quarters will win you some small plastic items or, at least, Tootsie Rolls), part indoor playground, part pizza parlor, Chuck E. Cheese is jam packed with kids on any given weekend (be prepared to stand in line).
Best Concord-area place to take your kids: Kaleidoscope Children’s Museum, 8 S. Main St. in Concord. Arts, music and play exhibits entertain kids at this museum.
Best Nashua-area place to take your kids: Greeley Park in Nashua. The city’s centrally located park has playground equipment as well as lots of space to run around.

• Best place to take kids on a snowy/rainy day
Overall winner: SEE Science Center in Manchester.
Best Concord-area place to take kids on a snowy/rainy day: TIE — White Park on White Street in Concord; Kaleidoscope Children’s Museum in Concord.
Best Nashua-area place to take kids on a snowy/rainy day: Chunky’s Cinema, 150 Coliseum Ave. in Nashua. Nashua’s newest (and only) movie theater offers you burgers, salads and more while you watch one of several first-run films.

• Best place to take visiting relatives
Overall winner: Anheuser-Busch Brewery, 221 D.W. Highway in Merrimack. Watch beer being made and then (for those 21 and over) sample some.
Runner-up: Millyard Museum, 255 Commercial St. in Manchester, a museum of mill-related Manchester history.
Best Concord-area place to take visiting relatives: Christa McAuliffe Planetarium, 2 Institute Drive in Concord. In addition to ongoing exhibits, the Planetarium features special Friday night shows focusing on specific parts of our solar system and beyond.
Best Manchester-area place to take visiting relatives: Currier Museum of Art, 201 Myrtle Way in Manchester; Verizon Wireless Arena, 555 Elm St. in Manchester. The Currier Museum will offer your visiting relatives a whole new sight to see when it reopens next year (it is currently closed for renovations).
Best Nashua-area place to take visiting relatives: SkyVenture, 3 Poisson Ave. in Nashua. Get the sensation of sky-diving without the fear of death in this wind tunnel.
Notes on votes: This category, as usual, got a lot of the poll’s most sarcastic answers (“home” and “back to the airport” being two of them). In addition to suggestions to take relatives to Boston, other popular out-of-the-area answers included Portsmouth, the lakes region, the White Mountains and the Kancamagus Scenic Highway. Locally, a good number of the suggestions were bar-related, which is an interesting commentary both on our hometowns and on our relationships with our relatives.

LOOKING FOR LOVE
• Best pick-up place
Overall winner: Black Brimmer, 1087 Elm St. in Manchester.
Runner-up: Strange Brew in Manchester.
Best Concord-area pick-up place: Capitol Grille, 1 Eagle Square in Concord.
Best Nashua-area pick-up place: Martha’s Exchange in Nashua.

• Best date place
Overall winner: UnWined in Manchester.
Runner-up: Cotton in Manchester.
Best Concord-area date place: The Draft in Concord.
Best Nashua-area date place: Manhattan on Pearl in Nashua.
Notes on votes: One of the better answers to this question? The Salty Dog in Manchester. Where’s the Salty Dog, you ask? It’s in the spot at the corner of Bridge and Elm streets that is now Envy and before that was Brass Monkey. Making it about a decade since the Salty Dog fan was out on the town. Another good answer? A very angry, all caps “I DON’T DATE.” Aw, it’s OK. Maybe you and the Salty Dog guy could hang out.

• Best make-out spot
Overall winner: Arms Park and anyplace river-adjacent in Manchester.
Runner-up: Rock Rimmon in Manchester.
Best Concord-area make-out spot: The Draft in Concord.
Notes on the votes: “Home” was the answer for a good number of respondents (along with a couple of forlorn “married”s). Other answers included “red lights anywhere” and quite a few seacoast spots.

• Best break-up spot
Overall, uhm, winner: Rock Rimmon in Manchester (perhaps it isn’t such as good make-out spot after all).
Runner-up: Mall of New Hampshire on South Willow Street in Manchester.
Notes of the votes: Perhaps the best answer was the very specific “exit 6 on I-293.”

NIGHTLIFE
• Best bar for live music
Overall winner: The Black Brimmer in Manchester.
Runner-up: Strange Brew in Manchester.
Best Concord-area bar for live music: Barley House, 132 N. Main St. in Concord.
Best Nashua-area bar for live music: Peddler’s Daughter in Nashua.

• Best dance club
Overall winner: Wally & Bernie’s (WB’s), 20 Old Granite St. in Manchester.
Best Concord-area dance club: Capitol Grille in Concord.
Best Nashua-area dance club: Sky Lounge in Nashua.
Runner-up: The Black Brimmer in Manchester.

• Best place to be seen
Overall winner: The Black Brimmer in Manchester.
Runner-up: Wally & Bernies in Manchester.
Best Concord-area place to be seen: The Draft in Concord.
Best Nashua-area place to be seen: Mar tha’s Exchange in Nashua.

• Best place to go after last call
Overall winner: Red Arrow Diner in Manchester.
Runner-up: Home.
Best Nashua place to go after last call: Denny’s, 160 Broad St. in Nashua.
Notes on votes: Though, before going home, a few people said they planned to hit the sausage stand at Elm and Lowell streets in Manchester.

• Best place to people-watch
Overall winner: Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester.
Runner-up: Manchester Boston Regional Airport in Manchester.
Best Concord-area place to people-watch: The Deerfield Fair in Deerfield.
Best Nashua place to people-watch: Main Street in Nashua.

• Best place to play pool
Overall winner: Jillian’s, 50 Phillippe Cote St. in Manchester.
Runner-up: Raxx, 1211 Elm St. in Manchester.
Best Concord-are place to play pool: The Draft in Concord.
Best Nashua-are place to play pool: Boston Billiards, 55 Northeastern Blvd. in Nashua.

• Best pub
Overall winner: Wild Rover in Manchester.
Runner-up: Shaskeen Irish Pub, 909 Elm St. in Mancheser. Best Concord pub: Barley House in Concord.
Best Nashua pub: Peddler’s Daughter in Nashua.

• Best sports bar
Overall winner: Billy’s Sports Bar and Grill, 34 Tarrytown Road in Manchester.
Runner-up: J.W. Hill’s Sports Bar and Grill, 795 Elm St. in Manchester
Best Concord sports bar: The Draft in Concord.
Best Nashua sports bar: Nashua Garden, 121 Main St. in Nashua.

OUTDOORS
• Best local hiking trail
Overall winner: Lake Massabesic in Manchester.
Runner-up: Livingston Park in Manchester.
Best Nashua-area hiking trail: Mine Falls Park in Nashua.

• Best city park
Overall winner: Livingston Park in Manchester.
Runner-up: Derryfield Park in Manchester.
Best Concord park: White Park in Concord.
Best Nashua park: Greeley Park in Nashua.

• Best state park
Winner: Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown.
Runner-up: Pawtuckaway State Park in Nottingham.
Second runner-up: Clough State Park in Weare.

• Best swimming hole
Winner: Livingston Park swimming pool in Manchester.
Runner-up: Crystal Lake in Manchester.
Second runner-up: Clough State Park in Weare.

PERSONALITIES
• Best bartender
Due to a computer error, this category only appeared on the print ballot.
Winner: Jenn Thompson at the Uptown Tavern, 1301 Elm St. in Manchester.
Runner-up: Justin Sherman at Raxx in Manchester.
Second runner-up: Melissa Sheppard at CR Sparks in Bedford.

• Hottest bartender
Overall winner: Melissa Sheppard at CR Sparks in Bedford.
Runner-up: Jenn Thompson at the Uptown Tavern in Manchester.
Hottest Concord-area bartender: Laurie Sanborn of The Draft in Concord.
Hottest Nashua-area bartender: Paul Foden at Fody’s Tavern, 9 Clinton St. in Nashua.

• Best chef
Overall winner: Michael Buckley at Michael Timothy’s in Nashua.
Runner-up: Jeff Paige at Cotton in Manchester.
Best Concord-area chef: Kelly Ross at The Draft in Concord.
Best Manchester-area chef: Justin Lyonnais at Commercial Street Fishery in Manchester.

• Best fitness instructor
Overall winner: Diane LaCourse at Best Fitness in Nashua. (pictured).
Runner-up: Mary Wiseman at Gold’s Gym in Manchester.
Best Concord-area fitness instructor: Jason Aziz, Concord Hospital, 250 Pleasant St. in Concord.
Best Manchester-area fitness instructor: Sherri Sarouf at Gold’s Gym in Manchester.

• Best gadfly
Overall winner: Joe Kelly Levasseur in Manchester. The winner and still champion.
Runner-up: Steve Vaillancourt, a Manchester state representative. You might remember him from his recent near-destruction of Ray Buckley’s political career.
Best Nashua-area gadfly: Fred Teeboom, alderman at large in Nashua.

• Best hair stylist
Overall winner: Michelle Beaudoin from Salon Beauchesne in Manchester.
Runner-up: Jeffrey James Mayo, Michael Thomas Salon, 33 Commercial St. in Manchester.
Best Concord-area hair stylist: Brian Waldron at Michael John’s the Studio Salon, 45 S. Main St. in Concord.
Best Nashua-area hair stylist: Colleen Jamieson at Charle Aidan in Nashua.

• Best local sports team
Overall winner: Manchester Monarchs (hockey).
Runner-up: New Hampshire Fisher Cats (baseball).
Best Concord-area sports team: Concord High School track team.
Best Nashua-area sports team: Nashua Pride (baseball).

• Best local athlete
Overall winner: Chris Carpenter of Manchester (he graduated from Trinity High School). Carpenter now lives in Bedford and plays baseball for the world champion St. Louis Cardinals.
Best Concord-area athlete: Matt Bonner of Concord (he graduated from Concord High School). Bonner now plays basketball for the San Antonio Spurs.
Best Nashua-area athlete: Jeff Giuliano of Nashua. He plays hockey for the Manchester Monarchs.

• Best local band/performer playing original songs
Winner: Josh Logan, he of Rock Star: Supernova fame.
Runner-up: Alli Beaudry (jazz & pop), is originally from Manchester.
Second runner-up: Ways to Fall ( alternative rock) are from Londonderry.

• Best local band/performer playing covers
Winner: Mama Kicks, who play Wednesdays at the Black Brimmer in Manchester as well as several venues throughout the region.
Runner-up: Rusty Cadillacs, who play regularly at Slammer’s Sports Bar & Grill on Donald Street in Bedford.
Second runner-up: Last Kid Picked., who play regularly at the Black Brimmer in Manchester.

• Best local radio show host
Winner: Mike Morin, co-host of New Hampshire in the Morning on 95.7 FM WZID.
Runner-up: Greg Kretchmar, the Greg of Greg & The Morning Buzz on 101.1 FM WGIR.
Second runner-up: JC Haze, 3 to 7 p.m. on The Mill 96.5 FM WMLL.

• Best live DJ
Overall winner: DJ Macaroni, who regularly plays Club Liquid, 23 Amherst St. in Manchester.
Runner-up: DJ Brian, who regularly plays at Breezeway Pub, 14 Pearl St. in Manchester.
Second runner-up: DJ Sam Smoove, who plays Tuesdays at Empire Lounge, 140 Queen City Ave. in Manchester.

• Best mechanic
Overall winner: Sam Daghir of Sam Daghir Auto, 71 Myrtle St. in Manchester.
Runner-up: Ron Fournier of Ron’s Toy Shop, 235 Elm St. in Manchester.
Best Concord-area mechanic: Dan Weed, Weed Family Automotive, 124 Storrs St. in Concord.
Best Nashua-area mechanic: Dennis Hanson, Hanson Automotive Services, 271 W. Hollis St. in Nashua.

• Best city politician
Winner overall: Frank Guinta, mayor of Manchester.
Runner-up: Bob Baines, former mayor of Manchester who is totally not running for mayor in 2007 (but has not ruled it out).
Best Concord politician: Thomas Aspell, city manager of Concord.
Best Nashua politician: Dave McLaughlin, Ward 8 alderman from Nashua.

• Best state politician
Winner: John Lynch, governor and state Democratic standard bearer.
Runner-up: Ray Wieczorek, former Manchester mayor and current member of the state executive council.
Notes on the votes: Other votes in this category were cast for “the honest one,” “my dog” and the observational “they all stink.”

• Hottest Mancunian
Winner: Michelle Beaudoin from Salon Beauchesne in Manchester. She’s this year’s “best hairdresser” and our new “hottest Mancunian.” (And yes, we know that “Mancunian” is the term for a resident of Manchester, England, but as we are that city’s namesake, “Mancunian” seems just as appropriate for our residents. Plus, “Mancunian” sounds hotter than “Manchesterite.”)
Runner-up: Kelleigh Domaingue, a school board member in Manchester, a host of the recent ManchVegas Oscar party and last year’s “hottest Mancunian.”
We get the sense that a lot of people voted for themselves in this category (you know who you are). There were also few votes for Hippo employees (enough that they can’t all be by the employees themselves), with our Nite reporter Erica Febre earning quite a number votes.

Hey, where’s McDonalds
Hippo’s Best of Everything seeks to discover what is best about our neck of the southern New Hampshire woods. Votes for most national chains were not considered in the tally in most categories.

Where am I?
Votes were tallied for overall winners and runners-up as well as city-specific winners. Manchester area includes Goffstown, Bedford and Hooksett. Nashua area includes Amherst, Hudson and Hollis. Concord area includes Bow. When strong winners were recorded for towns outside these areas — such as Merrimack and Derry — they are recorded as “Best [town] [category].”.