Publisher's Note — By Jody Reese

The awards go to...

by Jody Reese

Sure it almost cost our editor Rob Greene his sanity, but the votes for Hippo’s Best of Manchester are in — more than 1,200 of them in all.

Readers voted for Manchester’s best in 51 categories, everything from best restaurant to best make-out spot. And as usual we got plenty of creative Manchester entries. I, for example, got one vote for best politician, which is probably not a compliment. Maybe Ward 9 Aldermen Mike Garrity sent that one in. For best pick-up spot one reader asked, people or food? Good point. A 40-year-old female reader chose Double Midnight Comics on Valley Street as the best pick-up spot. Is a Cheetos and D&D date in her future? Jack and Nancy’s back seat got a vote for best make-out spot. Can one rent this back seat or is just for Jack and Nancy? Many of the best make-out spots were also the best break-up spots, which makes sense in an off sort of way.

It surprised me that former alderman Dave Wihby got the most votes for best politician. After examining the ballots it was clear that the young Republicans of Manchester (a group that hangs out at Unwined Wednesday nights) had organized the Wihby vote effort. I think Dave has a right to ask them where they were two years ago when he lost his Ward 1 seat to Mark Roy after holding it for more than 18 years. Mayor Robert Baines came in second with At-Large Aldermen Dan O’Neil and state Sen. Lou D’Allesandro getting plenty of votes too.

The Hippo staff goes through the ballots individually to make sure no one votes more than once. It’s generally not hard to tell. Since each computer has a special signature, we can also track if anyone tries to cheat online. In the end, we get very few ballot stuffers, less than 50 this year.

The real story of the “best of” is not the few stuffers, but that locally owned businesses did so well. It’s clear from the voting that people love their home-grown restaurants, salons, pizza parlors and freedom fries. In this year’s issue we didn’t have the space to list all the second- and third-highest vote getters, but in almost all cases they too were well-known local businesses. The news, however, is not all good. The now-closed Bernardo’s Italian Restaurant received a number of votes. Hanover Street Italian trattoria Nicky D’s, which also received votes in a number of categories, closed last week. Owner Nick DiMartirio said he just couldn’t keep going with all the new competition downtown. I’m sad to see them leave.

—Jody Reese

2005 HippoPress LLC | Manchester, NH