Cover Story

Welcome to Best of Syracuse 2016

See the 2016 Best of Syracuse winners, as chosen by readers.

Art by Greg Minix

Best of Syracuse is a reader-generated poll trademarked by the Syracuse New Times. Since its 1997 inception we have asked our readers to nominate in a number of categories. 

For the 20th anniversary edition, we increased the categories to include: Sports and Wellness, Love and Sex, Arts and Culture, Music, Entertainment and Attractions, Health and Beauty, Local Faces, Food, Drink, Nightlife, Goods and Services, Around Town, Pets and Family, Fun and Games.

Your nominations are tallied, and the results bring out the top five in each category. We then turn it all over to you again for the final voting, and the Best of Syracuse emerges.

We are proud of the fact that Best of Syracuse is 100 percent reader-generated. If you have an award suggestion, email us at [email protected]. We want to hear from you.

Thanks to all of the readers who took the time to nominate and vote for your favorite picks. It was another record-breaking year for nominating and voting for Best of Syracuse, and we couldn’t be more excited about the responses. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners this year!

Best of Sports and Wellness


The Carrier Dome roof in the distance. Michael Davis photo | Syracuse New Times

Best Sports Venue

  • Carrier Dome

Best Gymnastics Program

Best Outdoor Trails

Best Golf Course

  • Green Lakes State Park

Best Place to Ski

Best Place to Bike

Best Bicycle Shop

Best Organized Walk/Run

Best Health Club

Best Yoga

  • YMCA

Best Shooting Range


Best of Love and Sex

Best Date Night Location

  • Armory Square

Best Lingerie Store

Best Adult Club

Best Wedding Band

Best Wedding DJ

Best Wedding Venue

Best Bed & Breakfast

Best Divorce Attorney


Best of Arts and Culture

JAZZ FEST 2016 - Trombone Shorty

Trombone Shorty at the 2016 M&T Jazz Fest. Michael Davis photo | Syracuse New Times

Best Museum

Best Ethnic Festival

Best Food Festival

Best Music Festival

Best Local Theater

Best Art Gallery

Best Art Classes


Best of Music

Best Female Vocalist

Best Male Vocalist

  • Just Joe (Joe Altier)

Sophistafunk. Michael Davis photo | Syracuse New Times

Best Hip-Hop Artist/Band

Best Country Band

Best Blues Band

Best Venue for Live Music

Best Jazz Band

Best Rock Group

Best Cover Band

  • Under the Gun

Best Club DJ

  • Slammin’ Sam

Best Band Name


Best of Entertainment and Attractions

Best Movie Theater


A neon sign from the Midway Drive-in. Michael Davis photo | Syracuse New Times

Best Movie Drive-In

Best Ice Skating

Best Place for Paint Night

Best Haunted Attraction

Best Pumpkin Patch

Best Corn Maze

Best Apple Picking

Best Local Amusement or Water Park

Best Go-Carts

Best Motor Race Track


Best of Family, Fun and Games

Best Parents’ Escape

Best Children’s Entertainer

Best Pre-School Program

Best CNY Playground

Elephants at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. Michael Davis photo | Syracuse New Times

Elephants at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. Michael Davis photo | Syracuse New Times

Best Family Venue

Best Kids Party Place

Best After-School Program

  • YMCA

Best Summer Camp

Best Bowling Alley


Best of Health and Beauty

Best Hair Salon

Best Barbershop

Best Place for a Mani/Pedi

Best Spa

Best Massage

  • Mirbeau Inn and Spa

Best Doctor

Best Chiropractor

Best Health Store

Best Pediatrician

Best Dentist

  • Margaret Madonian


Best of Local Faces

Best Local Reporter

Best Local Photographer

  • Michael Davis, Syracuse New Times

Best Local Columnist

  • Sean Kirst

Best Community Advocate

  • Michael John Heagerty

Jim Boeheim. Michael Davis photo | Syracuse New Times

Best City Ambassador

  • Jim Boeheim

Best Artist

  • Jacqueline Colello

Best Blog

  • Syracuse History

Best Social Media Personality

  • Syracuse History

Best Radio Personality

Best TV Personality

  • Rod Wood, WSYR-Channel 9

Best Hair on Local TV

  • Carrie Lazarus, WSYR-Channel 9

Best Weatherperson

Best Respected Local Politician

  • Congressman John Katko

Best Female Bartender

Best Male Bartender


Best of Food, Drink and Nightlife

Best Local Chef

Best Mexican Restaurant

Best Asian Restaurant

Best Polish Restaurant

Best Burger

Best Sandwich Shop

Best Bakery

Tully's, Erie Blvd., Local Flavor July 2015

Steak and vegetables from Tully’s on Erie Boulevard. Michael Davis photo | Syracuse New Times

Best Family Restaurant

Best New Restaurant

Best Steakhouse

Best Fish Fry/Seafood

Best Middle Eastern Restaurant

  • King David’s

Best Food Truck/Food Stand

Best Thai Restaurant

Best Wings

Best Place for Lunch

Best Italian Restaurant

Best Breakfast Spot

Best Frozen Treats

Best Indian Restaurant


Ribs, sausage and other delectables from Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. Michael Davis photo | Syracuse New Times

Best Barbecue

Best Local Caterer

  • Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

Best Pizza

Best Sushi

Best Birthday Cakes

  • Wegmans

Best Cupcakes

  • Wegmans

Best Bagels

Best Hot Dogs

Best Doughnuts

Best Hibachi

Best Veggie/Vegan

Best Kids Eat Free

  • Tully’s

Best Gluten Free

  • Strong Hearts Cafe

Best Sunday Brunch

  • Empire Brewing Company
Empire Brewing

Empire Brewing Company. Michael Davis photo | Syracuse New Times

Best Hard Cider

Best Local Coffee

Best NYS Red Wine

  • Red Cat

Best NYS White Wine

  • White Cat

Best Local Brewery

  • Empire Brewing Company

Best Beer Selection

Best Winery

Best Bloody Mary

  • Empire Brewing Company

Best Liquor Store

Best Late Night Munchies Spot

  • Tully’s

Coleman’s Authentic Irish Pub. Michael Davis photo | Syracuse New Times

Best Bar

Best Happy Hour

Best Dive Bar

Best Sports Bar

  • Tully’s

Best Wine Bar

Best Martini Bar

Best Seasonal Bar

Best New Bar

Best Trivia Night

Best Karaoke Venue

  • Singers Karaoke

Best LGBT Friendly Bar

  • Trexx

Best Dance Club

  • Lava, Turning Stone Resort and Casino


Best of Good’s and Services

Best Thrift/Consignment

Best Piercing Shop

Best Florist

  • Wegmans

Best Smoke Shop


Getting inked at the Upstate New York Tattoo Convention. Photo by David Armelino | Syracuse New Times

Best Tattoo Shop

  • Tymeless Tattoo

Best Power Sports Shop

Best Vape/E-Cig Shop

Best Place to Buy Music

Best Party Rental

Best Auto Repair Shop

Best Motorcycle Dealer

Best Dance Program

Best Game Store

Best Comics Shop

Best Hobby Shop


Best of Around Town

Best Used Bookstore


Marriott Syracuse Downtown. Michael Davis photo | Syracuse New Times

Best Hotel

  • Marriott Syracuse Downtown

Best Radio Station

Best Local Scandal

  • Robert Neulander

Best “Worst” Use of Tax Dollars

  • Destiny USA

Best Neighborhood Market

Best Farmers Market

  • CNY Regional Market

Best Bike Night

  • Sharkey’s Bar and Grill

Best Park

  • Onondaga Lake Park

Best Library

Best Rainy Day Destination

  • Destiny USA

Best Not for Profit

Best Car Wash

Best Kept Secret

  • Franklin Square

Best Eyesore

  • Carrier Circle


Best of Pets


Playful K-9s. Michael Davis photo | Syracuse New Times

Best Pet Boarding

Best Pet Daycare

Best Pet Groomer

Best Pet Store

Best Veterinarian

Best Animal/Pet Rescue

  • Helping Hounds

Best Dog Park

  • Wegmans Good Dog Park


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