Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

It’s that time of the year again — here’s the ‘Best of Fresno’ list


No shocker here: I don’t love Fresno Magazine’s annual “Best of Fresno” list. But each year I look forward to its publication, for the ensuing debate, if nothing else.

I will say, and this might seem totally biased once you read further, that the winners this year seem a little bit better. Just itsy-bitsy. Most of it is still pretty useless stuff that’s primarily meant to sell “thank you” ads.

The entire list is below, but I have a few thoughts first:

THE BEEHIVE WINS: Here is a shocker: We won in two reader-voted categories — best blog and best local website. On one hand, I’m thankful that people voted for us. On the other hand, I’m not going to act like this is anything more than what it is — a bunch of our fans voted for us in a rather meaningless online contest. So thank you to those people. And thanks to Fresno Mag, for not disqualifying us because we’re mean to you. In fact, should The Beehive ever start its own awards, we’ll definitely consider you guys for best glossy health-related ads.

A RIVALRY? In addition to the reader-voted awards, “Fresno Magazine vs. Fresno Beehive” was named best rivalry in the “Editor’s Picks” section. Sorry, Fresno Mag, but your rivalry is in another castle. See if you can beat HiS Magazine first. Then come back and we’ll talk.

BALLOT STUFFERS: Last year, it looked like Cool Hand Luke’s was stuffing the ballots. This year, Fleming’s is all over this list. Casa Corona seems to pop up A LOT. Hmmm. And I don’t know a single person who would say they have the best Mexican food in town. For the record: I didn’t vote for The Beehive, nor did I ask anyone to vote for us.

THE ONLINE EFFECT? Do you think the winners are better this year because Fresno Mag allowed online voting? I’m wondering.

MOSTLY MAIDS WITH ‘M’ MONIKERS: My favorite category this year was “best house cleaning service” for its masterful alliteration — Molly Maid, Merry Maids and Mini Mops.

MUSICAL MUSINGS: WTF is a Rockflight? Seriously, never heard of ‘em.

YOU KNOW YOU’RE IN FRESNO WHEN … The No. 1 conservative radio blabbermouth is the “most influential local person.” And I know lots of people probably won’t agree, but I think Chris Daniel has a better show than Ray.

CAN’T LIE: It’s nice to see places like Iron Bird Cafe (best coffee house) and Tower Dogs (best late-night dining) make the list, even if they didn’t get No. 1.

BECAUSE I’M (MOSTLY) NICE: The annual Best of Fresno party is Dec. 1 — and it’s back in Fresno this year. Downtown, to be exact.

YOUR TURN: What’s right on this list? What’s a joke? Let’s hear it.




Responses to "It’s that time of the year again — here’s the ‘Best of Fresno’ list"

Childers says:

Definitely agree that the winners are better than last year, but that’s a low bar indeed. I would agree with the speculation that online voting contributed to a bit more balance in the results. Congrats to Storyland for getting some props…

Layne says:

Did Cool Hand Luke’s switch chefs or something?

Jordan says:

I miss LaRocca’s the most.

Heather says:

Brilliant: “Sorry, Fresno Mag, but your rivalry is in another castle. See if you can beat HiS Magazine first.”

Donald Munro says:


JML says:

No category for best taco or best farmers market? What about museums and parks?

Stephen says:

I hate (HATE) to admit it, but aside from politicians, Ray Appleton probably is the most influential local person. His voice on an ad sells like crazy. His cruises and civil war reenactment and old-plane flying things always do very very well.

I’m not proud of it, but his influence is pretty strong, whether he has the best show or not.

Otherwise BLAH to the whole list. Ruth’s Chris? Online voting did help, tho, and I’m equally proud and ashamed to have voted.

Roger says:

Biggest Circle Jerk:

1. Fresno Magazines Best of Fresno
2. People reviewing FUSE fest
3. That experimental year in college

Soon to be regrettable comments

1. This one!

Masonite says:

I really think that DiCicco’s is an awful pick for Best Italian… Is it just b/c there are as many DiCicco’s as there are Taco Bells? Oggi and Parma need to get some ballot-stuffers…

Um. How about No. says:

PF Chang’s? Really now?

JohnE says:

With LaRocca’s gone, they ARE the best, with Andiamo a very close second.

jennifer says:

well I have to say it’s looking better, some more local places showing up and not just a bunch of chain restaurants/shops (though there’s still plenty). But the restaurant section could use some help. Best “Asian”??? They lump an entire continent together and then only vote Chinese restaurants. And DiCicco’s should def not be #1, I make better sauce with a jar of Classico and a few items from the produce aisle. The rest, meh. Not my personal faves (The Phoenician didn’t make the cut for Mediterranean?!?) but they won I guess.

Only one I thought was COMPLETELY off base was Best Place to Pop the Question — Um, Woodward Park beat Yosemite or Shaver? Come on! (no offense to any of you fellas who proposed at WWP, I’m sure it was lovely, but if we’re talking the “best” I would imagine a world famous national park could beat a local park full of people and cars passing by)

Kristin C says:

Yay! Mika is definitely the best bartender, hands down.

MF says:

Congratulations to Chef Vatche on the award! Nice to see Pangea nestling in the hearts of many locals..
Maybe “Sweet Potato Fries” should have it’s own category next year, being that about 7 restaurants serve the same exact thing?!?!

MaryFrances says:

I really wish they would broaden the scope to include ALL cultural arts live performance.

Why is there a section for just theatre? What about the Fresno Phil, Fresno Grand Opera, Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts, Fresno Folklore Society, Jazz Fresno, CalArtsAcademy, Youth Orchestra of Fresno, Tamejavi Festival and others?

Chase Sanborn says:

Casa Corona.
Eric Ballard.


‘Best cosmetic surgeon’ says all we need to know.

Kristen says:

What I really don’t like is many of the winners or runner-ups aren’t even local businesses… on the ballot it was suggested to keep all votes local, and stray away from big national chains. It’s sad to see things like Starbucks, Denny’s, and Taco Bell as the winners in some of these categories… it seems that this is most prominent in the food categories at least…

dominic says:

Warner Co. as top jeweler? Maybe that has something to do with the editor’s last name? Last I checked, they were having to move from their hoity toity spot on Herndon & Palm.

Jennifer says:

I still don’t get how Colorado Grill wins best burger every year. Seriously? Have these people eaten a really good hamburger before?

Plus, I think there should be a new rule: No place with more than 2 locations within 50 miles of downtown Fresno should be eligible. How is Starbucks the best of Fresno?

Fher1286 says:

Dai Bai Dang? Really? Get yourself over to Hunans and watch it blow all 3 of those choices out of the water.

Fresneck says:

I’ve never heard of any of those local artists or bands. The one I’ve heard of and have actually seen is Down Word and they suck!!

MKG says:

Although the places that won are very good [congrats to them], I do have to say I am a bit disappointed with the magazine. I feel the whole point of a local magazine is to highlight the best local spots, not praise large franchises.