2013 rolls in and with it another Best Of Cobb issue.
Our staff always enjoys producing these issues. The winners in each category are voted on by you - our readers - and give us a prime opportunity to get a closer pulse on the community.
This year, the votes we received were up a staggering amount from last year and we appreciate your participation.
And while we enjoy profiling your winners, I also want to share some of our staff’s picks. Some of these are more traditional, others a bit more off-the-beaten path, but they are all interesting.
To get things started, here are a few of my picks.
Best kept secret: Cobb’s amazing painters. Thomas Arvid, Robert Meredith, Frank Buckner and William Entrekin are just a few on this list that have gained national reputations. I am especially awed by Entrekin’s gorgeous Wyeth-esque works and his light touch.
Another best kept secret: Life University. After a rough stint about a decade ago regarding accreditation, the university has re-booted and rebounded. It now boasts the world’s largest chiropractic campus, offers several other degrees related to wellness and nutrition and has nationally ranked rugby and basketball teams. It often gets dwarfed by the magnitude of Cobb’s other universities, but is coming on strong and worth checking out.
Best switch up for the taste buds: Shangrilla Bistro. This oddly placed little restaurant on Johnson Ferry Road in East Cobb will blow your taste buds away with unique cuisine from Tibet and China.
Best improvements: Fairground Street. Though the entire length of the street has not been renovated, the extreme northeast and southeast sections look great and make driving and walking safer. I especially give kudos to the roundabout at the north end which solves quite a bit of confusion and neck aches.
Best cup of coffee for the price: Racetrac.
Best cup of coffee in Cobb: Still waiting on this one. Suggestions?
And here are some from our staff.
Longtime Food Writer Joan Durbin says the best place for a home cook to pick up ideas and how-to kitchen knowledge: Cook’s Warehouse in East Cobb. “A Knife Skills 101 class is essential to improving both efficiency and enjoyment quotient in meal prep.”
For best doughnuts, she said Ray’s. "This little mom-and-pop operation on Canton Road has picked up quite a following for its freshly made goodies. Even the plain cake variety is vastly superior to chain or supermarket offerings."
Best Mac n’ Cheese: Grand Champion BBQ. “The five cheeses, including smoked gouda, puts this crave-worthy version over the top.”
And Joan’s pick for best veterinarian through good times and bad: Dr. Steve Fairchild, Sprayberry Animal Hospital. “Decent, compassionate and always ready to help you do what’s best for your pet, Steve is my idea of the perfect vet.”
Cobb Life veteran writer and designer Stacey L. Evans’ list:
Best place for cycling: Cochran Shoals trail. “This 4-mile loop runs parallel to the Chattahoochee River and offers an easy, wide open space for cycling as well as a more challenging route for mountain bikers. It's the perfect escape for stress relief.”
Best place to start getting into shape: Warrior X-fit Kickboxing classes at Atlanta Extreme Warrior in Marietta. The classes combine strength training and cardio with basic kickboxing. Instructor Dave is very knowledgeable and is always willing to offer advice and instruction on simple exercises you can do at home to stay in shape.
Best place to meet up with a friend: Eleanor's, the "secret" bar inside Muss & Turner's in Smyrna. The dimly-lit bar with reclaimed wooden walls feels like a speakeasy, especially with the one-way mirrors that peek into M&T's dining room. The drinks and small plates are phenomenal, and the staff is very friendly.
Best new thing about Cobb: Marietta Derby Darlins.
Best place for an oil change: Car Spa on Windy Hill. The service is always fast, friendly and they have often given helpful advice on car care, as well as offering great deals.
Fashion scribe Meredith Pruden gives a huge thumbs up to: Chicken and the Egg for having the best bottomless mimosas, East Cobb Swim and Tennis as best place to cool down, Rhinoceros East Cobb as best new boutique and Grand Champion BBQ as the best barbecue.
What about you? Do you have a suggestion to make? We love hearing from our readers. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark Wallace Maguire, Director