Best of Folsom 2008

Our sixth annual “Best of Folsom” campaign is finally finished, and we once again had well more than 2,000 responses to vote on the best Folsom has to offer! We decided to mix it up a bit this year in terms of reporting the results – with a long article about the Best Picks, and showing the top 3 winners. After all, you may know the best places to go to already, but it’s good to know of alternates, too! Besides, how many ways can you write “these guys brew a good cup of coffee”? We do realize that 90% of you haven’t even made it this far in the article and are skimming the results by now, but we won’t hold that against you! For the rest of you, we present this year’s Best of Folsom!

Some new categories this year include Best Restaurant (Bidwell Street Bistro – by wide margin), Best Health Club (CalFit), and Favorite City Council Member (Kerri Howell), while we took off some of the less popular categories, and retired the “Best Mortgage Broker” and “Best Realtor”. Steve Heard always wins that anyway, and he was feeling sorry for the competition. 😉

Old favorites still ruled in a few categories… Best Breakfast was once again given to Gold Miner Cafe, a Folsom institution for many years now (Fifth ‘Best of Folsom’ award). Best Pizza was Chicago Fire, with well over half the votes in a city with many pizza options available! Red Robin once again has won Best Burger, and Trader Joe’s has dominated as grocer of choice since they moved in. Beach Hut Deli and Mr. Pickle were neck and neck for several weeks for best sandwiches, but Beach Hut once again prevailed.

While there are lots of familiar faces, there is lots of new blood in the winners’ circle this year… Manderes has started their new restaurant and bar strongly, as it has won Best New Business 2008, came in second for Best Bar, and Brent won for Best Bartender.

Karen’s Bakery (pictured) won quite strongly for Best Dessert and placed highly in best lunch spot as well. Also notable are Goodfellas (ranked second in Italian), Mr. Pickle (second for best sandwiches), and Black Rooster, which ranked in both coffee bar and sandwiches. All in all, plenty of new businesses that deserve to be in everyone’s “rotation”!

We were floored by the diversity of picks in some categories… one of our new categories, “Best Teacher” proved that Folsom has no shortage of excellent teachers. Sandra Gallardo Elementary provided the top 2 teachers getting votes – proof positive that they are doing good things at that school. We’d love to show the list of all the names of vote-getters, but to be honest, there were a LOT. Suffice to say, Folsom should be proud that it has such a great variety of teachers – they are a huge part of why Folsom schools always rank as some of the best in the state.

Our biggest surprise was the additional category that we didn’t include! Azuar must have emailed all of their fans, because we got a ton of write-in votes for “Best Band”, even though it wasn’t on the ballot! Hats off to Azuar… they show us that it doesn’t hurt to ask!

Here’s a sample of some of our favorite comments from our readers:

“For cheapest gas, you should add Safeway – with the 10 cents off (or more), it’s been cheaper than Costco.”
– too bad our Safeway doesn’t have gasoline! Best of Lincoln, perhaps???

“Seriously improve the search… It sucks.”
I can’t disagree. It’s on our list of stuff to fix… it’s too complicated to explain why it sucks, but the short answer is – we’re working on it. UPDATE: We have a new search! Check it out.

“100,000 uniques per month? are you smoking crack over there”
No, but we get a lot of traffic. I don’t know where we said we get 100,000 uniques a month, but email me and I’ll be happy to bore you with the details. 🙂

“best place to see wild life (deer, turkeys etc..) Prison Road in the AM”
I hope you work for the prison!

“How about None of the Above for favorite city council member”
Ouch, baby. Very ouch.

You need a little more diversity. Folsom is becoming more diversified as it continues to grow. Peeps better get used to it.”
You’ll be happy to know that is an equal opportunity employer. If you don’t mind working for free, just about anyone can write for us!!! 🙂

How come you don’t have best (insert category here) listed?
We try and come up with new categories every year. Our biggest qualifications are demand and competition. It needs to be a category that would have a wide interest, and more importantly, at least 5 businesses must be included. It doesn’t mean we don’t consider them though. Bug us before BOF ’09 and we may add it.

“Best place to go if you can expense it (can’t do that much or at all if one is in FM1)”
I feel your pain… but for those 30 minute “working lunches” that we all love, I recommend Goodfellas or Express Gourmet to cater your next face-to-face. Close to Intel, reasonable prices, great food.

“Best place to go running – wear an orange jumpsuit and go for a jog near the prison. You may get the best workout of your life!!!”
Or shot, take your pick…

Karen’s has the best desserts in town!

Best New Business 2008 1. Manderes
2. Express Gourmet
3. Malabar
Best Restaurant 2008 1. Bidwell Street Bistro
2. Chicago Fire
3. The Ravine
Best American Food 1. BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery
2. Jack’s Urban Eats
3. Zinfandel Grill
Best Mexican Food 1. La Fiesta
2. Q’ Bole
3. Sol Azteca
Best Fresh Mex 1. Chipotle
2. Dos Coyotes
3. Baja Fresh
Best Italian Food 1. Visconti
2. Goodfellas
3. Macaroni Grill
Best Chinese Food 1. Fat’s Asia Bistro & Dim Sum
2. Hop Sing
3. T2 Yan
Best Sushi 1. Aloha Sushi
2. Taiko Sushi
3. Kirala Sushi
Best Pizza 1. Chicago Fire
2. Pizzeria Classico
3. Ciro’s Pizza
Best Cultural Cuisine 1. Bidwell Street Bistro
2. Pho Boc Hoa Viet
3. Bobo Cafe
Best Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt 1. Cold Stone
2. Big Spoon
3. Tasty Time – Prairie City
Best Sandwiches 1. Beach Hut Deli
2. Mr. Pickle
3. Black Rooster
Best Coffee Bar 1. It’s a Grind
2. Black Rooster
3. Starbucks
Best Burgers 1. Red Robin
2. Islands Fine Burgers & Drinks
3. Ruby Tuesday
Best French Fries 1. Jack’s Urban Eats
2. Red Robin
3. Islands Fine Burgers & Drinks
Best Dessert 1. Karen’s Bakery
2. BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery
3. Snook’s
Best Breakfast 1. Gold Miner Cafe
2. Sutter Street Grill
3. Lake Forest Cafe
Best Lunch Spot 1. Beach Hut Deli
2. La Bou
3. Karen’s Bakery
Best Local Chain 1. Chicago Fire
2. Jack’s Urban Eats
3. Fat’s Asia Bistro & Dim Sum
Best Steak or Seafood 1. Scott’s Seafood
2. Tahoe Joe’s
3. Cattlemen’s
Best Waiter/Waitress 1. Gina – Purple Place
2. Matt – Suishin Sushi
3. Ryan – Bidwell Street Bistro
Best Bar 1. BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery
2. Manderes
3. Streets of London
Best Appetizers 1. BJ’s Brewpub
2. Streets of London
3. Hacienda del Rio
Best Bartender 1. Brent – Manderes
2. Kevin – Folsom Lake Bowl
3. Juan – Taco Loco
Best Tourist Attraction 1. Historic Sutter Street
2. Folsom Lake
3. American River Bike Trail
Best Kept Secret 1. I’m not telling
2. Bike trails
3. Lake Natoma
Best Folsom Event 1. Thursday Night Market
2. Folsom Live
3. Concerts in the Park
Best Summer Activity 1. Folsom Lake
2. Biking Folsom’s Trails
3. Concerts in the Park
Best Winter Activity 1. Christmas Light Viewing
2. Bar-Hopping
3. Santa’s Sleigh
Best Under 21 Attraction 1. Thursday Night Market
2. Folsom 14 Theaters
3. Folsom Lake Bowl
Best Website (MyFolsom is excluded) 1. City of Folsom
Best Community Park 1. Lembi Park
2. Livermore Park
3. Folsom City Lions Park / Zoo
Best Teacher 1. Ms. Peterson, Gallardo Elementary
2. Ms Vroom – Gallardo Elementary
3. Mrs. Fletcher, Natoma Station Elementary
Best Barber 1. Folsom Barber
2. Great Clips for Hair
3. Tom’s Barber Stylist
Best Grocery Store 1. Trader Joe’s
2. Raley’s
3. Bel Air
Cheapest Gas 1. Costco
2. Arco
3. Sam’s Club
Best Gift Store 1. Periwinkle
2. Bella Casa Home Decor
3. Planet Earth Rising
Best Sutter Street Merchant 1. Chicago Fire
2. Snook’s Ice Cream & Candies
3. Ms. Teaz
Best Beauty Salon 1. Hoshall For Hair
2. Dolce Vida Salon
3. Chez TJ
Best Mechanic 1. Folsom Autotech
2. Folsom Lake Toyota
3. Folsom Auto Center Mechanics
Best Veterinarian 1. Blue Ravine Animal Hospital
2. Folsom Veterinary Hospital
3. Pet Vets Animal Hospital
Best Health Club 1. California Family Fitness
2. Broadstone Racquet Club
3. 24 Hour Fitness
Favorite City Council Member 1. Kerri Howell
2. Eric King
3. Andy Morin
Best Write-In Category 1. Best Band – Azuar
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