Readers Pick: Best and Worst Poll 2013
The Votes Are In
What burger joints and rooftop bars do our readers like best? Where
buy clothes for their kids? Which local figure do they find most
Best: Food and Drink
Maple Ave Restaurant. An eclectic—and small—menu at Tim Ma’s Vienna restaurant ranges from soulful shrimp ’n’ grits to scrambled eggs with Chinese sausage, kimchee, and jasmine rice.
Also popular: L’Auberge Chez François, Founding Farmers, Masa 14.
Best Food Truck
Red Hook Lobster Pound. There’s often a line at these trucks that tour the area, but the lobster rolls are worth the wait—try them Maine style (chilled with mayo) or Connecticut (warm and buttery).
Also popular: Pepe, TaKorean, CapMac.
Best Barbecue Joint
Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company. The smell of brisket will lure you into one of this local chain’s four locations, but don’t leave without trying the corn pudding and macaroni and cheese.
Also popular: Hill Country, Red Hot & Blue, Famous Dave’s.
Five Guys. The sizeable burgers (if you want only one patty, order a “little”) have made the chain—once a standalone shop in Northern Virginia—a hit nationwide.
Also popular: BGR the Burger Joint, Good Stuff Eatery, Ray’s Hell-Burger.
Five Guys. Our readers’ favorite burger joint serves delicious fries, too. Try them plain or Cajun style.
Also popular: McDonald’s, Bourbon Steak, Good Stuff Eatery.
2 Amys. Winner of this poll two years running, this Cleveland Park restaurant’s Neapolitan-style pizzas have also earned the place a spot on our 100 Very Best Restaurants list every year since 2006.
Also popular: Pizzeria Orso, Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza, Ledo Pizza.
Best Fried Chicken
Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. The spicy, crisp coating on this fast-food chain’s birds makes it a hit all around town—and the relatively small price doesn’t hurt.
Also popular: KFC, GBD, Central Michel Richard.
California Tortilla. A popular spot for a quick lunch, this chain offers tacos hard or soft, filled with fish, pork carnitas, multiple beef and chicken options, or veggies and beans.
Also popular: District Taco, Oyamel, El Centro DF.
Krispy Kreme. Stores in Alexandria, Rockville, and DC’s Dupont Circle offer tons of options, but the original glazed—served immediately after being coated with the chain’s signature icing—are a favorite.
Also popular: Dunkin’ Donuts, GBD, Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken.
Georgetown Cupcake. It’s no surprise that this M Street shop, with its perpetual line up the block, is a favorite. Our suggestion: Order online in advance to bypass the masses.
Also popular: Baked & Wired, Red Velvet Cupcakery, Sprinkles.
Best Frozen Treat
SweetFrog. This self-serve yogurt shop, with multiple Maryland and Virginia locations, offers more than 70 flavors and abundant toppings—from fresh fruit to Twix bars and cheesecake bites—so everyone can walk away with what he or she likes.
Also popular: FroZenYo, Dolcezza Gelato, Pinkberry.
Best New Restaurant
Pazzo Pomodoro. This Italian restaurant that opened in Vienna last November is popular for pizza, lasagna, and mussels, among other things, but don’t fill up too early—we hear the cannoli’s excellent as well.
Also popular: Le Diplomate, Daikaya Ramen and Izakaya, Range.
Best Butcher Shop
The Organic Butcher of McLean. A knowledgable, friendly staff able to provide seemingly any cut of any animal makes this tiny storefront in downtown McLean a favorite.
Also popular: Red Apron Butcher, Stachowski’s Market, Springfield Butcher.
Best Gourmet Grocery
Whole Foods. With nearly 20 area locations, this chain is popular for its prepared-food-and-salad bar as much as anything—and the Clarendon branch now has a bar with live music on Thursday nights.
Also popular: Wegmans, Balducci’s, Dean & DeLuca.
Best Happy Hour
Chef Geoff’s. With burgers for $5.95 and 32-ounce microbrew mugs for $8.95, it figures that happy hour at Chef Geoff’s four locations is a favorite. And Monday and Tuesday, the specials last all day.
Also popular: 2941, Circa.
Best Cocktail Menu
The Gibson. The martinis, fizzes, and sours at this speakeasy-style bar near the U Street Metro are great—but make a reservation if you plan to go on a weekend night, as standing’s not allowed.
Also popular: The Passenger, 2941, Barmini.
W Hotel. Breathtaking views of the nearby White House, Washington Monument, and other sights balance out overpriced cocktails at the packed P.O.V. bar.
Also popular: Eventide, the Brixton, Perrys.
Best Late-Night Food
Amsterdam Falafelshop. Open until 4 am on weekends, this storefront in Adams Morgan serves simple falafel and fries, which you garnish at the bar of pickles and sauces.
Also popular: Ben’s Chili Bowl, Jumbo Slice, Taylor Gourmet.
Best: Shopping and Beauty
Best Place to Buy Jewelry
Princess Jewelers. This 25-year-old, family-owned shop in Vienna and Rockville specializes in custom designs.
Also popular: Tiny Jewel Box, Tiffany & Co., Lou Lou.
Best Men’s Store
Nordstrom. This department store provides a one-stop men’s shop, on-site tailor and all.
Also popular: Brooks Brothers, Jos. A. Bank, Davelle Clothiers.
Best Consignment Shop
Current Boutique. Part new items, part consignment, this shop—in DC’s Logan Circle, Bethesda, Clarendon, and Old Town—stocks on-trend dresses, discounted designer jeans, and secondhand separates from a range of designers.
Also popular: Secondi, Buffalo Exchange, Second Time Around.
Best Kids’ Clothing
Gap. The BabyGap and Gap Kids locations around Washington are good resources for everyday clothes—graphic tees, shoes, swim trunks, you name it.
Also popular: Nordstrom, Dawn Price Baby, Carter’s.
Barnes & Noble. Twelve area locations offer books, periodicals, toys, and games, and several have Starbucks cafes as well as free wi-fi.
Also popular: Kramerbooks, Politics and Prose, One More Page Books.
Best Discount Store
Target. The expansion of this chain in-to the District five years ago has helped its popularity—you’ll find everything from household items to clothing to groceries.
Also popular: Costco, Nordstrom Rack, T.J. Maxx.
Drybar. Salons that offer nothing but blowouts have popped up all over town—from Bethesda to downtown DC to Reston—but this New York transplant ran away with the category.
Also popular: Bang Salon.
Best Men’s Haircut
Grooming Lounge. An upscale yet relaxed experience for the guy’s guy, this salon—in downtown DC and Tysons Galleria—offers comfy leather chairs and beer while you wait.
Also popular: Diego’s Hair Salon.
Best: Fitness and the Outdoors
Vida Fitness. This gym’s five area locations are known for their vast cardio spaces and luxurious atmosphere—and a rooftop pool at the U Street location.
Also popular: Life Time Fitness, Sport & Health, Gold’s Gym.
Best Fitness Trend
Barre. More barre studios have opened in Washington in the last year than we can count—the mix of dance-inspired strength and flexibility work makes for a sweaty and popular toning workout.
Also popular: CrossFit, yoga, Zumba.
Best Local TV Personality
Jim Vance. A perennial favorite, this anchor has been a member of the News4 team for nearly 45 years.
Also popular: Doreen Gentzler, Doug Kammerer, Alison Starling.
Robert Griffin III. In an impressive rookie season, this Heisman winner proved to be a tough team player—in addition to an exceptional quarterback—and became a fan favorite despite a knee injury that required total reconstruction at season’s end.
Also popular: President Obama, Bryce Harper, José Andrés.
Most Overhyped Restaurant
Graffiato. Sorry, Mike Isabella, but your two-year-old Italian-inspired restaurant in Chinatown got the most thumbs down.
Also unpopular: Jaleo, Founding Farmers.
Silliest Fitness Trend
18% Hot Yoga
Worst Food Trend
Cupcakes 59 votes
Doughnuts 44 votes
Bacon Everything 18
Tapas/Small Plates 24
McFadden’s. With more votes than any other bar by a factor of four, this hangout on the edge of Georgetown felt to readers a bit too much like a frat party.
Also unpopular: Lucky Bar, Mad Hatter, Sign of the Whale.
Worst Metro Line
Red: 272 votes
I-66: 198 votes
Worst Sports/Entertainment Venue
22% RFK Stadium
11% Verizon Center
Marion Barry. Is it the less-than-perfect history or the continuing controversy that landed him atop this category two years in a row?
Also unpopular: Redskins owner Dan Snyder, DC mayor Vincent Gray.
This poll appears in the July 2013 issue of The Washingtonian.