From 'Best Bathroom to Do Coke' to 'Friendliest Barista,' Here Are the Create-Your-Own Category Best of Cleveland 2021 Winners

We asked, you answered - Evan Sult
Evan Sult
We asked, you answered

Every year we ask for your opinion in hundreds of categories to select the winners of Best of Cleveland.

But even we know that covers just a superficial slice of what makes Cleveland so great. Which is why, this year, we asked you to create your own categories and winners, to fill in the blanks missed by our list. And boy howdy did you come through.

Thanks to you we now have new categories and suggested winners for everything from Best Bike Repair to Best Dog Trainer, Best Tree to Best Dog and more.

Here are just some of the hundreds and hundreds of submissions we received, along with the name of the person who wrote in.

Enjoy, and thanks for contributing.


Best Beer Garden: Forest City Brewery (Jill)

Best Wife: Ashley Cantu-Weinstein (Ilon Weinstein)

Best Custom/Made-to-Order Cookies: Amanda Bura, The Sister Project Co. (Mike)

“I’ll be honest, I’m just here to talk about brownies at Sprinkles by Sylvia” (Nick)

“Meg and Rachel at Ecole de Pole Cleveland are simply the best” (Bekah)

Best Horror-Themed Bar: The Dark Room in Broadview Heights (Anonymous)

Best Custom Cookies: Cookies by Courtney CLE (Many, many people)

Best Yoga Teacher: Adam Tilocco (Angela)

Warmest/Friendliest Business Owner: Oktober at Oktober’s Occult Store (Buffy)

Best Water Activity: Rowing with the Western Reserve Rowing Association (Nicolette)

Best Recreational Sports Team: Cleveland Water Polo Club (Kyle)

Best Grocery Store Employees: Patrick and Dom at the downtown Heinen’s (Catherine)

Best Realtor: Angie Caruso with Russell Realty (Kirsten)

Most Magical Vibes: Ben Kowall sharing the love in his heart with all souls (Brandon)

Best Shared-Use Kitchen/Incubator: Central Kitchen Cleveland (Eric)

Best Girlfriend in Cleveland: My girlfriend, Isabel McClain. She’s great. 10/10 gal. I love her very much (Nicole)

Best Family Resource: ClevelandWestSideMoms (Anna)

Best Specialty Store: Anglo American Darts (Mike)

Best Local Sound Tech: Ben Vilyus (Kelly)

Best Mayor: Martin Horwitz, who encouraged council to go forward with a mask mandate, got Beachwood’s fire department to be a drive-through vaccine location, and made Beachwood Delivers fee-free restaurant delivery happen to benefit the city’s restaurants and residents (LBJ)

“Beck Center for the Arts’ Beck @ Home online arts classes kept families sane during the pandemic” (Julie)

“Alesci’s food is terrific. Makes you feel like a guest at your own event” (Joanne)

Best Interior Design Studio: Lee Meier/ Best Interior Designer: Natalie Rich (Tim)

Best Newcomer: Jeremy Johnson, Executive Director at Assembly for the Arts. Since coming to town to head the successor to Arts Cleveland, Jeremy has made a point to go to art openings and see shows at venues in addition to meeting with the big guys. (Sean)

Best Healthcare Team: MetroHealth’s Trauma and Critical Care Teams. Best care team I’ve ever worked with across all systems (Zach)

Best Place for Books About Cleveland: The Cleveland History Center Museum Store (Holly)

Best Farm Market: Pickering Farms (Pamela)

“Hannah Kaufman Gallagher, floral supervisor at Avon Heinen’s. Knowledgeable and excellent customer service” (John)

Best Start-Up: The Current Year (Ryan)

Best Charity Drag Troupe: Cleveland Kings Action Pack (Rose)

Best Place for Music Lessons: Beck Center for the Arts (Amy)

Best Local Small Business: Terranean Herbs (Rita)

Best Spiritual Store: The New Moon (Darlene)

Best Non-Traditional Gift Shop/Boutique: Cleveland Curiosities (Katelyn)

Best Late-Night Show: Drag Bingo at Music Box Supper Club, fabulous views, delicious food, and benefiting local LGBT/friendly non-profit (Veranda)

Best Arts Organization for Local Art: Artists Archives of the Western Reserve (Rota)

Best Leather Goods: Fount (Frankie)

Best Volunteer Musical Ensemble: The Cleveland Women’s Orchestra (Sarah)

“252 Tattoo Shop and artist Lauren C. Absolutely the best!” (Alexander)

“Affogato Cat Cafe is one of the best spots in Cleveland!” (Tiara)

“Alyssa Frazier is the best barista in Cleveland, hands down. (Eli)

“Applejax is the best local toy store, not fair to lump it in with comic shops.” (Sarah)

“I’m the best.” (Noah)

Best All-Around Entertainer: Connor Bogart O’Brien (Jan)

Best Amazingly Sarcastic Bartender: Frank Turi (Justin)

Best Appetizer: Homemade Sacetti at Luca West (Victoria)

Best Audio Recording Studio: Breakthrough Sounds (Kenyatta)

Best Bar for Service Workers: McNamara’s (Steve)

Best Bathroom to do Coke: Luxe (Jerry)

Best Bike Repair: Sixth City Cycles (Tiffany)

Best Birding: Sandy Ridge Reservation (Jenna)

Best Breakfast Sandwich: Martha on the Fly (Katie)

Best TV Show: The Big Bad B Movie Show (Many, many people)

“Tim Wood bought me a pizza and opened up the shop after hours to tattoo me. He’s the best tattoo artist in Cleveland.” (Sean)

“The best teacher in Cleveland is Lori Farence. She has been teaching at CMSD for over 30 years. She lives and breathes for those kids and never got the recognition she deserved.” (Kurek)

“Slezak Sewing Center in Maple Heights has been around since before I was old enough to sew. Fast, friendly and reliable service and sage sewing advice.” (Lauren)

“Off the Griddle food truck has the best cubano in Cleveland.” (Josh)

Best Dog Trainer: Natalie Okal (Lauren)

Most Ironic Bar: The Patio Tavern, since they don’t actually have a patio (Bobby)

Most Badass Business Woman: Sara Syed (Carleigh)

“Miss C, Creta Brooks, at Value World is the best” (Mann)

Best Independent Female Hair Stylist: Melissa Fisher (Abigail)

“Matt Franks at the Old Angle deserves special recognition for his place in Cleveland soccer lore.” (Alex)

“Marc’s!! Best savings and products” (Mary)

Best Local Skin Care Company: Essencemaker in Chesterland (Jean)

“The Jive Turkey from Fresh Fix is the best sandwich in the city” (Anna)

“Isaiah Williams is the best local mural artist in the land” (Annie)

“I don’t know their name. They work at Lucky’s. Go Lucky’s” (Anessa)

“Hilary Zashin and the whole Corus 45 crew for the best workout” (Mahi)

Happiest Person: Matt Tyrrell (Matt Tyrrell)

Friendliest Vet: Dave Dissell (Isabella)

Friendliest Barista: Jackson at Terrapin Coffee and Bakery (Megan)

Best Local Fast Food: Mr. Hero (Katie)

Cleveland’s Most Patient People: The vendors and staff at the West Side Market, where they continue to deal with a lack of effort from the city to provide a safe workplace. (Dillon)

“The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo deserves to be recognized for their grant accommodations for handicapped accessibility. I would like to see this as a category in the future.” (Tracy)

Best Tree: The Willow at Edgewater (Matt)

Best Ghost Kitchen: Treehouse Provisions (Mollie)

Best Friend Ever: Erica Nicole Prada (Maiya)

Best Family-Owned Diner: Shore Restaurant (Daniella)

Best Event Planner: Hedge (Aireonna)

Best Dog in the City: Mista Chew, aka Chewcifer Hardwick (Chasidy)

Best Curly Hair Specialist: Nancy Duncan (Alex)

“I don’t know anyone to recognize” (Monica)
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Vince Grzegorek

Vince Grzegorek has been with Scene since 2007 and editor-in-chief since 2012. He previously worked at Discount Drug Mart and Texas Roadhouse.
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