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And the Nominees Are...

Thank you, Best of Buffalo voters: Without you I’d have never heard of Gaunches Unite!, an Orchard Park charitable organization whose name is taken from the dictionary of regional slang that somebody should write one day. (Thanks to Mike Caputo for explaining it to me.) The group, which received $16,000 from Kid Rock to support its work, was nominated for Best Activist Group and Best Activist Campaign by our voters this year, alongside such perennial favorites as PUSH Buffalo and Clean Air Coalition of WNY.

More than 5,000 people signed up to vote this year and more than half of you completed and submitted valid ballots.

You demonstrated some venerable Buffalonian traits in your voting. One man’s trash, for example, is another man’s treasure: Voters chose a waterfront stadium for the Buffalo Bills and tearing down the Skyway as both the best and worst ideas they’d ever heard. And while a number of you think we need more people like Carl Paladino in this town, an even greater number of you think we’ve got one too many of him already.

Like any good Buffalonian, you want to be heard even when you’ve got nothing to say: One guy wrote “I have no idea” in response to every question on the ballot.

You want Jimmy Fallon to come to Buffalo. You’re obsessed with who will own the Bills next, though you also hate yourself for caring: Trump? Bon Jovi? Tom Golisano? Can it really matter, given this telling fact: Among your favorite local athletes is a certain Hall of Fame quarterback who hasn’t hiked a ball in 18 years. A surprising number of you said you’d be happy to see the team and its recent record of futility sail away over the horizon.

You like traditional places like Riverside Men’s Shop and O’Connell’s Clothing; you also like newfangled hipster tailoring of the kind peddled by the guys at Bureau.

Your tastes are evolving: The bartenders and chefs you honor are among the city’s most daring—and, for the first time ever, fine Italian dining is giving red-sauce-and-meatball joints a run for their money. Some things, however, never change: More than two-thirds of you have opinions on the best places for pizza and wings, the categories which draw by far the most votes. By way of contrast, only 101 of you cast a vote for Best Spoken Word Artist—and one of those votes was “I have no idea.”

The voting data says a lot about you, dear reader: You are opinionated but curious, thrifty but generous, stubbornly old-fashioned but excited by new developments on the horizon. You are, in short, all that’s best about Buffalo and Western New York. Thanks for taking part in our survey, and thanks always for reading.

- geoff kelly

The Best of Buffalo 2014 Nominees:
IntroPeople & PlacesThe Fine ArtsLocal Music
Bars & NightlifeLocal EatsShops & Services

Best of Buffalo 2014 Winners List

The top five vote-getters are listed in no particular order and photos are chosen randomly. Winners were announced at the Best of Buffalo Party, Monday May 19, 6pm, at the Town Ballroom.

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