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From the Editor

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The Best of Delaware survey results are always a surprise—even to us. This year, more reasons to celebrate.

 

 

It’s a fact of life in a democracy: Whoever woos the most votes wins. And since we Americans find it hard to divorce the notions of democracy and a free market economy, it follows that places with the most customers will score a lot of support in our annual Best of Delaware survey.

It’s the blessing and the curse of the BOD awards. When we ask you to tell us your favorite places to dine and shop, the high-volume places often win. More often than not, those places are national retail and restaurant chains—a trend that has picked up steam over the past decade. You’ll therefore see a strong showing from such places as Ann Taylor, Applebee’s, Joseph A. Bank, Bertucci’s and others in this year’s story.

And that’s fair. After all, most of us patronize some of those places now and then. But bigger isn’t always better, so when we at the magazine look for the best of Delaware, what we want to find are the best truly local places, our own unique, homegrown businesses and personalities. You can find a Starbucks on every street corner in the United States—and they do come in handy—but only in Delaware will you find a Grotto Pizza or a La Tolteca.

So we love it when you give places like Big Fish Grill, Harry’s Seafood Grill and Six Paupers Tavern wins in five or more categories. We love it when small but established places like Delvecchio’s Bakery post their first, often long-overdue wins. And we’re happy to see classics like Capriotti’s and Casapulla’s show up yet again, as they have in poll after poll since we started the Best of Delaware. (We’re up to 19, and your debate over whose subs are best rages on. Don’t expect any tie-breaker ruling from us. We’re not crazy.)

But what we love most is letting you know about the great places that didn’t win in the readers survey. That’s why we, the critics (otherwise known as the editorial staff and restaurant reviewers), ring in. We’re among the state’s biggest boosters. We’re always on the hunt for cool little places that are flying under the radar, for old places with new faces that deserve a fresh look, and for new places that haven’t yet gained wide recognition. We’re delighted to let you know about them.

Though we often agree on what’s great, we don’t always agree on who’s best. There again, the majority rules. So this year we’ve shared some of our personal favorites. We hope our suggestions help you find some new favorite places of your own.

And if you wonder if 370-plus winners isn’t getting a tad ridiculous, what can we say? There are many, many places that deserve our props. And because we’re always looking for more, we’re happy to hear your suggestions for places to investigate for next year. Please email me at mnardone@delawaretoday.com. We’ll check them out. The Best of Delaware will turn 20 next year. We promise a great one.

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