Special Issues » Best of the Triangle

Best of the Triangle 2012: Voters' comments

Lots of love for local businesses!

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I LOVE seeing Best of the Triangle stickers in windows of local places. It encourages me to stop in. Or try something new. I want to be a part of that to help encourage others to do the same!!

Ace Hardware in downtown Raleigh—super service, a wonderful kitchen department, and free popcorn!

Every Saturday night I dream of Acme's Sunday brunch! I'm obsessed with Chuck's burgers. Foundation is still my favorite bar ever. I'm so thankful that Neal's Deli exists. I wish I could live at the Washington Duke Inn.

Carmela & Andrew at Acupuncture Healing Center bring a whole new meaning to the word "heal." They care about the whole "you."

Between unique retailers and personalities such as All Day Records in Carrboro, Guru (vintage) Guitars, and the Oak City Cycling Project in Raleigh, it isn't hard to imagine why people nationwide see the Triangle area as an ideal destination.

The Alley is the bomb. It's really the only place I hang out in town. Great food, kick-ass shoes, cold beer and cool people. I'm going to quit my job and just go throw rocks there all the time.

Alley Cats & Angels is an awesome cat rescue group doing a phenomenal job!

Amplified Art has the best open mic in the Triangle. There is always such a wide variety of genres and participants. Everyone is really encouraging and supportive, especially if it's your first time!

I die and go to heaven every time I take a bite of Angus Barn's chocolate chess pie!

Antonio's in Lafayette Village, Raleigh: great selection, great customer service. Ambiente: great contemporary furniture, great customer service.

Aviator Tap House has a friendly atmosphere and definitely feels like the neighborhood bar.

Back Alley Bikes—least intimidating and most informative bike shop, plus an awesome dog!

Mami Nora's—Best. Rotisserie. EVER.

Frisky Business—cleanest, most spacious and well-lit store, excellent variety, funny and helpful staff—what's not to love?

Ba-Da Wings, in the heart of NCSU, treats everyone like family (even in my UNC shirt). Awesome wings!

Bandido's: great locally owned neighborhood restaurant. Lone Rider Sweet Josie: one of the best brown ales I've ever had.

The Bar Durham is where I get my GAY on!

Bean Traders continues to blow me away, even after drinking their stuff for more than four years. Their coffee selection is incredible, and their baristas are magicians when it comes to espresso creations. The atmosphere is perfect—hip, yet also homey.

The Beast rocks because of the intelligent and relevant lyrics!

I LOVE Bella Monica. They are so accommodating to my food allergies, the food is delicious, and the wait staff is consistently great! We always take out-of-towners there when they visit and everyone has enjoyed it.

Chefs Abel & Adan Atauchi at Bellini, Fuquay Varina—Our Mayor John Bynre says it's the finest food he's ever had, and most people in our town who have tasted the food at Bellini agree with him. Their food is incredible, their hearts humble. We love them!

BeyondBlue Interiors always has an eclectic mix of unique gifts and home wares—they specialize in eco-friendly products made in N.C.

Larry's Beans not only has crazy-good, fair-trade, organic coffee, but they are also a leader in sustainability!

Big Boss Brewery is my pick for best local brewery because not only do they brew a variety of tasty beers, but their Tap Room has become our "Cheers"—where everyone knows your name and there's always good conversation!

Best Salon: Blo!!! I have been going to Blo almost as long as they have been open (which is seven years) and I absolutely LOVE my hair every time I go there. The front desk staff welcomes me every time and I love all the hairdressers I have used.

Blood Red River is the best band in the Triangle—surprisingly good traditional rock and roll, seductive dancing girls, and a cute lead singer. Who could ask for more?

Bloomsbury Bistro is the finest restaurant in Raleigh. Chef Toler makes sure each dish is unique and every dining experience is exceptional. I can't say enough great things about this restaurant!

Blue Note Grill is the "Cheers" restaurant in Durham. The owner and wait staff remember everyone that comes in. I always see someone I know there. The music is not too loud and inspires people to dance.

Blu Seafood & Bar in Durham is not only a great seafood restaurant, it's a great restaurant period. The food never disappoints, the staff is incredible, and I've never taken anyone there who wasn't blown away. Kudos to Chef/Owner Tim Lyons.

I love The Borough. The staff is friendly and so are the patrons. The food is terrific. They are open every day of the year because they know that when you have a houseful of relatives over, you might need to duck out for a drink to save yourself.

Bottle Revolution is a local, independently owned craft beer store, recently opened. The owner is very knowledgeable and helpful and truly loves what he does. Great specials, great selection, consistently updated and in-house taps to "try before you buy."

Brigs makes the best breakfast of the Triangle, hands down. And the Durham location is the best of the chain. Chubby's Tacos just rocks. I could do shots of their guacatillo salsa.

Bull City Burger & Brewery has changed the way we live in downtown Durham. They are a symbol of a huge change in our city. Thanks to them we now feel there's a place where we belong, and where the city is alive.

Bull City Running is by far the best local running shop! Super helpful and friendly staff—a one-stop shopping experience for all your running needs!

Bull McCabe's is my favorite place to grab lunch or dinner, a drink, or just hang out. The staff is friendly, the tables are clean, and there's always a game on the television!

I absolutely love the Busy Bee Cafe. It is my favorite place in Raleigh to get a beer, have dinner, or even just hang out and do some homework. The staff is amazing and the food is phenomenal.

Caffé Driade is an oasis of calm in my otherwise insane life.

Callaway Jewelry/ Spiral Studios—I have purchased gifts for my wife, cousin, sister, and daughter-in-law here, and each gift has been a huge hit. Handmade jewelry at reasonable prices. I enjoy buying from the folks who made the pieces.

CAM Raleigh is the best venue for seeing the best and latest in contemporary art, but it is also contributing to the success of downtown Raleigh as a whole.

For any occasion and anyone, I know I can stop by and find the perfect gift at Cameron's, whether funny, sweet, stylish, or whimsical. Orange County Rape Crisis Center's volunteers and staff go above and beyond, 24/7.

Camos Brothers Pizza, Raleigh—Amazing melt-in-your-mouth crust and awesome ingredients like sliced sausage and fresh mozzarella cheese and perfect tomato sauce!! I could eat it every single day! It's the best N.Y. pizza around!

Camp Canine is so awesome my dogs don't want to come HOME! Cliff's Meat Market is awesome—Cliff makes my TurDucKen every Christmas—it's a new tradition!

Cantina 18 has some of the best tacos I've ever had, I can't leave there without ordering a beef taco. Dalat has the best Pho soup, tastes just like it does in San Francisco.

I have used Carpe Diem Cleaners for almost 20 years and have never regretted hiring them. They do a great job and are fair and humble. Kudos to the staff!

Carrboro Yoga Company is the perfect place to get in touch with your inner yogi. There are so many different styles offered that there is something for everyone. The space is also beautiful and it is easy to leave your worries at the door.

Chapel Hill Comics remains one of the best shops in the Triangle and North America, with a friendly and knowledgeable staff, a great selection of indie comics, and fun events.

Chicken Fried Blues is the best blues band in town! The music feels good and has energy!

Chubby's Tacos is my favorite restaurant. Hands down. The food is always good, the staff is always smiling, and the salsa is always tasty.

Comedy Worx is my favorite place by far! I love that I can bring my whole family, including my teenager, and everyone has a good time. Great beer choices and great comedy!

Comfort Engineers has been in business in this area for decades. Their work ethic and professional experience make it a top HVAC company.

Cray Gunn of Custom Carpentry is talented and hard-working. I wouldn't trust my home to anyone else. He's handled our remodeling, which we've loved, and been incredibly helpful and professional along the way.

Crema Coffee is a diamond in the rough!

Christmas Abbott and Crossfit Invoke have both inspired and taught me to do the best I can and to push my comfort level. All of the sweat and achy muscles have been well worth the reward of feeling absolutely great about my fitness.

Dame's Chicken & Waffles. No longer a secret. Best meal in the Triangle.

DJ SPCLGST always brings the energy and great music! A people's person who loves music!

Doggie Spa is the safest, most caring and economical place that I've used for kenneling my precious pooch!

Beth & Hannah of Durham's DogWalk are not only thoroughly responsible pet-sitters, but they clearly enjoy working with pets. Leaving town, I know that my animals have fun when the pet-sitter visits. They're compassionate and enthusiastic.

Dr. Creighton is a kind and upfront, nonpushy doc. We love The Borough and The Borough loves us back. Piebird just makes everyone happy. Los Cuates is the least known, most awesome REAL Mexican food in Raleigh.

Dr. Gaertner at N.C. Chiropractic keeps not only my spine but my funny bone aligned correctly. Angelina's Kitchen's avgolemono (chicken soup) is just like my Greek grandmother made; I never thought I would get to eat it again!

Dr. Mindy Bradshaw is the BEST: skilled massage therapists plus a seriously impressive neck adjustment = YAY!

I love our Dr. Sonia Rappaport at New Haven Medical in Chapel Hill. It's nice to have someone versed and concerned about both Eastern and Western practices and have them so thoroughly combined and cared for.

Durham Cycles is a FABULOUS small, local business focused on customer service to the max. They are the best! Loaf is an AMAZING local bakery. They make the best bread I have ever eaten in my life. Seriously.

Cheryl Hynes, massage therapist at Epona & Oak, is the most amazing massage therapist I've ever encountered. She is amazingly talented, extremely caring and very knowledgeable. Love her!

Erin Sonnier is an amazing deep-tissue massage therapist!

Escazú and Ashley Christensen have done more for Raleigh than the previous five mayors.

Fearrington House has fed me my only perfect meal.

Fishmonger's is the best! A++++++ on food and service, not to mention the beer selection. We go every time my parents are in from W.V. It's their favorite restaurant!

Flyleaf is everything a book store should be—local, supportive of local authors, and good to readers! Balloons & Tunes goes the extra mile to help customers get what they need.

Cameron Martz of Form Fitness is easily the best personal trainer in the Triangle area: he always pushes me to do more. I've lost 15 pounds with him so far and I'm never going back!

Franklin Street Yoga Center is a beautiful yoga community with people from all walks of life. The teacher are nourishing and encouraging, and there is a collective sense of breath and purpose that infuses my yoga practice there with great intention.

Fullsteam not only has great beer and is a fun place to hang out, but they use local ingredients! Company foraging trips sound awesome.

Geer Street Garden and Fullsteam brewery being a few dozen steps away from each other means one parking place for all of my afternoon, evening, and late-night hanging out.

The Southern Comfort from Gigi's Cupcakes is truly food-gasm worthy! I have yet to find another bakery that makes this type of cupcake.

Alice at Guglhupf deserves the Best Barista hands-down. She's always friendly, intentional and calm, even when Guglhupf is packed.

Guru Guitars: the nicest and most knowledgeable shop about instruments in the area, bar none.

Gypsy Witch is EXACTLY the store that Carrboro needs! All local, handmade clothing, accessories, artwork, music, vintage finds and innovative designs!

Hayes Barton Cafe—best black forest cake ever! Hayes-Barton Pharmacy—best personal service at no extra cost!

Infuzion offers everything—music, fitness, dance (including belly dance!) and martial arts. I love it!

International Delights has the best falafel in the world. I've had them all over the Middle East and ID's blows them all away.

Isaac Hunter's might be the best overall bar in Raleigh! From their DJ on Fridays and Saturdays to the busiest karaoke show in town on Sundays, it's a great place to spend an alcoholiday!

Jewelsmith has a fabulous team of designers. They stock the cases with dazzling, one-of-a-kind pieces. Or for the same price, you can work with a designer to get exactly what you want, at an affordable price. Customers feel welcomed—never pushed.

Jon Shain is the most unbelievable music teacher I've ever had. His practice is an amazing community where he opens his home to all of us for student open mics and encourages all of us regardless of performance level. Jon is a local treasure.

Jubala Village Coffee is hands-down the best cup of coffee in the Triangle. They use locally sourced ingredients as much as possible (Counter Culture Coffee, Homeland Creamery, etc.), and the baristas care about the coffee from seed to cup. And WAFFLES!

Absolutely love Klausie's Pizza. Fab'rik boutiques in Cameron Village and Chapel Hill have the best clothes! Bloomsbury Bistro has some of the best desserts I've ever tasted.

KoKyu brings a smile to my face every time. It's innovative, vegetarian friendly, and super spicy—I love it!

Been enjoying the Third Fridays After Hours Concerts at Labour Love Gallery put on by The Art of Cool Project.

Lafayette Village in North Raleigh is the perfect combination of fine dining and boutique shopping, and the open green area is great for kids or to listen to live music! It's like being in Europe!

Legacy Studios has a great location in downtown Durham. Their class sizes are great. And the best part: they have aerial dance!

The Little School—where kids get to be kids!

Mama Dip's—best Southern food other than my grandmother's! Siena Hotel—beautiful, great service, BEST BEDS! Womancraft Gifts—by far the best selection of gifts; gorgeous and handmade in the Triangle area!

Mandolin—Best new restaurant. Great eclectic fare! The English Garden for flowers. Wonderful selections, emphasis on local product, and great staff!

We love Market Restaurant. Great food for both vegaterian and non-vegaterian, PLUS it's next to Escazú!

Mellow Mushroom Raleigh has the best patio, best beer selection, best margaritas and best pizza. What else do you need?

Mike Savino gives the best massage for the price and accompanies it with great jokes.

Tommy at Mission Valley 66 service station is what every auto mechanic should be—totally honest and nice as can be.

Monster Cookies & Cakes—the best you will ever have.

Monuts is such a fun new addition to the Durham food scene. I love the donuts, I love the people, and I can't wait to see them open a shop!

Moshi Moshi owns cuteness, coolness, sweetness and top-notch service. Combining rad fashion and cosmetics while being affordable and non-pretentious isn't easy ... but someone's gotta do it! And Moshi Moshi sho' doez.

Mulberry Fine Silks & Fabrics is just an overall amazing place to shop for fabric. Not only is the store beautiful, but the staff is friendly and very helpful. Susan Kobesky is one of the employees that deserves retail salesperson of the year.

I'm originally from San Diego and Nanataco's food is far and away the best Mexican this side of the Mississippi!

N.C. Green Plumbing has innovative, earth-friendly solutions to ordinary plumbing problems.

I am originally from Tampa and I think Old Havana Sandwich Shop has the best Cuban sandwiches on this Earth. Way better than anything I can get from Tampa or Miami. And their cafe con leche is out of this world.

Ora Jewelers gives you a great selection of fine jewelry with exceptional customer service! Wavelengths in Durham is the best salon. Friendly and super-fun staff who always ensure you leave there looking stylish and at your best!

Organic Bakies has a variety of delicious organic goodies using local ingredients, some vegan and some not, but my favorites are the vegan chocolate chip cookies. My husband and I hide secret stashes from each other around the house.

I had excellent service at Papa's Grill. They even ran to the parking lot with my pocketbook when I forgot it!

Phydeaux is a great place to buy animal supplies. Despite what you may think, the prices on items are the same or cheaper than at the big-box animal stores like PetSmart.

Seriously! The Pig has some of the tastiest vegetarian (and vegan) selections in the Triangle. Best barbecue tempeh I've ever eaten! And the Sweet PLT (sweet potato, lettuce, tomato) will have you singing songs of joy toward the owner, Sam.

Pinnacle Automotive Service is top of the line for me. They are honest people with honest prices. They are family owned and I can tell they are close with one another. It makes me feel comfortable bringing my car to them!

I'd be lost without Quail Ridge Books. They have a great selection, awesome staff, and great author events. I'd never board my dog anywhere but Pupsi. Awesome, expert staff who love dogs. Huge play space: my dog can't wait to get out of the car to go play!

Our favorite new place in Durham is Reliable Cheese Company. The owner really knows his stuff and we always leave happy!

Bud & Beth McKinney of Re/Max United are the best realtors in the area. They sold our house in record time, had people fighting over it, and then put us up at their B&B in Apex for two nights 'til closing. Fabulous events offered year-round.

The Remedy Diner is the best place to get a vegan meal without having to explain everything to the staff.

I LOVE Sage Cafe. THE best place to go if you're vegan, hungry, and enjoy a super-friendly wait staff.

I'm in high school, and I still buy physical CDs at Schoolkids Records. Schoolkids is a pillar of excellence.

I love The Scrap Exchange because it offers unlimited opportunities for fun as well as creativity, plus my son loves all the crazy junk and running around on Third Fridays.

Scratch Bakery blows my mind every time I eat there.

I drive almost an hour to take my furkids to Southpoint Animal Hospital. Dr. Lapham & Dr. Farling and their staff are absolutely amazing! I wouldn't consider taking my pets anywhere else.

Starrlight Mead continues to blow me away with its business performance. What a great and unique concept that really adds some culture to Pittsboro!

My roommate and I use the cupcakes at Sugarland to keep us sane!

SuzAnna's Antiques is a wonderful little gem of a place with anything you could want! Vintage clothing, jewelry, furniture, dishes. They even rent to photographers! Lots of local interest and local handmade products as well!

I love Tasty Beverage Company. It is great to have such a fun, inspiring and positive small business in Raleigh, not to mention the beer selection! Best of all, I am so happy to see Raleigh as equally enthusiastic about supporting local small businesses!

Whenever we have friends and family come to visit we always take them to Taverna Agora and the Carolina Ale House. Our guests have always had great dining experiences and always want to go again.

Ten Thousand Villages is absolutely the best gift store. Not only are their gifts unique, but their non-profit organization gives back to the women overseas who make them.

Thimble Pleasures is THE haven for quilters. I can spend hours just looking and buying. Neo-Asia is the best restaurant in the Triangle for any variety of Asian food ... it is a must-try.

Threshold is the best non-profit because of the staff and those they serve, adults with severe and persistent mental illness. Schoolhouse of Wonder is the best summer camp because of the unique teaching environment, the Eno River.

The staff at Ultimate Comics is knowledgeable, friendly, and provides just the right amount of snark to make their store the best I've ever seen. Julie Smith at Moshi Moshi is the best stylist I've EVER been to and one of the nicest people I know.

Urban Durham gave our home sale so much personal attention we had 30 showings in six weeks! They don't just get Durham, they get the great diversity of people looking to move to Durham.

Vert & Vogue has the best staff, they are so friendly and helpful, and I can trust where they source their products, so I feel great about my purchase!

Vinnie's is the neighborhood bar but can be your upscale restaurant when you need a special night or need to entertain. All the people are great, the food is wonderful, and most of all it's FUN!!

Wine Authorities is the ultimate in local excellence. They are so friendly and informative and have some of the best customer service around!

NON-PROFIT RADIO in the Triangle is THE BEST RADIO ON THE EAST COAST!! I just spent a week driving all the way up to Maine, and over 3,000 miles of highway there's NOTHING to compare to WKNC, WNCU, WSHA, WUNC, WXYC, WCPE, and WXDU!!!

WKNC's Mystery Roach is the only radio show in America where you are GUARANTEED to hear Frank Zappa.

Best reasons to keep your radio tuned to WNCU: 8 Track Flashback, The Funk Show, Bull City Blues, Blues Before Sunrise.

Constant Vomit on WXYC is always some strange, invigorating sounds!

Zog's is the most chill bar I have been to in the Triangle. Mandey has made it a very welcoming place, and she serves great drinks. If I'm out in Chapel Hill, you will probably find me here.

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