I’m very excited about this year’s Nappie Awards, and I am glad to see that many of last year’s winners still have what it takes to stand their ground. I appreciate staying power. There are restaurants in Mobile, New Orleans, and Mississippi that, I hope never have a reason to vacate the places they hold in my heart. It seems a lot of you feel the same way about our local restaurants.
Many first and second place spots on the current list are identical to 2013. While I can say I don’t always understand your votes, I can say if I wasn’t crazy about your first place I usually adored your second choice. You’ve done well, Mobile. Let’s take a look at your choices.
Readers chose Felix’s Fish Camp as the best place to take out-of-towners. That’s an easy target on the causeway, and often serves as a beacon for those on their way to the beach. Kitchen on George was your second choice, so the Oakleigh Garden District gets a shout out. What I like about these two choices is that they could not be any more different. Perhaps the only thing they have in common is that they are multiple award winners. Felix’s took first in service over Ruth’s Chris while Kitchen on George beat Ruth’s Chris for its wine list.
Best locally owned restaurant went to NoJa over the lovable Osman’s. This beat out The Bull from last year. It’s still good, too.
Let’s talk about your favorite new restaurants. Best new casual restaurant went to Lap’s over Mugshots. As for Lap’s, there’s a lot going on in that one building. It’s amazing how they keep it together. In the fine dining category the newbies include Noble South for first place over The House. Both of these places have slung some good things my way. The whole band enjoyed a fun night at The House in Spring Hill. LoDa’s Noble South is full of charm day or night with offerings eclectic enough to also win first place for most innovative menu over Benjamin’s.
Speaking of, Benjamin’s took first in most underrated over R&R Seafood. Once again, two totally different experiences made their way to the winner’s circle.
Once you get to the beach most of you prefer Lulu’s. It’s quite the attraction, and Lucy has been doing it for years. Add to that the fact that her new Lucy B. Goode offers more fine dining selections to suit every appetite. Second best went to Fisher’s. I’m almost certain my sister has her own table here. She never misses a chance to visit this Orange Beach locale.
The best Eastern Shore restaurants are The Wash House followed by the Fairhope Inn. You can’t go wrong with these two. It’s almost unfair that the other great restaurants of the area have to compete with them. Thyme by the Bay, Grand Hotel, and many more pepper that coastline with some incredible food.
If it is atmosphere you want, The Bull has it. Kitchen on George was your second favorite, but you chose them as the best spot for first date over your favorite Italian, Mirko. If you are looking for a cheap date, the Dew Drop Inn could not be beaten by Callaghan’s.
Now for the section I could probably cut and paste from previous issues.
Best annual food event is the American Cancer Society’s Chili Cook Off, followed by Greekfest.
Callaghan’s grabs the best burger over Butch Cassidy’s. You’re still crazy about them after all these years, Mobile. So am I. Butch Cassidy’s could not be taken down by Buffalo Wild Wings for best wings, though.
Cammie’s Old Dutch Ice Cream Parlor wins best ice cream again over Chill.
Like last year, Panini Pete won best lunch over Delish’s Desserts, but Delish’s held its first place spot in best dessert over Flour Girls, who took second to Gigi’s in cupcakes. Flour Girls also took best bakery over Pollman’s. Apples and oranges. One for my cupcakes, one for my iced cookies.
Ruth’s Chris has your favorite steak over newcomer Briquettes.
When you get into the game and you’ve had a few too many, hope that you’re firmly planted in one of the seats at Heroes. Sober up with some of their award winning sweet tea (over Moe’s). For best drunk food it’s hard to argue their sandwiches, wings and Friday oysters, but if you haven’t had the spinach and crawfish dip, then you are no hero of mine. They aren’t open during the wee hours, but often your second choice is.
Geaux Boy provides the mobility of late night drunk food that has been so well received that they also took best poboy over Boiling Pot.
For best hangover food you favored Foosackly’s and Callaghan’s, in that order.
Best gumbo? Maybe this is the hardest to decide. Congratulations, Wintzell’s. You’ve honed it for many years. Lap’s gets the honorable mention. Keep your chin up, Lap’s. That’s kind of a big deal.
Yak beat Mediterranean Sandwich Company for best ethnic food. Stagecoach won best home cooking/soul food over Mama’s on Dauphin Street. Fuego won best Mexican food over La Cocina. Bucks got best pizza over Mellow Mushroom. Liquid beat Master Joe’s for best sushi. I’d like to see a second Liquid location in Baldwin County and a Master Joe’s in Mobile.
Although Moe’s lost the sweet tea race to Heroes they found themselves the champs of barbecue. Dreamland was everyone’s second. We lost a couple of barbecue places last year. It’s good to see these guys are going strong.
How can one choose best seafood? You just have to choose. And you chose Bon Secour’s Tin Top over last year’s favorite, Felix’s Fish Camp on the causeway.
Revenge is a dish best served cold. Café 615 turned the tables on T.P. Crockmier’s for best brunch. Serda’s did the same to Cream and Sugar for best coffeehouse. Rouses knocked Publix down from first to second place for best grocer.
This was an exciting Nappie full of peats, repeats and three-peats. I hope that all of the newcomers who won will strive to have this spot a year from now. Take a cue from all those familiar names. We need more of that in our restaurant scene. Congratulations!