Photo of Chef Chris Rainosek via Yelp
You have spoken. The 2017 Nappie Awards are in the can and you, dear reader, spread the love more this year than ever. Very few nominees found themselves winning multiple awards, something I believe may be due to a voting system that levels the playing field a bit. Those that did win more than one award were heavily contested.
Butch Cassidy’s took home the awards for Best Locally Owned Restaurant and for Best Server in Megan Baker. The Noble South nabbed a couple, with Best Chef Chris Rainosek also cranking out the Best Entrée with his shrimp and grits. Kitchen on George grabbed a pair for its Most Innovative Menu as well as Best Farm to Table Restaurant. Moe’s Original BBQ won for both Best Chain Restaurant and Best Barbecue Restaurant.
COMPLETE LIST — 2017 NAPPIE AWARDS
Speaking of barbecue, those awards gave virtually all of our heavy hitters some recognition. Best Barbecue Sauce went to Meat Boss while your choice for Best Ribs was old- schoolers Dreamland. Farther west, Dick Russell’s Bar-B-Q got the nod for Best Biscuits.
The Best Overall Restaurant is Felix’s Fish Camp Grill on the causeway. Best New Restaurants are Dumbwaiter on the Hill (fine dining) and Roosters (casual dining). Across the bay you liked Boudreaux’s Cajun Grill for Best Eastern Shore Restaurant and LuLu’s for Best Beach Restaurant. Ruth’s Chris was voted as having the Best Service Overall.
Best Outdoor Dining is tough when competing against Sunset Pointe at Fly Creek Marina. Panini Pete’s may have the Nappie for Best Eastern Shore Lunch Spot sealed for a while. No doubt the incredible view at Dauphin’s helped it win the award for Best Atmosphere.
Best Restaurant Wine List deservedly goes to Red or White, while Best Wine/Gourmet Shop is Domke Market. For Best Beer Selection — Retail you can praise Old Shell Growlers for its wonderful beer selection.
A little more down to earth is the Best Home Cookin’/Soul Food category. That’s an important one, and this year it went to Judy’s Place. Have you ever tried to get in there for lunch? Cross your fingers. If it’s the area’s Best Brunch you crave, the Grand Hotel in Point Clear is your spot.
Internationally, we have some great categories. Via Emilia is your pick for Best Italian Restaurant. That tiny kitchen puts out a lot of food. For Best Mexican Restaurant, your pick is La Cocina and its new digs. Best Ethnic Restaurant went to Mediterranean Sandwich Co. The best news about that is Vlad seems to be opening a new location every time we turn around!
Even the coffeehouses were well represented. For Mobile, you chose Carpe Diem as Best Coffeehouse; Alan Tolson and crew are still making it happen. You picked Serda’s as the Best Eastern Shore Coffeehouse. Along with his original Mobile location John Serda will soon have a brewery downtown, no doubt heavily contesting any beer categories we may have in the next Nappie Awards.
When it comes to specific foods, no restaurant ran away with an armload of awards. For starters, let’s have a look at Best Appetizer. That was awarded to Heroes for its crawfish and spinach dip. David Rasp better not take that one off the menu anytime soon, but Chick-fil-A beat Heroes for Best Sweet Tea. While we also love Heroes’ wings, for Best Wings you chose Buffalo Wild Wings, a tough-to-beat chain that puts out an excellent product. For Best Chicken Fingers you can’t fake the foo — Foosackly’s holds the title.
You aren’t surprised Callaghan’s won Best Burger. The whole neighborhood did well. Best Gumbo went to the Oakleigh Garden District’s Cream and Sugar, which serves it over grits. Ashland Midtown Pub has your Best Po’boy while Mellow Mushroom serves your Best Pizza. In the Best Take and Bake category, Papa Murphy’s is currently king. For Best Sushi, Rock-n-Roll Sushi rocked the vote. Briquettes Steakhouse took Best Steak and Half Shell Oyster House shucked out your Best Seafood.
Your Best Raw Oysters are from Wintzell’s Oyster House. Always be on the lookout for the locals; the ones from Dauphin Island are spectacular. In the Best Seafood Market category, Mudbugs at the Loop was your place for tails to pinch and heads to suck.
Your Best Lunch Spot in Mobile is Chicken Salad Chick. Best Eastern Shore Lunch Spot is Panini Pete’s. Best Food Truck goes to Von’s. (Her restaurant is great, too.) The award for Best Caterer goes to Naman’s.
Of all the annual food events this town supports, you voted Greek Fest as the Best Annual Food Event or Cook-off. I was sad I didn’t get to see the bouzouki player this year. Think of how much better next year’s will be now that Ann Street has gotten some much-needed attention.
When you’re in the midst of indulging, O’Daly’s Hole in the Wall is your place for (I predicted it) Best Drunk Food. I still haven’t tried one of their goofy pizzas, but I will. When you wake up with a hangover, your cure is Foosackly’s for Best Hangover Food, joining the ranks of those with multiple wins this year.
Once you’ve wrapped it all up and are almost ready for the check, your Best Dessert favorites are clear. Delish’s Desserts took the award for Best Desserts. Sally’s Piece of Cake took the, um, cake for Best Bakery and Pollman’s got the nod for Best Wedding Cakes. Not to be too confusing, but Flour Girls took the Nappie for Best Cupcake.
As for Best Local Grocery Store, you know Greer’s has “got it.” Best Grocery Chain went to Publix, while its neighbor down the street, Whole Foods, won for Best Gourmet Grocery. The Best Place to get Local Produce/Foods in Mobile was Old Shell Market (where you will find me on Mondays), while Allegri won for Best Place to Get Local Produce/Foods in Baldwin County.
Last but not least, and I am almost tired of saying it, but Cammie’s Old Dutch beat out all of the other contenders for Best Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt/Gelato. At some point the city will erect a bronze statue, I am sure.
Congratulations to our winners. Seeing such a variety speaks to the strength of our culinary scene and our readers’ broad dining preferences. Here’s to many more options next year!