Déjà vu, folks.

In case you missed it the first time around, here’s a second dose of Folio Weekly’s Best of Jax, our annual readers poll. It’s updated with fabulous new photographs and, well, little else. Let’s be honest, in a world obsessed with vapid celebrity, pictures are all anyone cares about anyway. So flip through the fabulousness on display and enjoy the list of winners two times, yo. And don’t forget to stare.

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Politics & Public Affairs Really Important Stuff News & the Media Eating & Drinking Out Shops & Wares Culture, Arts & Entertainment Sports & Outdoor Recreation

Folio Weekly would like to thank these businesses for their contributions to this issue: Café Carmon in San Marco,Rosie True in San Marco,Simple Gestures in St.Augustine and Tera Nova in Metro South. Also,big thanks to model Matie Strickland and Chico the dog. Photos by Walter Coker.

Best Local Grassroots Initiative

St. Johns Riverkeeper
No one can say the Riverkeeper didn’t earn this one. This year, the Riverkeeper Neil Armingeon, executive director Jimmy Orth and crew released a massive, hard-hitting report on wastewater discharge violations, one based on hundreds of hours spent digging through state Department of Environmental Protection records. And that’s on top of the privately funded organization’s regular patrols of the St. Johns, its outreach boat trips and its public-policy battles. Oh, yeah — and the production of its national-award-winning “Revenge of the River” documentary, which aired on local public television. Up next: The organization must fight state Water Management District plans to siphon off some 262 million gallons of water a day from the St. Johns and its tributaries, for thirsty Central Florida.

or not they have a gun. But let’s face it — all we really do is whine, honk our horns and listen to Nickelback’s “Rockstar” until our ears bleed. It’s easy to blame the development boom for the congestion because, yes, I-95, JTB and I-10 are perpetual construction sites, but where has blaming developers ever gotten us? Certainly not home in less than an hour.

Best Local Trend

Downtown Revitalization
Following years and years of talk about reviving Jacksonville’s urban core, 2007 yielded incontrovertible evidence that the movement has begun in earnest. Ubër-hip restaurant Chew opened on West Adams. Next door, the Thief in the Knight gallery held some of the freshest art shows in recent memory. Add a couple of new clubs on Bay Street, Shelby’s Café in the Main Library, workingman’s pub Shantytown just north in Springfield, a new donut shop, a cigar bar, a soon-to-be-opened bookstore and pizzeria, and lots of residential construction, and it’s undeniable that downtown Jacksonville no longer blows.

Best Local Scandal

City Council Sunshine Violations
This story, first reported by The Florida TimesUnion, shined a light on the dubious practices of local lawmakers who either ignored or deliberately evaded the state’s Government in the Sunshine Law. The law, designed to ensure that local government isn’t ruled by backroom negotiations and secret handshakes, requires lawmakers to provide reasonable public notice of meetings and take minutes to reflect what occurs at those meetings. Jacksonville City Councilmembers did neither. Instead, they scheduled secret meetings at places inaccessible to the general public and offered little or no account of what was discussed. When asked about it by the T-U, at least one lawmaker even redacted his calendar to conceal the meetings. The issue is currently being investigated by the Grand Jury — and more ugly revelations are likely to follow.

Best Local Community Activist

Scott Shine
After moving to Northeast Florida from Richmond, Va., 20 years ago, Shine quickly tapped in to the growth problems that plague this and other parts of the state. Shine’s activism includes organizing his chapter of Surfrider Foundation, suing the St. Johns County Commission in 2004 in order to clear Ponte Vedra Beach’s impassable public access points and focusing local surfers on environmental preservation issues. More recently, the 47-year-old — a lifelong Republican until he became a Dem a few months ago — founded the West Beaches Community Coalition, a group with a mission of reining in growth just west of the Intracoastal. The former City Council candidate’s latest project is the Jacksonville Elections Reform Study Group, targeting those political heavyweights who funnel contributions that far exceed limits to candidates. As they say, Shine — as in sunshine — is the best disinfectant.

Best Stupid Idea

Club Paris
In fairness, there are stupider ideas than opening a nightclub dedicated to vapid cultural maggot Paris Hilton. How about Paris Hilton breakfast cereal? Or a line of Paris Hilton prison scrubs? But since none of these ideas came to fruition, Club Paris is officially the best stupid idea in Northeast Florida — albeit one whose days have come to an end. Unfortunately for those who didn’t think it was stupid, those heady times of tiaras and pink glitter have drawn to a close. The club’s new owners will be turning the space into a country-andWestern club called Mavericks — not such a stupid idea in Jacksonville.

Politics & Public Affairs
Local Hero Local Zero Worst Thing to Happen to Northeast Florida Best Local Huckster Best-Looking Local Legislator Best Thing to Happen to Northeast Florida

Jaguars dropping Byron Leftwich
It’s not entirely clear why Leftwich lost his job when he did — just as season began, after promises from Coach Del Rio that his QB spot was secure — but his departure has clearly kicked off a new era for the team. Since the Jags came to town as an NFL expansion team in 1993, debates have raged about why the team hasn’t caught fire. Everyone from former head coach Tom Coughlin to owner Wayne Weaver to the guy who washes the jock straps has shouldered the blame. With Leftwich gone, Jags fans and management are hoping things will turn around for the beleaguered squad. Of course, if the Jags still struggle, Weaver can simply dump Del Rio or sell the team, as many have already suggested he’ll do. Major League Baseball, anyone?

Mayor John Peyton
It’s not easy being all things to all people, but Mayor Peyton comes damn close. This year’s Best of Jax poll reveals some profoundly mixed feelings about the city’s top elected official. Since his easy re-election in March, Peyton has had nothing but trouble — scandals over friends benefiting from non-standard city contracts, a budget that both slashes services and raises fees on ordinary homeowners, and a nagging sense that his administration might leave the city little changed, or even worse for wear. Despite such misgivings, Peyton remains popular enough to win the Local Hero category for the fourth year in a row, and he’s enough of a hottie to clinch this year’s new “best looker” category. In the end, his myriad victories may say less about his administration than Folio Weekly readers’ schizophrenic tendencies.

Best Place to Violate Sunshine Law

Fox Restaurant
Blame it on the syrup. Anyone who’s ever had one of the Fox’s delectable waffles knows it’s impossible to take written minutes of a meeting while eating one. Perhaps that’s why there is no record of what was discussed at those early morning tête-à-têtes among City Councilmembers Daniel Davis, Kevin Hyde, Michael Corrigan and Art Shad — meetings that are now being investigated by the State Attorney’s Office. At least we can’t fault them for their taste. Ian and Mary Chase’s 10-table joint on St. Johns Avenue in Avondale serves up some of the best, most consistent diner food in the city in an arty, hip atmosphere. Our City Councilmembers might not be trustworthy, but at least they appreciate a decent joint.

Best Reason for Development Moratorium

Traffic
There are actually a lot of pretty neat things to do to pass the time when sitting in Northeast Florida’s almost-constant traffic. You can learn French, pick your nose, make obscene gestures at other drivers and wait to see whether

Really Important Stuff
Best Reason to Love Northeast Florida Best Reason to Hate Northeast Florida

The Weather
Once again, Folio Weekly readers offer proof of their schizoid tendencies. We love the sunny November days, the warm summer nights. We also hate the 110 percent humidity, the Interstate-closing rainstorms, the suffocating heat. Of course, few of us could slog through a year here without our good ol’ A/C, so the weather, like the bitching it sometimes inspires, is relative.

Weekly readers. Inspired by city-centric sites like NYC’s gothamist.com, Springfield resident Joey Marchy founded UrbanJacksonville.info three years ago with a focus on downtown development. As other blogs — namely MetroJacksonville.com — have stepped up coverage in that area, UJ has begun to incorporate more arts and culture. The result is the city’s most popular “urban lifestyle” blog, says Marchy. “I think Jacksonville is hungry for this information right now and they need someone to aggregate it in one place. I give the people what they want so they keep coming back.”

Best Local Blog

UrbanJacksonville.info
Jacksonville’s blogging scene has continued to grow this year, with more and more “citizen journalists” having a go at covering all things Duval. But what was arguably the city’s first blog remains its best, according to Folio

Best Sign of Nightlife in Downtown Jacksonville

First Wednesday Art Walk
“This looks like a real city!” God knows how many times that’s exclaimed during

to prevent Florida from ending up underwater. In case that doesn’t work out, remember it’s easier to convert a bike into a boat than it is a car.

Best Replacement Slogan for Jags
While no one slogan was a clear winner, there were many promising suggestions. Here, in no particular order, are a few of our faves. What took you so long, sleeping beauty? Hey! We got rid of Leftwich. We win sometimes We’re trying Free Tickets! Give us your money. No whammies. Help, we suck Let’s sell this team! L.A., here we come We’re Outta Here Free beer Are we still a team? Blackout! We don’t kill dogs.

BEST CHEF Scotty Schwartz (right), at 29 South
downtown’s First Wednesday Art Walk. The urban core’s most consistent draw is also its hippest, and in 2007 it even started to beat the crappy weather that famously plagued its first couple years. There’s more art, more artists, more galleries, more music, more food, more drinks and more you. As the event’s unofficial T-shirts read, “I AM the Art Walk.”

Best Place to Panhandle

Downtown
Best Crazy Guy

Marc Funari
Peter Pan lives in Jacksonville Beach — minus the green tights. Businessman Marc Funari — former Neptune Beach lifeguard, ex-Border Patrol agent and one-time rodeo Brahma bull rider — refuses to grow up. At a table in Funari’s, the gelato shop he and his wife, Dawn, opened a little more than two years ago, he sports a dark tan and shoulder-length black hair, but confesses to being surprised by his Best Crazy Guy triumph. The 31-year-old guesses his recent roadside stint as Rocco, Funari’s mascot, helped rack up votes — along with the sign he waved identifying him as Anna Nicole Smith’s baby daddy. Yep, that’d do it — no tights necessary.

Best Tourist Trap

Notoriously and relentlessly, downtown Jacksonville restaurateur Jerry Moran photographs, videotapes and harasses downtown panhandlers. But even the pasta-serving Hemming Plaza vigilante isn’t a strong-enough force to keep the urban core from being the city’s most lucrative spot for scoring a handout. Whether you’re in need of a pack of bologna or a cold tallboy, you’re best off heading downtown to scrape together some change.

St. Augustine
St. Augustine’s history holds genuine allure, but kitschy attractions tout their own noble backstory. Slap on a DayGlo-orange trolley sticker and ride the “trains” around to some of the long-running favorites. Gone may be the creepy-cool Tragedy in U.S. History museum (Jayne Mansfield’s death car! Lee Harvey Oswald’s ambulance!) but the “Fountain of Youth Experience” still bubbles just blocks away. There, among concrete statuary and skittish peacocks, is a tiny planetarium where you can listen to a recorded narrator describing Ponce de Leon’s world travels while a docent uses a laser pointer to highlight his route. If that’s too highbrow for you, a bald Britney Spears is currently featured at the local wax museum.

Best Local Solution to Global Warming

Best Intersection to Avoid

Riding Bicycles
In a city as spread out as Jacksonville, most local commuters are on their way to leaving a carbon footprint the size of a mastodon’s. But when you’re not braving the Fuller Warren Bridge during rush hour twice daily, why not hang up the car keys and “put the fun between your legs,” as bicyclists have been known to quip. Whether it’s a trendy fixed-gear setup, a mountain bike or a beach cruiser, Folio Weekly readers think bikes are the best way

Atlantic Boulevard & Kernan Boulevard
It’s not your imagination. There is always an accident at this troubling crossroads. Even the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says the intersection is one of the worst: It’s No. 1 on the agency’s list of Top 10 crash sites in Duval County, based on a Crash Frequency Report from January through December 2006. That’s no surprise, given that average daily traffic counts at the intersection are closing in on 30,000 from a little more than 12,000 in 1999. That’s one reason that the debate over whether to build an overpass at this site is so heated — and likely to last as long as a 5 p.m. backup.

BEST LOCAL COMMUNITY ACTIVIST Scott Shine

News & the Media
Best Local News Story of 2007

Jaguars dropping QB Byron Leftwich
“It was terrible,” the ex-Jacksonville Jaguars signal-caller recently told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It was difficult because you’re used to being out there.” “Out there” meaning on the gridiron at starting QB, the position Leftwich held with the Jags. Now he’s third-stringing for the lackluster Atlanta Falcons in the year of Michael Vick. But if the tale was woeful for Leftwich, it was sportsnews gold. Speculation before and analysis after “the cruelest cut” occupied commentators like the Hindenburg as it crashed in flames. The guy is working hard, though — to get to position No. 2. Oh, the humanity!

out Toyota dealer (and living cartoon) Keith Pierson’s little ones, what we were really trying to say is that all twins are creepy, especially when they speak in unison (and particularly when they’re made into advertising shills for their parents). Take heart, Pierson Twins. You’re in good company.

Best Local Investigative Reporter

Ken Amaro at First Coast News, Channels 12 & 25*
*It doesn’t take an investigative reporter to discover that, last week, Folio Weekly incorrectly identitfied the station for which Ken Amaro works. In fact, we got lots of calls from ordinary folks who wanted to make sure we got our story straight this week. So here it is: For more than 20 years, Ken Amaro — of First Coast News fame — has been an advocate for the little guy, a defender of consumers and homeowners against avaricious companies. For that, he’s become part of the media elite. No one cracks on his glasses or bowtie anymore, because we all know that “I’m telling Ken!” is a threat worth heeding. We hear ya, Mr. Amaro. And we know where you work.

Best Folio Weekly Cover Story

Pierson Twins/ Scariest People
Folio Weekly caught a lot of flak for featuring an illustration of the pre-pubescent Pierson Twins on the cover of our annual Northeast Florida’s Scariest People issue in 2006. Luckily, our readership is as heartless and insensitive as we are. Although we singled

BEST LOCAL TV ANCHOR Donna Hicken, First Coast News BEST LOCAL TV WEATHER FORECASTER Tim Deegan, First Coast News

Best Local TV Weather Forecaster

Tim Deegan at First Coast News, Channels 12 & 25
Mr. Deegan is secure enough in his job that he doesn’t have to fly around in 35-mph winds to gain precious screen time during hurricane season. And his laid-back, surferdude persona won’t allow him to go into a frenzy every time a tropical storm ventures a couple hundred miles off the coast. Still, Deegan has been doing his thing long enough that we believe him when he informs us of impending meteorological doom. Or even a sunny day, for that matter.

Best Local TV Sports Anchor

Sam Kouvaris at WJXT Channel 4
Why this guy isn’t doing color for a major sports network by now is a mystery. But then, Sam Kouvaris is a bit of an enigma. Rumor has it he does his sportscasts on WJXT Channel 4 without the help of a teleprompter. He’s a verbose blogger (samsportsline.com) and a crooner of pop tunes (he often performs at fundraising concerts around Jacksonville). And what’s up with those pearly whites? The man also boasts an encyclopedic sports knowledge of everything from baseball to curling. Hang on a sec. ESPN is calling on the other line.

Best Local TV Morning Show Best Local TV Anchor Best-Looking Talking Head

Donna Hicken at First Coast News, Channels 12 & 25
First Coast News anchor Donna Hicken is a perennial favorite in this category. The Jacksonville native is known for both her journalistic style and on-air panache. A two-time breast cancer survivor, she created The Donna Hicken Foundation to help financially support First Coast women as they battle the disease. Hicken is also an author whose book, “The Good Fight,” describes her second bout with breast cancer. Unfortunately, the fight continues. Recently, Hicken underwent surgery to remove a cancerous lesion from her lung and will again undergo chemotherapy in the next few weeks. We’re sending good vibes her way.

Mary Baer at WJXT Channel 4
Is it the arched eyebrow? The perfectly coiffed ’do? The flawless smile? Whatever the allure, Mary Baer is a certified — and humble — hottie. When asked why Folio Weekly readers find her so damn attractive, she responds: “I have no idea. What a thrill. It’s a great little boost for anyone in this business for this long. I have been here for 15 years.” Well, it doesn’t show a bit.

“Good Morning Jacksonville,” First Coast News, Channels 12 & 25
Not only do they provide a comprehensive newscast — including sports and weather — the news team’s friendly rapport just makes them a pleasure to watch. “It’s just a good chemistry,” says “Good Morning Jacksonville” anchor Patty Crosby. “It makes getting up early in the morning is easy when you know you’re working with friends.”

Best Local TV Newscast

WJXT Channel 4
The competition between WJXT TV-4 and the First Coast News octopus is less about numbers and more about self-perception. FCN is all high-def and glitzy, with their high-profile anchors and network links. It’s a faster, hotter program. WJXT is cool blue, old-money, zero aggression. While its audience skews toward geezerism, Folio Weekly readers (who are mostly young, hip and “with it”) reversed themselves from last year. This year, Channel 4 rules the news.

BEST LOCAL INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER Ken Amaro,First Coast News

BEST LOCAL RADIO PERSONALITY Klinger on Planet Radio 107.3

Best Local Radio Personality

Best Local Radio Station

Klinger on Planet Radio 107.3
Klinger’s logo on the Planet Radio webpage contains a hand in the “shocker” configuration. That pretty much sums up the attitude of both Planet Radio and their mainstay afternoon personality, Klinger. At the helm of “Road Rage,” Klinger spins tunes while giving Northeast Florida drivers a chance to vent about their traffic woes. Kind of like a Nickelback-blasting Dr. Phil.

Planet Radio 107.3
When Jacksonville’s residents aren’t practicing Beethoven’s violin concertos or watching “Masterpiece Theatre,” chances are they’re watching football or rockin’ out to Planet Radio’s array of fine programming. Your favorite ’90s alt rock bands — Nine Inch Nails, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots — are alive and well and still on Planet’s airwaves. Even if you’re not into that bit of nostalgia, you can always get your daily dose of “Lex and Terry,” who still affectionately refer to their former hometown as “Freakville.”

Best Local Radio Show

David Luckin’s “Electro Lounge” 89.9 FM or wjct.org
After four years on the air, Luckin’s show continues to wow listeners and enthrall fans. From 9 to 11 p.m. every Tuesday through Friday (10 p.m.-midnight on Saturday), Luckin delves into musical genres that most of us find difficult to define — downtempo, nu-jazz, dub, chill — with an emphasis on smooth, funky grooves. Luckin isn’t just about spinning discs, though. His goal, and his great accomplishment, is transforming the ordinarily staid public airwaves into a clandestine hipster zone. (Now if only he could get the station to hold off on the recorded promos for “The Diane Rehm Show” …)

Best Local Sports Radio Personality

David Lamm on 930 AM
This guy is old-school. Host of “Lamm at Large” (6-10 a.m., Monday through Friday), David Lamm is the go-to guy for straight-up sports talk. Since he moved from Greensboro, N.C., in ’77, he’s been sports editor for the daily paper and even a TV pitchman for various local businesses. But his calling card is his radio show, where he and cohost, Joe Cowart, bat the chat (so to speak) about all things athletic.

BEST LOCAL TV SPORTS ANCHOR Sam Kouvaris, WJXT Channel 4

Eating & Drinking Out
Best Restaurant to Impress a Date Best Restaurant When Someone Else is Paying Best Steak

Ruth’s Chris Steak House
It may be more expensive than your average hunk of beef, but it is so worth it — and even better if someone else is footing the bill. Ruth’s Chris uses prime cuts and broils the heck out of them at 1800 degrees, guaranteeing that no matter how you order your steak, it’s seared to perfection. The atmosphere is formal but not stuffy, and the ginand-tonics are particularly strong, which may make it even easier to impress that special meat-loving someone.

readers’ favorite restaurant. For eight years now, executive chef Tom Grey and the rest of the Aix crew have served more than just eclectic, French-inspired cuisine — they’ve served a much-needed main course of class. Upscale but still hip, Bistro Aix continues to be the epitome of casual fine dining in Northeast Florida.

Best Restaurant in St.Augustine

Gypsy Cab Company
Gypsy’s “urban cuisine” extracts the “Mmmmmmmm” from a variety of culinary influences including Italian, German, Cajun, Southern and Caribbean, and injects it into a daily-changing menu. A favorite with locals and in-the-know tourists, Gypsy Cab is a rare place where you can order nachos or duck, chili rellenos or lamb — as well as the restaurant’s signature Gypsy Chicken with garlic smashed potatoes. And their house salad dressing is in such demand, they even sell it in bottles you can take with you.

Best Restaurant in Jacksonville

Bistro Aix
Best Server

Parker McKeller at Bistro Aix
According to our non-mathematical calculations (that we didn’t actually calculate) there are about a million restaurants in Northeast Florida. If there are, say, 10 servers at each restaurant, that gave waitress Parker McKeller a one-in-10 million chance of being voted Best Server. OK, we might have fudged the numbers. Still, it’s no small feat for this six-year Bistro Aix veteran and firsttime Best of Jax winner. Even cooler is the fact that McKeller serves at Folio Weekly

Best Restaurant on Amelia Island

Brett’s Waterway Café
Situated on the Intracoastal Waterway in the historic district of Fernandina Beach, Brett’s Waterway Café not only offers excellent seafood and steaks, but outstanding views. “We have a beautiful veranda that surrounds the restaurant, where people can sit, have a cocktail and enjoy the sunset,” says Brett Carter, who co-owns the restaurant with partner Robert “Tip” Fisher. The menu is as outstanding as the riparian vistas. “We like to utilize the freshest foods available that are indigenous to the area,” says Carter.

BESTLOOKING TALKING HEAD Mary Baer, WJXT Channel 4

Best Pizza in Jacksonville

Al’s Pizza
What was once only an Atlantic Beach institution has grown into a destination for pizza lovers all over the region, with five locations (Atlantic Beach, Riverside, Ponte Vedra Beach, Intracoastal West and now Philips Highway on the Southside). And they’ve taken top honors in this coveted category for the past decade. Guess their pies are pretty freakin’ good. They’re hand-tossed to the ceiling, slathered with any number of toppings and cooked to perfection. (The Alzones are killer, too.)

Best Pizza in St.Augustine

Borrillo’s
Housed in a converted uptown gas station, Borrillo’s brick-oven pizzas keep the cozy dining room full and lively. The dough and sauces are made fresh daily, and the foot traffic alone ensures this spot is constantly being rediscovered. Whether you opt for the Supreme Pie or just a slice, the brick-oven cooking combined with the right balance of crust, cheese and sauce makes Borrillo’s the best pizza — outside of New York, anyway.

“You’re not going to find Maine lobster on the menu. But you’ll find shrimp and flounder and mahi mahi and all the freshest vegetables we can use.”

flashiest bun-based cuisine, the freshness of the ingredients and the steak fries on the side make The Loop burger a complete package. Apple-smoked bacon and bleu cheese crumbles on a grilled hunk of meat? You know it.

Best Pizza on Amelia Island

Best Chef

Scotty Schwartz at 29 South
You gotta love a chef who likes to “play with food.” Chef and owner Scotty Schwartz, along with executive chef Robert Podrasky, create what they call “classic world cuisine with a modern twist.” The menu at this Fernandina Beach restaurant features whimsical variations on traditional favorites, including a pulled-pork spring roll or a lobster corn dog. Entrées include the man-eating fried shrimp and grits or sweet-tea brined pork chops on macaroni gratin with warm blackberry preserves.

Best Burger in St.Augustine

Moon River
This fun and funky joint has enough soul to qualify as the Mystic Pizza of North Florida — without the drama or bad ’80s hairstyles. Aside from the cool artwork and a down-toearth staff, Moon River serves up the best hand-tossed pizza on Amelia Island, according to Folio Weekly readers, but locals know it kicks out a mean calzone as well. A wide selection of beer and wine complement a menu already packed with Italian goodness.

Oasis
Spacious, accessible and close to the beach, Oasis Deck and Restaurant goes after beach bums with their award-winning burgers. The large platters don’t hurt, nor does the full bar and casual atmosphere. Plus, the deck upstairs gives a hint of the next set as it rolls in. Remember: Wait half an hour before you hit the waves.

Best Burger on Amelia Island

Best Chicken Wings

T -Ray’s Burger Station
Never mind that there is a call for the head of Osama Bin Laden on the front door. Never mind that the place is located in a former gas station. T-Ray’s rocks. The place provides full rolls of paper towels on the tables, and you will need them. The T-Ray half-pounder allthe-way is a tough one to eat without soiling your shirt, but it’s worth a small sartorial investment. The staff treats you like you live there, and the customers often cram into the little place in search of Folio Weekly readers’ fave burger.

Dick’s Wings
For those who crave something different every single day of the year, Dick’s Wings serves ’em more than 365 different ways. Flavors include BBQ, Flying Fajita, Italian and Wanna Tee Awanna, and can be prepared with no heat or as hot as “great balls of fire.” The franchise expects to serve 1.75 million pounds of chicken wings in 2008. “There’s no major secret,” confesses Mike Rosenberger, CEO of American Restaurant Concepts, parent company of the Dick’s Wings & Grill franchise. “The wings we buy are an expensive

Best New Restaurant

Chew
Located on West Adams Street in downtown Jacksonville, Chew shines like a beacon of hope for the city’s revitalization. Sleek and sexy inside and out, Chew opened for lunch in October 2006 — serving a variety of gourmet sandwiches and salads — and did so well that it began serving dinner just a couple of months ago. So, as downtown grows from a hayseed teenager into a sophisticated adult, Chew will be there, providing refreshments.

Best Bar Food

Ale House
With four Jacksonville locations and a staggering array of menu items, Ale House reigns supreme with Folio Weekly readers when it comes to pub grub. The popularity of Ale House’s exclusive Zingers (boneless chicken wings coated in a choice of sauces) spiked when the pop group ‘N Sync appeared on the old Rosie O’Donnell show. As the group sashayed onto the stage, they promptly found the way to Ms. O’Donnell’s heart with a few orders of their favorite appetizer — you guessed it: Ale House Zingers!

Best Burger in Jacksonville

The Loop
Leave it to Folio Weekly readers to vote a pizza-making franchise the architects of the best burger in town. While it may not be the

BEST SURF SHOP Aqua East

BEST PIZZA IN JACKSONVILLE Al's Pizza

wing. But we stick by a quality product, put the right sauce on it and serve it hot. That’s it. I wish there was something more complicated about it, but there isn’t.”

by firefighters in 1994, has become one of the region’s most successful businesses, with franchises currently — pardon the pun — spreading like wildfire.

Best Hot Dog

Best Dessert

Hot Dog Hut
This little gem has been open only about a year “down the beach” (after feeding lifeguards and sun-baked tourists near Beaches Town Center), but it’s already won the hearts and stomachs of Folio Weekly readers. Tucked away between 14th and 15th avenues on South Third Street in Jacksonville Beach, Hot Dog Hut boasts a vast array of wieners, sausage sandwiches, roast beef sandwiches and burgers, as well as beer-battered onion rings — and indoor seating (a big plus). Bonus: Hot Dog Hut now serves beer.

bb’s
One wouldn’t expect a restaurant this ostensibly sophisticated to indulge in such wretched excess, but there you have it. The dessert case at this Southbank hotspot is inspired, indulgent and downright irresistible. Which means all the good behavior you see folks exhibit at lunch — what with their demure salads, delicately prepared salmons and “Oh, I couldn’t possibly eat this whole sandwich” — is blown all to hell with one giant slab of Oreo-cookie-infused, cheesecake based, whipped-cream-topped pie. Make that cake. Or perhaps it’s a brownie? Whatever it is, it’s pure bb’s — and Folio Weekly readers love it for being so naughty.

Best Quick Lunch Best Bagel

Panera
You can kick your Atkins diet to the curb when entering Panera, what with their company mission of putting “a loaf of bread in every arm.” Because Panera is open all day with locations around town, carb-hounds can grab a cream-cheesed onion bagel for breakfast, a turkey sandwich on wheat with alfalfa sprouts for lunch and a flat-bread pizza for dinner. Besides, didn’t you read the recent study that low-carb diets are bad for your brain?

Best Key Lime Pie Best Breakfast

Metro Diner
There are so many good reasons to eat at Metro Diner — from its laid-back, semi-residential digs on Hendricks Avenue in San Marco to the effusive and friendly staff to the way it makes comfort food seem good for you, health-wise. But there’s no question that the pie and breakfast are two big draws. Whether you’re just craving a sweet wedge of Florida’s state pie or looking to power up on fluffy French toast, Metro Diner serves both in a setting you’d be happy to live in.

Best Sub

Firehouse Subs
It’d be nice to think that loyalty to America’s firefighting heroes is what keeps Folio Weekly readers voting Firehouse Subs No. 1 in this category. More likely, it’s steamed, meat-piled subs such as the Hook-‘N’-Ladder and Engine Company that get people to stand in ridiculous lines that often stretch out the door during lunch hour. There’s no doubt that Firehouse Subs, founded in Jacksonville

Best Smoothie

Smoothie King
With nine locations around Northeast Florida, Smoothie King is designed for maximum effect with minimal effort. The menu is simply a guide, with suggested smoothie combos and their supplements listed on ginormous signs behind the counter. But don’t be shy.

Ask for any combination of flavors or add-ins — say, a strawberry/cocoa/peanut butter smoothie with extra beeswax and a hint of poppy. (Too extreme? Hold the beeswax.) If you can think it, they will let you drink it.

Best Coffeehouse

Starbucks
Omnipresent storefronts, omniscient baristas, omnipotent marketing strategy. Though Starbucks threatens to replace McDonald’s as a symbol of American corporate hegemony, there is no denying the appeal of a place that caters to caffeine junkies, computer nerds and children alike. Whether it’s an accidental landing spot on a rainy afternoon or a regular part of your daily routine, a frothy latte and a slab of crumb cake served to a soundtrack of Thelonious Monk is an offer that’s hard to refuse. Or, to paraphrase Folio Weekly readers, I’m Lovin’ It.

Jacksonville are like scaled-down punching bags, only better tasting. Eat one of these suckers — stuffed with yellow curry chicken, ginger teriyaki tofu or blackened mahi, plus black or pinto beans, cheese, romaine, rice and salsa — and it’s high time for a siesta. Or perhaps a warm bath in the Burrito Gallery’s famous “green sauce.”

Best Barbecue

Mojo’s Kitchen
If you are on a crusade to quell your carnivorous cravings, Mojo’s on Beach Boulevard in Jacksonville Beach is the place to go. The Southern Blues Kitchen, as it’s identified in the neon sign, serves up huge portions of pork with just about any side you can think of, including their famous onion rings. Where else can you enjoy Mississippi catfish fingers while perusing portraits of blues and country legends? And speaking of, the joint often features touring blues artists.

Best Deli

Sun Deli
Seems like everyone’s in the deli game these days — Publix, Super Target, Super Wal-Mart — but Folio Weekly readers believe the triedand-true indie Sun Deli in Jacksonville Beach is the real thing. Brothers Mark and George Chiarello hold down the counter when owner (aka Mom) Barbara Chiarello takes a welldeserved break. Dripping wetsuits and bikinis don’t bother them — especially the bikinis, says Mark — since Sun Deli’s been an après surf destination on South Third for more than a decade. You can still get a Hart Attack (named for hard-core local surfer Old Man Dave) along with a variety of high-quality subs and sandwiches made with freshly baked Cinotti’s Bakery breads and rolls.

Best Fish Camp

Clark’s
Steak, rattlesnake, shrimp, kangaroo — Clark’s Fish Camp in Mandarin boasts one of the wildest menus around. Originally a baitand-tackle shop on Julington Creek, Clark’s has been a local favorite for decades. And while the fish camp atmosphere is intact, the interior has seemingly taken on a life of its own. Hundreds of stuffed birds and animals such as lions and zebras are on display, and can be almost as much fun to stare at as the boats cruising by.

Best Caribbean Cuisine

De Real Ting
Northeast Florida’s best Jamaican restaurant is also one the region’s most frequented spots for the kind of music that goes best with the food (i.e., reggae). The menu includes oxtail, curried goat and jerk chicken or fish (with extra jerk sauce for those crazy

Best Burrito

Burrito Gallery
Packed so tightly, the burritos from this hip, Adams Street restaurant in downtown

BEST MARTINI,BEST BAR TO NETWORK,BEST PLACE TO GET YOUR GROOVE ON Twisted Martini

BEST BURGER ON AMELIA ISLAND T-Ray’s Burger Station
enough to go for it). De Real Ting’s original location was razed as part of the new Main Library project a few years ago, so it moved over to the former site of the Milk Bar. More room means more people, and on some nights memories are stirred of the oncevibrant Adams Street club scene. the choice destination for power-lunchers and dinner-dates alike. Both the sophisticated, wasabi-hued décor and the efficient service are appealing, but it’s the cuisine that seals the deal. The ginger-infused salad is possibly the best bowl of leafy greens in Northeast Florida, and only the truly brave consider trying Lemongrass’ signature dish, “The Amazing” — if only because you’ll never be able to order anything else again.

Best Italian Cuisine

Carrabba’s
This chain doesn’t use frozen, pre-packaged foods. Instead, fresh ingredients are key to the delicious dishes, and many of the recipes can be traced back through the Carrabba family tree to Italy. The menu includes classics such as lasagna, spaghetti with meatballs, chicken parmesan, calamari, pizza cooked in a wood-burning oven and a hearty minestrone — just like Nonna used to make.

Best Mexican Cuisine

La Nopalera
Used to be Jacksonville’s best keep secret (at least when it came to Mexican food). Now La Nopalera is all over town — literally. With seven locations — including a new one on Philips Highway — “La Nop,” as it is affectionately referred to, is The Place for burritos, enchiladas and tamales, not to mention wiggly flan and salty margaritas. The everexpanding San Marco locale is always nutty, with mariachi music blasting and soccer on the TVs. The Philips Highway spot is pretty spiffy as well, with a sweet bar (big-screens, too) and lots of comfy booths. Of course, the waitstaff at all of the locations is wellschooled in balancing, like, 97 steaming plates up their forearms. Skills, people. Skills.

Best Chinese Cuisine

P.F. Chang’s
P.F. Chang’s has been around for more than a dozen years in other cities serving traditional Chinese fare and some innovative dishes, too — including Shanghai cucumbers and vegetarian Ma Po tofu. Now they’re at Southside Jacksonville’s newish St. Johns Town Center. Chang’s offers gluten-free dishes as well as a menu designed expressly for those training for athletic events — heavy on the protein and carbs. Chang’s is well worth a trip to this shopping mecca, even if it means you won’t feel like trying on any cute little outfits afterwards.

Best Indian Cuisine

India’s
Ah, India. Home to such great cuisine, but so far away. Fortunately for us Bible Belters, Northeast Florida has no shortage of topnotch Indian restaurants. The aptly named India’s, whose no-frills digs are located at Baymeadows Road and Southside Boulevard, takes the cumin-flavored cake, according to Folio Weekly readers. The lunch buffet — at $6.95, a pittance — features all the curried veggies and meats, pakora and steaming piles of naan a Westerner can handle.

Best Thai Cuisine

Lemongrass
Like many of Jacksonville’ better restaurants, Lemongrass wears a disguise of suburban obscurity, tucked away in a grocery store strip mall. But the cool, elegant interior of this Baymeadows storefront has made it

Best Japanese Cuisine

Daruma’s
The preparation of Japanese cuisine is an art, and the best place to enjoy such edible creations is Daruma Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar — either on Beach Boulevard or in Bartram Park. Knives fly with skill and showmanship at the teppanyaki tables where beef, shrimp, scallops, lobster, chicken and assorted vegetables are seared to perfection. Or if sushi’s what you crave, watch the experienced sushi chefs wrap and roll fish and seaweed into colorful, tasty creations.

Gump” as she enumerates the preparation methods for Gene’s cuisine: “Fried, broiled, blackened or even boiled, sautéed, scampi style, barbecued — any way you want it.” The front-runner, of course, is shrimp, but not just any shrimp — Gene’s uses only local (usually Mayport) crustaceans.

Best Sushi

Sushi Café
Jaguars wide-receiver Jimmy Smith may have retired, but his legacy lives on in the form of a smoked salmon, crab and cream cheese-filled roll at Sushi Café in Riverside. Sure, the deep-fried deliciousness that is Jimmy Smith (the sushi, not the man) keeps customers returning, but Sushi Café employee Diana Zou says there’s more than just a Jag-roll to thank for the café’s success. “We always do the best for our customers,” Zou says. “We treat customers like friends, and we want them to keep coming back.” Food, football and friendliness — a Jacksonville tradition.

Best Middle Eastern Cuisine

Hala Café and Bakery
Any self-respecting Middle Eastern foodie goes to Hala’s Café — in Mandarin or on the Southside — for authentic dishes such as falafel, stuffed grape leaves, tabbouleh, hummus, freshly baked pita bread and baklava. There’s also a buffet, which features tasty rice dishes and meats. Hala’s also features a grocery, so don’t forget to pick up your favorite string cheese, olive oil and authentic hand drum while you’re there.

Best Chowder

Chowder Ted’s
He’s the antithesis of the Soup Nazi. Ted Emerson is not only a pleasant, homegrown (Clearwater) fella, he keeps his chowder selection easy-to-order: seafood chowder. Neither New England nor Manhattan in style or flavor, Chowder Ted’s liquid joy is a spicy concoction replete with shrimp, fish and clams, powered up with any number of spices and held together with a tomato-y base more gumboesque than stewish. Ted has been offering loyal customers — obviously, a majority of whom are also Folio Weekly readers — his special version of chowder for years at his establishment located off Heckscher Drive, where the St. Johns River winds around Dames Point.

Best Vegetarian Cuisine

Heartworks Café
Local herbivores and omnivores alike love this Five Points restaurant for its simple, meat-free brunch, lunch and dinner. It has weathered some tough times — including temporarily closing in September due to an investor pullout — but the Riverside institution perseveres. Though the building is under new ownership, founder Elaine Wheeler plans to continue making Jacksonville’s best (and frankly, only) solely veggie cuisine.

Best Seafood

Gene’s
Like the ebb and flow of the mighty Atlantic, Gene’s can be counted on year in, year out — and 2007 is no exception. Folio Weekly readers are as attached to the seafood restaurant as barnacles on a shrimp boat bottom. The half-dozen Northeast Florida locations consistently serve up just about any marine cuisine, any style. General manager Carmen Peet echoes Bubba in “Forrest

Best Wine Selection

The Grotto Wine & Tapas Bar
Any real wine lover knows that wine isn’t just a beverage, it’s an experience. Take a crisp, fruity Oregon Pinot Noir or hearty Argentinean Malbec and serve them in a plastic cup and,

BEST B&B IN JACKSONVILLE The Riverdale Inn

BEST VEGETARIAN CUISINE Heartworks Café

Best Bartender

Sarah Savannah at Green Turtle Tavern
Why is Sarah Savannah Folio Weekly readers’ favorite bartender? With Zenlike simplicity, a fellow Green Turtle Tavern employee puts it: “She’s great.” Her manager declined to comment on her appearance out of deference to, well, our litigious society, but a customer in the background confirms, “Yeah. She’s a cutie.” Of course, it takes more than good looks to sling a good drink. And Sarah’s good attitude wins her accolades — and customers — from around the region. Finally, nice girls finish first.

Best Neighborhood Bar in Jacksonville Best Bar When You’re Out of Work Best Pool Hall

Pete’s Bar
Just before 7 p.m. on a recent rainy Tuesday, loyal pool junkies — don’t call it billiards here — shuffle in, shaking the water from their personal pool cue cases. These guys are serious. Games are still just a quarter, and players are basically polite; bartender Jeremy swears altercations have been few. The first table on the right is usually designated for regulars — there’s even a sign-up board so everyone knows who’s next. And the players are respectful, keeping their beers off the tables and never gambling on a game (at least as far as we know). Of course, Folio Weekly readers whose trust funds have run dry also head to Pete’s for cheap drinks and valuable companionship. The atmosphere has a way of easing your pain before you even take that first sip. So if you’re on the skids, in the mood for some pool or just wanna hang with friends, Folio Weekly readers say, head to Pete’s. Everybody else is already there.

well, you’ve just about spoiled the whole thing. But atmospherics alone aren’t enough to rescue a bad wine. That’s why both the mood and the quality at Grotto are essential to the experience. The San Marco store and restaurant caters to the wine snob in selection, but soothes the soul with comfortable seats, accessible servers and a satisfying menu of tapas. A repeat winner in this category, The Grotto continues to raise the bar for wine appreciation in Northeast Florida.

Ponte Vedra) have Northeast Florida covered. Marketing director Steve Anderson says that when mixing Northeast Florida’s best martinis, good booze, creativity and SIZE matter. He suggests the popular Raspberry Martini, the Espresso Martini and, of course, their signature Twisted Martini, a red, green and yellow layered concoction that Anderson claims patrons say is “too pretty to drink,” but we bet they do anyway.

Best Beer Selection

Best Pub or Brew Pub

European Street
Serving Chimay from Belgium, La Fin Du Monde from Canada, Spaten from Germany, Almaza from Lebanon, Baltika from Russia and about a million other brews, it’s no surprise that European Street is continuously voted as offering the area’s best beer selection. Each location (in Jax Beach, San Marco, Riverside and Southside) features about 20 on tap plus some 150 bottled varieties, including premium domestic brands like Rogue and White Rascal. And in the offchance you don’t find what you’re looking for, E-Street staff will usually special-order it for you.

Lynch’s Irish Pub
“Man Who’s 1/16th Irish Proud Of His Irish Heritage,” reads a headline from an old issue of The Onion. Whether you’ve just relocated from Belfast or can’t find the Green Isle on a map, you’re bound to feel at home at Lynch’s. With a hearty selection of Irish brews (including one by the name of Guinness) and an even heartier menu of authentic Irish gutbusters, this Jacksonville Beach pub is as Irish as it gets this side of the pond. Head over on a weekend (or even on a Monday night, when ’80s revivalist band Little Green Men perform), and things get a little nutty. People on stage, clothes ripped off. You get the pitcher — er, picture.

Best Neighborhood Bar in St.Augustine

Scarlett O’Hara’s
This Hypolita Street watering hole is a feisty and fun place to spend time in when visiting St. Augustine — especially if you don’t feel like being serenaded by pirates. In addition to live local music at night, Scarlett’s serves up mean bar food and offers priceless people-watching from the rocking chair-laden front porch. It’s the kind of place college kids and tourists rub shoulders, swill ice-cold lager and hang in the outdoor oyster bar — all without fear of being pillaged.

Best Margarita

Campeche Bay
The genesis of the margarita is a murky tale, offering no clear origin for the wildly popular libation. Most accounts do credit Hispanic birth — whether in California or Mexico is unknown — and a mysterious senorita as its inspiration. Regardless, the evolved versions Campeche Bay serves by the boatload (at both the Jax Beach and Arlington locations) are from jealously guarded recipes that include tequila, triple sec and/or other liqueurs, various fruity mixers and the genre-defining salted rim — or not. Folio Weekly readers like their ’ritas any which way: by the glass, half-liter or liter, as long as they’re Campeche Bay ’ritas. Salud, amigos.

Best Martini

Twisted Martini
Sometimes they’re pink and girly. Sometimes they’re salty and dry. Sometimes they’re so big and strong you wind up going home with someone big and strong whose name you can’t quite remember. However you like your martinis, Twisted Martini’s two locations (one in The Jacksonville Landing and a newer spot in

BEST BARBECUE Mojo’s Kitchen

BEST WINE SHOP Total Wine

Best Neighborhood Bar on Amelia Island

O’Kane’s Irish Pub
There are certain things every neighborhood is required to have: a nosey old lady, a dog that never stops barking, a family that reserves their lawn mower for use on every other vernal equinox and a local watering hole. On Amelia Island that hole is O’Kane’s Irish Pub, a quaint little joint located somewhere between home and the Emerald Isle. Owned by Bob and Denise since 1994, O’Kane’s boasts a nostalgic atmosphere, a young staff, Irish eats (like Steak and Guinness Pie), and, of course, beer. Lots and lots of beer. Face it, the ’hood just wouldn’t be the same without it.

certain grain-based social lubricants. To improve workplace synergies, Twisted Martini holds what they call Happy Hour Office Parties. Call in advance to secure a reservation for your office, show up, and Twisted provides a complementary cocktail for each person and hands out a $150 gift certificate each week to the office that brings the most people. Now that’s just good business sense.

Best Bar After Work

Sherwood’s
Sure, most people could probably use a little exercise, a good meal and maybe a catnap after a long, hard day at the office — but isn’t it more fun to catch a buzz? The folks down at Sherwood’s, located where Hendricks Avenue crosses under I-95, certainly think so, and that’s why they’re Northeast Florida’s favorite place to hang after work. At around 5:30 p.m., members of Jacksonville’s workforce enter the dimly lit watering hole to huddle around the bar, play tunes on the jukebox, maybe shoot a game of pool and a deer (via the Big Buck Hunter arcade game), or chew the fat with work buddies. If you’re going to loosen your tie at the end of the day, why not do it over a round of cold ones?

Best Bar to Network

Twisted Martini
There’s one cocktail that makes boozing and schmoozing with business contacts new and old all the more dignified: the martini. So it’s no wonder that Folio Weekly readers voted Twisted Martini the Best Bar to Network. For successful corporate types, Twisted Martini is the preferred spot to “grow” their corporate “friendships” — with the added benefits of

BEST BAR FOOD Ale House

Best Bike Shop

Open Road
Realizing just how dangerous it can be to ride bikes down SUV-busy streets, many Jacksonville residents have made the trek to safer terrain, like nature trails and the beaches. Open Road carries all of the accessories one might need for an off-road bike excursion — and then some. With stores in San Marco, Avondale, Fleming Island and in the St. Johns Commons center on C.R. 210, Open Road sells all-terrain bikes, road bikes and everything in between. For those who can’t make it to one of those locations, the store’s website features an interactive personal trainer.

Best Scooter Shop

Vespa
So you’ve got the urge to throw on a sharkskin suit and porkpie hat and cruise down Third Street on a scooter covered with enough chrome to blind everyone within seven blocks? You, young mod, are in a Vespa mood. From vintage-style scooters to chic mainstays like Piaggio, and a certified mechanic on hand, Vespa at the beach is Folio Weekly readers’ favorite place to get your Quadrophenia on. Considering Jacksonville Beach drivers, however, you might want to replace the pork-pie with a helmet. Just a suggestion.

Best Indie Record Store

Inertia
Sometime in September, Riverside residents Josh Jubinksy and Joe Flowers packed up their indie records and subversive literature and called it a day. With changes underway at Heartworks — the Five Points restaurant inside which Inertia Records and Books was located — the gritty little record shop was asked to leave. The story has a happy ending — or beginning, depending on your perspective. Having recently reopened just off Springfield’s commercial corridor, Inertia is now better than ever, with loads of music, books, film screenings, live shows and classes, all in Inertia’s trademark DIY style.

Best Musical Instrument Store

George’s Music

Shops & Wares
Best Convenience Store Best Pet Store

Gate
It’s not just the place where Mayor John Peyton got his start (swabbing toilets at Pop’s gas station chain, he swears). It’s also a virtual petrol-and-munchies amusement park. Gate dominates the region’s convenience store market, with brightly lit lots, acres of gas pumps and a grocery store’s inventory under one convenient roof. Nobody likes $70 fill-ups, but it goes down easier when you can shop for wine, greeting cards and Krispy Kremes while you’re at it.

PetSmart
This national pet superstore had the right idea all along. If you’re gonna shop for your pet, why not bring the fuzzy bastard along with you? On a leash or in a cart, Fido, Fluffy or Fandango can pick out his or her favorite food, treats and Halloween costumes. PetSmart, with locations around the region, also has an in-house groomer and vet, and often hosts pet-adoption days, during which representatives from local shelters bring along homeless pets that need good homes.

It’s always nice to have the guy next door fix your classic Fender Twin or polish up your amber John Bonham-look-alike Ludwig Vistalites, but when it comes to selection and service, sometimes you just gotta go to the big boys. George’s, in Jacksonville Beach and Orange Park, has it all, from sound and lights to guitars and amps to drums to and sticks. They even cater to non-musicians, like DJs, with an array of turntables and mixers. And the corporate monolith has a conscience as well, sponsoring Jacksonville Beach’s annual Springing the Blues festival and its attendant Blues in the Schools project, which educates kiddies on the history and significance of the truly American art form.

Best Dive Shop

Atlantic Pro Dive
Since 1974, more than 5,000 people have learned to dive from the pros at Atlantic Pro Dive. “That’s the main part of our business,”

says owner Steve Park, “teaching people to dive.” The shop also sells diving equipment, organizes trips and even has a charter boat for diving off the coast. Although the water here is generally less clear than in places like the Keys, Park says that’s more than made up for in the wealth of fish and marine life. “There are sunken wrecks, artificial reefs made of planes and a bus, and natural limestone ledges,” he says — all great reasons to strap on your SCUBA and go diver down.

Best Surf Shop

Aqua East
Being a good surfer takes more than emotional distance, sun-bleached hair and a tolerance for odd-shaped freckles. You need all sorts of gear, and for years Aqua East has been Folio Weekly readers’ favorite place to get it. They’ve got boards, swimwear, wax, leashes and top-notch customer service. Employee Megan Welfare vows that Aqua East’s staffers “are going to help you and make sure you get what’s right.” Now if only they could get rid of that pesky melanoma.

Best Skate Shop

Skate Bomb
In the ‘80s, cops and cranky old people prayed that skateboarding was just a passing trend. Today, those naysayers are replaced by skateboarders and their spawn, who continue to dominate skate parks, empty pools and the steps of government buildings in Northeast Florida. Skate Bomb, in Jacksonville Beach, continues to outfit skaters of all ages, offering a wide variety of shoes, boards, helmets and pads — and whatever else those rascally kids need to ollie their way through the Bank of America drive-thru.

Best Smoke Shop

Edward’s
What’s big, humid and smells of cedar? That’s right, a humidor. And if having the largest humidor in North Florida makes you the best, then Edward’s of San Marco has rightfully earned the title. Selling pipes, tobacco and, of course, many, many cigars, Edward’s is Northeast Florida go-to guy for all things smoke-able. There’s even a posh little smoking lounge tucked away in the back where customers can enjoy their Romeo & Juliets or Arturo Fuentes.

Best Day Spa

Clayman’s Miracle Spa
Best Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Clayman
Folio Weekly readers know where to go when they need anything from a little pampering to full-on plastic surgery. Dr. Clayman’s Miracle Spa offers everything from aqua massages to body wraps, manicures to pedicures, chemical peels to body waxing. Plus, Loren Clayman is double-boardcertified in otolaryngology (that’s treatment of ear, nose and throat, and head and neck disorders) and plastic surgery. For more than 30 years, he’s provided “cutting edge” care to his patients — and made Northeast Florida a little better-looking in the process.

Best Consignment Shop

Fifi’s
The Devil may wear Prada, but she probably paid full price. Folio Weekly readers don’t have to if they skip on over to Fifi’s Fine Resale Apparel in Mandarin, Ponte Vedra and San Marco when looking for designer names at bargain prices. The consignment boutique features such notables as Ann Taylor, DKNY and, yes, Prada. “We’re offering a more highend selection,” says Donna Suber, district manger. “We won’t take it if it looks used and abused.” If you see something you like, however, better grab it. Inventory changes frequently.

Best Vintage Clothing

Clothing Warehouse
D’ya think the people who made inexpensive cowboy shirts and screen-printed band T-shirts back in the ’70s ever dreamed that they’d become such a hot commodity in the ’00s? Doubt it, but kids can’t seem to get enough of the old, used and weathered clothes their parents probably donated to Goodwill decades ago. Vintage shop Clothing Warehouse has quickly become a neighborhood fixture in Five Points, fulfilling every local hipsters’ quality used-clothing needs. A tip: You might want to hold onto that lame-o Justin Timberlake tour shirt — it’ll be worth a nice chunk in 2030.

BEST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT STORE George’s Music

Best Nail Salon

Amy’s Nails
When asked what services Amy’s offers, management replies: “Waxing.” When asked what they wax, management responds: “Everything.” Let your imagination run wild. Brows, backs and buttocks immediately come to mind. We’ll stop there. Of course, there’s also the standard mani and pedi, offered at Amy’s Jacksonville Beach location seven days a week, along with a rainbow connection of polishes and products.

Harry Graham and sons, Andy and Rick, now own the shop, but they say the hard work is mostly behind them. “Bob and Nancy Kuhn spent a whole lot of time and sweat building this business to what it is,” says Andy Graham. “We’re fortunate. We’re not so much building a reputation as maintaining it.”

Best Men’s Clothing Store

Rosenblum’s
Established in 1954, Rosenblum’s on San Jose Boulevard (and in south Jacksonville

Best Wine Shop

Total Wine
With “total” in the name, it’s pretty obvious this Town Center Parkway warehouse has a huge selection. What may not be evident in the name is the degree to which the store caters to individual needs and tastes. Whether you’re looking for the perfect wine to serve at summer parties (Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc — a bargain at $7.79) or to pair with your Thai food (Caymus Conundrum 2005 — well worth it at $21.99), this superstore is willing and eminently able to give you the hook-up — along with a by-the-case discount. What’s more, you can browse and shop online (wineaccess.com/store/totalwine-jacksonville) and pick up your purchase on the way home from work.

Best Local Florist

Kuhn Flowers
Bob Kuhn founded the biz in 1947, and his wife, Nancy, joined the biz when they married in 1953. The floral shop, originally located on Duval Street downtown, moved to Beach Boulevard in 1957 and expanded to the current two-story store in 1972. No holiday season is complete without a visit to see the annual Christmas window display at the Beaches location, when the windows are packed each year with trees, lights, gifts and an animated Santa, Mrs. Claus and Rudolph.

BEST CONSIGNMENT SHOP Fifi’s

Beach) has been helping men hone their perfectly dapper look for a half-century. The much-heralded clothing store features custom suits, shirts and shoes by Jack Victor, Robert Talbott and Otabo, to name a few. According to management, people still travel from as far as New York to sift through Rosenblum’s authentic, Italian-made attire. For you, of course, it’s just a short trip across town.

quick fix. With locations around Northeast Florida and an ever-expanding inventory of gifts, drinking-related gear and mixers, ABC is one-stop shopping for Folio Weekly imbibers.

Best Tattoo Parlor

Inksmith & Rogers
Tattoos come in all shapes and sizes, from cutesy little “tramp stamps” to big, bad back pieces, but they’re all equally permanent. Since 1984, Jacksonville’s residents have trusted the artists at Inksmith & Rogers — with six locations covering most of Jacksonville — to apply the indelible flesh art and accessories. With six locations and more than a dozen artists, you’re bound to find someone who’s willing to tattoo a portrait of bald Britney Spears on your chest.

Best Women’s Clothing Store

Stein Mart
Trends come and go, but Stein Mart keeps inventory current by training a keen eye on the runways, specialty stores and boutiques. Fashion-savvy shoppers also appreciate the carefully matched color palette used throughout the entire women’s department, so that clothes, shoes and accessories all coordinate. Stein Mart also uses fit models to ensure that a size 8 is really a size 8.

Best Yoga Studio

Power Yoga
So you think yoga is all about relaxation, meditation, getting in touch with the inner you? Balderdash! At Power Yoga, located on Hendricks Avenue in San Marco, the focus is on Vinyasa — or athletic — yoga. Sure, you still meditate, introvert and all that yogi-type stuff, but you also get a workout. With Vinyasa, there’s an emphasis on structure, safety and alignment while putting your bod to the test. Massage therapy is also on the schedule at this 7-year-old independent yoga studio. Yoga supplies are available, too.

Best Kids Clothing Store

Kyds
It’s an age-old lament: a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear. That’s not a problem for fashion-conscious children whose parents shop at Kyds at St. Johns Town Center, where they can pick up the latest fashions from hip kids designers like Charlie Rocket. Kyds offers casual sportswear, shoes and accessories for children from birth to size 14, and is a great place to find unique baby and birthday gifts. Of course, you’ll leave with a little wardrobe envy, but you can console yourself with the fact that it’s for the children.

Best Chiropractor

Best Liquor Store

Dr. Alexander at St. Johns Medical
More than 100 people a week seek Dr. Stephen Shane Alexander’s help for ailments including chronic back pain, sports injuries, auto accident-related injuries and headaches. Why? Quality service and personal attention, say Folio Weekly readers. “We treat every individual as an individual,” concurs Alexander. Alexander Chiropractic not only offers chiropractic care, but other services including physical therapy, massage therapy and nutrition counseling.

ABC Fine Wine and Spirits
ABC encompasses the best of both economic worlds. Here you can purchase international beers such as Poland’s Zywiec or Belgium’s Leffe, as well as universal faves like Jameson Irish Whiskey or Belvedere Vodka. Of course, ABC is also well-stocked with Pabst and Popov for those desperate nights when you are scrounging for change and a

BEST PLASTIC SURGEON Dr.Clayman

BEST DIVE SHOP Atlantic Pro Dive

Best Alternative Healer

Dr. Beth HopkinsAcampora
As a child, Beth Hopkins-Acampora was destined to be an acupuncture physician. “Even as a little kid, I was sticking needles in my dolls,” says Hopkins-Acampora, acupuncture physician and president of the Center For Natural Health. In her practice, Hopkins-Acampora offers acupuncture, Chinese herbs, medical Qigong, Tai Chi, and nutritional and lifestyle counseling. She also specializes in fertility enhancement, and claims some success. “We have a lot of babies going on around here,” she says.

grown organic-foods biz opened its third location — a café featuring wraps, juices and ready-to-eat snacks at Brooks Health & Fitness on Centurion Parkway on Jacksonville’s Southside. Whole Foods may have plans for Mandarin, but the smartly expanding Native Sun has kept the emphasis on extraordinarily friendly service and amazing produce — suggesting it plans to hold its own against the big boys from out of town.

Best Hospital

Baptist Medical Center
Baptist was one busy place last year. With five hospitals and 899 beds, 7,718 employees helped delivered 5,152 babies, performed 31,846 outpatient surgeries and treated 45,173 inpatients. There were also 190,454 emergency room visits. “The collegiality between the medical staff and the administration and the governance [at Baptist] is rare,” says Richard Stromberg, chief of emergency services. “I think that breeds a culture of clinical excellence and caring. Those are the two things that people come to a hospital for.”

Best Health Food Store

Native Sun
Last year saw the opening of Native Sun’s second store, a sleek, high-ceilinged outfit at Baymeadows and 9-A. This year, the home-

Best Lawyer

Eddie Farah
His is a familiar face. Ubiquitous, in fact, considering his billboard, television and phone book ad campaigns. That may be one of many the reasons Eddie Farah was voted numero uno in this category. (Would have been pretty weird if he won Best Place To Skinny Dip.) Farah seems to have a knack for reaching out to the common folk, so much so that voters seem able to overlook the fact that he uses The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” as the theme music for his radio program on WOKV 690-AM (Saturdays at noon).

BEST ALTERNATIVE HEALER Dr.Beth Hopkins-Acampora

BEST NAIL SALON Amy’s Nails

Best Bookstore
The little guys run screaming when corporate bookstores pull into town, but the fact is that Borders has lots of great books, lots of great mags, lots of great CDs and DVDs — and lots of great coffee in their extra-comfy café (where one can kick back with a hot bev and read an entire freaking book if one so chooses). Borders also mounts some killer sales on occasion, like all DVD box sets marked down 40 percent. Hello, “The Office Seasons 1 and 2” for, like, next to nuthin’.

Best Independent Bookstore
What to do when your bookstore — already expanded beyond reason — is positively bursting with books? Open another location, of course. The legendary, independent Westside bookseller’s second store is set to open this fall. What’s more, the new place is downtown, on Laura between Monroe and Adams, which is sure to give the urban core’s ongoing revitalization an old-dustybook-scented boost. Rare, out-of-print and just plain weird books populate the shelves, floors, closets and counters of this one-of-akind bookstore. DVDs, CDs and Barbie dolls (yes, Barbies) are also up for grabs.

Borders Books & Music Chamblin BookMine

BEST NEIGHBORHOOD BAR ON AMELIA ISLAND O’Kane’s Irish Pub

Best Car Wash

Beaches Car Wash
The fast-moving folks who render your vehicle spic-n-span at Beaches Car Wash are really good at washing cars. But they suck at co-ed softball. According to the city of Jax Beach website just two weeks ago, they hadn’t won a single game this fall. But on-the-job excellence, not the ability to nail a grand slam, is what Folio Weekly readers look for in a car wash. Beaches (at Penman and Beach) has state-of-the-art equipment and a gift shop packed with trinkets you don’t need but really, really want. Says general manager Greg Johns, who’s been with the company more than three decades: “If you don’t have good people to run the car wash, you’re dead in the water.” Get it? Water.

action-packed CGI-driven blockbuster is sure represent in full — for weeks on end. This firstrun theater boasts giant chairs in a stadiumseating configuration, a full-blown snack bar and sweet game room, too. Every detail of every fiery explosion or comedic ball-kick is captured on their enormous screens and booming sound system. There’s even a JTA bus stop at the front door for the two of you in Jacksonville who use public transportation.

make The Riverdale a killer place to hang for a couple of days, even for Jacksonville residents. Further evidence of The Riverdale’s awesomeness: Pets weighing less than 20 pounds are welcome. Very cool.

Best B&B in St.Augustine

Marin House
The newly renovated Marin House brings another upscale Matanzas bayfront B&B to the oldest city. What separates it from the pack? The gazebo! Situated just south of the Bridge of Lions, the 15-room Victorian lodge is filled with porches and magnificent views. But spend some downtime in the courtyard on the gazebo, where you can take in morning sunrises, the St. Augustine Lighthouse in the evening and dolphins at play in the bay throughout the day.

Best Hairstylist

Corrie Blehm at Hair Peace
The modest exterior of this Five Points mainstay belies the transformative services offered within. Hair Peace is one of the most recognized salons in the region, attesting to a reputation built over the past decade. Stylist Corrie Blehm won Folio Weekly readers props this year for her easy charm and exceptional skill. Blehm can’t change the hair you were born with, but she can damn sure make it look better than when you walked in.

Best Jewelry Store

Underwood’s
Founded in Palatka and located in Jacksonville since 1953, Underwood’s, now in San Marco, Avondale and Ponte Vedra Beach, gleams with trust and tradition. Recognized by the American Gem Society and involved with the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, an organization that monitors the ethics of the jewelry business, owner Clayton Bromberg is an AGS award-winning Alabama boy with the drawl to prove it. With diamonds from Di Modolo to Tacori, as well as watches and fine china, Underwood’s caters to all strata of gem and jewel hounds.

Best B&B on Amelia Island

Elizabeth Pointe Lodge
You have to admire a place that brags that “sleeping late” and “wine at any hour” are some of its highlights. The Elizabeth Pointe Lodge includes the 20-room Main House, constructed in a 1890s Nantucket shingle style, the two-bedroom Miller Cottage and the Ocean House, which features four deluxe sitting rooms. Folio Weekly readers know this beautifully decorated oceanfront bed-andbreakfast is perfect for a relaxing getaway. So leave the alarm clock at home.

Best B&B in Jacksonville

The Riverdale Inn
Back in the day, oh, sometime around 1900, some 50 mansions lined Riverside Avenue. The strip was affectionately known as “The Row.” These days, precious few of these classic structures remain, but one — The Riverdale Inn — stands as a reminder of what once was. The three-story behemoth offers 10 comfy yet classy rooms, some of which may be combined to create suites. Great location (in the heart of Riverside), a warm and friendly staff, and The Row restaurant (with the Gum Bunch Pub for nightcaps)

Best Place to See a Movie

Tinseltown
You probably won’t be checking out a Fellini retrospective at Tinseltown, but your favorite

Culture, Arts &
Entertainment

Best Place to Attend a Concert

Best Live Music Club

The Florida Theatre
This classic structure recently celebrated its 80th anniversary, and for an octogenarian, The Florida Theatre still rocks hard. State-ofthe-art lights and sound, handsome Mediterranean architecture and décor, a couple of bars and great sightlines make for a killer concert-going experience. And it’s located downtown, so you can hit the town after checking out Ben Harper. (He plays on Thursday, Nov. 1.)

Freebird Live
A while back, the Lynyrd Skynyrd-themed Freebird Café dropped its dinner menu, stacked its performance calendar with rock bands and changed its name to Freebird Live. Since then, the club has seen performances by a dizzying array of acts. Jam bands (Blues Traveler, The Codetalkers), funk bands (Fishbone, Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band), reggae acts (Yellowman, Michael Franti), metal and hardcore (Unearth, Strung Out),

indie (Boys Like Girls, Of Montreal), altcountry (Hank III, Shooter Jennings) and a host of tribute bands (from Zep to Poison to Sublime to GNR) all took the stage in 2007. Lots of high-drawing local acts got top billing, too, and were often coupled with touring acts of similar genres. With a kick-ass sound system, a wide-open dance floor (mosh with care) and a balcony that offers unobstructed views, Freebird Live is still Folio Weekly readers’ fave medium-sized big-rock venue in town.

Best Concert

Kenny Chesney
Isn’t it a little too appropriate that a guy with songs like “Flip Flop Summer,” “Keg in the Closet” and “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem” would be popular in Northeast Florida? In fact, ex-Mr. Zellweger is so popular with locals that his April appearance was voted Best Concert of 2007 by Folio Weekly readers — beating out alt-metal band Tool by a mere five votes. Five.

Best Local Band

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
Best Local CD

“Don’t You Fake It”
The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
For the second year in a row, Jacksonville has voted Middleburg natives The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus’ major-label debut “Don’t You Fake It” the Best Local CD. But this year the emo-rockers also stole the votes for Best Local Band. After spending the summer as one of the most popular acts on the Warped Tour, TRJA is now pushing its third sin gle, “Your Guardian Angel,” from its Gold-certified album. After the success of “Face Down” and “False Pretense,” “Your Guardian Angel” just might give TRJA the push it needs to become Jacksonville’s next platinum-selling artist, following in the footsteps of previous Best of Jax winners Limp Bizkit and Yellowcard.

Best Museum

Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens
The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens is the centerpiece of the city’s art palette, its general eschewal of modernism aside. The permanent exhibit features works of the masters, and the gardens are simply stunning. Tuesdays are free, and memberships are worth the price. A former private home in historic Riverside, the Cummer now exists as a landmark for the general public to enjoy. Whether it’s Egyptian antiquities the current exhibit of the paintings of Joseph Jeffers Dodge, the classical music concerts or the upbeat fashion shows, the Cummer has art — and local culture down.

Best Community Theater

Theatre Jacksonville
Founded in 1919, Theatre Jax is one of the longest continually running community theaters in the country. That longevity owes, in part, to TJ’s ability to balance newer works with classics, as evidenced by this season’s offerings — everything from David Bottrell’s and Jessie Jones’ “Dearly Departed” to William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Plus, this nicely-aged space is comfortably at home in San Marco, which embraces it like the bosom friend it is.

Best Dance Club

Ocean Club
A three-room complex situated right in the heart — and in the dunes — of Jacksonville

Beach, Ocean Club is the perfect place to shake it en masse. In the front, along First Street, resides Liquor Lounge, a bar and pool hall with big screen TVs and live music on weekends. In back is the Tiki Bar, a rustic haunt that features DJs blasting reggae and house with a live band dropping in on occasion to rock the shoreline. But the real attraction is the Ocean Club, proper. Sandwiched between the aforementioned nightspots, the OC features regional, national and international DJs spinning till the wee hours. The club’s dancing girls offer encouragement to the lazybones in the crowd, but it typically doesn’t take much. It’s usually elbow-toelbow and sweaty as hell.

Best New Club

Best Megachurch

Tera Nova
“Terra Nova” means “newfound land” in Latin. Though the name is spelled a little differently, Tera Nova is sort of a fitting moniker, as it was picked by Folio Weekly readers as Northeast Florida’s Best New Club. But you won’t be waltzing into the upscale establishment in your chocolate-milk-stained T-shirt and cut-off jeans any time soon. TN enforces a dress code that “must portray a clean, sophisticated look.” Sorry, Britney, you’re not invited.

First Baptist Church
Things continue to change at “The Miracle of Downtown Jacksonville.” For one, the place is packed most Sunday mornings. Secondly, with pastor Mac Brunson having taken the ministerial reins from Jerry Vines in 2006, what’s arguably the city’s most powerful church actually seems to be showing an interest in the city outside its formidable walls. Earlier this year, Brunson’s faithful supplied water to participants during an anti-violence rally. And on Sept. 8, First Baptist partnered with other local congregations to host “It’s Time To Pray In Jacksonville,” a follow-up to last year’s “Day of Faith” anti-violence rally. Whether Brunson is “changing the tone” of the church’s dialogue with the community remains to be seen, but there’s little question that he’s talking more than his predecessors.

Best Comedy Club

Best Sports Bar

Comedy Zone
Folio Weekly readers have chosen The Comedy Zone as the premier area venue at which to get their laugh on. In addition to featuring favorite national comedians, the Zone makes it a policy to allow local comics to open shows. Hell, if you’ve got the cojones, The Comedy Zone is also an excellent place to try your hand at stand-up comedy during their workshop and amateur nights. Hey, even Seinfeld had to start somewhere.

Sneakers
Sneakers Sports Grille is the kind of establishment that makes watching the Jaguars lose a communal event. Although, with gargantuan 22-foot screens, a Garrard interception may look more devastating than it actually is. Give Sneakers credit for understanding that most sport fans are not there to watch their waistlines, as the kitchen serves up huge portions of wings and colossal steaks. They still hang framed jerseys of famous athletes on the wall, but you might be hardpressed to find Michael Vick’s uniform. (It was there last year.)

Best Place to Get Your Groove On

Twisted Martini
Unless you’ve had professional training, chances are you look nuts when you dance. At any good nightclub, though, you’ll be way too drunk to care. Good music and good drinks collide nightly at Twisted Martini, Northeast Florida’s Best Place to Get Your Groove On, according to Folio Weekly readers. Between Thursday Latin Nights and Flashback Fridays downtown, and Bandstand Thursdays at the Ponte Vedra location, there’s a little something for everyone to groove to — and, yes, look nuts in the process.

Best Karaoke Night

Cliff’s
There’s something exhilarating about singing in a room full of drunken strangers — or so we assume. That’s why Cliff’s offers up the mic to a packed house of local performers five nights a week (three at their Monument Road location and two at the Beaches spot). Really, what could be more fun than throwing back some cold ones and wailing Bonnie Tyler’s ’80s anthem “Total Eclipse of the Heart”? Oh yeah, watching someone throw back a few cold ones and wail “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” Karaoke at Cliff’s — always a win-win.

Best Gentleman’s Club

Gold Club
Usually when someone informs you of a nice gentleman’s club, what they really mean is that the dancers bathe and still have all of their teeth. Managing to delicately balance keeping things classy while still spicing it up a little, The Gold Club has become the gold standard in gentleman’s clubs, according to Folio Weekly playahs, and the haters who love them.

Best Gay or Lesbian Club

Metro
If you’ve yet to witness one of Metro’s fabulous drag shows, you’ve yet to live. This Riverside watering hole also features Karaoke, amateur male strip contests, country line dancing — basically, a schedule that’s as diverse and fabulous as its clientele. That’s probably why it’s consistently voted Best Gay Club by Folio Weekly’s readers. From the Rainbow Room to the dance floors to the innumerable bars, Metro is — inch for inch — the biggest and gayest (in a good way) club in Jacksonville. Next time you’re in the mood to see a female impersonator sashay and shantay to “(insert drag queen song here),” you know where to go.

BEST CLUB DJ DJ Ricky at The Pearl

Best Club DJ

DJ Ricky at The Pearl
You could say that DJ Ricky has put more men in the pink than Sheriff Joe Arpaio, but that would be rude. Let’s say instead that Ricky is the most-decorated DJ in Best of Jax history, a spot he earned by putting fashionable feet on the dance floors with a consistency that shocks even his most loyal customers.

Sports & Outdoor Recreation
Best Hiking Trail Best Place to Canoe or Kayak Best Place to Bike Best Park
for the repeated wins in these categories. And some discerning — and happy — campers enjoy the park rangers’ educational presentations, recreational activities and almost 450 acres of lush beachfront.

Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park
A respite amid the region’s rampant development, Hanna Park remains Folio Weekly readers’ favorite place to hang out with nature. Its grills and picnic tables, freshwater lakes, camping facilities, parking areas (some tucked up under tree lines along the dunes) and 20 miles of killer unpaved bike trails are among the more obvious reasons

Best Road Race

Gate River Run
Northeast Florida has no shortage of road races, so it says a lot that Folio Weekly readers continuously vote this downtown 15k as the best. With the next River Run — the 31st annual — mere months away (OK, it’s on March 8), it wouldn’t hurt to dust off the ol’ clodhoppers, do a little quads/groin/ calf stretch, and hit the pavement. Just be

sure to load the extended version of “Gonna Fly Now” into your iPod before trotting past the meat-packing district.

Best Public Golf Course

City of Jacksonville Beach
With more than 60 golf courses, including 30 semi-private golf communities in the area, it’s refreshing that Folio Weekly readers have awarded the best course nod to the Jacksonville Beach Golf Club. Owned and maintained by the City of Jacksonville Beach, the near 50-year-old track is still one of the only public-access courses in its area. The challenging course has been updated in recent years, but still has a beautiful look, thanks to the abundance of water hazards and the absence of McMansions that seem to line the fairways of most new courses.

Best Bowling Alley

Beach Bowl
The peculiar social ritual that is Cosmic Bowling is never better than when it’s done at Beach Bowl in Jacksonville Beach. The black lights, the deafening music — it’s enough to send a parent for another pitcher, then sit back while the kiddies bowl their little brains out. And forget that nasty rumor that this Beaches hallowed institution will soon go the way of oceanfront restaurants and trailer parks. Beach Bowl ain’t going nowhere. Manager Brett Roberts says the lease isn’t up till 2012, enough time for everyone to grab their balls, put on someone else’s fugly shoes and roll gutters to their hearts’ content. Folio Weekly readers can’t get enough of the alley, beer-battered fries, tacky-shirt clad league teams and all.

Best Health Club/Gym

World Gym
Living near the beach gives a person extra incentive (read: pressure) to look good. Jiggly arms and flabby legs do not a sexy body make. Folio Weekly readers who give a crap about their body-mass indices head to the World Gym location nearest them. There you can pump, stretch, lift, crunch, jog and squat your way to the perfect body with plenty of time to spare before the summer beach season kicks in again — say, two or three months from now.

Best Surf Spot

The Poles
The Poles — it’s still one of Jacksonville’s best places to catch a wave, particularly when the winds are out of the north. This fave spot is located inside Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park, so you have to pay to ride ($1 per person before 10 a.m., then $3 per car for up to six people until the park closes), but when a Nor’easter blows, you’ll find cleaner conditions here than most any place else. That’s worth a few bucks, ain’t it?

Best Skate Spot

Kona Skatepark
Hidden behind a stand of trees and what used to be a Steak-‘n’-Ale stands Kona, Jacksonville’s longtime skate haven. Everyone from pros like Steve Caballero to Tony Hawk to local

BEST FISHING SPOT Jacksonville Beach Pier
groms and grommettes has braved the oftunforgiving asphalt of Kona. With a skate shop on-site and gear available for rent, Kona is the perfect place to slap on some pads and give the concrete wave a try. What’s the worst that can happen? You end up on YouTube with a broken ankle and a bruised ego. Best-case scenario: You catch crazy air off the half-pipe vert lip and pull off a 540 before executing a flawless re-entry. Sweet. most part, fishing from the Jax Beach Fishing Pier is just good clean fun.

Best Place to Skinny-Dip

Beaches/ Jacksonville Beach
As evidenced by that happy little baby on the cover of Nirvana’s 1991 classic “Nevermind,” there’s just something fabulous about swimming naked. Maybe it strikes a metaphysical chord, a way of returning to nature sans the shackles of civilization. Maybe it’s just nice to feel water flow past those sensitive parts. Either way, Folio Weekly readers head to Jax Beach to swim au naturel — which is interesting, ’cos there’s always a lot of cops around. Dip at your own risk.

Best Scenic Drive

A1A
The twin As are often said to stand for “Atlantic 1 Alternate,” which doesn’t seem give this unique highway its due props. Nevertheless, scenic S.R. A1A offers motorists and bikers with miles of picturesque environs. The Northeast Florida stretch is indeed a worthy alternate route. The drive unrolls through miles of pristine coastline, large sand dunes blanketed with native wildflowers and sea oats, lazy, quaint fishing spots and majestic moss-draped live-oak canopies. It ain’t what it used to be, true, but it’s better now than it will be later.

Best Fishing Spot

Jacksonville Beach Pier
The nearly new Jacksonville Beach Fishing Pier, located on the ocean at Fifth Avenue North and First Street, has 1,300 feet of concrete and wood, rod-and-reel rentals, a concession stand, a bait-andtackle shop, restrooms and fish-cleaning stations along its wide wooden deck. Plus it’s operated by Faye Cotner — Miss Faye to locals — who’s been around fisherpersons most of her adult life and is more than qualified to guide and advise old salts and first-timers alike. For $4 you can fish the pier all day or pay just $1 to stroll to the end. There are some rules Miss Faye expects you to follow, but for the

BEST CHIROPRACTOR Dr.Alexander at St.Johns Medical