Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Calendar Listings Artvoice TV Real Estate Classifieds Contact

The Best of Buffalo Winners

Last night was probably the biggest turnout ever for an AV Best of Buffalo party. Photos to come shortly of the winners, the crowd, the food, the DJs, the Stripteasers and Babik…in the meantime, all the winners are listed after the jump…


Best Unsung Hero
Buffalo Police Detective Dennis Delano

Best Activist Group
PUSH Buffalo

Best Drag King
Bud Wyzer

Best Drag Queen
Fantasee Island

Best Individual Activist
Kevin Gaughan

Best Local Blogger, Biggest Cheerleader
Newell Nussbaumer of Buffalo Rising

Best Local Politician
Congressman Brian Higgins

Best Print Journalist
Donn Esmonde of the Buffalo News

Best Radio Personalities
Shredd & Ragan of 103.3 the Edge

Best TV Personalities
WGRZ’s Chesley McNeil

Loudest Complainer
Erie County District Attorney Frank Clark

Worst Local Politician
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown


Best Annual Festival
Allentown Art Festival

Best Annual Fundraiser

Best Place to Eavesdrop
Spot Coffee

Best Outdoor Public Space
Delaware Park

Best People-watching
Elmwood Avenue

Best Place to Take Visitors
Niagara Falls

The Year’s Biggest Mistake
Eliot Spitzer’s

Building You Most Want Renovated
New York Central Terminal

Building You Most Want Torn Down
The Aud

Favorite Building
Buffalo City Hall

Most Promising Green Project
The Steel Winds wind turbines

One Thing You Hope Happens in 2008
Buffalo’s waterfront redevelopment begins


Best Accessories

Best Antique Shop
The Antique Man

Best Bakery
DiCamillo Bakery

Best Barber
Vito’s Barber Shop

Best Bike Shop
Bert’s Bikes

Best Bookstore
Talking Leaves

Best Butcher
Federal Meats

Best Car Dealer
West Herr

Best CD/Record Store
New World Record

Best Produce, Best Customer Service

Best Day Spa
Excuria Salon and Med Spa

Best Fish Market
Hayes Fish Company

Best Florist
Maureen’s Buffalo Wholesale Flower Market

Best Furniture/Home Decor

Best Gift Shop
Everything Elmwood

Best Hair Salon, Best Massage, Best Pedicure/Manicure
Studio 806

Best Head Shop
Terrapin Station

Best Health Club
Buffalo Athletic Club

Best Jewelry
Wild Things

Best Liquor Store
Premier Group

Best Mens Clothing

Best Music Store
Jackson Music

Best Natural Foods
Lexington Co-op

Best Pet Store
Elmwood Pet Supplies

Best Piercing

Best Plastic Surgeon
Dr. Shirley Anain

Best Sex Shop
Video Liquidators

Best Shoes
Shoe Fly

Best Outdoor Sports Store
Campus Wheelworks

Best Tanning Salon
Total Tan

Best Tattoos
Hand of Doom

Best Thrift Shop

Best Video Store
Mondo Video

Best Women’s Clothing
Sweet and Dirty

Best Yoga/Pilates
East Meets West Yoga


Best Blues Act
Jony James Band

Best Club DJ
DJ Lil Joe

Best Country Act
West of the Mark

Best Folk/Bluegrass Act
Skiffle Minstrels

Best Hip Hop Act
Soul Alignment

Best Female Vocalist
Kelly Wahl

Best Male Vocalist
Mark Valentino

Best Jazz Act

Best Open Mic Night

Best Rock Act
Hit n Run

Best Vocal Ensemble
Buffalo Gay Men’s Chorus

Best Regular Gig
Babik @ Allen Street Hardware


Best Actor
Vincent O’Neill

Best Actress
Lisa Ludwig

Best Cinema
North Park Cinema

Best Cultural Asset
Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Best Dance Company
Configuration Dance

Best Dancer & Best Genre-defying artist
Aaron Piepszny

Best New Arts/Performance Space
ALT Theatre

Best Painter
AJ Fries

Best Photographer
Jim Bush

Best Playwright
Jon Elston

Best Spoken Word Venue/Series
Spoken Word Sundays @ Allen Street Hardware

Best Poet/Spoken Word Artist
Celia White

Best Sculptor
David Derner

Best Small Art Gallery
CEPA Gllery

Best Supporter of the Arts
M&T Bank

Best Theater Company
Irish Classical Theater Company

Best Theater Production
To Kill a Mockingbird

Best Video/Film Artist
Brian Milbrand

Best Writer
Gary Earl Ross


Best Bagels
Bagel Jay’s

Best Bar Menu

Best Barbecue
Fat Bob’s

Best Beef on Weck
Charlie the Butcher

Best Burger

Best Chinese
Great Wall

Best Coffee, Best Place to Talk Business

Best Deli, Best Salad
Globe Market

Best Dessert
Sweet Tooth

Best Diner
Lake Effect Diner

Best Fish Fry
Papa Jake’s

Best French Fries, Best Hot Dog

Best French
Rue Franklin

Best German

Best Greek, Best Place for a Cheap Date

Best Ice Cream

Best Indian
India Gate

Best Italian

Best Japanese

Best Kid-friendly Restaurant

Best Sub, Best Late-night Eats
Jim’s Steakout

Best Latin
Niagara Cafe

Best Mexican
Gramma Mora’s

Best Middle Eastern
Falafel Bar

Best New Restaurant
Black and Blue Steak and Crab

Best Patio

Best Pizza, Best Takeout/Delivery
La Nova

Best Polish
Polish Villa

Best Sausage

Best Seafood
La Marina

Best Soul Food

Best Soup

Best Steak
Buffalo Chophouse

Best Thai/Vietnamese
Saigon Cafe

Best Vegetarian
Amy’s Place

Best Wings

Most Romantic Restaurant, Best Brunch, Best Service
Left Bank


Best Bathroom Graffiti, Best Dive Bar
Old Pink

Best Beer Selection, Best Place to Shoot Pool, Best Place to Watch a Game
Pearl Street Grill & Brewery

Best Bowling Alley

Best Cocktails
Chocolate Bar

Best Dance Club

Best Bartender, Female
Jenn Parker @ Club Diablo

Best Bartender, Male
Jimmy @ Cathode Ray

Best Gay-friendly Bar
Club Marcella

Best Lesbian-friendly Bar, Best Karaoke

Best Happy Hour

Best Jukebox
Essex Street Pub

Best Live Music
Mohawk Place

Best Neighborhood Pub
Allen Street Hardware

Best New Bar

Best Place to Throw Darts

Best Upscale Bar

Best Wine List

  • Kathy

    I don’t think so!

    Best Male Vocalist
    Mark Valentino-WHO?

    Best Rock Act
    Hit n Run – WHO?

  • Mark Valentino is a very popular singer in the area and Hit N Run fun to watch and they always have a lot of people at their shows. You should go see them. I attached their website.

  • Kevin McEvoy

    Why didnt Dee Adams win? Who is this Kelly Wall? Is she an original act? I DONT GET IT?????

  • Tom

    She is the female singer from Hit N Run. She is actually awesome.

  • Alex

    This is what annoys me about this whole thing. People like you Mark and your band come into our awards, stuff the ballot box so you win because you are so afraid of fading away and by doing this you are taking away from someone who really deserves the recognition. Do you even write any music? Do you even know what its like to be a starving muscian? No, because you work off of other peoples songs. If you are all so good why haven’t you won the ArtVoice awards before, because no real people would write your names down because of the lack of talent. Stop going by how many awards you have won. If you were a true musician you would know it’s not the awards that makes an entertainer. You have a drunk for a guitarist, a drummer with back problems a singer who sounds like death on her good days and you ,someone who just isn’t that good and needs to be liked.

  • Jon

    Hey Alex, isn’t that a little harsh?

    Let me preface by saying I’ve never even seen Hit N’ Run live, am not familiar with them or their act.

    But like you I consider myself a musician as well. In fact, a “true musician” and, I totally disagree with you. I’m also one who writes and performs original music, rather than play covers. But regardless, regular gigging is hard work and low paying. Do you play local shows? If like me, you do, you’d probably agree there’s a heck of a lot of effort involved – loading in, setting up, sound checking, (most importantly) putting on a show, then tearing down and loading out. At the end of the night, IF you’re lucky enough to be paid by the venue or promoter, its probably not even enough to cover the gas you burned getting your equipment to the show. That doesn’t even include booking and promotion and all the “paperwork” that goes on when music isn’t being played. Just that effort alone validates them in my eyes. As for the music itself – whether its original or not, it takes talent and guts to perform… and it takes special people to do that well.

    Shouldn’t a “true” musician be concerned with their music anyway? I think we all recognize most awards like this as popularity contests. Popularity doesn’t mean anybody’s music is better or worse than the next – but it does mean they probably put on a good show! It’s about doing what you love, because you love doing it… not because you’ll win awards or make money.

    Even assuming they did “stuff” the ballot box, all that is in my eyes a testament to how they’re able to rally their fan base. They apparently have fans that not only come out and support them on a regular basis, but are motivated enough to help them gain some recognition. I can’t speak for Artvoice, but I’d wager they made an effort to make sure it wasn’t an individual placing multiple votes.

    There’s no need to insult people on a personal level. It stinks of bad attitude… whether or not you like them as people, whether or not you like their performance, the genre of music they play, whatever… its just uncalled for. Local artists should stick together rather than belittle one another because the latter is no good for anybody.

    I don’t think anybody (except apparently you) judges the quality of music or the quality of a performance based on the number of awards its won. That’s just icing on the cake for the performers. People listen to what they like. Apparently people like to listen to Hit N’ run. What’s wrong with that?

    I’m sure since you’re so talented, and your original music is so great, you’ll get recognition at some point as well. And if it doesn’t happen automatically, you can urge your fan base to stuff ballot boxes too – may the best “ballot stuffer” win in ’09! Maybe you won’t even have to starve once you hit the big times and win a Best of Buffalo award. Best of luck to you man… no reason to be bitter.

  • Alex

    Jon, I Don’t judge the quality of music or the quality of a performance based on the number of awards its won. That is why I am bitter, They do, and to turn the ArtVoice Awards into the Nightlife Awards is what they have done and I just feel it is unfair to all of the talented hardworking performers out there, and that is mine and other peoples’opinion that have even said it at the awards the other night so I am not the only one who feels this way, just the only one who has the balls to say it. I do apologize for being so frank but it needed to be said.

  • Tina

    Hey Alex –

    Well seeing as Hit N Run plays to PACKED houses EVERY weekend, maybe there’s something to them. I mean I really don’t care if the band has a “drunk” as you say. Or their drummer has back problems – MORE POWER TO HIM FOR GETTING BACK IN THERE AND PLAYING. And I didn’t see you bash the bass player. You must have something to say. So I’m gonna chalk this up to plain and simple jealousy on your part Alex. You’re jealous they’re enjoying successful music careers, making money, and winning awards. Maybe you should go and see Hit N Run and maybe you can pick up a few pointers and see first hand why they are one of the best bands around!

  • Mike

    Guys, as a the bass player in Hit N Run, I’d like to say thanks on behalf of the band for the recognition. Artvoice is a vital part of the arts scene in Buffalo, and it was honestly a surprise to us that we were even nominated, in light of the fact that we don’t get downtown that often ( a failing we hope of rectify soon).
    That being said, I’d like to address the issue of “ballot box stuffing.” In our weekly email to the mailing, the Artvoice awards were mentioned, and we sent along the link and reminded people to vote. This reminder was sent about a week before the voting deadline was to expire. Bottom line, if we were lucky enough to win anything, voting started long before that reminder went out.

    Alex, as far as the members of the band and your comments about them? Kind of lame, and uncalled for. For those of you with more of an open mind? Thank you for the consideration.

    To all the winners, congratulations! I’ve won exactly one award in my career, and it felt pretty good. Even if I know damn well that my teacher Jack Kulp is truly the best bass player in town, if not the most underappreciated musician in Buffalo. When we all get smart enough to vote HIM to an award, I think a parade is in order

  • Sarah

    FYI – The Artvoice is not just a downtown thing. There are a lot of business and people in the surrounding towns that have won. (Example, Niagara Falls won “Best Place to Take Visitors”. Maybe Alex should go yell at the raging waters)

    In WNY (especially in music), if you do good, you are a jerk, if you do bad, you are a jerk. There is no winning either way. Cover band, original bands, blah, blah. It is all about who I am going to have fun seeing and that can make me dance, so I buy more drinks, etc, etc.

    Alex, Grow UP, you are just jealous. AND I AM FROM THE CITY.

    Mike, Congratulations, your band does a great job and I have always enjoyed going to see you all perform. You are very entertaining.

  • Taz

    Where did my comment go????

  • Sue

    Best Female Vocalist
    Kelly Wahl
    Dee Adams
    Ani DiFranco
    Alison Pipitone
    Gretchen Schultz

    I know 4 of these singers and EVERYONE knows them but the one no one knows wins. What a joke!

  • Dave

    “I know 4 of these singers and EVERYONE knows them but the one no one knows wins. What a joke!”

    Well Sue from the looks of the list, 2 of the 5 nominees perform on a REGULAR basis. So I guess you’re mad that your sister/cousin/aunt didn’t win.

  • Rachel

    Noone knows her? Well obviously someone does or she wouldn’t have won right? HNR plays out every weekend and I have been out quite a few times to see them over the past few years and the girl has always been there doing her thing and doing it well so maybe you just don’t get out enough!

  • Chris

    Well Dave, out of the 2 you say perform on a regular basis Dee Adams has all the talent in the world and sings all night long unlike the other person who performs on a regular basis who may only sing a few songs a night . And there is no comparison to Allison and Gretchen(who do play out) and Even Ani by the way has won NATIONAL awards.All that happened is Mark is a god in the Buffalo Music Area so he had his friends vote and then they told their friends to vote and on and on and the funny thing is they don’t even know who or what they voted for it’s all because they were told to do so. If that is how people win awards then Congrats and more power to you, next year I hope everyone does the same!Good Luck on the popularity contest next year everyone!

  • Rachel

    Honestly, isn’t it about how well they sing not how much or often? She is the lead female singer on female songs and sings the rest of the night on back ups and Mark sings his songs and the bass player his songs etc. Someone needs to grow up and stop whining! Hey if someone can win an award for only playing their instrument on a couple of songs a night then the doors open in my opinion.

  • Dave

    OK Chris and Sue. I guess you win by throwing the national act terminology around and having a grand old time bashing local musicians. But just out of curiosity, what has Ani done lately????? Besides remodel a church???

  • Talent means nothing! If you’re in hitnrun you will win regardless of how good you are. Awards shows in this area have been ruined by the same few acts winning every year. I hope not to be misunderstood by that comment. I can think of many musicians in the past and present who won and deserved it. I can think of just as many who deserve to win but haven’t. But lately it seems alot of talented musicians get overlooked because Mark wins best vocalist 7 years in a row or Lana wins best female vocalist 8 years in a row.
    Again, I’m not saying Mark or Lana didn’t deserve to win but, it gets absurd when it’s year after year. Did Kelly deserve to win, I don’t think so. Will she win for the next 10 years, probably. And I’m not saying Kelly isn’t a good singer, I’ve seen hitnrun many times. Bottom line is these music awards lose all credibility by allowing the same people to win every year.

  • Lou

    Kelly is a great singer. Mark is a great singer. Lana Was a great singer about 6 years ago. The problem with the local awards is that they need people to actually go out and see the bands. If you take nominations from club owners, of course only the ones that pack the house are going to get nominated. Last year at the BMA’s, The guy that won ” Best Bass Player” only plays bass on about 6 songs a nite. We all know the system needs to be reworked but until somebody actually does it, It’s going to be the same thig every year. I mean it’s funny that HnR and Black Widow are in different music categories when they both play almost the same music. That’s so they can both win. I think Dee Adams is great and should have won last year but she doesn’t pack clubs like Lana does.
    Talent should be more of a part of the system. Unfortunately, some of the most talented musicians are in bands that many people don’t know exist. That’s why it’s so important to have the awards comittee go to different clubs all year round to see these bands and actually make accurate nominations.

  • Carrie

    I agree with what you have said Lou, but sorry to say Lana is still an amazing singer, there are just jealous people out there that refuse to give her credit just like they hate to give Mark and Kelly the same credit.I really feel that it is unfair to ALL of them!

  • Carrie

    I want to say this also to Lou, not to take anything away from Kelly but did she just learn how to sing in your eyes because she has been around for a while so even if she wasnt in a high profile band she would have still been noticed. Lana didnt forget how to sing, she still plays out all the time with her band and acoustic band and original band so if 6 years ago she was good and she’s not now I dont think she would be doing so much. I dont want to start a fight with people it’s just that it is not fair to take either girls recognition away from them. If they have a different style of singing, then they do the songs different, But please dont take that away from them. Lou you mention Dee Adams,if she should have won the BMA’s why shouldn’t she have won the ARTVOICE awards?

  • Lou

    To Carrie,
    That just reiterates the point that I made about some of the best musicians being in bands that people don’t know about. That is why the people running the awards have to go out and see different bands at different clubs. Maybe Dee should have won the Artvoice award but if I remember correctly, Kelly wasn’t nominated for a BMA. I never said Lana wasn’t good now, I just said she was great 6 years ago. Her voice has lost some range that she used to have and now she has to struggle for some high notes or change the song around to avoid them. There are people now that are better.

  • Lana

    Lou, I really dont know how my name gets brought into this but anyway. I am sorry you feel that way but ever since I started singing I never had a high range and we would have to drop the keys in some songs but that doesnt mean that I am not as good as Dee or Carolynn or Kelly it just means that I have a different range.If you feel I have to struggle than that is also your opinion but obviously not others because they keep coming out and we are still being booked back at the same and new places, even being booked for 2009 now.I think that it would kill anyones spirit when you are told over and over again that you are not good enough or even when you do win awards that you dont deserve them so maybe thats what you are seeing but its NOT my voice deteriorating its the DRAMA!!! It just gets tiring with all the Drama day in and day out.That is why at the last BMA’S I told Rick Falkowski that I do not want to be nominated for 2008, its not worth the drama a month before and a month after the awards for 5 min of fame that NO ONE remembers a few month later.So like Carrie said to any one on this blog to beliitle people who have won or take there recognition away from them is unfair. If Hnr won then good for them if Mark and Kelly won good for them but it still doesn’t mean they are better than anyone else that was nominated, just means they
    have a great following that supports them. I dont think I am better than anyone else or the other way around I just think that we all sing different and we all perform different and it would be bad if we all sounded the same we all had the same range and performed the same way, who would want to see anyone then. We are ALL UNIQUE in our own ways and thats how it should be. If we all would stop obsessing about this petty crap and really worried about important stuff going on in the world maybe it would get better. EVERYONE needs to grow up and stop making people feel bad because they won an award , local musicians should stick together.

  • Cara

    AMEN Lana. You said it the best. I think it is ridicules that Black Widow and Hit N Run always are being bashed for winning. Both of the bands are great and provide good entertainment. Black Window and Hit N Run have the largest followings in the area so of course your fans are going to vote for you. I can not think of one person from Hit N Run or Black Widow that does not deserve an award. You all work very hard and you should be rewarded. I hope that you and Mark NEVER stop. Both of you (including your band mates, of course)are an asset to the WNY nightlife.

  • jamie moses

    I would like to point out that the Artvoice Best of Buffalo Awards, unlike the Buffalo Music Awards, is not all music categories only. There are selections for restaurants, politicians, parks, clothing stores, hair salons etc. What this means simply is that the thousands of people who voted were not all from the “music community”, as is pretty much the case with BMA. So while a hair stylist may be busy hustling votes for his/her salon, they will also make selections in other categories, including music. Remember that ballots that were not sufficiently filled out were tossed, so people from all walks of life were a part of choosing winners in every category. The point is that it is probably unwise to assume that the same politics that are in play during the BMA carry into the Artvoice Awards. And the general public probably doesn’t rate this or that singer based on their vocal range or any other musical technicality. They may just like the singer’s personality, or more likely, they simply love the songs the band chooses to play. Ultimately, most if it comes down to the songs, people like your songs or they don’t.

  • Bob

    I am offended…….drunk guitarist??? I am not in that band anymore!!! LOL
    Thank you everyone for the nomination for the Best Writer catagory.

  • Clem

    In all fairness to Lana, (Lou), she plays a lot of shows and 2 on the same night
    at times. Thats tough on the vocal chords. I seen her at Coyotes a couple of months ago and thought she sounded pretty damn good. I don’t know her personally but she works her tail off. It’s not like she’s singing 4 or 5 songs a night. I still don’t think it’s fair she wins every year. Please, don’t take that personal Lana you do deserve it. What ever happened to being inducted into the hall of fame after winning a three times in a row? They should bring that back, that would give other people a chance. And, it might give the band they play in a chance to build a following as well.

  • mike

    To clarify, we don’t have a drunk guitarist now, and didn’t have one earlier, contrary to Bob’s jest. In fact, I played for a decade with Bob and never saw him tipsy. But, where all the damn beer went? Call the X-Files for that answer…