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Best of Rochester: Who we are 

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They rise above the crowd, they make CITY readers proud . . .

Best Ambassador of Rochester

A multi-disciplinary creative force for change, Dunwoody brings imagination, creativity, context, and old-fashioned elbow grease to every art project he touches. He’s made the city a brighter place.
Hope Breen | Quajay Donnell | Dario Joseph and Chris Thompson

Best Bartender

Before his time at Cure, Clutterbuck worked clubs, dives, and free-pour cocktail bars. “I’ve been a bartender for as long as I can remember,” Clutterbuck says, “and I’ll always be exactly that.” Cheers to that!
Ben Kulikowski (Tryon City Tavern) | Daniel Rehor (Vern’s) | Vince Warren (Rooster Pub and Pizza)

Best Bouncer
BEAR (Lux)

The kids at Lux love their “super sweet,” “super cuddly,” super-human-sized bouncer Barry (Bear) Lawler, whose wardrobe of teddy bear T-shirts play up his huggability. Just don’t get between him and his children. Poke this bear, and you’ll be eating pavement.
Lori Lippa (ROAR) | Oz Osborn (Marshall Street/Bug Jar)

Best Chef

Pastry chef Mina Rivazfar-Hoyt has become something of a regular on the Food Network, having competed in three of its contests. She founded Something Delicious Bake Shop in 2015 and took her talents to the University of Rochester last year.
Ryan Donalty | Richard Reddington | Joe Zolnierowski

Best Festival

Rochester’s signature festival in Highland Park has been a favorite for generations.
Fringe Festival | Jazz Festival | Park Avenue Summer Arts Festival

Best Humanitarian

The daughter of a pastor and social worker, a former public defender, and currently the diversity, equity, and inclusion officer for the Monroe County Public Defender’s Office, musical artist Danielle Ponder is both empowering and a powerhouse.
Carol Crossed | Shawn Dunwoody | Stanley Martin

Best Media Personality

A master interviewer and a quick study, Evan Dawson elevated WXXI News’s “Connections” brand to a new level when he took over as host of the afternoon radio talk show in 2014 — and he only got better. Dawson makes his listeners smarter.
Alexis Arnold | Adam Chodak | Scott Hetsko

Best Podcast

Local foodies and comedians Dario Joseph and Chris Thompson serve up laughs as they dish on the Rochester food scene.
Anomaly Presents | Enterprise Hardcore Podcast | Rochester Groovecast

Best Radio Station

WXXI’s news and talk format, coupled with its affiliation with National Public Radio, make it easily the most informative radio station in greater Rochester. And yeah, we’re biased on this one. Catch all its news and talk programming on 1370 AM around the clock and on 88.5 FM for much of the day. Want more culture? Try WXXI’s Classical 91.5 FM.

Best Social Justice Organization

Born out of the Black Lives Matter movement, Free the People ROC seeks to build on the legacy of Black liberation initiatives and has become a force in local politics.
Being Black in the Burbs | Girls Rock! Rochester | Metro Justice | Rochester DSA

Best Social Media Account

The wisenheimers who run "Rochester's #1 Source for Fake News" will have you squirting milk out your nose.
Rochester Red Wings | Refined Taste Podcast | Sir Rocha Says

Best Sports Team

The oldest, continuously-run minor-league team in professional sports, the Red Wings have been a major source of hometown pride since 1899. The team’s Twitter account, @RocRedWings, is among the best anywhere.
Rochester Americans | Roc City Roller Derby

Best TV News Station

Don Alhart. Ginny Ryan. Doug Emblidge. Jane Flasch. This news team is made up of reporters with great TV news names and hair to match. Flasch’s investigative reporting is second to none.
Spectrum News | WHEC Channel 10 | WROC Channel 8

In This Guide...

  • Best of Rochester: The winners . . .

    This year, some 10,349 discerning CITY readers cast 426,656 votes to determine the Best of Rochester winners across 110 categories. Here, we present the top picks of the people, places, and things that make Rochester home.

  • Best of Rochester: Arts & Entertainment

    Nightlife, music, theater, and art, CITY readers know them by heart . . .

  • Best of Rochester: Food & Drink

    Hankering for burgers, baked goods, or beer? CITY readers come here . . .

  • Best of Rochester: Recreation

    From first dates to dancing and shooting stick to shooting hoops, CITY readers have the scoop . . .

  • Best of Rochester: Goods & Services

    Whether you're looking for flowers, a haircut, or that special gift for a four-legged friend, CITY readers recommend . . .

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