Best local hellraiser Lefty Kelleherphoto by Trask Bedortha

Best of Eugene 2015-2016

You voted for 'em and here they are. The Best of Eugene!

We all love Best of Eugene, readers and writers alike. We love seeing joyful social media posts when winners open the pages of this issue and see their names in print. We love the crazy photo shoots. We love all the hilarious and inappropriate votes we get to read.

But just like anything that is deeply beloved, Best of Eugene is so much fun to complain about. Here at EW headquarters, we enjoy complaining about the 40 hours of staff time it takes to count all those votes. Readers seem to revel in accusations of a rigged system and fabricated winners. But hey, what’s a Eugene event without a conspiracy theory?

Lovely readers, you are more than welcome to count the votes yourselves to assure you that we do, in fact, tally all the votes, even the votes for “your mom.” We get thousands of votes every year, but this only represents a small percentage of our readership. There are a whole lot of readers out there who don’t vote at all. This brings tears of sadness to our tired, ballot-counting eyes.

This year, we added a few new categories, and we’re pleased to see some fresh faces grace these pages. Best of Eugene isn’t about us — it’s about you. We love you, Eugene, and we hope this issue is everything you dreamed it would be. And if not, just remember that you have the power to change it next year. OK, OK, enough soapboxing. Let’s get to the fun!


Photo by Trask Bedortha

Best local hellraiser

1. Lefty Kelleher

2. Kevin Cronin

3. John O’Malley

For the past three years running, Lefty Kelleher was voted second-best hellraiser in EW’s reader’s poll — and that’s fine by him. The Whiteaker icon with the skullcap and wicked left hook prefers his runner-up underdog status, whether that entails getting kicked out of the recent Alice Cooper show at Matt Knight Arena for firing up a smoke in the face of a security guard (“They let people vape inside!”), frequenting strip clubs in search of his “new ex-wife” or standing guard against the forces of gentrification as a board member of the Whiteaker Community Council. This year, however, Kelleher was voted Eugene’s No. 1 Hellraiser by a landslide, which makes him chuckle and shrug. “I don’t give a fuck,” he says, “and I’ll back it up. That makes a good hellraiser.” He says there are four ingredients to raising hell: a lot of pot, a lot of Jack Daniels, a lot of PBR and a lot of one dollar bills. “I’m never gonna die,” Kelleher says. “What doesn’t kill you, marries you.” As for future acts of dissent, Kelleher plans on giving Eugene’s mayor a proper farewell this year. “When Kitty Piercy’s out of office, I’m parking my hearse on her lawn.”

Photo by Trask Bedortha

Best local uproar

1. Civic Stadium

2. EmX expansion

3. The homeless

From triumphant preservation to devastating destruction, Civic Stadium captured the attention of Eugeneans this year. It’s one hell of a story — in a years-long process, private citizens, the city and the school district came together to save Eugene’s Depression-era baseball stadium from demolition, only to have its old-growth timbers burn to the ground in a fury of fire a mere handful of months later. Here’s to you, Civic Stadium. We miss you and look forward to what happens next.

Best humanitarian nonprofit

1. FOOD for Lane County 770 Bailey Hill Rd. 343-2822. 

2. St. Vincent de Paul 555 High St., 344-2115; 100 E. 11th Ave., 868-0200.

3. Womenspace 1577 Pearl St. 485-8232.

BRING. Photo by Athena Delene

Best enviro organization

1. BRING Recycling 4446 Franklin Blvd. 746-3023. 

2. McKenzie River Trust 1245 Pearl St. 345-2799. 

3. Cascadia Wildlands 1247 Willamette St. 434-1463. 


Greenhill. Photo courtesy Greenhill Humane Society

Best animal nonprofit

1. Greenhill Humane Society 88530 Green Hill Rd. 689-1503.

2. S.A.R.A.’s Treasures 871 River Rd. 607-8892.

3. Luvable Dog Rescue P.O. Box 50367.

The Silicon Shire, the Ducks, wet weather, hippies. Eugene is known for a lot of things, but one of the things we do best is nonprofits. Want a tax deduction that goes to a good deed? Eugene has one that fits the bill for whatever your good cause happens to be. FOOD for Lane County is a perpetual winner in our best humanitarian nonprofit category. The group says that 25 percent of food that is donated and distributed is fresh produce, and according to its most recent annual report, “Working with 189 partner agencies and distribution sites, FFLC distributed more than 8-million pounds of food in 2013-2014 — the equivalent of more than 17,000 meals a day.” That’s a lot of hungry people getting much needed nutritious food. St. Vincent de Paul and Womenspace round out the top three with their excellent community services — the most recent tragic murder suicide out near Northwest Expressway is a grim reminder of Womenspace’s work to end intimate partner violence.

BRING Recycling nabbed best enviro nonprofit this year, with McKenzie River Trust and Cascadia Wildlands hot on BRING’s tail. Maybe what nailed it for BRING was its 11th place finish on Oregon Business Magazine’s 2015 list of best nonprofits to work for in Oregon? Or maybe it’s because we all love poking through all the piles of recycled stuff that makes us feel good about saving the planet and not being a wasteful consumer while still indulging our inner shopper.

Puppies! Kitties! Bunnies! We want to hug and kiss them all! Another thing Lane County does well, and often loudly, is love its beasties. Greenhill Humane Society scampers in as the top animal nonprofit this year, with S.A.R.A.’s Treasures stalking into second and Luvable Dog Rescue rolling in third.


Photo by Tracy Sydor |

Best artist

1. Shanna Trumbly

2. Katie Swenson

3. (tie) Tracy Sydor and Jud Turner;

Best place to see art

1. Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art 1430 Johnson Ln., UO Campus. 346-3027.

2. New Zone Gallery 164 W. Broadway. 683-0759.

3. First Friday ArtWalk

Photo by Trask Bedortha

Best tattoo or body modification artist

1. Max Von Kaspar 304 E. 13th Ave. 844-1628.

2. High Priestess team 210 W. 6th Ave. 342-6585; 525 E. 13th Ave. 343-3311.

3. Jimmy Singleton 1097 Willamette St. 345-6465.

Photo by Athena Delene

Best dancer

1. Nathan Boozer

2. Vanessa Martin (Fuller)

3. Ari Zreliak-Hoban

Photo by Athena Delene

Best standup comedian

1. Beth Pinkerton

2. George Baltzer

3. Leigh Anne Jasheway

Hailing from Rochester, New York, Beth Pinkerton has a sound message for Eugene: Stop taking yourself so damn seriously, ahem, hippie mafia, vegans and trustafarians. Besides good-hearted poking at locals, Pinkerton shows a deft touch, balancing laughs with tender stories about coming out as a lesbian in a Catholic family and growing up poor. Her impression of her mother — a cigarette-dragging East Coast sweetheart — is already a classic in our book. Pinkerton came to standup through a comedy class taught by Leigh Anne Jasheway (also a Best of Eugene winner!) at Lane Community College last winter. See Pinkerton perform at the 10th Annual Northwest Women’s Comedy Festival 7 pm Friday, Nov. 20, at the Wildish Theater in Springfield.

Models: PB Torcher, vanessa froehling, Rachel Matagora, Desiree Noir, Kymberlee Meyers.
Designer: Vanessa Froehling with Fraulein Couture and Stitches by V.
Photo by tracy sydor |

Best clothing designer

1. Vanessa Froehling

2. Laura Lee Laroux

3. (tie) Allihalla (Allison Ditson) and Marcia Knee

If it wasn’t already clear that Vanessa Froehling is a rising talent on the Oregon fashion scene, the secret was out when she showed her Fräulein Couture line at Portland Fashion Week in early October. Portland crowds went wild for what she has to offer: lux, strong, sultry designs with a hint of fantasy. Froehling’s creations have a cinematic quality, while still offering wearability. She also specializes in lingerie, accessories and costume. We can’t wait to see what she does next.

Best local writer

1. Bob Welch

2. Sally Sheklow

3. Alex V. Cipolle

Bob Welch is nonchalant about his fame as a repeated winner of this category, attributing his reach to the fact that “I used to get my picture in the R-G three times a week and no one else did. When people go to answer that best writer question, they see this image of my 60-year-old face.” When pressed, though, he reveals that he thinks his readers enjoy reading about what they love — Oregon — and he likes to write local. “People care deeply about the place they live, and that’s what I write about,” he says. On Nov. 5 and 6, catch “Bob Welch & Friends” at the Hult Center for poetry, stories, songs and more, all celebrating the lovely state of Oregon.

Photo by Athena Delene

Best local theater company

1. Oregon Contemporary Theatre 194 W. Broadway. 465-1506.

2. Very Little Theatre 2350 Hilyard St. 344-7751.

3. Actors Cabaret of Eugene 996 Willamette St. 683-4368.

Photo by Athena Delene

Best local musician(s)

1. Sol Seed

2. Soul Vibrator

3. The Sugar Beets

Best live music venue

1. Cuthbert Amphitheater 2300 Leo Harris Pkwy. 762-8099.

2. Hi-Fi Music Hall 44 E. 7th Ave. 636-3292.

3. WOW Hall 291 W. 8th Ave. 687-2746.

Oh, splendiferous Cuthbert! There’s a certain feeling of contentedness and well-being that comes from settling down with a blanket on the sloping hillside of the Cuthbert Amphitheater as the sun slowly sets. It’s a piece of summer in Eugene that simply shouldn’t be missed.

Night Life

Photo by Tracy Sydor |

Best club DJ

1. DJ food stamp

2. (tie) DJ Trainwreck and DJ Connah J

3. DJ Victor

photo by tracy sydor |

Photo by Todd Cooper

Best drag queen

1. Karress Ann Slaughter

2. Trai La Trash

3. (tie) Diva Simone Slaughter and Angelica DVil

Karress Ann Slaughter, né Cornel Hardiman, has become a cultural and community staple in this town. If you haven’t seen Slaughter sashay across a local stage, you are probably one of those scaredy cats who haven’t ventured downtown since the empty Taco Time was one of Broadway’s main attractions.

Or perhaps you know Hardiman as a friendly face at The Kiva, where he always has a kind word or funny story for his customers. Either way, Slaughter or Hardiman, night or day, Eugene is a better and crazier place thanks to the performing artist and dancer.

In addition to the limelight, Hardiman has also done decades of charity work through The Imperial Sovereign Court of the Emerald Empire, one of Lane County’s oldest LGBTQIA nonprofits.

“I hate to make it sound cheesy,” Hardiman told EW over the phone — when he only knew that he made the top three, not that he won. “But being nominated is the best thing. People considering me is awesome.”

When asked why his drag shtick resonates with audiences after 20-plus years, Hardiman pauses for a moment. “I think it’s because I’m always trying to stay modern,” he says. “I have a different look than most drag queens. I try my best to look like a woman. I just try to be as pretty as I can be and try to look as real as can be.”

Hardiman says he’s kept up with his energetic routines and excellent physique by staying mobile, walking and dancing every day, drinking lots of water and taking multivitamins.

And what keeps him returning to the stage after two decades?

“For me, it’s just the energy [audiences] give when you’re up there,” he says. “I love doing it. I love fashion. I love hair. I love all that stuff. It’s kind of like a crazy addiction.”

You can catch Slaughter performing 10 pm every Friday night for Glamazon, the drag cabaret hosted by The Wayward Lamb (see Best New Business and Best Bar). Expect some new routines inspired by Miss Jackson, if you’re nasty.

“Janet [Jackson] just came out with an amazing album,” Hardiman says. “I’m just heading towards my old favorites,” which could be anything from Michael Jackson to Beyoncé.

Best place to sing karaoke

1. Black Forest 50 E. 11th Ave. 686-6619.

2. The Barn Light 924 Willamette St. (458) 205-8914.

3. Level Up 1290 Oak St. 654-5632.

Photo by Trask Bedortha

Best open jam/open mic night

1. Sam Bond’s 407 Blair Blvd. 431-6603.

2. Luckey’s 933 Olive St. 687-4643.

3. Hot Mama’s Wings 420 W. 13th Ave. 653-9999.

Best bar grub

1. Horsehead 99 W. Broadway. 683-3154.

2. Jackalope 453 Willamette St. 485-1519.

3. Falling Sky Brewing 1334 Oak Alley. 505-7096.

We can think of many late nights in downtown Eugene with friends, winding up at the Horsehead and deciding to take the edge off our night’s whiskey gingers with some fried food. We’ve gorged on jalapeño poppers, deep-fried pickles, fried okra and cheese fries. Our go-to is the nachos: cheesily deeply satisfying, the sheer amount of garlic in the salsa is a sure-fire way to guarantee that creepy dudes won’t hit on you while playing pool. Actually, it pretty much guarantees no one except our dogs are going to get within 10 feet of us the rest of the night. Trust us, it’s worth it.

Photo by Todd Cooper

Best bar (See Best New Business)

1. The Wayward Lamb 150 W. Broadway. 654-5106.

2. Sam Bond’s 407 Blair Blvd. 431-6603.

3. The Bier Stein 1591 Willamette St. 485-2437.


Photo by Todd Cooper

Best local winery/wine

1. Sweet Cheeks Winery 27007 Briggs Hill Rd. 349-9463.

2. King Estate Winery 80854 Territorial Hwy. 942-9874.

3. Sarver Winery 25600 Mayola Ln. 935-2979.

The rolling hills, scenery and bountiful vines of Sweet Cheeks Winery are always a voter favorite. “We have really high quality wines and a fun and casual atmosphere,” says Kaitlin Anderson, manager at Sweet Cheeks. “It’s a key to our success, definitely.” The atmospheric, sloping landscape doesn’t hurt, either. Anderson says Sweet Cheeks is grateful for the outpouring of votes it gets each year. And speaking of thankfulness, she says, Sweet Cheeks is open Thanksgiving weekend, with live music and the Oregon Wood Fired Pizza food cart.

Photo by Todd Cooper

Best local brewery/beer

1. Ninkasi 272 Van Buren St. 344-2739.

2. Oakshire 207 Madison St. 688-4555.

3. Hop Valley 980 Kruse Way, Spfd. 744-3330; 990 W. 1st Ave. 585-2337.

Photo by Trask Bedortha

Best beers on tap

1. The Bier Stein 1591 Willamette St. 485-2437.

2. Tap & Growler 207 E. 5th Ave. 505-9751.

3. beergarden. 777 W. 6th Ave. 505-9432.

Izakaya Meji. Photo by Trask Bedortha

Best cocktails

1. Izakaya Meiji 345 Van Buren St. 505-8804.

2. Rye 444 E. 3rd Ave. 653-8509.

3. The Vintage 837 Lincoln St. 349-9181.

Izakaya Meiji swooped in and won best cocktails and best restaurant this year, and for those of us who incessantly think of reasons why “the Japanese whiskey place” is where we need to be on any given evening, that’s no surprise. Meji does amazing things with whiskey and, to the joy of any whiskey lover, makes cocktails that don’t do everything possible to try to cover the taste of the whiskey (or whisky, depending on what you are mixing). And how can you go wrong with a restaurant that has “skewered things” (aka kushiyaki) as a menu option? We have a fondness for the shitake-skewered thing, and the first thing to order (after a whiskey drink) is the delicious goma ae, “blanched organic spinach served cold with sweet and salty black sesame sauce.” Meatatarians, pescatarians and vegetarians alike can find one of Meiji’s hot, almost tapas-like Japanese dishes to suit their taste.

Best happy hour/drink special

1. The Starlight Lounge 830 Olive St. 343-3204.

2. The Wayward Lamb 150 W. Broadway. 654-5106.

3. Izakaya Meiji 345 Van Buren St. 505-8804.


Photo by Athena Delene

Best bakery

1. Sweet Life Patisserie 755 Monroe St. 683-5676.

2. Hideaway Bakery 3377 E. Amazon Dr. 868-1982.

3. Noisette Pastry Kitchen 200 W. Broadway. 654-5257.

Best desserts

1. Sweet Life Patisserie 755 Monroe St. 683-5676.

2. Noisette Pastry Kitchen 200 W. Broadway. 654-5257.

3. Metropol Bakery 2538 Willamette St. 465-4730.

Red Wagon Creamery. Photo by Athena Delene

Best frozen treats

1. Red Wagon Creamery 55 W. Broadway. 345-8008.

2. Prince Pückler’s Gourmet Ice Cream 1605 E. 19th Ave. 344-4418.

3. Vanilla Jill’s Frozen Yogurt 298 Blair Blvd. 345-2466.

What would Eugene be without Red Wagon Creamery? We love this little ice cream shop tucked into the heart of downtown, serving scoops of creamy sweetness that redefine the meaning of ice cream. At Red Wagon, even run-of-the-mill flavors elicit rebranding. Heart of Chocolate melts on the tongue like a milk chocolate bar, and a lick of Oregon Mint Chip evokes the fragrance of fresh mint leaves. Hail to the Bee, with swirls of chocolate and chunks of honeycomb candy, is in a category all its own, and there are still the creatively oddball flavors to talk about: Sweet Corn, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal and something that tastes like an Earl Grey tea latte in a cone and is amazing. Keep doing your thing, Red Wagon.

Photo by Todd Cooper

Best barbecue

1. Papa’s Soul Food Kitchen 400 Blair Blvd. 342-7500.

2. Hole in the Wall 3200 W. 11th Ave. 683-7378; 1807 Olympic St., Spfd. 736-1200.

3. Bill & Tim’s Barbecue 201 E. 13th Ave. 654-0578.

Best hangover breakfast

1. Brails 1689 Willamette St. 343-1542.

2. Glenwood Restaurant 1340 Alder St. 687-0355; 2588 Willamette St. 687-8201.

3. Studio One Café 1473 E. 19th Ave. 342-8596.

Best burger

1. Cornucopia 295 W. 17th Ave., 485-2300; 207 E. 5th Ave., 485-2300.

2. Killer Burger 50 W. Broadway. 636-4731.

3. NorthWest Burgers 296 E. 5th Ave. 485-9176.

Photo by Athena Delene

Best coffee

1. Wandering Goat 268 Madison St. 344-5161.

2. Dutch Bros. 1633 Coburg Rd.; 2115 Franklin Blvd.; 311 E. 11th Ave.

3. Full City 295 E. 13th Ave., 465-9270; 842 Pearl St., 344-0475.

Unseated in the 2014 popular vote by Dutch Brothers, the Whiteaker’s Wandering Goat came roaring back this year to reclaim its place as Eugene’s favorite purveyor of all things coffee. When asked what makes Goat coffee so top-notch, the café’s operation manager Don Joe puts it succinctly: “Your roast is only as good as your green.” What this means is that the folks at Wandering Goat carefully oversee the whole process, from the growing of the bean to its in-house roasting to talented baristas turning it into a tasty cup of joe or creamy shot of espresso. Wholesale manager Arthur Lawniczak says the Goat specializes in organic, shade-grown coffee, purchasing its beans largely from exclusive micro-lots (small growers) and supporting fair-trade farming, including all-women co-ops in Sumatra and Peru. Head roaster Samm Blaine specializes in medium roasts, which Lawniczak says gives the final product a more complex, full-bodied flavor than either light or dark roasts. And although a cup of Goat is best enjoyed at its eclectic, comfy café in the Whit, you can also find its coffee all over town — sold by the pound in local markets, served at restaurants like Marché Provisions, and infused in Red Wagon Creamery ice cream and espresso stout from Oakshire.

Photo by Trask Bedortha

Best food cart

1. Da Nang Vietnamese Eatery 868-7823.

2. Sammitch

3. Kun Fusion

Ranking in third place last year (which happened to be only its first year in business), Da Nang Vietnamese Eatery has ascended the ranks and scored the number one spot for Best Food Cart. The cart hangs out around Oregon Wine Lab, Ninkasi and Oakshire in the Whit, dishing up Vietnamese delights such as bánh mì sandwiches and vermicelli noodle bowls. Key to the food cart’s popularity, according to co-owner Tony Ngo, are fresh, vibrant ingredients. “We use a lot of greens, and it’s a relatively healthier option than a lot of other stuff you can get,” he says. He and co-owner James Ngo (no relation) opened their cart in 2014, and they’ve been raking in the business ever since. While opening a restaurant is an eventual goal, Tony Ngo says he’s grateful for all the support and patronage the food cart is getting. “We can’t give you enough thanks,” he says to voters.

Best Italian

1. Beppe and Gianni’s 1646 E. 19th Ave. 683-6661.

2. Mazzi’s 3377 E. Amazon Dr. 687-2252.

3. Noli Italian Café 769 Monroe St. 844-1663.

Photo by Todd Cooper

Best Indian

1. Evergreen 1525 Franklin Blvd. 343-7944. 

2. Taste of India 2495 Hilyard St. 485-9698. 

3. Poppi’s Anatolia 992 Willamette St. 343-9661.

Photo by Todd Cooper

Best Mexican/Latin American

1. Tacovore 530 Blair Blvd. 735-3518.

2. Chapala Mexican Restaurant 136 Oakway Center, 434-6113; 68 W. 29th Ave., 683-5458.

3. Membrillo Latin Kitchen 1530 Willamette St. (458) 205-8470.

I know why the Tacovore calavera (skull) near 6th and Blair has a smug grin on its face: It’s Tuesday evening and there’s a line out the door. The place is packed elbow-to-elbow on a school night. The mind-scrambling racket of dozens of conversations happening all at once attests to Tacovore’s popularity. Ye gods, Eugene loves its Tacovore. Last year, the young taqueria/cocktail bar took home Best of Eugene’s silver medal for local Mexican eateries, but it cinched gold this time around. And there’s stiff competition in Tacovore’s field; Eugene has more Mexican kitchens than you can count. Though, Tacovore’s menu is only Mexican-ish, the food tastes good. Taco prices are steep, but the portions are generous and the animals on the menu are free-range and grass-fed. Tacovore’s cocktails [in mason jars for casual Pacific Northwest effect] are pretty stiff, too. But food is only part of Tacovore’s appeal. Those drawn here seem equally stoked about being whisked away from the complicated Whiteaker neighborhood to a cleaner, more sheltered place … like, say, the North Williams neighborhood in Portland. The minds behind Tacovore seem to have borrowed heavily from the playbook of the hugely popular and controversial Portland taco shop ¿Por Que No? Purists may scoff at the idea of a $3.75 taco, but it’s hard to argue with the numbers. Tacovore is a smash hit.

Best Thai

1. Ta Ra Rin 1200 Oak St. 343-1230.

2. Sabai 27 Oakway Center. 654-5424.

3. Tasty Thai   1308 Hilyard St. 343-0165.

Best Korean

1. Noodle Bowl 860 Pearl St. 686-1114.

2. Chingu 1466 W. 7th Ave. 687-6424.

3. Café Seoul 1930 Franklin Blvd. 687-2122.

Photo by Todd Cooper

Best Chinese

1. Kung Fu Bistro 2560 Willamette St. 968-9258.

2. Lok Yaun Restaurant 2360 W. 11th Ave. 345-7448.

3. Twin Dragon Restaurant 919 River Rd. 688-5481.

Tucked in with Metropol Bakery and Off the Waffle on South Willamette Street, Kung Fu Bistro is a wonderful shock to the senses. If you’re looking for a Chinese restaurant chain with a panda on it, you’ve come to the wrong place. Kung Fu serves up authentic Sichuan Chinese cuisine, bursting with flavors new and interesting to the Western palate — spicy, savory and fantastically unique among Eugene restaurants. Cubed tofu with chunks of bell pepper and whole peanuts pair well with chicken prepared in a fish sauce, complete with a glass of jasmine tea and a generous scoop of white rice. Voters agree that this is Chinese food on a whole new level.

Best sushi

1. Mame 541 Blair Blvd. 654-4378. 

2. Sushi PURE 296 E. 5th Ave. 654-0608.

3. Sushi Domo 1020 Green Acres Rd., 343-0935; 2835 Oak St., 484-7008.

Best pizza

1. Mezza Luna 933 Pearl St., 684-8900; 2776 Shadow View Dr., 743-2999.

2. Sizzle Pie 910 Willamette St. 683-7437.

3. Pegasus 2864 Willamette St., 344-9931; 790 E. 14th Ave., 344-4471; 4 Oakway Center, 344-0844.

Photo by Todd Cooper

Best vegetarian or vegan food

1. Cornbread Café 1290 W. 7th Ave. 505-9175.

2. Laughing Planet 760 Blair Blvd., 868-0668; 2864 Willamette St., 505-5399.

3. Morning Glory Café 450 Willamette St. 687-0709.

Photo by Todd Cooper

Best comfort food

1. Papa’s Soul Food Kitchen 400 Blair Blvd. 342-7500.

2. Cornbread Café 1290 W. 7th Ave. 505-9175.

3. Cornucopia 295 W. 17th Ave., 485-2300; 207 E. 5th Ave., 485-2300.

You can’t swing a dead cat on Blair Boulevard north of 6th Avenue without hitting a bar, restaurant or some combination thereof. No matter what you want, Blair’s got you covered food-wise, especially now that the city’s long-time favorite purveyor of barbecue and comfort cuisine moved into a small house on the corner of Blair and 4th. The grub at Papa’s Soul Food Kitchen sticks to your ribs and wraps your mind snuggly in a reassuring embrace. Close your eyes and hear the pulled pork gently murmur, “Chin up, slugger. Everything’s gonna be OK.” Papa’s Three-Buck Mac & Cheese has got your back, too. “It can’t rain all the time,” it chirps, lightly. The need for such friendly consolation starts to feel more and more crucial as the winter battle against seasonal affective disorder wears on and no dosage of vitamin D supplements or time with your friends or light from special lamps can save you. That might be why Papa’s Soul Food Kitchen has a lock on Best of Eugene’s barbecue and comfort food categories. As an aside, whoever designed their menu should get a Best of Eugene award of his/her very own: The thing is beautiful.

Best cheap eats

1. Burrito Boy 2511 W. 11th Ave., 338-4219; 510 E. Broadway, 344-8070; 943 River Rd., 689-7970; 30 W. 10th Ave., 344-5856; 1071 Valley River Dr., 343-8089.

2. Café Yumm! 730 E. Broadway, 344-9866; 1801 Willamette St., 686-9866; 130 Oakway Center; 465-9866.

3. Laughing Planet 760 Blair Blvd., 868-0668; 2864 Willamette St., 505-5399.

Best place to eat with kids

1. Laughing Planet 760 Blair Blvd., 868-0668; 2864 Willamette St., 505-5399.

2. At home

3. Papa’s Pizza 1700 W. 11th Ave., 485-5555; 1577 Coburg Rd., 686-2240.

Photo by Trask Bedortha

Best new restaurant

1. Membrillo Latin Kitchen 1530 Willamette St. (458) 205-8470.

2. Board 394 Blair Blvd. 343-3023. 

3. beergarden. 777 W. 6th Ave. 505-9432.

Sometimes I miss South Florida where I grew up. Let’s face it, deer and feral turkeys in Eugene don’t compare to the gators you see in Florida backyards. And for all that Northwest has good coffee, nothing compares to a good café Cubano. I had my first one in years the other day at Membrillo. Sweet, hot and strong, you almost swoon into your tiny little cup. Membrillo’s unique dishes, from patatas bravas (fried potatoes, chanterelles, caramelized onion, sunny duck egg, romesco sauce, goat manchego cheese) to delicious custardy flan, brings a taste of Cuba and Latin America with a South Florida feel to Willamette Street and is a welcome addition to Eugene’s growing food scene.

Best restaurant  (see cocktails)

1. Izakaya Meiji 345 Van Buren St. 505-8804.

2. (tie) Belly and Grit 30 E. Broadway, 683-5896,; 1080 W. 3rd Ave., 343-0501,

3. Party Downtown 64 W. 8th Ave. 345-8228.


Photo by Trask Bedortha

Best local food store

1. The Kiva 125 W. 11th Ave. 342-8666.

2. Market of Choice 1060 Green Acres Rd., 344-1901; 1960 Franklin Blvd., 687-1188; 67 W. 29th Ave., 338-8455; 2580 Willakenzie Rd., 345-3349.

3. Sundance Natural Foods 748 E. 24th Ave. 343-9142.

Photo by Trask Bedortha

Best marijuana dispensary

1. Oregon Microgrowers Guild 1395 Cross St. 246-8972.

2. Twenty after Four 420 Blair Blvd. 393-6524.

3. Next Level Wellness 2837 Willamette St., Ste A. 515-6514.

Photo by Athena Delene

Best indie bookstore

1. Smith Family Bookstore 525 Willamette St., 343-4717; 768 E. 13th Ave.,

2. Tsunami Books 2585 Willamette St. 345-8986.

3. J. Michaels Books 160 E. Broadway. 342-2002.

Best local clothing store

1. Kitsch-22 1022 Willamette St. 343-2411.

2. Buffalo Exchange 131 E. 5th Ave. 687-2805. 

3. Folkways 1801 Willamette St. 431-3411. 

This category seems to get more competitive every year as new boutiques keep popping up around town. But Kitsch-22 has a cult following, and that’s as it should be. Walking into Kitsch-22, in the old McDonald Theatre building on Willamette, is like entering a funhouse — it’s weird, wacky, cool and packed to gills with original designs by local designers (who run the shop), vintage and secondhand clothing, costumes and other curiosities. Need artsy spandex leggings? They got ’em. How about a tail to complete your furry lifestyle? (We don’t judge, and neither does Kitsch-22.) Check! Ugly sweaters for those holiday parties on the horizon? The ugliest! Or perhaps you’re just looking for a really great worn-in pair of jeans. Yep, they’ve got a wall of those. Not to mention they consistently have the most entertaining storefront displays. Viva la Kitsch!

Best secondhand shop

1. St. Vincent de Paul 555 High St., 344-2115; 100 E. 11th Ave., 868-0200.

2. Buffalo Exchange 131 E. 5th Ave. 687-2805.

3. Goodwill 435 E. Broadway, 344-1029; 855 Seneca Rd., 984-8812.

St. Vincent de Paul — Eugene loves you. And particularly, it loves your secondhand stores, those well-organized bastions of gently used items rejuvenated for a good cause. The well-stocked bookshelves kept by St. Vinnie’s are legendary, but stroll the aisles of any of their stores and find CDs, furniture, clothing, kitchenware and more. It’s a smooth operation, and best of all, the money goes towards helping people.

Photo by Todd Cooper

Best pet supplies store

1. Mini Pet Mart 2636 Willamette St., 345-3399; 1875 W. 11th Ave., 687-6410; 974 W. 6th Ave., 344-9603.

2. Healthy Pet 2777 Friendly St. 343-3411.

3. Wags Dog Emporium 485 Coburg Rd., 338-8801.

It’s hard to beat the ease of access at Mini Pet Mart. There are six stores in the Eugene-Springfield area alone, and the success of this Oregon chain probably stems from its ubiquity and its huge assortment of brands to choose from. Whether you’re shopping for your dog, cat or leopard gecko, you’re bound to find something useful in the aisles of Mini Pet Mart. Plus, they allow dogs, which is a perk for any dog lover.

Photo by Todd Cooper

Best veterinarian

1. Animal Health Associates 2835 Willamette St. 345-1544.

2. Edgewood Animal Clinic 4010 Donald St. 341-6558.

3. CatCare, Ltd. 1400 Willamette St. 302-5824.

Animal Health Associates opened up in south Eugene in 1947 and has been serving the area’s people and pets ever since. We’re guessing AHA wasn’t offering acupuncture back in the ’40s, but these days, the needles your pet gets poked with aren’t just for vaccinations — from dental care to behavioral counseling, Best of Eugene voters love AHA’s panoply of services. South Eugeneans must love their veterinarians because Edgewood Animal Clinic on Donald Street was voted into second place, and we love that Edgewood has a fund, Amanda’s Angels, to help those in need pay for veterinary care expenses. Third place finisher Cat Care Limited is the go-to place for the feline kind. As its name suggests, it’s a kitty-only office catering to Eugene’s mini kings of the jungle.

Best place to get fit

1. YMCA 2055 Patterson St. 686-9622.

2. (tie) Oakway Fitness and the Downtown Athletic Club 170 Oakway Rd., 343-3314,; 999 Willamette St., 484-4011,

3. Bike paths

Photo by Todd Cooper

Best yoga

1. Eugene Yoga 3575 Donald St. (458) 205-8378.

2. Hard Core Yoga 2734 Shadow View Dr. 729-5031.

3. Mudra Yoga Eugene 199 E. 5th Ave. #33.

Most of the following words and phrases are yoga poses, but three of them are skateboarding tricks. See if you can guess which three terms you won’t hear from the yogis at Eugene Yoga, which is apparently your favorite yoga studio: half-cobra, cow face, tortoise, lion, crocodile, downward dog, Bikram triangle, lord of the dance, pigeon, dove, crow, fish, simple feathered peacock, corpse, chair, side plank, switch stance railslide, warrior, locust, easy boat, stalefish grab, complex lotus, half moon, left toe-stand, creep, revolved side-angle, monkey king, spinal bend, crane, chair (did I say chair already?), staff, wrist-grab, reverse caveman and horse face. Now that was fun, wasn’t it?

Photo by Athena Delene

Best bike store

1. Paul’s Bicycle Way of Life 556 Charnelton St., 344-4105; 2480 Alder St., 342-6155.

2. Arriving by Bike 2705 Willamette St. 484-5410.

3. Hutch’s 960 Charnelton St. 345-7521.

Best salon

1. Gervais 248 E. 5th Ave. #18. 334-6533.

2. Lussuria Salon 160 Oakway Rd. #100. 505-9699.

3. Moss Hair Studio 233 W. 7th Ave. 636-0055.

Best alternative health care provider

1. Acupuncture for the People 2833 Willamette St. 521-6285.

2. A Healing Space 171 Lawrence St. 343-1887.

3. Well Balanced Center for Integrated Health 1413 Charnelton St. 762-1755.

Sliding-scale health care? Yes! You voted Acupuncture for the People as the best alt-health care provider with its $15 to $35 pay scale for treatments. “Our primary goal is to make Chinese medicine accessible by making it affordable,” they say. “Affordable health care in a comfy chair.” It sounds good to us, and it sounds good to our readers, who gave Acupuncture for the People and their little needles of good health a glowing thumbs up.

Best glass/smoke shop

1. Midtown Direct 133 E. 13th Ave. 345-3337.

2. Hunky Dory 271 W. 7th Ave. 345-1853.

3. Cornerstone Glass 1068 W. 2nd Ave., 341-1788; 446 E. 13th Ave., 844-1585.

Photo by Todd Cooper

Best new business

1. The Wayward Lamb 150 W. Broadway. 654-5106.

2. Run Hub Northwest 515 High St. 344-1239.

3. beergarden. 777 W. 6th Ave. 505-9432.

Wow. What a difference a year makes. It was last December that the two driving forces behind The Wayward Lamb — Colin Graham and John O’Malley — met for the first time. Since then, they have reenergized the local queer community and created Eugene’s only queer-designated bar in town, in spite of a loud minority yelling about how LGBTQIA spaces are no longer relevant. Well, try telling that to all the people we see filling the seats every night of the week and hitting the dance floor at the cozy spot downtown. (And before some men’s rights group starts trolling this blurb, let us be clear: People of all sexual and gender identities and preferences are welcome at The Wayward Lamb, including heterosexuals. What’s not welcomed is douchebaggery. Just don’t be a douchebag. But that’s good life advice, anyway.)

The Wayward Lamb, which has only been open since August, is kind of like a hip, classy mullet: business in the front, party in the back. You can munch on Sammitch grub and sip on local libations in the mellow front bar, or grab some inspired cocktails and dance the night away in the backspace, dubbed The Den, outfitted with a legit DJ booth.

The Wayward Lamb team has also done loads of community outreach and killer programming such as Glamazon — an ongoing Friday night drag cabaret (featuring Best Drag Queen winner Karess Ann Slaughter), art shows, Wednesday viewings of American Horror Story and performances by The Kings of Eugene — a new local drag king troupe — on “Thersdays,” kicking off Nov. 5. Cheers to safe and festive places.


Best alternative sports team

1. Emerald City Roller Girls

2. Eugene Reign Women’s Rugby

3. Lane United FC

The Emerald City Roller Girls almost always score high marks as Eugene’s favorite alternative sports team. The Andromedolls, Church of Sk8in and Flat Track Furies make Eugene proud with their mad skating skills. Catch the latest bout 6 pm Saturday, Nov. 7, at the Lane County Events Center, where the roller girls face off against NW Pickup Artists.

Best local news personality

1. Matt Templeman 

2. Al Peterson

3. Chenue Her

Photo by Todd Cooper

Best annual event

1. Oregon Country Fair

2. Whiteaker Block Party

3. Bark in the Park

A word to the voters: Eugene Celebration is no longer an annual event. It sucks, but there it is. Time to move on.

Best place to take your kids

1. Skinner Butte Park

2. Old School Eugene 207 E. 5th Ave. Ste. 120. 554-8669.

3. Get Air 4211 W. 11th Ave. 827-1016.

Hours spent counting Best of Eugene ballots lend the impression that most Eugeneans despise children and want them dead, if not trucked to another state. Cooler heads prevailed though, and most of you opted not to have Eugene’s youngsters rounded up and “creamated”(sic)/”sent to hell”/dropped off at the Silver Dollar strip club or penned in a vast clearing where they won’t be a nuisance to you at brunch. Oh dear, it just hit me; perhaps that’s exactly what our readers meant when they voted Skinner Butte Park the best place to take the kids. All things considered, I suppose there are worse places to erect a toddler penitentiary. Plenty of peace, quiet and fresh air. The RiverPlay Discovery Village playground will help them stay fit until they’re ready to move to a pre-release facility. The tots would be free to clang tin cups against the bars of their prison all day long without irking diners out. They’d have the Willamette River at which to stare longingly for hours on end. The view from the peak is nice, too. The trails and paths could use a little maintenance, but that’s what prison labor’s for. Can we give them part of nearby Skinner City Farm? Otherwise we’ll have to feed them. Either way, Skinner Butte Park is the best place to sequester Eugene’s youth.

Best thing about Eugene

1. The people

2. The outdoors

3. The lifestyle

Anthropologically speaking, the names of tribes or collections of people — for instance, the Fulani of Africa — often translate loosely into “Greatest People on Earth.” In other words, any given grouping of human beings tends to think ridiculously well of itself, and in this sense it’s no wonder that EW readers said the best thing about Eugene was “the people.” Translation: We’re all wacky, eccentric, creative, free-spirited descendants of the Age of Aquarius. Bullshit. The idea that the party-line liberal pageantry of some bygone hippie circus is what defines us is outdated and delusional. What makes the people of Eugene truly unique is a complicated state of being, deriving from the rugged individualism of our rural past as it collides with the intrusive ideals of modern enlightenment. Old-timers in Oregon have a nickname for this condition: Cuddy (as in “Cuddy Rick”). A cuddy is a kind of wonderful libertarian grotesque, a Twin Peaks-ish character hovering proudly between urbane sophistication and rural shit-kicking — hippie rednecks, potheads who hunt elk, Deadheads with gun racks. These are the real people of Eugene, full of glorious, colorful contradictions.

Best thing about EW

1. It’s free

2. Savage Love

3. Events calendar

Worst thing about EW

1. Too many pot and adult ads

2. Liberal bias

3. Too thin on content

OK, folks. We’re going to give you a little crash course in Newspaper Business 101. First of all, we’re a free paper. In fact, voters usually say that’s their favorite thing about EW. We have no paywall to access content online, and you can pick up EW at any of the numerous red boxes around town without paying a cent. News flash: Journalists can’t live on idealism and social justice alone. We’ve tried, and it’s not exactly viable. So those pot ads that readers love to hate? Those mean that we get to pay our rent, have a meal now and then and have the ink to write stories about the community. This is a community-supported newspaper, and our advertising department would love to see more local businesses take out ads to balance it all out. No ads equals no money, and without funding, EW would produce even less content. Does this knowledge make the ads any less annoying? Probably not. But what kind of newspaper would we be if we didn’t rile things up?

Best category we should have had

Best voter suggestions:

Best neighborhood

Best barbershop

Best booth at Saturday Market

Best cider

Best dog park

Best photographer

Best seafood

Best massage therapist

Staff Picks

Best Place to Watch Wildlife

Delta Ponds is a constant delight. OK, so Fern Ridge might charm with its glitzy snowy owl, and Hendricks Park has a whole mountain lion to its credit, but where besides Delta Ponds can you see such a reliable bevy of biodiversity? Sure, you’ve got your run-of-the-mill ducks, nutrias and Canada geese. That’s like the bare minimum of wildlife you’ll see on a given day. With multiple visits, you get views of great blue herons, great egrets, muskrats, peregrine falcons, bald eagles, kingfishers, Western pond turtles and cute little green herons that dart around in the water. And the best part is, all you have to do is stand there as this flock of creatures surrounds you, while the hustle and bustle of Valley River Center exists only a few hundred feet away. It’s a marvel of habitat restoration, and we’re grateful for it.

Best Tea Bar

The Rabbit Hole Tea Bar is aptly named — it’s a tiny nook within walking distance of the UO campus, the kind of place you’d duck inside to escape the cold winter chill. Inside, you’ll find co-owners Shuang Han and Crystal Zhao pouring steaming cups of brewed gloriousness. It’s not that we don’t enjoy a good cup of coffee, which aren’t hard to find in Eugene, but there’s something about tea that nurtures the soul. And heartwarming, mind-soothing tea is what you’ll find at the Rabbit Hole. Traditional Chinese teas complement Western offerings, and if you’ve never tried bubble tea, go to the Rabbit Hole first — sweet and milky with the soft chewiness of tapioca balls, bubble tea will change your entire concept of what the ancient brewed drink can be. In a good way.

Best Crowdsourced Cider

WildCraft Cider Works always seems to have something new in the works. Besides gallons of delicious, distinctive cider, that is. This fall, WildCraft encouraged locals to bring in their fallen, unwanted pears and apples and in exchange, the cidery turned the fallen fruits into hard cider. Really just a win-win situation for all involved.

Best music at 10 am 

In these days of podcasts and iPods, sometimes it’s just nice to hit “seek” on the radio and see what music pops up. For some reason that seek moment happens for us to be at 10 am, and without fail, the place we stop is KRVM 91.9. Maybe we’re showing a gray hair with a love for “adult album alternative” or maybe we like supporting a station that’s training high school students to be future DJs, but we love our community radio.

Best Bloodmobile Makeover

Sure, this is Eugene, and old schoolbuses made into hippie RVs are a dime a dozen, but Occupy Medical wins the day with its bloodmobile makeover. Reuse, recycle and save lives. Rain or shine, the folks of Occupy Medical and their shiny red-and-white bus are downtown every Sunday at 8th and Oak giving free medical care to anyone and everyone who needs it. Need a haircut to look good for that job interview? How about basic nutrition or a pair of socks? As the weather turns colder, the all-volunteer crew of OM is there to help.

Best Live Music Booking 

Word on the street is that music bookers here have fallen into a rut. We hear you, Eugene. How many times can Grateful Dead cover bands headline our biggest venues? Does Con Bro Chill really need to stop in Eugene more than once a year? Looking at lineups from the past five years, it appears we’ve gotten into some Groundhog Day-esque jam-band-meets-EDM vicious cycle.

It’s also hard to shake the feeling that bookers don’t think women play music, that the ladies are happy to be sequestered to burlesque to make it on local stages. Must you be white, have a dick and a beard and a grubby T-shirt — and be surrounded by five other white dudes with dicks and beards and grubby T-shirts — to get some stage time in this town?

Well, fuck that. We see the musicians and bands heading up and down the I-5 between Portland and San Fran, and we know what we’re missing out on. We will kick and scream about raising the standard until something changes, which is why we want to give a shout-out to all the venues that are taking risks and bringing interesting new music to Eugene: Axe & Fiddle, Sam Bond’s, Old Nick’s, Wandering Goat, Black Forest, Luckey’s, Hi-Fi Music Hall, WOW Hall. Thank you for always looking out for fresh, original talent. Keep up the good work.

Best of the Best Votes

Best thing about EW:

“Catches my hair trimmings”

“Complete and utter lack of perspective”

“Decent toilet reading”

“Folds into a hat to block cosmic rays”

“I can count on you. I used to be a publisher and I know how hard it is to get ads these days. Keep up the good work.”

“It exists!”

“It is the pulse of Eugene”

“Wraps glass nicely”

“People freaking out about last week’s cover photo”

“Reporting on the weirdos”

Worst thing about EW:

“Unmitigated snobbery”

“Can be so far left leaning it comes back around and meets the right wing”

“Font is too small”

“Fucking ink rubs off”

“How they pile up in my house”

“I’m just saying, it would be cool if the Eugene Weekly used recycled materials to print shit on”

“It is not a good pasta ingredient”

“It’s a socialist newspaper tending toward communist”

“Not enough writers”

“Not read by conservatives who need to read it”

“Still printed on paper”

“The astrology is tangential”

Best thing about Eugene:

“Diversity of weirdness”

“Eugene keeps it real, authentic weirdness, everyone is a grumpy asshole, but only because they actually care”

“Everyone’s a hellraiser”

“Getting to replace your bike annually”

“Friendly and small but has it all”

“It isn’t Portland”

“Cheap weed and sexy women are a tie”

“Old hippies”

“That eerie bubble of neo-liberal calm and the illusion that the rest of the world is like this so we never have to actually do any work to change it”

“Well … there’s enough gravity here to keep me from flying off into the cold vacuum of space, so there’s that”