Best of 417 Awards 2007

DISCLAIMER: The information in this article was fact checked and accurate at press time, but 417 Magazine cannot guarantee its accuracy indefinitely.

(page 5 of 11)

 

Dining (Cont.)

Best Pizza

South Avenue Pizza
Imo’s (chain)

Runners-up:
Arris’ Pizza
Garbo’s Pizza

South Avenue Pizza takes more of your votes than last year’s winner, Arris’ Pizza… maybe people slightly prefer a whole-wheat crust (South Avenue) over a sourdough crust (Arris’).

Best Restaurant Atmosphere

Flame Steakhouse
Runners-up:
Gallery Bistro
Touch

There’s a reason why two of the Jalili family’s restaurants show up in this category’s results—and her name is Sara Jalili. She’s the one who refined the look of Flame Steakhouse (formerly Epicurean) and Touch restaurant (formerly Chardonnay). Gallery Bistro—which did quite a lot of campaigning this year—is always enlivened by works of art from art dealer Jan Hyde’s Walnut Street Gallery, upstairs.


Best Salads

Gallery Bistro
Runners-up:
Flame
Garbo’s (tied with St. Michael’s)
St. Michael’s (tied with Garbo’s)

Our picks: The Bistro’s seasonal Caprese salad with tomato, basil and mozzarella, Flame’s classical-steakhouse Garbage Salad; the house salad at St. Michael’s with cajun jerk chicken, served in a giant metal bowl; Garbo’s house salad with Canadian bacon, breakfast bacon, mushrooms, onion and black olives, served with a house-made Italian dressing.


Best Sandwiches

Sub Shop
Jimmy John’s (chain)

Runners-up:
Nearly Famous
Cassil’s Coffee Café
McAlister’s Deli
Lenny’s Sub Shop

Many restaurants got a lot of votes here because sandwiches are so popular. We pick everything on the menu at Sub Shop, a true Springfield original if ever there were. The veggie is particularly popular. After a fire kept Nearly Famous out of the game for many months, we’re glad to see it’s still beloved by readers. Cassil’s probably has the most exotic sandwich ingredients. The chains on this list are all good; French-bread lovers should head to Jimmy John’s, toasted-sandwiches are best at McAlister’s, while the Jersey-based Lenny’s has the best Philly cheese steaks.

Best Seafood

Fish
Red Lobster (chain)

Runners-up:
Bijan’s Sea & Grille
Ocean Zen

When James Clary sold his original Clary’s American Grill in favor of constantly focusing on his mid-market Fish, it was clear that quality improved almost immediately. Our picks: Fish tacos or the super-tasty clam chowder, as well as any of the dinner entrées. (Believe it or not, Fish serves a pretty darn good steak.) The number of votes for Bijan’s and Ocean Zen, when added as a sum, are more than those received by Red Lobster, which shows that locals not only love their independent restaurants, but also mass-market everyday dining.


Best Service

Gallery Bistro
Runners-up:
Flame Steakhouse
Bijan’s Sea & Grille
Agrario

Gallery Bistro took to the top slot, unseating 2006 winner Bijan’s, while Clary’s has disappeared from the list entirely. Agrario has always done well on service, taking home the Best Server award in the past. The changes in ranking here simply show how sensitive the dining public is to the slightest change in service quality: It’s more important than the food.


Best Smoothies

Club Nutrition & Fitness
Smoothie King (chain)

Runners-up:
MudHouse
Tropical Smoothie Café

The Club Nut smoothie-breakfast-after-workout routine is the healthy start to the day for the club’s plugged-in clients.

Best Soup

Gallery Bistro
Panera Bread (chain)

Runners-up:
Nearly Famous
Flame Steakhouse

At Gallery Bistro, the house-made cream of mushroom soup with sage ($3.75) is almost considered the restaurant’s signature dish. Panera has a chicken with wild rice soup and a broccoli-cheese soup that are both great this time of year ($3.72).

Best Sports Bar

Skybox
Indigo Joe’s (chain)

Runners-up:
Big Whiskey’s
Ebbett’s Field

Is the number of flatscreen TVs at a bar directly proportional to the number of Best of 417 reader votes each sports bar gets? Seems likely.

Best Steaks

Flame Steakhouse
Texas Roadhouse (chain)

Runners-up:
Doe’s Eat Place
Argentina Steakhouse

Flame is what a trendy steakhouse should be; go whole hog with the 12-ounce filet mignon. Doe’s Eat Place seriously sells 3-pound sirloins, while Argentina Steakhouse offers a wonderfully South American take on steak; we’re partial to bife de chorizo, a 12-ounce prime KC strip seasoned with Argentine salt. Chain winner Texas Roadhouse provides value-priced steak at an “everyday” price level.

Best Supermarket Deli

Harter House
Runners-up:
Price Cutter
Dillion’s

Harter House is best known for its meats, but its deli—with a host of partially prepared foods you can finish cooking at home—is a godsend to the I-don’t-have-time-to-cook crowd. Stick HH’s cordon bleu in the oven for 35 minutes, and it’s ready to go. Other than those two qualities, the best Price Cutter and Dillon’s stores are very similar, with good gourmet selections.

Best Sushi

Haruno
Runners-up:
Ocean Zen
Nakato

No surprises here. Tip: Everyone else likes sushi at these restaurants, so do make a reservation. Tip No 2: Sushi-newbies, don’t be afraid to try new things. When you make your reservation, ask to be seated at the sushi bar. Ask the sushi chef what’s good. They love the attention.

Best Takeout/Delivery

Ocean Zen
Steak-Out (chain)

Runners-up:
Yen Ching
Mr. Yen’s

Note to newbies: Ocean Zen has a charmingly vintage drive-through, and Mr. Yen’s and Yen Ching also offer wonderful take-out, but only call for delivery from Steak-Out.


Best Tea Room

Spring Creek Tea Room
Runners-up:
Beth’s Bake Shoppe
Galloway Village Tea Room

Spring Creek Tea Room is renowned for its veggie sandwich, with a jalapeno-artichoke sauce ($3.25 for a half sandwich with chips; $5.50 for a whole sandwich and soup or salad). Also good is the Butterfinger cake ($2.50). Beth’s Bake Shoppe has the hot Tuscan chicken sandwich ($8.99 with chips and a pickle); Galloway Village Tea Room serves the famous birds-nest quiche with fruit and a muffin ($7.95).

Best Thai

Thai House
Runners-up:
Tong’s Thai Restaurant
Thai Peppers

Congratulations to Thai House, which has won reader votes consistently over all five years of the readers’ poll.

Best Wine List

Flame Steakhouse
Runners-up:
Gallery Bistro
Pairings

Flame Steakhouse has Wine Spectator recognition (as had Pairings, the wine-driven restaurant which closed). Flame even has a Wine Cellar Table.


Best View

The Tower Club
Runners-up:
Pairings
Candlestick Inn Restaurant

The Tower Club overlooks a panorama of Springfield; Pairings, before closing, had a treetop view near the Finley River; Candlestick Inn Restaurant overlooks Branson Landing.
 

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