Worst and Best – Phase 3: Argue About the Results

Enjoy, Richmond Internets. You nominated, you voted, you commented, I stayed up late compiling data. We literally could not have done it without you. Or me.

Enjoy, Richmond Internets. You nominated, you voted, you commented, I stayed up late compiling data. We literally could not have done it without you. Or me.

For a recap of the process, check out:
Phase 1 – The Nomz
Phase 2 – The Poll

Food

New Restaurant:
Best – Kitchen 64 (second place: Lulu’s) There were so many nominated for this category that I feel duty bound to report that Richmond has a lot of good new restaurants.
Worst – De Lux (second place: Sushi Ninja). There were so many nominated for this category that I feel duty bound to report that Richmond has a lot of terrible new restaurants.

Overall restaurant:
Best – Ipanema Cafe and Edo’s Squid (tie) (second place: Can Can and Kuba Kuba) There were tons of nominations though, so that bodes well for us all. So many that someone asked us why we didn’t put them in alphabetical order. The answer, of course, is that we put these together in a burst of painstaking laziness. The proprietor of Ipanema wins the award for actually knowing about this list before it came out and asking excitedly if they’d won anything.
Worst – BlackFinn (second place: Can Can) Dammit, we let a chain through, whoops. So we’ll award Can Can an honorary first – or is it last? As one responder put it, “Froofy. Bad food. And suburbanites that try to run over scooter kids in their Mercedes. That about sums it up.”

Coffee:
Best – Crossoads (second place: Captain Buzzy’s Beanery) A responder commented, “Richmond really does spoil its coffee drinkers with a huge selection of great coffee shops. It’s hard to select a favorite, but Crossroads gets it for me because of their coffee, ice cream, breakfast, environment, location, etc. etc.”
Worst – Can Can (second place: Common Groundz) For some reason, things people say about Can Can are always the most hilarious: “Give me real coffee, Pierre!”

Super casual dinner:
Best – 821 Cafe (second place: Kuba Kuba and Ipanema) One commenter wrote, “So hard!” because, I imagine, it is hard not to exclaim in delight on your way home “I just ate a crap-ton of food yet I still have money to go buy a crap ton of stuff.”
Worst – The Eatery (second place: Baja Bean) Yet it still exists, so SOMEBODY must be eating there.

Fancy dinner:
Best – Edo’s Squid by a mile (second place: Millie’s) I’m headed there right now, so this has leveled up my excitement, which will in turn get me through the miserable hour-long wait that is inevitable. Load me up with wine, Edo’s! I will wait forever!
Worst – Tobacco Company by a bigger mile (second place: Bank) but the results were limited. As someone put it, “I still can’t afford to vote for the worst of the best.”

Lunch:
Best – This category was ridiculous, it turns out. Perly’s and Copolla’s tied for first, but the voting was so spread out over a million places that it hardly even counts. However, Perly’s generated a comment like this, so you make the call, “Sweet sweet Perly’s. Saw a clown there one time as I was coming out of the bathroom after a post-hangover purge. Good times n’ great eats.”
Worst – Nacho Mama’s (second place: Ukrop’s) Poor Ukrop’s! Here’s one comment: “Rather just avoid the crowd of rich stay-at-home-moms and their bratty kids (yeah, you know who are are!).” (Psst, it’s hilarious that you think they are reading this.)

Brunch:
Best – Millie’s (second place: 821 Cafe) Good thing somebody noticed that we’ve “got Millie’s on there twice.” Thanks for the heads up. Luckily I brought my calculator and was able to make a simple mathematical equation adding a million to a million. Here are the fantastic things about Millie’s: Ben-Gurion is the most delicious thing I have ever tasted, mimosas are almost put in front of you before you even order them, and I live within walking distance so I can come and meet you. Perfection!
Worst – 3rd Street (second place: Tobacco Company) Can I say a thing? Someone needs to point me towards a brunch place that, although I do love some hollandaise, offers some interesting healthy options. Can I get some fruit and granola? Is that too crazy? I mean, I can put hot sauce on it if that makes you feel better.

Shopping

Farmer’s Market:
Best – 17th Street (second place: Forest Hill)
Worst – 17th Street (second place: Byrd House) Le sigh.
Another category that is indicative of nothing. It turns out everyone is fickle and prizes different things about farmer’s markets. I think next year we will just keep it to “best overall restaurant” and “grossest Richmonder.” How’s that?

Mall:
Best – Short Pump (second place: Stony Point)
Worst – Willow Lawn (second place: Short Pump)
The mall category gets pretty interesting, actually. Because half the comments are like, “Malls are evil” and half of them are like, “Here is everything that is amazing about Stony Point.”

Beer store:
Best – River City Cellars (close second place: Wine and Beer Westpark) But I should mention that Wine and Beer Westpark got some of the gushiest comments. Sounds like the biggest criterion for this category and the one below is “Doesn’t make me feel like a huge dunce.”

Wine store:
Best – River City Cellars (second place: Wine and Beer Westpark)
See above.

Clothier:
Best – Need Supply Co. (second place: Diversity Thrift)
Worst – Glass & Powder (second place: Pink) It is hilarious to me that 50 people voted ol’ Glass & Powder as the worst clothier. Best comment (about Pink) “I like spending $600 on a bag. Except I’m a dude and I’m not an idiot. Who goes here?” One time I went in there and walked around in a stupor. One of the staff complimented my ($6) earrings, and all I could think to do was stop dead in my tracks, drop my bag on the ground, put my hands up to my ears, and sputter, “But they’re plastic!” I swear I almost ripped them out and gave them to her out of pure fear.

Bookstore:
Best – Chop Suey in a landslide victory (second place: Black Swan)

Salon:
Best – Nesbit (second place: Pine Street Barbershop)
Worst – Nesbit (second place: Legends)
These were scattered results as well, and the big list resulted in this comment: “Hands down the ‘best list of awkward business names.’”

Neighborhoods

Place to live when you are single:
Best – The Fan (second place: Shockoe Bottom)
Worst – Midlothian (second place: Short Pump)
You know, that’s true. I lived in Midlothian during my very single middle school years, and no shit ever went down that was worth sneaking out of my parents’ house, I’ll tell you that much right now!

Place to settle down:
Best – Northside (second place: Near West End)
Worst – Short Pump (second place: Shockoe Bottom)
The second place results were really scattered for best, but the worst kinda surprises me. A whole lot of people are very happily settled down in the Far West End. I mean, I assume they are since we never see them.

Place to take a walk:
Best – Maymont (second place: Hollywood Cemetery IF YOU ARE A GHOST OF A PRESIDENT!)
Worst – Short Pump Town Center (second place: Broad St.)
Regarding Maymont: “You can’t see a buffalo/bison at any of those other places. Psshhh.” While that is true, this was another huge list of scattered results, proving once again that we have many wonderful places to take a walk. Unless you’re walking ON Broad Street IN Short Pump. Double whammy!

Park:
Best – Maymont (triple tie for second: Byrd, Bryan, Lewis Ginter)
Worst – Monroe (second place: Chimborazo)
WTF! Chimbo as second for worst? I mean I guess it doesn’t have baby unicorns and magical gardens like Maymont, but I feel that it is a pretty neat place.

Island:
Best – Belle Isle (second place: Brown’s Island)
Worst – Vauxhall aka Hobo Island (close second: Mayo Island)
Aw, I have fond memories of the Mayo Island Music Festival, where I got a T-shirt autographed by They Might Be Giants and got to sit next to G. Love while I sold Squirrel Nut Zippers CDs. I write letters to the 90s every night begging them to come back.

Place to get into the James:
Best – Pony Pasture (second place: Belle Isle)
Worst – Pump House (second place: Great Shiplock Park)
Clear winner for best comment ever is the following regarding the Pony Pasture (edited by yours truly): “At least where the foam is….Also I’ve never been able to get over the time I saw two couples side by side <several words redacted> on a rock … it changed me.”

Entertainment

Local Band:
Best – Carbon Leaf (second place: Denali)
Worst – Carbon Leaf by a lot more votes (second place: Prabir and the Substitutes)
Again, in retrospect, this category is so pointless. Musical tastes vary wildly, the results were thinly spread, and everyone just put other bands that weren’t on the list in the comments. Although, I am filling up with pride a little that my spouse’s band placed second (yes, I do sell Maura’s digits for $20 a pop – email me and we’ll talk) (Maura: just kidding!!) (Dudes: Totally not kidding, email me!!).

Venue for, like, rock stuff:
Best – The National (second place: Toad’s Place)
Worst – Innsbrook (second place: Alley Katz)
No one cares enough about venues, it seems, to leave us good comments except that to tell us that we listed Toad’s Place twice. But remember last year when none of this stuff existed yet, and everyone just complained and complained?? Look what you have done for us, National and Toad’s Place! Just look!

Venue for proper grown up events:
Best – The National (second place: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)
Worst – Innsbrook (second place: Richmond Convention Center)
Poor Innsbrook. As someone said, “I go to the West End even less often than I go to grown up events.”

Festival:
Best – Greek (second place: Folk)
Worst - Y101’s Rock the Bottom (second place: Slaughterama)
Oh man, did you just hear the collective crunch of a thousand cans of Coors Light and PBR being smashed into the foreheads of angry Y101 fans/biking enthusiasts, who will now shelve their differences and combine forces to stage the scariest assault ever on the unlucky, peaceful lambs attending the Greek and Folk festivals? Quick, somebody get Matthew McDonald into a helicopter to preserve this battle on film forever and win us a Pulitzer!

Print publication:
Best – Style Weekly (second place: RVA Magazine)
Worst – Richmond Times-Dispatch (second place: Brick Weekly)
Oh, my. People. The comments for the “worst” category were really filled with venom. I was unaware that there was SO much animosity towards specific columnists/editors/seemingly random individuals that write things down and print them out. Good thing Style is still around to save the day in an almost unanimous landslide.

Museum:
Best – Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (second place: Science Museum of Virginia)
Worst – Museum of the Confederacy (second place: Edgar Allan Poe Museum)
What exactly does it mean when someone thinks your museum is bad? Inattentive docents? Crappy gift shop? F&@*ing long lines to the new “photo-retrospective”? “The more intimate feel is nice. That’s what she said,” said one commenter of the Edgar Allan Poe Museum. Somebody else said of the Black History Museum, “This place has potential but needs major funding and administrative staff.” But then another simply yelled “IMAX!!!!!!” about the Science Museum, so who knows.

Gallery:
Best – Quirk (close seconds: Eric Schindler and Gallery 5)
Worst – triple tie: Henry Street, Reynolds Gallery, and Quirk (second place: Gallery 5)
About Quirk: “I love this place. It’s worth bumping through on First Friday with the 100 other people that can’t resist going in even though it’s packed wall to wall people.” I too am intrigued by Quirk, and I really enjoy Eric Schindler, but I tend to forget the other ones and just remember the stuff that was showing there. But I guess that’s the point, eh?

Bowling alley:
Best – Sunset Lanes (second place: Plaza Bowl)
One comment about Plaza Bowl was aptly: “I LOVE YOU DUCKPINZ,” but another one was “Who bowls?” Me, my friend. People who know Plaza Bowl tend to wiggle with glee when you suggest a night there. Brave the Southside and discover the magic. Bring your appetite for Journey and mozzarella sticks!

Movie Theatre:
Best – The Byrd (second place: Westhampton)
Worst – Virginia Center Commons (close second: Short Pump)
Though I can’t even figure out why, VCC tends to be my movie theatre of choice. The crowds there are always energetic, and they tend to show a better variety of movies. But anyway, matter at hand. The Byrd and Westhampton are clearly local gems. Although we did get this comment: “If the Byrd gets this it invalidates this entire process. Sure, it’s cheap, but it also sucks.” So, does that mean you suspect that we accepted a HUGE BRIBE from Richmond’s HISTORICAL MOVIE PALACE so that we would stuff the ballot box? “Look, RVAnews, we need more business, see? And if you know what’s good for you, YOU’LL GIVE IT TO US. Jenny, fire up the organ. Sally, pull a spring from one of the seats. We’ll show these Richmonders who read the Internet what for, you follow?? YOU SHALL FEAR THE BYRD THEATRE FOUNDATION (dot com!).”

Etc.

Elected official:
Best – Tim Kaine (second place: Carol A.O. Wolf)
Worst – Doug Wilder (second place: Bill Pantele)
Well, as you can imagine, commenters were lousy with disparaging things to say about Doug Wilder…and affectionate things to say about Tim Kaine’s eyebrows! Turns out they are a local hit!

Highway:
Best – 288 (second place: Downtown Expressway)
Worst – 95 (second place: Powhite Parkway)
I came up with the idea for this category when my friend moved into her new place on Grayland and exclaimed excitedly, “And it even looks out over the DTE! MY FAVORITE HIGHWAY!!” No one was very enthusiastic with their “best” choices, but everyone chimed in for the worst: “Hold on, I forgot my life savings that I need to cross this bridge.”

Historical landmark:
Best – The Capitol (second place: Jefferson Hotel)
Worst – Arthur Ashe Monument (second place: Robert E. Lee monument)
Everyone agreed about Arthur Ashe, as usual with variations on this theme: “I admire Ashe and DiPasquale. But DiPasquale failed on this statue- looks so rigid and awkward like he’s beatin’ down those poor chiles.”

Mayoral candidate:
Best – Dirtwoman (second place: Paul Goldman)
Worst – Dirtwoman (second place: Bill Pantele)
Har!

Thing from 2008:
Best – The National (second place: breaking ground on the new movie theatre complex)
Worst – Gas prices (second place: Wilder v. City Council)

And, in closing, I am just so pleased that at the very least, our hurried, amateur list shot rays of sunshine all over the Internet when someone nominated “ABC stores now open on Sundays” for Best Thing from 2008, eliciting a ton of responses like this:”Is that for real???? Holy crap it is true, thanks RVAnews!”

You’re welcome, Richmond. Oh, how welcome you are.

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Susan Howson

Susan Howson writes all sorts of things — from marketing content to movie reviews to this very bio.

40 comments on Worst and Best – Phase 3: Argue About the Results

  1. best persons name who appears in this write up: Matthew McDonald

  2. Edo’s Squid, hellyeah! Wisdom of the Crowds…

  3. Guys I’m so happy about the Arthur Ashe statue! I’m glad we can all agree.

  4. Does Phase 4 involve us getting together to physically remove everything on the Worst List and take them to Charlottesville?

  5. Yes, you are in charge of that. Phase 5 is sorting through hate mail and Phase 6 is buying me a sandwich. You’re in charge of those too, turns out!

  6. Lesley on said:

    “Place to get into the James”

  7. Lesley on said:

    Tee hee

  8. Prabir and the Substitutes as the worst band in Richmond? That’s a joke. Anyone who would say that simply hates Rock ‘n Roll, and deserves nothing but a heinous beating, followed by some form of traumatic humiliation. Kindly forward me a list of those voters’ names, and I’ll have my handsome cousins pay them a visit.

  9. i love richmond, I’m moving back!

  10. Hahaha, 17th St Farmers Market is the best and the worst. Guess that means we’re all things to all people, eh? :)

    Mary
    6-year vendor

  11. Charlottesville is already on the worst list for worst thing that is very close to Richmond. I once saw not one but TWO white women over the age of 60 wearing saris in a grocery store there.

  12. I hate Charlottesville for it’s jock hippies, it’s smug affluence and it’s nature…

  13. I agree that the Arthur Ashe statue is not great but let’s not forget the banality of the reconcilliation statue. It’s hideous, poorly placed and, given how expensive government projects always are, I’m pretty sure it would have been cheaper to actually pay a black person and white person to stand there holding hands everyday for the next 30 years.

  14. Absolutely agree with the spot-on characterization about the Bryd and Westhampton theaters sucking, especially their terribly uncomfortable, itty-bitty tiny ass seats.

    Apparently Richmond remains replete with fawning throwbacks for its anti-bellum bygone days. Hey! Wake up and realize it’s the 21st Century.

    One more thing – NO resurant’s food is ever worth an hour’s plus wait, expecially the hole-in-the-wall that is Millie’s.

    BTW – IMO the raving-fan opinion of the loyalist who lives within walking distance of Millie’s is simply not credible.

  15. So, even though I have a bias here becuase Wine and Beer Westpark is “in the family”, I just have to say that this survey was such a great idea and I love how it was executed. RVANews is awesome. You rock. Thanks. -CP

  16. Richard on said:

    BLAZE,

    How can an opinion not be credible?

  17. WHAT HAPPENED TO RELISH!
    this is wiggety wack.

  18. Guy Smif on said:

    “How can an opinion not be credible?”

    Some neighborhoods in Richmond are so desperate for an identity that their inhabitants will loudly embrace any number of mediocre restaurants (like Kitchen 64) because it’s the only thing they’ve got to brag about.

  19. yeah! what he said!

  20. Carol A.O. Wolf on said:

    What a terrific compliment to come in second to Tim Kaine as “Best Elected Official!” Y’all made me blush.

    WOW! Many thanks to everyone!

  21. Pingback: the expression and the cure. « parasol party

  22. Pingback: North Richmond News » North Richmond scores in RVANews “Worst and Best” survey - Richmond, Virginia

  23. Monkey on said:

    Right. Same regurgitated crap that’s been on the best/worst lists for how many years? Don’t the people ever leave Richmond and see what they’re really missing? A lot more than “NEED” and “Edo’s”…trust in that.

    Speaking as a former resident, I was saddened to read this list. It shows that the city is stuck in the same captive “security bubble” that it will remain in unless people try to shake things up. More businesses need to come to the city that can help it grow and blossom into the metropolitan and cultural diversity it “strives” to be.

    However, it’s up to the residents to let new ideas and ventures enter into the capital city with open minds and open arms. Otherwise, next year’s list is going to look exactly the same.

  24. Monkey, you might like the King’s Retreat http://chpn.net/news/2008/09/09/kings-maidens-3700-east-broad-wtf/ .

  25. But guys, the fries at Kitchen 64 are really good.

  26. mattwhite on said:

    i think monkey probably would have liked the infuzion ice bar. guys! it was the only one in the country!!

  27. Mattwhite,

    Infusion closed.

  28. mattwhite on said:

    true

  29. Infusion: They forgot Rule #1 of restaurants: Location, location, location. Also, you should never invest millions into a business that’s profits will be counted in thousands.

  30. Monkey on said:

    You’re right. I would have loved that place Infusion, except for the fact that a place like that would immediately fail in Richmond: not because of the location, but because of the environment.

    As pretentious as many of us (current and former) Richmonder’s feel and act…we still know that we don’t want to hang at a bar that embodies that pretension. Otherwise, we realize our faults and hypocrisy and vow to not put ourselves in such an uncomfortable environment again.

    Hence, it fails.

  31. I think best/worst lists are mostly unproductive, but are harmless fun to remind us that we have things in common, or to give us something to debate. I don’t understand Monkey’s argument about the places that we choose to give our services to. Does it have to be someone’s fault that we all like the same places? What exactly do we need, or what is missing? It’s seventy six trombones, isn’t it?

  32. Richard on said:

    Also, let us not forget that the population surveyed here is self selected!

    It’s important to remember that this, or any poll, does not truly speak for the entire population; its results were culled from those who chose to respond: i.e. those readers of RVAnews who chose to take time to respond. While not to fault RVAnews, I think it is safe to say that not all of our fine citizens participated.

    All of that aside, isn’t another way to look at the same places showing up on lists from year to year that they are still “good” or still “bad?”

  33. mattwhite on said:

    wisdom

  34. Truth!

  35. WALKING DISTANCE TO MILLIES!!

  36. Speaking as another former resident, this list makes me miss Richmond so. That is to say, it embodies so much of what makes Richmond a unique and wonderful place – the commitment to a local identity at all costs, which is tied to epic controversies when it comes to chains, and an admission that sometimes things that are very, very old are still very, very good.

    I’ve lived in New York, Dublin, Tokyo, and now Los Angeles, and I don’t see this dire need for Richmond to be anything else than what it is, because it is so wonderful in its own right. It reminds me of the New Yorkers that lived in the southern area of Manhattan, who rallied fellow citizens to protest plans for a freeway that would cut across the neighborhoods there. The freeway would have been so convenient, and certainly would have increased progress in the areas connected by it, but the plans were overturned by the residents’ strong desire to maintain a culture they felt was too important to let go of.

    Richmond’s culture is unique, and it makes me happy to know there are still people and new generations there fighting for it, no matter how ridiculous it might seem to the residents of larger and possibly more “progressive” cities. I’ll wrap up my love letter here, by saying that I look forward to both trying out these new places when I visit next, and visiting the ‘ol stomping grounds. It’s how it should be when you go back home.

    Thanks RVANews for giving me my Richmond fix when I need some. =)

  37. Pingback: Happy birthday, RVANews! | RVANews

  38. Old on said:

    Wow. Dumb. I will never get this part of my life back, what a wasteful website. I cry to think that the birthplace of our founding fathers is still rife with the filth which is the hipster/scenester extravaganza. Need? Millie’s? Edo’s? Oh puke. Robert E. Lee, sure. TJ, you betchya! This list is like the current transient residents of Richmond, VA… In poor taste.

  39. Reza June on said:

    Replying to post #14
    “no meal is worth an hour wait”

    Just like no bargain is worth a two or three hour wait outside of “Best Buys”, but the idiots still do and then walk away with empty.

  40. Pingback: The Best Restaurant in Richmond is Edo’s Squid (A Meta Approach) « RGL

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