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May 23, 2018







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The Fine Print

The vote
The results of Hippos’ readers’ poll are based on readers’ answers to a poll conducted online in February. Readers typed in the names of people and locations they voted for. In situations where the vote is unclear, Hippo editorial staff makes an effort to determine the will of the greatest number of voters. Hippo reserves the right to disqualify individual votes, ballots and/or entries when they are incomplete or unclear, do not meet the letter or the spirit of the question asked or otherwise do not meet the requirements to make them a usable vote. Hippo’s editorial staff make the ultimate determination of the winners in the categories. Hippo’s advertising staff and its advertisers play no role in the determination of the winners. All results are final. 
This survey is for entertainment purposes only and is meant to serve as a snapshot of the people and places in southern New Hampshire at the moment the survey is conducted. Details about business, events and people listed may change between the time of the vote and publication.
 
Bests
The Best of 2018 is a celebration of all things local. Large national and international chains are, for the most part, not included in the count. Smaller chains with at least two-thirds of their locations in New Hampshire are eligible, as are businesses with two locations with one in New Hampshire. The “Best of the Best” designation goes to the person, place or thing that receives the most votes in the category. “Best of Manchester,” “Best of Nashua” and “Best of Concord” are awarded to the next top entries located in those areas. In categories with a “Best,” “Runner-up” and “Honorable Mention,” those are the top vote-getters in that category.
 
Geography
Here, roughly, is the designation of “Manchester,” “Concord” and “Nashua” areas:
• Manchester area includes Manchester, Goffstown, Auburn, Candia, Bedford, Hooksett, Raymond, Litchfield, Derry, Londonderry, Windham, Salem, New Boston, Francestown and towns to the east along Route 101 to include towns on Route 125.
• Concord area includes Concord as well as Bow, Pembroke, Contoocook, Dunbarton, Hopkinton, Loudon, Boscawen, Chichester, Weare, Henniker, Suncook and some towns in the Lakes Region.
• Nashua area includes Nashua as well as Merrimack, Amherst, Milford, Hollis, Brookline, Hudson, Mason and Wilton.
 
Questions, Comments, Concerns
Did we get an address or phone number wrong? Do you have an idea for a new category? Let us know. Contact editor Amy Diaz at adiaz@hippopress.com. Corrections will appear on page 4 in future issues. Is your favorite category missing? Categories change regularly with some categories taking a sabbatical and new categories introduced, so please send your suggestions along. And, again, all results are final.
 
Best thing we forgot to ask: BEST
Best Massage Therapist 
Bethany Chabot at Bethany Chabot Massage Therapy  
By Angie Sykeny
asykeny@hippopress.com
 
Bethany Chabot always knew she had the magic touch. Growing up, she became famous in her family for giving the best massages. Massage therapy is her calling, she said, and not a day goes by that she doesn’t love her work at her private practice in Merrimack, connected to Family Chiropractic of Merrimack & Wellness Center.  
Chabot started her career in graphic design, but upon being offered a voluntary layoff she decided to pursue her first passion, massage therapy. After a year of massage therapy training by day and bartending by night, she received her certification and started working out of a chiropractic office on the Seacoast, where she stayed for a couple of years before relocating to her current job. She’s been there for the last 11 years. 
“It’s something innate inside me, something I was meant to do,” she said. “Once I was able to take the opportunity to do it, there was no looking back. Every year since then has been a new journey.” 
Chabot’s clientele includes runners with running-related injuries, office workers with shoulder and neck pain and tightness and people interested in health and wellness. 
“I love helping people achieve their optimal wellness through the power of massage therapy,” Chabot said. “I want people to see that massage isn’t just a luxury or something in a spa setting … or a kind of reactive care. It’s beneficial to incorporate it into regular, everyday health care so that you can be proactive and keep yourself from getting injured in the first place.” 
Chabot sees 15 to 20 clients a week but is in the process of expanding her hours to accommodate more clients. There’s currently an eight- to 12-week waitlist to get an appointment with her. 
“It’s a problem, but a good problem to have,” she said. “I’ve been told it’s worth the wait.” 
When Chabot meets with a new client, she talks with them about their concerns to determine what kind of massage will benefit them. She does a variety, including musculoskeletal release, neuromuscular, deep tissue, myofascial release, reiki, cupping, trigger point and acupuncture, and massage incorporating essential oils. 
Before beginning the massage, Chabot closes her eyes and performs a scan of the body with her hands. 
“I have to learn each person’s body, because every body is different,” she said. “Closing my eyes allows me to really immerse myself in the body’s energy and the way it feels, and to let the body talk to me through my hands.” 
Clients can opt for a 60-, 75- or 90-minute session and typically return once a month. At the end of each session, Chabot will share personalized tips with the client about how they can continue the care on their own with things like epsom salt soaks, essential oils, proper hydration and stretches. 
As for winning the “Best” title as Best Massage Therapist in the Hippo Best of’s Best Thing We Forgot to Ask About category, Chabot said she feels blessed to have such a loyal clientele. 
“There’s a level of trust when someone puts their body on my table. It’s a relationship and a partnership,” she said. “I’m honored that my clients have that kind of trust in me, and that they felt like I deserved their vote.”
Bethany Chabot Massage Therapy
Address: Family Chiropractic of Merrimack and Wellness Center, 36 Baboosic Lake Road, Merrimack 
Hours: By appointment only 
Contact: 834-2758, bgblmt@yahoo.com
 
Best thing we forgot to ask: RUNNER-UP
Best Shampoo 
Amanda Skiff of 5 Diamond Salon
 
By Matt Ingersoll
mingersoll@hippopress.com
 
Clients who walk through the door of 5 Diamond Salon in Manchester to see master stylist Amanda Skiff sometimes seem to be more excited for the shampoo massage part of their visit, she said.
“I think everybody could start their day off with a shampoo [massage] and have a better day,” she said. “We’re all known here for being really good at that.”
There was no doubt that pursuing a career as a hair stylist was exactly what she wanted to do; the Londonderry native is a graduate of Empire Beauty School’s Hooksett campus, attending right out of high school, and has been in the industry for about 10 years. She worked at a few other salons in the area before being brought onto the staff of 5 Diamond Salon through owner Samantha Courtois, a close friend of hers.
Whether it’s women’s or men’s cuts, colors, extensions, or brow waxing, Skiff does it all – along with a five-minute shampoo massage to go with her services.
“A lot of my clients like to get an eye mask with their shampoo or a warm chest pillow,” she said. “Over the years, people have said to me they like how much pressure I do, and that I should be a massage therapist.”
Skiff and her colleagues at 5 Diamond Salon have myriad shampoo scents to choose from that are tailored for different purposes like thinning or thickening hair. But she said the overall environment where you will get your shampoo massage is definitely one factor that makes the salon stand out from others.
“I think the setting is a big deal for people,” she said. “Instead of being in a bright, loud part of the salon, it’s in a nice, dim room and people get to actually relax and try to just shut off for a minute in there.”
She said people tend to hold a lot of tension in their neck and around their temples, and the key to a good massage is learning where the right spots are to get.
Upon learning that she had been recognized as “Runner Up” for Best Shampoo in the Hippo Best of’s Best Thing We Forgot to Ask About category, Skiff said she was “psyched,” especially because 5 Diamond Salon won Best of Manchester for Best Salon in both 2016 and 2017.
“I’ve actually been asking my clients to make sure to write in ‘Best   Shamp’ if they loved my massages, so everybody’s been so good about it,” she said.
5 Diamond Salon
Where: 915 Holt Ave., No. 4, Manchester
Call: 459-3367
Visit: 5diamondsalon.com

Best thing we forgot to ask: HONORABLE MENTION
Best Cigar Lounge/Best Cigar Shop
Twins Smoke Shop  
By Ryan Lessard
news@hippopress.com
 
Kurt Kendall was running a struggling excavation business in the mid-1990s when his twin brother Kevin turned him on to premium cigars. 
He would smoke them while running the machinery and noticed how fast the time flew by. Pretty soon Kurt was hooked. 
Originally he wanted to open a shop with his brother in Connecticut. Kevin is a successful restaurateur there, he said. But those early attempts fell through and eventually Kendall decided to start the business on his own here in New Hampshire. 
Over the years, they opened about eight different shops, which helped them build their two locations, the main one in Londonderry, which is 9,000 square feet, and a second one in Hooksett.
Kendall is also a lifetime antique collector. He had amassed a collection of antique signs that he was able to hang up in his shops. That hobby helped him to stumble upon an idea.
“As I was collecting, I started seeing these items from the 7-20-4 cigar company,” Kendall said. 
The old Manchester-based R.G. Sullivan Cigar Factory on Canal Street used to produce the 7-20-4 branded cigars with filler from Cuba and leaves from Sumatra. 
Kendall and his attorney did some research and figured out how to obtain the rights to the trademark.
“I thought it would be a great idea to bring the brand back,” Kendall said.
He was able to visit several factories and picked one in Danli, Honduras, to partner with.
“We created a whole new blend that we thought was good enough and unique enough for today’s market,” Kendall said.
So far it’s doing well. In the January/February issue of Cigar Aficionado, the 7-20-4 Lancero cigar is the top-rated cigar, with a score of 93, according to Kendall.
Kendall attributes the success of his business to passion for premium cigars, firstly, and hard work.
“We built it up over the years… through blood, sweat and tears and building it brick by brick,” Kendall said.
His three main pillars are service, quality and selection. He boasts over 1,000 selections of premium cigars all within a clean, homey environment.
“We also have a phenomenal staff,” he said.
 All staff are trained and certified through Tobacconist University, he said.
The company has also been active in the state legislative arena. 
It fought to keep the premium cigar tax at zero, and it worked with lawmakers to pass a new liquor license for cigar shops. 
Now, Twins has hundreds of fine liquors to choose from, including a wide array of whiskeys, Kendall said.
“My goal was to have the best selection of whiskey in New Hampshire,” he said.
Twins Smoke Shop
80 Perkins Road, Londonderry, 9 W. Alice Ave., Hooksett, 421-0242, twinssmokeshop.com, 7-20-4.com. You can also find them on Instagram and Twitter as @TwinsSmokeShop and @7204Lounge.
 




And now for ... Hippo Best of 2018!


04/12/18



 And finally, the results!

In February, you voted for your favorite things about southern New Hampshire — your favorite barista, family restaurant, spa, farm and so much more.
After hand-counting your votes (and after a bit of a delay due to all of those nor’easters that showed up in early March to remind us that winter wasn’t over yet), we now present you with the results.
As always, the votes include first-time winners and brand new categories along with returning champions and classic categories.
Looking for places to go and things to do now that winter is finally (hopefully) behind us? Here are some suggestions for food, shopping, arts events, nightlife, community happenings, outdoor spots and more along with some short stories about some of the “Best Things We Forgot to Ask About.”
Keep an eye out for our annual magazine, coming out later this spring with even more on places to go and things to do that make life in southern New Hampshire great — yes, even in winter.
And now, the winners are...
 
ARTS
Best Performing Arts Venue
Best of the best: Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover St., Manchester, 668-5588, palacetheatre.org. The 890-seat theater opened in 1915 and is home to its own professional, youth and teen performing companies and hosts visiting theater, music, dance and comedy acts. Its current mainstage production, Mamma Mia!, continues through May 6. 
Best of Concord: Capitol Center for the Arts, 44 S. Main St., Concord, 225-1111, ccanh.com. The 1,304-seat theater opened in 1927 and hosts traveling theater shows, dance performances, musical and comedy acts, film screenings and more. Its next event is comedian Demetri Martin on Friday, April 13. 
Best of Manchester: Tupelo Music Hall, 10 A St., Derry, 437-5100, tupelohall.com. The 700-seat venue moved from Londonderry to Derry in the spring of 2017. It hosts primarily music and comedy events, including its monthly Tupelo Night of Comedy Series, which returns on Friday, April 13.  
Best of Nashua: The Amato Center for the Performing Arts, 56 Mont Vernon St., Milford, 672-1002, svbgc.org. The 460-seat theater built in 2005 is home to the Riverbend Youth Company and productions by the Milford Area Players. The next show is 42nd Street by RYC May 3 through May 6. 
 
Best Art Gallery
Best of the best: McGowan Fine Art, 2 Phenix Ave., Concord, 225-2515, mcgowanfineart.com. The contemporary gallery features art in a variety of media, styles and price ranges by New England artists. Its next exhibition, “Impressed,” runs April 17 through May 25 and highlights contemporary printmaking. 
Best of Concord: Mill Brook Gallery & Sculpture Garden, 236 Hopkinton Road, Concord, 226-2046, themillbrookgallery.com. The indoor and outdoor gallery has seasonal exhibitions May through December featuring paintings, sculpture, pottery, jewelry and more by New England artists. Its spring and summer exhibit runs May 3 through Sept. 2. 
Best of Manchester: Kelley Stelling Contemporary, 221 Hanover St., Manchester, 345-1779, kelleystellingcontemporary.com. The contemporary art gallery opened in October 2017 and features a variety of 2-D and 3-D art by emerging artists from New England and beyond. Its current exhibit, “Minute Particulars,” is on view through April 29 and highlights realist and surrealist art. 
Best of Nashua: ArtHub, 30 Temple St., Nashua, 401-698-1951, naaa-arthub.org. The gallery and workspace is a collaboration between the Nashua Area Artists Association and artists of all backgrounds and interests in the greater Nashua area. 
 
Best Art in a Public Space 
Best of the best: Downtown Concord. Notable art pieces include a sculpture of a boy with a turtle on the corner of Pleasant and South Main streets, a modern granite gate sculpture near the Works Bakery Cafe on North Main Street and a colorful mural on the side of the CVS building on North Main Street. The city will install five new art pieces in downtown in May. 
Best of Concord: Dos Amigos Burritos, 26 N. Main St., Concord, 410-4161, dosamigosburritos.com. An art display featuring a different local artist each month hangs on the bar side of the restaurant. 
Best of Manchester: Outside the Currier Museum of Art, 150 Ash St., Manchester, 669-6144, currier.org. There are four sculptures on the museum grounds: “Origins,” a red and black steel piece by Mark di Suvero; “Fusion II,” a stainless steel piece by George Sherwood; and two granite pieces, “Thank You Silence” and “Bench #XIII,” by Gary Haven Smith. 
Best of Nashua: Downtown Nashua. Positive Street Art and City Arts Nashua have installed a number of murals, such as “Nostalgia” on Main Street, which pays tribute to classic films, and “Vivian’s Dream” behind TD Bank on West Pearl and Main streets, which depicts West Pearl Street in 1909. There are also a number of sculptures installed through the Nashua International Sculpture Symposium, an annual event in which artists from around the world spend three weeks in Nashua creating sculptures for the city. This year’s symposium starts on May 10, and the public is invited to watch the sculptors work at MakeIt Labs (25 Crown St.) May 14 through May 30. 
 
Best Arts Markets
Best: Concord Arts Market, 1 Bicentennial Square, Concord, concordartsmarket.net. The juried outdoor artisan and fine art market runs weekly on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., June through September. 
Runner-up: Craftsmen’s Fair, nhcrafts.org. The nine-day craft fair is hosted by the League of NH Craftsmen at Mount Sunapee Resort (1398 Route 103, Newbury) every summer. This year it will be held Saturday, Aug. 4, through Sunday, Aug. 12.
Honorable mention: The Craftworkers’ Guild, 5 Meetinghouse Road, Bedford, 472-8109, thecraftworkersguild.org. The next fair is May 4 through May 12.
 
Best Visual Arts Event
Best: Greeley Park Art Show, nashuaareaartistsassoc.org. The art show is hosted by the Nashua Area Artists Association in Greeley Park (100 Concord St., Nashua) every summer. This year it will be held on Saturday, Aug. 18, and Sunday, Aug. 19. 
Runner-up: Craftsmen’s Fair, nhcrafts.org. The nine-day craft fair is hosted by the League of NH Craftsmen at Mount Sunapee Resort (1398 Route 103, Newbury) every summer. This year it will be held Saturday, Aug. 4, through Sunday, Aug. 12. 
Honorable mention: ArtFront, artfrontnh.com. The pop-up multimedia arts show celebrates Manchester’s culturally diverse community through visual art, music and dance. 
 
Best Live Theatrical Performance
Best of the best: Rock of Ages, Palace Theatre professional production, palacetheatre.org. The show ran at the Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St., Manchester) Jan. 12 through Feb. 3, 2018. 
Best of Concord: The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Community Players of Concord, communityplayersofconcord.org. The show ran at the Concord City Auditorium (2 Prince St., Concord) Nov. 17 through Nov. 19, 2017.  
Best of Manchester: A Christmas Carol, Palace Theatre professional production, palacetheatre.org. The show ran at the Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St., Manchester) Dec. 1 through Dec. 23, 2017. 
Best of Nashua: Annie, Peacock Players, peacockplayers.org. The show ran at the Janice B. Streeter Theater (14 Court St., Nashua) Dec. 8 through Dec. 17, 2017. 
 
BEAUTY & HEALTH
Best Salon
Best of the best: Salon K, 18 Pleasant St., Concord, 225-0099, salonkconcord.com
Best of Concord: Creative Color & Cuts, 259 S. Main St., Concord, 228-1158, creativecolorandcuts.com
Best of Manchester: 5 Diamond Salon, 915 Holt Ave., Suite 4, Manchester, 459-3367, 5diamondsalon.com
Best of Nashua: Fancy Nancy’s Elite Hair Designers, 295 Daniel Webster Highway, Nashua, 891-0202, fancynancyssalon.com
 
Best Barbershop
Best of the best: The Polished Man, 707 Milford Road, Unit 3A, Merrimack, 718-8427, thepolishedmannh.com
Best of Concord: Lucky’s Barbershop & Shave Parlor, 50 S. State St., Concord, 715-5470, luckysbarbershop.biz (second location at 801 Islington St., Suite 28, Portsmouth)
Best of Manchester: Dude’s Barber Shop, 1311 Hooksett Road, Hooksett, 626-0533, dudesbarbershop.us
Best of Nashua: Wilfred’s Barber Shop, 90 W. Pearl St., Nashua, 880-8805, wilfredsbarbershop.com
 
Best Wig Shop
Best: AJ’s Wigs, 1100 Hooksett Road, Hooksett, 666-4555, ajswigs.com
Runner-up: Amanda Thomas Women’s Boutique, Harris Pond Plaza, 30 Daniel Webster Highway, Suite 1, Merrimack, 595-9447, amandathomasboutiquenh.com
Honorable mention: A Wig Center & Hair Replacement, 83 S. Main St., Concord, 225-4620, awigcenter.com
 
Best Tattoo Shop
Best of the best: Spider Bite Body Piercing/Tattoo Angus, 179 Elm St., Manchester, 935-9398, tattooangus.com. (As of November 2017, Spider Bite does piercings only and has transferred its tattoo business to Tattoo Angus, which is located in the same building.)
Best of Concord: Arrows & Embers Tattoo, 117 Manchester St., Suite 3, Concord, 988-6067, arrowsandemberstattoo.com
Best of Manchester: Bulletproof Tiger Tattoo, 28 Amherst St., Manchester, 232-2115, bulletprooftigertattoo.com
Best of Nashua: Precision Body Arts, 3 Elm St., Nashua, 889-5788, precisionbodyarts.com
 
Best Spa
Best of the best: Renew MediSpa, 29 Indian Rock Road, Windham, 894-0070, renewmedispa.com
Best of Concord: Salon K, 18 Pleasant St., Concord, 225-0099, salonkconcord.com 
Best of Manchester: Chill Spa, 1224 Hanover St., Manchester, 622-3722, chillspa.com
Best of Nashua: The Skin & Body Spa, 385 E. Dunstable Road, Nashua, 888-7900, theskinandbodyspa.com
 
Best Gym
Best of the best: Dynamic Strength and Conditioning, 115 Northeastern Boulevard, Nashua, 882-2348, dynamicsc.com 
Best of Concord: Get Fit NH, 287 S. Main St., Concord, 344-2651, getfitnh.com (second location at 167 New Orchard Road, Epsom)
Best of Manchester: Executive Health & Sports Center, 1 Highlander Way, Manchester, 668-4753, ehsc.com (second location at 1328 Hooksett Road, Hooksett)
Best of Nashua: Hampshire Hills Athletic Club, 50 Emerson Road, Milford, 673-7123, hampshirehills.com
 
Best Workout Class
Best of the best: “Smart Group Training” at Get Fit NH, 287 S. Main St., Concord, 344-2651, getfitnh.com. Classes are held Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, at 5, 6:15, 7:25 and 8:30 a.m., and 4:15, 5:30 and 6:45 p.m.) 
Best of Concord: “All Level Barre” at Studio 603, 48 S. Main St., Concord, 998-6753, pilatesstudio603.com. Classes are held on Monday at 7, 8 and 9:15 a.m. and 5 p.m.; Tuesday at 8 and 9:15 a.m. and 6 p.m.; Wednesday and Friday at 7, 8 and 9:15 a.m.; Thursday at 8 and 9:15 a.m., and Saturday at 8:30 a.m. 
Best of Manchester: “Barre” with Maryjean Kimball at YMCA of Downtown Manchester, 30 Mechanic St., Manchester, 232-8670, graniteymca.org. Classes are held on Tuesday and Thursday from 12:05 to 1 p.m. 
Best of Nashua: “Adult Group Training” at Dynamic Strength and Conditioning, 115 Northeastern Boulevard, Nashua, 882-2348, dynamicsc.com. Classes are held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 a.m., noon, and 4:30, 5:30, 6:30 p.m. (no 6:30 p.m. on Friday); Tuesday and Thursday at 5, 6 and 9 a.m., noon and 5:30 p.m., and Saturday at 7, 8 and 9 a.m.
 
Best Yoga Studio
Best of the best: New Hampshire Power Yoga, 704 Milford Road, Merrimack, 594-2494, nhpoweryoga.com
Best of Concord: Sharing Yoga, 64 N. Main St., Concord, 630-5576, sharingyoga.com
Best of Manchester: YogaBalance, 135 Hooksett Road, Manchester, 625-4000, yogabalance.info
Best of Nashua: Hampshire Hills Athletic Club, 50 Emerson Road, Milford, 673-7123, hampshirehills.com
 
Best Dance Studio
Best of the best: Dimensions in Dance, 84 Myrtle St., Manchester, 668-4196, dimensionsindance.com
Best of Concord: Concord Dance Academy, 26 Commercial St., Concord, 226-0200, concorddanceacademy.com
Best of Manchester: Bedford Dance Center, 172 Route 101, Bedford, 472-5141, bedforddancecenter.com
Best of Nashua: The Dance Company, 141 Route 101A, Amherst, 864-8374, thedancecompanyonline.com
 
BEAUTY/WELLNESS EXPERTS
Best Fitness Instructor
Best of the best: Nancy Carlson (co-owner, runs Smart Group Training for adults), Get Fit NH, 287 S. Main St., Concord, and 167 New Orchard Road, Epsom, 344-2651, getfitnh.com
Best of Concord: Adam Gray (coaches Athlete Academy), Get Fit NH, 287 S. Main St., Concord, and 167 New Orchard Road, Epsom, 344-2651, getfitnh.com
Best of Manchester: Kate White (studio manager), Yoga Balance, 135 Hooksett Road, Manchester, 625-4000, yogabalance.info
Best of Nashua: Matt Skeffington (owner), Dynamic Strength and Conditioning, 115 Northeastern Boulevard, Nashua, 882-2348, dynamicsc.com
 
Best Barber
Best of the best: Jason Drapeau, 5 Diamond Salon, 915 Holt Ave., Manchester, 459-3367, 5diamondsalon.com 
Best of Concord: Josh Craggy (owner), Lucky’s Barbershop & Shave Parlor, 50 S. State St., Concord, 715-5470, luckysbarbershop.biz
Best of Manchester: Joshua Smith, Handsome Devils Barbershop and Shave, 1100 Hooksett Road., Hooksett, 232-7024, find them on Facebook.
Best of Nashua: Hannah Coleman, The Polished Man, 707 Milford Road, Merrimack, 718-8427, thepolishedman.com
 
Best Hair Stylist
Best of the best: Erin Crowley, Fancy Nancy’s Elite Hair Designers, 295 Daniel Webster Highway, Nashua, 891-0202, fancynancyssalon.com
Best of Concord: Kae Mason (owner), Salon K, 18 Pleasant St., Concord, 225-0099, salonkconcord.com
Best of Manchester: Samatha Courtois, 5 Diamond Salon, 915 Holt Ave., Manchester, 459-3367, 5diamondsalon.com
Best of Nashua: Corrie Thayer (owner), Color Trends Hair Salon, 25 Merrit Parkway, Nashua, 880-7504, colortrendshairsalon.com
 
Friendliest Dentist
Best of the best: Elizabeth Spindel (owner), Spindel General & Cosmetic Dentistry, 862 Union St., Manchester, 669-9049, elizabethspindel.com
Best of Concord: Ray Orzechowski Jr., 280 Pleasant St., Concord, 228-4456, rayorzechowski.com
Best of Manchester: John J. Ahern, Ahern, Nichols, Ahern, Hersey & Butterfield Family Dentistry, 30 Pinkerton St., Derry, 432-5039, ahern-nichols.com
Best of Nashua: Charles Pipilas, 280 Main St., Suite 311, Nashua, 881-8280
 
WHAT TO WEAR
Best Independent Clothing Store
Best of the best: Gondwana & Divine Clothing Co., 13 N. Main St., Concord, 228-1101, clothingnh.com
Best of Concord: Indigo Blues & Co., 902 Main St., Contoocook, 660-9290, indigobluesandco.com 
Best of Manchester: Alapage Boutique, 25 S. River Road, Suite 301, Bedford, 622-0550, alapageboutique.com 
Best of Nashua: Camaraderie Boutique, 175 Main St., Nashua, 402-1908, camaraderiestyle.com
 
Best Independent Jewelry Store
Best of the best: Bellman’s Jewelers, 1650 Elm St., Manchester, 625-4653, bellmans.com
Best of Concord: Capitol Craftsman & Romance Jewelers, 16 & 18 N. Main St., Concord, 224-6166, capitolcraftsman.com
Best of Manchester: Jonathan’s Jewelers, 460 Route 101, Bedford, 471-2828, jonathansjewelers.com
Best of Nashua: Scontsas Fine Jewelry & Home Decor, 169-173 Main St., Nashua, 882-3281, scontsas.com
 
Best Independent Shoe Store
Best of the best: Alec’s Shoes, 1617 Southwood Drive, Nashua, 882-6811, alecs-shoes.com
Best of Concord: Joe King’s Shoe Shop, 45 N. Main St., Concord, 225-6012, joekings.com
Best of Manchester: Benton Shoe Co., 814 Elm St., Manchester, 644-2550, bentonshoeco.com
Best of Nashua: The Shoebox, 17 Route 101A, Amherst, 672-6570, shoeboxnh.com
 
Best Second Hand Store
Best of the best: Mother & Child Clothing and Gifts, 135 Route 101A, Amherst, 886-6727, m-c-clothing-and-goods.myshopify.com
Best of Concord: OutFITters Thrift Store Boutique, 20 S. Main St., Concord, 641-6691, outfittersnh.org 
Best of Manchester: OutFITters Thrift Store, 394 Second St., Manchester, 641-6691, outfittersnh.org
Best of Nashua: Dress 2 Impress Consignment Boutique, 650 Amherst St., Nashua, 589-9536, dress2impressconsignment.com
 
MORE SHOPPING
Best Bookstore/Comic Book Store
Best of the best: Gibson’s Bookstore, 45 S. Main St., Concord, 224-0562, gibsonsbookstore.com
Best of Concord: Main Street BookEnds of Warner, 16 E. Main St., Warner, 456-2700, mainstreetbookends.com 
Best of Manchester: Double Midnight Comics, 245 Maple St., Manchester, 669-9636, dmcomics.com (second location at 67 S. Main St., Concord) 
Best of Nashua: The Toadstool Bookshop, 614 Nashua St., Lorden Plaza, Milford, 673-1734, toadbooks.com (Toadstool has two other locations, in Peterborough and Keene)
 
Best Retail Shop
Best of the best: Black Widow Customs, 51 Kosciuszko St., Manchester, 624-0400, blackwidowcustoms.com (automotive products) 
Best of Concord: Viking House, 19 N. Main St., Concord, 228-1198, vikinghouse.com (Scandinavian and European gifts) 
Best of Manchester: Pop of Color, 816 Elm St., Manchester, 624-5999, popofcolornh.com (home decor and gifts) 
Best of Nashua:  Casual Cat Picture Framing & Unique Gifts, 141 Route 101A, Amherst, 882-1443, casualcat.com 
 
Best Place to Buy a Unique Gift
Best of the best: League of NH Craftsmen Concord Gallery, 36 N. Main St., Concord, 228-8171, nhcrafts.org
Best of Concord: Capitol Craftsman & Romance Jewelers, 16 & 18 N. Main St., Concord, 224-6166, capitolcraftsman.com
Best of Manchester: The Craftworkers’ Guild, 5 Meetinghouse Road, Bedford, 472-8109, thecraftworkersguild.org. The next fair is May 4 through May 12. 
Best of Nashua: J.M. Princewell, 127 Union Square, Milford, 673-0611, jmprincewell.com
 
HOME & CAR
Best Car Repair Shop
Best of the best: Pro-Image Automotive, 254 Sheffield Road, Manchester, 644-8480, autorepaircentermanchester.com
Best of Concord: Weed Family Automotive, 124 Storrs St., Concord, 225-7988, weedfamilyautomotive.com
Best of Manchester: Brutus Auto Repair & Service, 148 Merrimack St., Manchester, 624-8881, brutusauto.com
Best of Nashua: Gurney’s Automotive Repair, 83 Broad St., Nashua, 886-5800, gurneysautomotive.com (second location at 419 Elm St., Milford)
 
Best Garden Center or Nursery
Best of the best: Demers Garden Center, 656 S. Mammoth Road, Manchester, 625-8298, demersgardencenter.com
Best of Concord: Cole Gardens, 430 Loudon Road, Concord, 229-0655, colegardens.com
Best of Manchester: Lake Street Garden Center, 37 Lake St., Salem, 893-5858, lakestreet.com
Best of Nashua: House by the Side of the Road, 370 Gibbons Highway, Wilton, 654-9888, housebythesideoftheroad.com
 
Best Florist
Best of the best: Cobblestone Design Co., 81 N. Main St., One Capital Plaza, Concord, 228-5980, cobblestoneflorist.com
Best of Concord: D. McLeod Florist, 49 S. State St., Concord, 225-3721, dmflowers.com
Best of Manchester: Chalifour’s Flowers, 46 Elm St., Manchester, 623-8844, chalifours.com
Best of Nashua: Fortin Gage Flowers & Gifts, 86 W. Pearl St., Nashua, 882-3371, fortingage.com
 
NOTABLE LOCALS
Best Mechanic
Best of the best: Mike Alton (owner), Pro Image Automotive, 254 Sheffield Road, Manchester, 644-8480, proimageautomotive.com
Best of Concord: Chuck Nelson (owner), P&N Automotive Services, 140 Pleasant St., Concord, 225-4313.
Best of Manchester: Ralph Brutus (owner), Brutus Auto Repair and Service, 148 Merrimack St., Manchester, 624-8881, brutusauto.com 
Best of Nashua: Craig Pettus (co-owner), Amherst Autoworks, 86 Merrimack Road, Amherst, 673-9900, amherstautoworks.com
 
Best Teacher
Best of the best: Brianne Biastoff (music), Nashua High School North, 8 Titan Way, Nashua, nashua.edu
Best of Concord: Leah Murphy (art), Chichester Central School, 219 Main St., Chichester, ccs.sau53.org
Best of Manchester: Selma Naccach-Hoff (English), Manchester Central High School, 207 Lowell St., Manchester, central.mansd.org
Best of Nashua: Michael Vetack (sixth grade), Hollis Upper Elementary School, 12 Drury Lane, Hollis, hollisnh.org/schools/schools.htm 

BEST RESTAURANTS
Best Restaurant Overall
Best of the best: The Puritan Backroom Restaurant, 245 Hooksett Road, Manchester, 669-6890, puritanbackroom.com
Best of Concord: The Barley House Restaurant & Tavern, 132 N. Main St., Concord, 228-6363, thebarleyhouse.com (The Barley House also has a location at 43 Lafayette Road in North Hampton)
Best of Manchester: Copper Door Restaurant, 15 Leavy Drive, Bedford, 488-2677, copperdoorrestaurant.com (The Copper Door also has a location at 41 S. Broadway in Salem)
Best of Nashua: Buckley’s Great Steaks, 438 Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack, 424-0995, buckleysgreatsteaks.com
 
Best New Eatery
Best of the best: The Crown Tavern, 99 Hanover St., Manchester, 218-3132, thecrownonhanover.com (The Crown Tavern opened in August 2017 under the direction of the same ownership as the Hanover Street Chophouse. This new restaurant is just about a block away and offers a menu of wood-fired oven pizzas, burgers, seafood, craft cocktails and more.)
Best of Concord: Gale Motor Co. Whiskey & Wine, 148 N. Main St., Concord, 715-8575, find them on Facebook (Whiskey & Wine opened in November 2017 by the same people who brought you the former Gale Motor Co. Eatery in Manchester, now known as Noodle Bar. Whiskey & Wine features a tapas-style menu of options like pulled pork tacos, ramen noodles and steak and cheese egg rolls, as well as more than 30 different whiskeys and bourbons from around the world.)
Best of Manchester: Mel’s Diner, 454 Charles Bancroft Highway, Litchfield, 424-6357, find them on Facebook (Mel’s Diner opened in February 2018 adjacent to Mel’s Funway Park. The diner features a menu inspired by the original diners of the New Jersey and Philadelphia areas, with rib-eye Philly cheesesteaks, loaded flat-top omelets, double cheeseburgers, and “breakfast as dessert” options like deep-fried cinnamon buns, and mini waffles with ice cream.)
Best of Nashua: Mangia Sano, 321 Nashua St., Milford, 554-8534, mangia-sano.business.site (This Italian restaurant opened in July 2017 and features a little bit of everything, from appetizers and salads to flatbread pizzas, sandwiches and pasta dishes.)
 
Best Fine Dining Restaurant
Best of the best: Hanover Street Chophouse, 149 Hanover St., Manchester, 644-2467, hanoverstreetchophouse.com
Best of Concord: Granite Restaurant & Bar, The Centennial Hotel, 96 Pleasant St., Concord, 227-9005, graniterestaurant.com
Best of Manchester: Copper Door Restaurant, 15 Leavy Drive, Bedford, 488-2677, copperdoorrestaurant.com (The Copper Door also has a location at 41 S. Broadway in Salem)
Best of Nashua: Buckley’s Great Steaks, 438 Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack, 424-0995, buckleysgreatsteaks.com
 
Best Family Restaurant
Best of the best: The Puritan Backroom Restaurant, 245 Hooksett Road, Manchester, 669-6890, puritanbackroom.com
Best of Concord: Dos Amigos Burritos, 26 N. Main St., Concord, 410-4161, dosamigosburritos.com (Dos Amigos Burritos also has locations at 107 State St. in Portsmouth, 286 Central Ave. in Dover and 24 Pleasant St. in Newburyport, Mass.)
Best of Manchester: T-Bones Great American Eatery, 25 S. River Road, Bedford, 641-6100, t-bones.com (T-Bones also has locations at 39 Crystal Ave. in Derry, 77 Lowell Road in Hudson, 1182 Union Ave. in Laconia and 311 S. Broadway in Salem)
Best of Nashua: T-Bones Great American Eatery, 77 Lowell Road, Hudson, 882-6677, t-bones.com (T-Bones also has locations at 25 S. River Road in Bedford, 39 Crystal Ave. in Derry, 1182 Union Ave. in Laconia and 311 S. Broadway in Salem)
 
Best Diner
Best of the best: Red Arrow Diner, 61 Lowell St., Manchester, 626-1118, redarrowdiner.com (The Red Arrow Diner also has locations at 112 Loudon Road in Concord, 137 Rockingham Road in Londonderry and 63 Union Square in Milford)
Best of Concord: Red Arrow Diner, 112 Loudon Road, Concord, 415-0444, redarrowdiner.com (The Red Arrow Diner also has locations at 61 Lowell St. in Manchester, 137 Rockingham Road in Londonderry and 63 Union Square in Milford)
Best of Manchester: Airport Diner, 2280 Brown Ave., Manchester, 623-5040, thecman.com
Best of Nashua: Joey’s Diner, 1 Craftsman Lane, Amherst, 577-8955, joeysdiner.com
 
Best Seafood Restaurant
Best of the best: Surf Restaurant, 207 Main St., Nashua, 595-9293, surfseafood.com/nashua (Surf also has a location at 99 Bow St. in Portsmouth)
Best of Concord: Makris Lobster & Steak House, 354 Sheep Davis Road, Concord, 225-7665, eatalobster.com
Best of Manchester: Hooked Seafood Restaurant, 110 Hanover St., Manchester, 606-1189, hookedonignite.com
Best of Nashua: The Lobster Boat Restaurant, 453 Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack, 424-5221, lobsterboatrestaurant.com (The Lobster Boat also has locations at 273 Derry Road in Litchfield and 75 Portsmouth Ave. in Exeter)
 
Best Steakhouse
Best of the best: Hanover Street Chophouse, 149 Hanover St., Manchester, 644-2467, hanoverstreetchophouse.com
Best of Concord: O Steaks & Seafood, 11 S. Main St., Concord, 856-7925, magicfoodsrestaurantgroup.com/osteaks (O Steaks & Seafood also has a location at 62 Doris Ray Court in Laconia)
Best of Manchester: The Tuckaway Tavern & Butchery, 58 Route 27, Raymond, 244-2431, thetuckaway.com
Best of Nashua: Buckley’s Great Steaks, 438 Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack, 424-0995, buckleysgreatsteaks.com
 
FOOD SHOPPING
Best Bakery
Best of the best: Bread & Chocolate, 29 S. Main St., Concord, 228-3330
Best of Concord: The Crust and Crumb Baking Co., 126 N. Main St., Concord, 219-0763, thecrustandcrumb.com 
Best of Manchester: Michelle’s Gourmet Pastries & Deli, 819 Union St., Manchester, 647-7150, michellespastries.com
Best of Nashua: Buckley’s Bakery & Cafe, 436 Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack, 262-5929, buckleysbakerycafe.com
 
Best Butcher Shop
Best of the best: The Tuckaway Tavern & Butchery, 58 Route 27, Raymond, 244-2431, thetuckaway.com
Best of Concord: Concord Beef & Seafood, 79 S. Main St., Concord, 226-3474, concordbeefandseafood.com
Best of Manchester: Mr. Steer Meats & More, 27 Buttrick Road, Londonderry, 434-1444, mrsteermeats.com
Best of Nashua: The Flying Butcher, 124 Route 101A, Amherst, 598-6328, theflyingbutcher.com
 
Best New Hampshire-made Food Product
Best: Laurel Hill Jams and Jellies, 47 Birchwood Circle, Bedford, 472-5388, laurellhilljams.com (This business offers handmade jams and jellies using locally grown fruits and wines; popular flavors include strawberry rhubarb jam, Concord grape jelly, pomegranate jelly, apple-cranberry wine jelly and more. Visit the website for a list of local stores where the products are available for purchase.)
Runner-up: Ben’s Sugar Shack, 83 Webster Highway, Temple, 924-3111, bensmaplesyrup.com (Ben’s Sugar Shack offers a wide variety of homemade pure maple products like syrups, creams, candies, coffees, jams, jellies, relishes and more. Visit the website for a full list of products and for special recipes.)
Honorable mention: Blackwater Mustard Co., 120 Tyler Road, Contoocook, 746-2349, blackwatermustardco.com (Blackwater Mustard Co. owner Steve Cybulski produces more than 15 different flavors of gourmet mustards, including several in conjunction with local breweries. There’s the chocolate stout mustard with Kettlehead Brewery in Tilton, a porter mustard with Henniker Brewing Co., and a smoked salt and double seed mustard at Lithermans Limited Brewery in Concord.)
 
DELICIOUS DISHES
Best Barbecue
Best of the best: KC’s Rib Shack, 837 Second St., Manchester, 627-7427, ribshack.net
Best of Concord: Smokeshow Barbeque, 89 Fort Eddy Road, Concord, 227-6399, smokeshowbbq.com
Best of Manchester: Goody Cole’s Smokehouse and Catering Co., 374 Route 125, Brentwood, 679-8898, goodycoles.com
Best of Nashua: Riverside Barbeque Co., 53 Main St., Nashua, 204-5110, riversidebarbeque.com
 
Best Breakfast
Best of the best: Tucker’s, 1328 Hooksett Road, Hooksett, 206-5757, tuckersnh.com (Tucker’s also has locations at 207 Main St. in New London, 80 South St. in Concord and 238 Indian Brook Road in Dover.)
Best of Concord: Tucker’s, 80 South St., Concord, 413-5884, tuckersnh.com (Tucker’s also has locations at 1328 Hooksett Road in Hooksett, 207 Main St. in New London and 238 Indian Brook Road in Dover)
Best of Manchester: Purple Finch Cafe, 124 S. River Road, Bedford, 232-1958, purplefinchcafe.com
Best of Nashua: The Riverhouse Cafe, 123 Union Square, Milford, 249-5556, theriverhousecafe.com
 
Best Burgers
Best of the best: The Tuckaway Tavern & Butchery, 58 Route 27, Raymond, 244-2431, thetuckaway.com
Best of Concord: The Barley House Restaurant & Tavern, 132 N. Main St., Concord, 228-6363, thebarleyhouse.com (The Barley House also has a location in 43 Lafayette Road in North Hampton)
Best of Manchester: New England’s Tap House Grille, 1292 Hooksett Road, Hooksett, 782-5137, taphousenh.com
Best of Nashua: Papa Joe’s Humble Kitchen, 237 South St., Milford, 672-9130, papajoeshumblekitchen.com
 
Best French Fries
Best of the best: Caesario’s, 1057 Elm St., Manchester, 669-8383, caesariospizza.com
Best of Concord: The Barley House Restaurant & Tavern, 132 N. Main St., Concord, 228-6363, thebarleyhouse.com (The Barley House also has a location in 43 Lafayette Road in North Hampton)
Best of Manchester: Republic Cafe, 1069 Elm St., Manchester, 666-3723, republiccafe.com
Best of Nashua: Bar One, 40 Nashua St., Milford, 249-5327, find them on Facebook
 
 
Best Place for Gluten-Free Eats
Best of the best: Bite Me Kupcakez, 4 Mound Court, Merrimack, 674-4459, bitemekupcakez.com (Bite Me Kupcakez is a gluten-free bakery and cafe offering items like cupcakes, sweet breads, donuts, muffins, scones, breakfast sandwiches and more.)
Best of Concord: Patrick’s Pub & Eatery, 18 Weirs Road, Gilford, 293-0841, patrickspub.com (This Irish pub has several gluten-free appetizers and entrees to choose from; options include spinach and artichoke dip, chicken fingers baked with rice breading, gluten-free pizzas and the new Southwestern quinoa bowl.)
Best of Manchester: Tucker’s, 1328 Hooksett Road, Hooksett, 206-5757, tuckersnh.com (The menu at Tucker’s includes several omelets, skillet and scrambled egg dishes served with gluten-free toast, and any sandwich available on the lunch menu can be made with gluten-free bread; Tucker’s also has locations at 207 Main St. in New London, 80 South St. in Concord and 238 Indian Brook Road in Dover.)
Best of Nashua: Bar One, 40 Nashua St., Milford, 249-5327, find them on Facebook (Bar One offers a wide variety of gluten-free options, like soups, salads, sandwiches with gluten-free buns and more.)
 
Best Greek Cuisine
Best of the best: Amphora Restaurant, 55 Crystal Ave., Derry, 537-0111, amphoranh.com
Best of Concord: Gyro House, 58 N. Main St., Concord, 219-0559, find them on Facebook
Best of Manchester: Athens Restaurant, 31 Central St., Manchester, 623-9317, athensnh.com
Best of Nashua: Main Street Gyro, 215 Main St., Nashua, 579-0666, mainstreetgyro.com
 
Best International Cuisine
Best of the best: Siam Orchid Thai Bistro, 12 N. Main St., Concord, 228-1529, siamorchid.net (This Thai restaurant offers stir-fried noodle dishes, soups, salads, appetizers, fried rice, curry dishes and more.)
Best of Concord: Mediterrano Turkish & Mediterranean Cuisine, 24 Henniker St., Hillsborough, 680-4337, mediterranoo.com (Options at Mediterrano include appetizers like stuffed grape leaves, baba ganoush and falafel; soups and salads; skewered kebab dishes like chicken and lamb doner, shrimp and eggplant; and desserts like baklava and sutlac.)
Best of Manchester: Matbah Mediterranean Cuisine, 866 Elm St., Manchester, 232-4066, matbahcuisine.com (This Ottoman-Turkish restaurant offers kebabs, sandwiches, wraps, salads, cold and hot appetizers, Turkish coffee, baklava and more.)
Best of Nashua: Lilac Blossom Restaurant, 385 E. Dunstable Road, Nashua, 888-9588; 650 Amherst St., Nashua, 886-8420; lilacblossom.us (The Lilac Blossom Chinese restaurants offer appetizers like steamed dumplings, crab rangoons and Peking ravioli; house specials like General Tso’s chicken, Peking duck and crispy sesame beef; various noodle and rice dishes, soups, salads and more.)
 
Best Macaroni & Cheese
Best of the best: Mr. Mac’s Macaroni & Cheese, 497 Hooksett Road, Manchester, 606-1760, mr-macs.com (Mr. Mac’s also has locations at 2600 Lafayette Road in Portsmouth and 440 Middlesex Road in Tyngsboro, Mass.)
Best of Concord: O Steaks & Seafood, 11 S. Main St., Concord, 856-7925, magicfoodsrestaurantgroup.com/osteaks (O Steaks & Seafood also has a location at 62 Doris Ray Court in Laconia)
Best of Manchester: The Tuckaway Tavern & Butchery, 58 Route 27, Raymond, 244-2431, thetuckaway.com
Best of Nashua: Bar One, 40 Nashua St., Milford, 249-5327, find them on Facebook
 
Best Noodle Bowl
Best of the best: Pho Golden Bowl, 12 Lake Ave., Manchester, 622-2000, phogoldenbowlnh.com
Best of Concord: Gale Motor Co. Whiskey & Wine, 148 N. Main St., Concord, 715-8575, find them on Facebook
Best of Manchester: Crazy Noodle House, 44 Nashua Road, Unit 6, Londonderry, 965-3291, crazynoodlehouse.wordpress.com
Best of Nashua: You You Japanese Bistro, 150 Broad St., No. 4, Nashua, 882-8337, youyoubistro.com
 
Best Pizza
Best of the best: 900 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria, 50 Dow St., Manchester, 641-0900, 900degrees.com (900 Degrees also has a location at 24 Brickyard Square in Epping and a third location due to open at 2454 Lafayette Road in Portsmouth later this spring)
Best of Concord: Constantly Pizza, 39 S. Main St., Concord, 224-9366, constantlypizza.net (Constantly Pizza also has a location at 108 Fisherville Road in Penacook)
Best of Manchester: Alley Cat Pizzeria, 486 Chestnut St., Manchester, 669-4533, alleycatpizzerianh.com
Best of Nashua: Pig Tale Restaurant, 449 Amherst St., Nashua, 864-8740, pigtalerestaurant.com
 
Best Sandwich
Best of the best: Steak & Cheese sub at Sub Station, 1292 Hooksett Road, Suite H, Hooksett, 625-1800, substationhooksett.com (Shaved steak with your choice of melted American or provolone cheese; subs can also be customized with teriyaki or barbecue sauce)
Best of Concord: Roast Beef sandwiches at Beefside Restaurant, 106 Manchester St., Concord, 228-0208, beefsiderestaurant.net
Best of Manchester: Nitro Chicken sandwich at Harold Square, 226 Rockingham Road, Londonderry, 432-7144, haroldsquarenh.com (Fried chicken tenders, sharp cheddar cheese, bacon, homemade ranch and the restaurant’s famous nitro sauce on a grilled roll)
Best of Nashua: Cubano sandwich at Bar One, 40 Nashua St., Milford, 249-5327, find them on Facebook
 
Best Subs
Best of the best: Nadeau’s, 776 Mast Road, Manchester, 623-9315, nadeaussubs.com (original location; Nadeau’s also has locations at 100 Cahill Ave., 805 Canal St. and 1095 Hanover St., all in Manchester; 48 Portsmouth Ave. in Exeter, and 81 S. Main St. in Concord)
Best of Concord: Cimo’s South End Deli, 250 South St., Concord, 856-8020, find them on Facebook
Best of Manchester: Sub Station, 1292 Hooksett Road, Suite H, Hooksett, 625-1800, substationhooksett.com
Best of Nashua: Bill Cahill’s Super Subs, 8 Kimball Hill Road, Hudson, 882-7710
 
Best Tacos
Best of the best: Dos Amigos Burritos, 26 N. Main St., Concord, 410-4161, dosamigosburritos.com (Dos Amigos Burritos also has locations at 107 State St. in Portsmouth, 286 Central Ave. in Dover and 24 Pleasant St. in Newburyport, Mass.)
Best of Concord: Hermanos Cocina Mexicana, 11 Hills Ave., Concord, 224-5669, hermanosmexican.com
Best of Manchester: La Carreta Mexican Restaurant, 545 Hooksett Road, Manchester, 628-6899; 1875 S. Willow St., Manchester, 623-7705; lacarettamex.com (La Carreta also has locations at 139 Daniel Webster Highway in Nashua, 35 Manchester Road, Suite 5A in Derry, 44 Nashua Road in Londonderry, and a sixth location opening at 172 Hanover St. in Portsmouth later this year.)
Best of Nashua: California Burritos Mexican Grill, 101 Factory St., Nashua, 718-8745, californiaburritosnh.com (California Burritos Mexican Grill also has a location at 35 Lowell Road in Hudson that opened last fall.)
 
Best Takeout
Best of the best: The Puritan Backroom Restaurant, 245 Hooksett Road, Manchester, 669-6890, puritanbackroom.com (The Puritan Backroom’s takeout menu includes various chicken tender dishes and fried seafood plates like haddock, clams and scallops, as well as burgers, sandwiches and pizzas)
Best of Concord: Tea Garden Restaurant, 184 N. Main St., Concord, 228-4420, teagarden-nh.com (This Chinese restaurant offers a variety of chicken, beef, pork and seafood options, and house specials like lemon chicken, Peking duck and Mongolian beef.)
Best of Manchester: The Pizza Man of Hooksett, 254 W. River Road, Hooksett, 626-7499, thepizzamandelivers.com (The menu includes pizzas, calzones, hot and cold subs, pasta dishes, quesadillas and more; The Pizza Man also has locations at 850 E. Industrial Park Drive, No. 3, in Manchester, 469 Charles Bancroft Highway in Litchfield and 663 Broad St. in Lyndonville, Vt.)
Best of Nashua: Lilac Blossom Restaurant, 385 E. Dunstable Road, Nashua, 888-9588; 650 Amherst St., Nashua, 886-8420; lilacblossom.us (Lilac Blossom has take-out options like lo mein, fried rice, General Tso’s chicken and steamed dumplings.)
 
Best Example of NH Cuisine
Best of the best: Chicken tenders at The Puritan Backroom Restaurant, 245 Hooksett Road, Manchester, 669-6890, puritanbackroom.com (Options include regular, Buffalo, coconut, spicy or broiled, and all chicken tenders plates are served with french fries and coleslaw)
Best of Concord: Roast beef sandwiches at Beefside Restaurant, 106 Manchester St., Concord, 228-0208, beefsiderestaurant.net (There are six different sizes to choose from, and you can customize your own with toppings like mayonnaise, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese)
Best of Manchester: Poutine at Chez Vachon, 136 Kelley St., Manchester, 625-9660, find them on Facebook (In addition to the cheese curds and gravy, other topping options include the vegetable poutine, which can feature any combination of veggies like mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, peppers, spinach, olives, jalapenos, broccoli or peas; or the meat poutine, which can feature combinations of meats like hamburger, hot dog, Italian sausage, turkey, bacon, kielbasa, chicken tender or steak tips)
Best of Nashua: Pancakes at Parker’s Maple Barn, 1316 Brookline Road, Mason, 878-2308, parkersmaplebarn.com (The restaurant serves six-inch pancakes all day, featuring flavors like buttermilk, blueberry, buckwheat and a special “Pancake of the Month” each month)
 
SWEET TREATS
Best Candy/Chocolate Shop
Best of the best: Granite State Candy Shoppe, 13 Warren St., Concord, 225-2591, granitestatecandyshoppe.com (Granite State Candy Shoppe also has a location at 832 Elm St. in Manchester)
Best of Concord: Kellerhaus, 259 Endicott St. N, Laconia, 366-4466, kellerhaus.com
Best of Manchester: Van Otis Chocolates, 341 Elm St., Manchester, 627-1611, vanotischocolates.com
Best of Nashua: Nelson’s Candies, 65 Main St., Wilton, 654-5030, nelsonscandieswilton.com
 
Best Desserts
Best of the best: Frederick’s Pastries, 25 S. River Road, Bedford, 647-2253, pastry.net (Frederick’s Pastries also has locations at 109 Route 101A, Suite 4, in Amherst and 119 Main St. in North Andover, Mass.)
Best of Concord: Bread & Chocolate, 29 S. Main St., Concord, 228-3330
Best of Manchester: Queen City Cupcakes, 790 Elm St., Manchester, 624-4999, qccupcakes.com
Best of Nashua: The Black Forest Cafe & Bakery, 212 Route 101, Amherst, 672-0500, theblackforestcafe.com
 
Best Locally Made Donuts
Best of the best: Klemm’s Bakery, 29 Indian Rock Road, Windham, 437-8810, klemmsbakery.com
Best of Concord: Brothers Donuts, 426 Central St., Franklin, 934-6678, find them on Facebook
Best of Manchester: The Local Moose Cafe, 124 Queen City Ave., Manchester, 232-2669, thelocalmoosecafe.com
Best of Nashua: Crosby Bakery, 51 E. Pearl St., Nashua, 882-1851, crosbybakerynh.com
 
Best Ice Cream
Best of the best: Hayward’s Homemade Ice Cream, 7 Daniel Webster Highway, Nashua, 888-4663, haywardsicecream.com (Hayward’s also has a location at 383 Elm St. in Milford)
Best of Concord: Arnie’s Place, 164 Loudon Road, Concord, 228-3225, arniesplace.com
Best of Manchester: The Puritan Backroom Restaurant, 245 Hooksett Road, Manchester, 669-6890, puritanbackroom.com
Best of Nashua: The Big 1, 185 Concord St., Nashua, thebig1icecream.com
 
DRINK LIST
Best Beer Selection (at bar/restaurant)
Best of the best: New England’s Tap House Grille, 1292 Hooksett Road, Hooksett, 782-5137, taphousenh.com
Best of Concord: The Barley House Restaurant & Tavern, 132 N. Main St., Concord, 228-6363, thebarleyhouse.com (The Barley House also has a location in 43 Lafayette Road in North Hampton)
Best of Manchester: The Thirsty Moose Taphouse, 795 Elm St., Manchester, 792-2337, thirstymoosetaphouse.com (The Thirsty Moose also has locations at 21 Congress St. in Portsmouth, 83 Washington St. in Dover and 72 Portsmouth Ave. in Exeter.)
Best of Nashua: The Flight Center Beer Cafe, 97 Main St., Nashua, 417-6184, flightcenterbc.com
 
Best Beer Shop
Best of the best: Bert’s Better Beers, 1100 Hooksett Road, Suite 105, Hooksett, 413-5992, bertsbetterbeers.com
Best of Concord: Capital Beverages, 75 S. Main St., Concord, 856-8138, capitalbeverages.comcastbiz.net
Best of Manchester: Lazy Dog Beer Shoppe, 27 Buttrick Road, Londonderry, 434-2500, lazydogbeer.com
Best of Nashua: The Beer Store, 433 Amherst St., Nashua, 889-2242, thebeerstorenh.com
 
Best NH Brewery
Best: Able Ebenezer Brewing Co., 31 Columbia Circle, Merrimack, 844-223-2253, ableebenezer.com
Runner-up: 603 Brewery, 12 Liberty Drive, Londonderry, 630-7745, 603brewery.com
Honorable mention: Pipe Dream Brewing, 49 Harvey Road, Londonderry, 404-0751, pipedreambrewingnh.com
 
Best Cup of Coffee
Best of the best: True Brew Barista & Cafe, 3 Bicentennial Square, Concord, 225-2776; 45 S. Main St., Concord, 715-5833; truebrewbarista.com
Best of Concord: White Mountain Gourmet Coffee, 15 Pleasant St., Concord, 228-3317, whitemountaingourmetcoffee.com
Best of Manchester: Cafe la Reine, 915 Elm St., Manchester, 232-0332, cafelareine.com
Best of Nashua: Union Coffee Co., 42 South St., Milford, unioncoffee.co
 
Best NH Distillery
Best: Flag Hill Distillery & Winery, 297 N. River Road, Lee, 659-2949, flaghill.com
Runner-up: Tamworth Distilling, 15 Cleveland Hill Road, Tamworth, 323-7196, tamworthdistilling.com
Honorable mention: Djinn Spirits, 2 Townsend West, Suite 9, Nashua, 262-1812, djinnspirits.com
 
Best NH Tasting Room
Best: LaBelle Winery, 345 Route 101, Amherst, 672-9898, labellewinerynh.com (LaBelle Winery also has a location at 104 Congress St. in Portsmouth)
Runner-up: Lithermans Limited Brewery, 126 Hall St., Unit B, Concord, 818-9102, lithermans.beer
Honorable mention: Great North Aleworks, 1050 Holt Ave., No. 14, Manchester, 858-5789, greatnorthaleworks.com
 
Best NH Winery
Best: LaBelle Winery, 345 Route 101, Amherst, 672-9898, labellewinerynh.com (LaBelle Winery also has a location at 104 Congress St. in Portsmouth)
Runner-up: Zorvino Vineyards, 226 Main St., Sandown, 887-8463, zorvino.com
Honorable mention: Flag Hill Distillery & Winery, 297 N. River Road, Lee, 659-2949, flaghill.com
 
FOOD EVENTS & HAPPENINGS
Best Farmers Market
Best: Concord Farmers Market, concordfarmersmarket.com; dates are usually from the first Saturday in May through the last Saturday in October, from 8:30 a.m. to noon, on Capitol Street in downtown Concord. 2018 market dates TBA.
Runner-up: Bedford Farmers Market, bedfordfarmersmarket.org; 2018 market dates will be Tuesdays, 3 to 6 p.m., from June 12 through Oct. 9, at St. Elizabeth Seton Church (190 Meetinghouse Road, Bedford).
Honorable mention: Nashua Farmers Market, downtownnashua.org/farmers-market; 2018 market dates will be Sundays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., from June 17 through Oct. 14, at 65 Main St. in Nashua.
 
Best Summer-Only Eats
Best of the best: Cremeland Drive In, 250 Valley St., Manchester, 669-4430, find them on Facebook (Cremeland Drive In opened for the season on March 10. The menu includes homemade ice creams, fried clam, haddock and scallop plates, burgers, hot dogs, coffees, teas and more.)
Best of Concord: Town Docks Restaurant, 289 Daniel Webster Highway, Meredith, 279-3445, find them on Facebook (This restaurant is a member of The Common Man family and offers outdoor seating overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee. The menu features lobster dinners, homemade ice cream, fried seafood plates, hamburgers, hot dogs and more. They hope to start the 2018 season on April 14 with just ice cream on weekends, weather permitting, before expanding their hours during the summer months.)
Best of Manchester: Clam Haven, 94 Rockingham Road, Derry, 434-4679, clamhaven.com (Clam Haven opened for the season on March 15. The menu includes fried seafood plates like clams, haddock, shrimp, scallops, lobster tails, calamari and more, as well as salads, sandwiches and burgers.)
Best of Nashua: Hayward’s Homemade Ice Cream, 7 Daniel Webster Highway, Nashua, 888-4663, haywardsicecream.com (Hayward’s Homemade Ice Cream opened for the season on Feb. 24 and has more than 60 flavors of hard and soft ice creams and frozen yogurts available to order. Hayward’s also has a location at 383 Elm St. in Milford.)
 
Best Food Festival or Event
Best of the best: Hampton Beach Seafood Festival, hamptonbeachseafoodfestival.com; 2018 festival is Friday, Sept. 7, through Sunday, Sept. 9, along Ocean Boulevard at Hampton Beach
Best of Concord: Market Days Festival, intownconcord.org; 2018 festival is Thursday, June 21, through Saturday, June 23, on Main Street in downtown Concord
Best of Manchester: Glendi, stgeorgeglendi.com; 2018 festival is Friday, Sept. 14, through Sunday, Sept. 16, at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral (650 Hanover St., Manchester)
Best of Nashua: Rock’n Ribfest, ribfestnh.com; 2018 festival is Friday, June 15, through Sunday, June 17, at Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tours (221 Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack)
 
Best Wine-Related Event
Best: Easterseals Winter Wine Spectacular, held during New Hampshire Wine Week in January. This year’s event was Jan. 25 at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester.
Runner-up: Barrel tastings at Zorvino Vineyards, 226 Main St., Sandown, 887-8463, zorvino.com; Zorvino is open for tastings every day from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for some holidays, for $5 per person.
Honorable mention: National Drink Wine Weekend; 2018 event was held Feb. 17 and Feb. 18 and featured free wine tastings, door prizes and more. This year’s participating wineries were Winnipesaukee Winery (458 Center St., Wolfeboro), Copper Beech Winery (146 Londonderry Turnpike, Hooksett), Fulchino Vineyard (187 Pine Hill Road, Hollis), Moonlight Meadery (23 Londonderry Road, Londonderry), Appolo Vineyards (49 Lawrence Road, Derry) and Averill House Vineyard (21 Averill Road, Brookline).
 
Best Beer-Related Event
Best: Derry After Dark, derryafterdark.com; 2018 event is Saturday, Sept. 15, from 6 to 9 p.m. in downtown Derry
Runner-up: Rock’n Ribfest, ribfestnh.com; 2018 festival is Friday, June 15, through Sunday, June 17, at Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tours (221 Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack)
Honorable mention: Gate City Brewfest & Wing Competition, gatecitybrewfestnh.com; 2018 festival is Saturday, Aug. 18, from 1 to 5 p.m. at Holman Stadium (67 Amherst St., Nashua)
 
FOOD PERSONALITIES
Best Bartender
Best of the best: Jim Gilbert, Wild Rover Pub, 21 Kosciuszko St., Manchester, 669-7722, wildroverpub.com (an Irish pub offering lunch and dinner options like burgers, sandwiches, soups, wraps, pub entrees and more, as well as dozens of beers and wines on tap)
Best of Concord: Corey Garland, The Barley House Restaurant & Tavern, 132 N. Main St., Concord, 228-6363, thebarleyhouse.com (a downtown restaurant that focuses on tavern-style eats, craft beer, whiskey and cocktails)
Best of Manchester: Patrick Graham, Romano’s Pizza of Litchfield, 27 Colby Road, Litchfield, 424-0500, romanosnh.com (Romano’s has been a staple of Litchfield for more than 20 years, offering a menu of Italian and American dinners, appetizers, salad and its renowned thin-crust pizzas, as well as a rotating seasonal menu)
Best of Nashua: Dave Bourgault, Tiebreakers Family Grille (at Hampshire Hills Athletic Club), 50 Emerson Road, Milford, 673-7123, ext. 232, hampshirehills.com (open at the Hampshire Hills Athletic Club in Milford every Wednesday through Saturday, with a menu featuring salads, pastas, pizzas, sandwiches and more)
 
Best Chef
Best of the best: Nicole Leavitt, Purple Finch Cafe, 124 S. River Road, Bedford, 232-1958, purplefinchcafe.com (features a menu of salads, soups, chilis, chowders, sandwiches and more, as well as shareable plates like Bavarian pretzel sticks, vegetable hummus and fiesta nachos)
Best of Concord: Corey Fletcher, Revival Kitchen & Bar, 11 Depot St., Concord, 715-5723, revivalkitchennh.com (a farm-to-table fine dining restaurant with menu options like cheese plates, small and large plates, and desserts)
Best of Manchester: Stuart Cameron, Hanover Street Chophouse, 149 Hanover St., Manchester, 644-2467, hanoverstreetchophouse.com (a steakhouse offering fine dining options like steaks, chops, fish, shellfish and a selection of more than 200 bottled wines)
Best of Nashua: Michael Buckley, Michael Timothy’s Dining Group (Buckley’s Bakery & Cafe, 436 Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack, 262-5929, buckleysbakerycafe.com; Buckley’s Great Steaks, 438 Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack, 424-0995, buckleysgreatsteaks.com; MT’s Local Kitchen & Wine Bar, 212 Main St., Nashua, 595-9334, mtslocal.com; Surf Restaurant, 207 Main St., Nashua, 595-9293, surfseafood.com)
 
Friendliest Barista
Best of the best: Caleb Parsons, Schoodac’s Coffee & Tea, 1 E. Main St., Warner, facebook.com/schoodacs (serves coffees and breakfast and lunch options).
Best of Concord: Natalie Witmer, Schoodac’s Coffee & Tea, 1 E. Main St., Warner, facebook.com/schoodacs
Best of Manchester: Jordan Tillery, The Local Moose Cafe, 124 Queen City Ave., Manchester, 232-2669, thelocalmoosecafe.com (offers coffees, espresso drinks and lattes, as well as a menu of sandwiches with locally sourced ingredients)
Best of Nashua: Lauren Morrow, Riverwalk Cafe & Music Bar, Nashua, 578-0200, riverwalknashua.com (offers live music, craft cocktails, coffees, sandwiches and more)
 
Best Waiter/Waitress
Best of the best: Crystal Cyr, The Pizza Man of Hooksett, 254 W. River Road, Hooksett, 626-7499, thepizzamandelivers.com (features a menu of pizzas, calzones, hot and cold subs, pasta dinners and more; also has locations in Manchester and Litchfield)
Best of Concord: Jonna Gaskell, Hermanos Cocina Mexicana, 11 Hills Ave., Concord, 224-5669, hermanosmexican.com (a Mexican restaurant offering a menu of appetizers, nachos, soups and a la carte options like burritos, chimichangas, tacos, enchiladas and more)
Best of Manchester: Tiffany Plagenza, The Puritan Backroom Restaurant, 245 Hooksett Road, Manchester, 669-6890, puritanbackroom.com (offers a menu of fried plates, burgers, sandwiches, soups, salads, pizzas and more)
Best of Nashua: Camden Kallfelz, Bar One, 40 Nashua St., Milford, 249-5327, facebook.com/baronenh (a women-run restaurant and bar with signature comfort food creations like truffle fries, duck confit poutine, chicken and waffles and flatbread pizzas)
 
EVENTS
Best Pop Culture Event
Best: Granite State Comicon, Saturday, Sept. 8, and Sunday, Sept. 9, at the Manchester Downtown Hotel (formerly the Radisson), 700 Elm St., Manchester. The event is New Hampshire’s largest comic convention, and 2018 will be its 16th year. Saturday admission is $25, Sunday is $20 and a weekend pass is $40. VIP tickets are $65. Visit granitecon.com. 
Runner-up: Vinyl Night, every two months at Pipe Dream Brewing, 49 Harvey Road, Londonderry, and Romano’s, 27 Colby Road, Litchfield. It’s organized by local vinyl enthusiasts who have over 1,000 records. The last event was on April 8 at Pipe Dream. Find them on Facebook.
Honorable mention: ArtFront, at various locations in Manchester. There were two events in 2017 that lasted two or three days each. More events are being planned for 2018, dates TBD. They combine 2-D and 3-D works of art with modern dance. Find them on Facebook or at artfrontnh.com. 
 
Best Film Event or Series
Best: SNOB Film Festival, Thursday, Nov. 8, through Sunday, Nov. 11, at Red River Theatres, 11 S. Main St., Concord. SNOB stands for Somewhat North of Boston. It’s one of the largest film festivals in the state with a long list of short narrative films, documentaries and independent feature-length films screened at the event. Visit snobfilmfestival.com.
Runner-up: Red Carpet Oscar Party at Red River Theatres, 11 S. Main St., Concord. This annual event is one of Red River’s biggest fundraisers. Attendees are given the red carpet treatment as they view the Academy Awards live at the cinema with catering provided by O Steaks & Seafood. The next event is scheduled to take place on Feb. 24, 2019. Tickets range between $55 and $65. 
Honorable mention: New Hampshire Film Festival, Thursday, Oct. 11, through Sunday, Oct. 14, at various locations in downtown Portsmouth. Tickets for individual screening are $15, day passes range from $25 ro $40, weekend passes are $100 and VIP tickets are $225. Visit nhfilmfestival.com. 
 
Best Community Event
Best of the best: Market Days Festival, held in downtown Concord every summer. This year will be the 44th annual festival on Thursday, June 21, through Saturday, June 23. Most of Main Street is closed off from vehicle traffic, and tents and booths are set up with food, shopping and free entertainment. It’s organized by Intown Concord and free to attend. Visit intownconcord.org.
Best of Concord: Fall Foliage Festival, held in downtown Warner every fall. The 71st annual festival will be held Friday, Oct. 5, through Sunday, Oct. 7. It features a 5K, vendors, carnival rides and food. Visit wfff.org.
Best of Manchester: Hippo de Mayo Taco Challenge (Taco Tour), held in downtown Manchester, is the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in New England. This year’s event will take place on Thursday, May 3, from 4 to 9 p.m. Dozens of downtown restaurants will serve their own taco creations available for $2 each. It’s hosted by the Hippo. Visit hippodemayo.com.
Best of Nashua: Nashua Holiday Stroll, held in downtown Nashua, features music, food, shopping and live entertainment. It kicks off with a candlelight stroll down Main Street to a tree-lighting ceremony. This year’s 25th annual event is on Saturday, Nov. 24. The stroll begins at 5 p.m. and lasts until 10 p.m. but there will also be daytime activities from noon to 4 p.m.
 
Best Parade
Best: Fourth of July Parade in Amherst. Scheduled every July 4 at 10 a.m., it’s a festive and well-attended display of patriotism and civic engagement set in the picturesque center of Amherst. It’s a particularly big event during election years, when candidates for public office and their supporters make an appearance in the parade. Visit amherstnh.gov.
Runner-up: Christmas Parade in downtown Manchester. Usually scheduled for the first Saturday of every December, the Queen City’s Christmas Parade is the only parade in the state that takes place in the evening. It starts at 4 p.m. after the Santa Claus Shuffle kicks off, with various floats heading south along Elm Street. Visit intownmanchester.com.
Honorable mention: St. Patrick’s Day Parade, held in downtown Manchester. The largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the state, the parade runs along Elm Street every year. The next parade, which will be the 24th annual event, is scheduled for Sunday, March 24, 2019 at noon.  The last event boasted pipe bands, gymnasts, clowns and monster trucks. Visit saintpatsnh.com.
 
Best Family/Kids Event
Best: Milford Pumpkin Fest, on Columbus Day Weekend in downtown Milford. See the giant pumpkins and enjoy craft fairs, talent shows, fireworks and a haunted trail. Contact the Granite Town Festivities Committee for more info at 508-954-2786.
Runner-up: Deerfield Fair, on Thursday, Sept. 27, through Sunday, Sept. 30, at the Deerfield Fairgrounds, 34 Stage Road, Deerfield. It’s one of the largest and most well-attended agricultural fairs in New Hampshire, with carnival rides, live entertainment, food and more. Visit deerfieldfair.com.
Honorable mention: Market Days Festival, held in downtown Concord every summer. This year will be the 44th annual festival, Thursday, June 21, through Saturday, June 23. Most of Main Street is closed off from vehicle traffic, and tents and booths are set up with food, shopping and free entertainment. It’s organized by Intown Concord and free to attend. Visit intownconcord.org.
 
ENTERTAINMENT & OUTINGS
Best Self-Guided Tour
Best: Andres Institute of Art, 98 Route 13, Brookline, 673-8441, andresinstitute.org
Runner-up: Currier Museum of Art, 150 Ash St., Manchester, 669-6144, currier.org 
Honorable mention: Strawbery Banke Museum, 14 Hancock St., Portsmouth, 433-1100, strawberybanke.org
Best Place to Take Your Kids
Best of the best: Canobie Lake Park, a permanent amusement park, 85 N. Policy St., Salem, 893-3506, canobie.com
Best of Concord: Krazy Kids, an indoor play center and party venue, 60 Sheep Davis Road, Pembroke, 288-7529, krazykids.com
Best of Manchester: Cowabungas, an indoor inflatable playground, 1328 Hooksett Road, Hooksett, 625-8008, 725 Huse Road, Manchester, 935-9659, mycowabungas.com
Bests of Nashua: Launch Trampoline Park, 17 Tanguay Ave., Nashua, 318-7600, launchnashua.com
 
Best Place to Take Visiting Relatives
Best: Currier Museum of Art, 150 Ash St., Manchester, 669-6144, currier.org. An art museum founded in 1929 that features European and American paintings, decorative arts, photographs and sculptures, including works by Picasso, Monet, O’Keeffe and other notable artists.
Runner-up: Anheuser-Busch Brewery, 221 Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack, 595-1202, budweisertours.com. The center of Northeast operations for beer production and distribution for brands like Budweiser and the home of the famous Budweiser Clydesdales. Tours are available Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Honorable mention: Canterbury Shaker Village, 288 Shaker Road, Canterbury, 783-9511, shakers.org. A museum preserving an original Shaker village built in 1792 that includes 25 restored and four reconstructed buildings where visitors can learn about Shaker life. It opens to the public on May 5, open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. From Sept. 3 to Oct. 28 it’s open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
 
Best Place to Kill an Hour
Best: Downtown Concord, settled in 1725 and named Concord 40 years later, the current state capital has a quaint New England-style Main Street with many shops and restaurants and the home of the country’s largest state legislature, the New Hampshire Statehouse. The downtown area was recently redesigned with wider sidewalks, lamp posts and several outdoor sculptures.
Runner-up: Gibson’s Bookstore, 45 S. Main St., Concord, 224-0562, gibsonsbookstore.com. Founded in 1898, Gibson’s is the oldest continuously running retailer in Concord. In 2013 it moved to its current location and increased in size. It partners with True Brew Barista to provide café services.
Honorable mention: Downtown Portsmouth, an historic seaport and a popular summer tourist destination. The downtown area is characterized by its old brick buildings and sidewalks. It also has a vibrant restaurant and brewery scene.
 
THE ENTERTAINERS
Best Local Band
Best: Hunter, alternative rock, huntertheband.com. The band has a new album release concert on Friday, April 13, at 7 p.m. at The Bounty in Nashua.
Runner-up: Miketon and The Night Blinders, folk rock, miketon.net. The band’s next show is on Tuesday, April 17, at 8:30 p.m. at Great Scott in Allston, Mass. 
Honorable mention: Brooks Young Band, blues rock, brooksyoungband.com. The band’s next local show is on Friday, June 8, at 8 p.m. at The Colonial Theatre in Keene, opening for Three Dog Night.
 
Best Local Solo Performer
Best: Brad Bosse of Hooksett, acoustic/rock, facebook.com/BradBosseMusic. His next local show is on Friday, April 13, at 8 p.m. at Stumble Inn in Londonderry. 
Runner-up: Ryan Williamson of Concord, acoustic singer-songwriter, rwilliamsonmusic.com. His next local show is on Tuesday, April 17, at 5 p.m. at Gould Hill Farm in Contoocook. 
Honorable mention: Tristan Omand of Manchester, Americana, tristanomand.com. His next local show is on Thursday, April 12, at 7 p.m. at the Common Man in Windham. 
 
Best Local Comedian
Best: Nick Lavallee, theotherdude.com. His next local show is on Saturday, April 21, at 9 p.m. at Chunky’s Cinema Pub in Nashua. 
Runner-up: Juston McKinney, justonmckinney.com. His next local show is on Saturday, April 28, at 8 p.m. at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord. 
Honorable mention: Paul Landwehr, paullandwehr.com. His next local show is on Wednesday, April 25, at 9 p.m., at The Shaskeen in Manchester. 
 
Media Personality Who Gets You Through Your Morning
Best: Greg Kretschmar, host of Greg and the Morning Buzz, Rock 101 WGIR-FM/100.3 WHEB-FM, morningbuzz.com. Show airs weekdays from 5:30 to 10 a.m. 
Runner-up: Erin Fehlau, weekday morning and afternoon news anchor for WMUR Channel 9 news, wmur.com. Newscasts are live at 5 a.m., 6 a.m. and noon. 
Honorable mention: Nazzy, host of The Morning Wake Up, 98.3 WLNH-FM, wlnh.nh1media.com. Show airs weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m. 
 
Best Local Sports Team
Best: New Hampshire Fisher Cats, AA affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays Major League Baseball team, nhfishercats.com. The 2018 season home opener is on Friday, April 13, at 6:35 p.m. against the Hartford Yard Goats. Home field is at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester.
Runner-up: Manchester Monarchs, East Coast Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, manchestermonarchs.com. The next season begins in the fall. Home ice is at the SNHU Arena in Manchester.
Honorable mention: University of New Hampshire Wildcats men’s hockey team, NCAA Division I, nhwildcats.com. Home ice is at the Whittemore Center Arena at UNH in Durham. 
 
Local Celebrity You Most Want to Have a Beer with
Best: Fritz Wetherbee, author and television personality, best known for his segment Fritz Wetherbee’s New Hampshire on WMUR’s N.H. Chronicle
Runner-up: Chris Sununu, Governor of New Hampshire 
Honorable mention: Dean Kamen, inventor and entrepreneur best known for inventing the Segway
 
PETS
Best Doggie Day Care
Best of the best: American K9 Country, 336 Route 101, Amherst, 672-8448, americank9country.com
Best of Concord: Pembroke Animal Hospital, 13 Sheep Davis Road, Pembroke, 228-0019, pembroke-animal-hospital.com
Best of Manchester: All Dogs Gym & Inn, 505 Sheffield Road, Manchester, 669-4644, alldogsgym.com 
Best of Nashua: Superdogs Daycare, 637 Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack, 424-1515, superdogsdaycare.com
 
Best Dog Groomers
Best of the best: Sarah’s Paw Spa, 8 Birch St., Derry, 512-4539, sarahspawspa.com
Best of Concord: Bark Now! Dog & Cat Grooming, 237 S. Main St., Concord, 229-3700, barknow.com
Best of Manchester: Ruff to Fluff Dog Grrrooming, 1238 Hooksett Road, Hooksett, 669-1955, rufftofluff.com
Best of Nashua: Cloud K9, 385 Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack, 424-6166, cloudk9.net 
 
Best Place to Walk Your Dog
Best of the best: Benson Park, 19 Kimball Hill Road, Hudson. Formerly the site of Benson’s Wild Animal Farm, it’s a 166-acre municipal park in Hudson with trails, a 9/11 memorial, dog park and Little Free Library.
Best of Concord: White Park, 1 White St., Concord. In the winter, the 20-acre park offers a sledding hill and skating rink. In the summer, visitors come for its baseball field, basketball court, picnic shelter, playground, pool, soccer field and walking trails.
Best of Manchester: Livingston Park, Hooksett Road, Manchester. It offers a baseball diamond, playground, pool, soccer field, running track, picnic shelter and Dorrs Pond, which you can fish during the summer and skate during the winter. 
Best of Nashua: Mine Falls Park, Whipple Street, Nashua. The 325-acre park includes forest, wetlands and open fields. It’s bordered on the north side by the Nashua River.
 
NIGHTLIFE
Best Bar for Live Music
Best of the best: The Shaskeen, 909 Elm St., Manchester, 625-0246, theshaskeenpub.com. They offer live music on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m., and Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 9:30. The Not Fade Away Band is playing on Friday, April 13.
Best of Concord: Area 23, 254 N. State St., Concord, 552-0137, thearea23.com. They have live music every Friday and Saturday night at about 8:20 p.m. with no cover charge. Good Lord the Liftin’ is playing on Friday, April 13 and three bands are playing 60 minute sets at Night of the Hooligans on Saturday, April 14.
Best of Manchester: The Derryfield Restaurant, 625 Mammoth Road, Manchester, 623-2880, derryfieldrestaurant.com. Live music is offered every Friday and Saturday night. Last Kid Picked is playing Friday, April 13 and Chad LaMarsh Band is on Saturday, April 14.  
Best of Nashua: Riverwalk Cafe & Music Bar, 35 Railroad Square, Nashua, 578-0200, riverwalknashua.com. They offer live music every Thursday through Sunday. On Thursday, April 12, the Ali McGuirk Band is playing at 8 p.m., on Friday, April 13, The A-Beez is performing at 8 p.m., on Saturday, April 14, Mr. Nick & the Dirty Tricks are playing at 8 p.m., and on Sunday, April 15, the Squeezebox Stompers are performing at 7 p.m. Cover charges vary.
 
Best Bar with an Outdoor Deck
Best of the best: The Derryfield Restaurant, 625 Mammoth Road, Manchester, 623-2880, derryfieldrestaurant.com (the deck opens when the golf course opens, usually around April, when the ground is dry). 
Best of Concord: Downtown Cheers Grille & Bar, 17 Depot St., Concord, 228-0181, cheersnh.com (the deck opens when the weather warms up).
Best of Manchester: Murphy’s Taproom, 494 Elm St., Manchester, 644-3535, murphystaproom.com (the deck opens when the weather is consistently warm).
Best of Nashua: The Pasta Loft, 241 Union Square, Milford, 672-2270, pastaloft.com (the deck will open once the snow has melted. Pasta Loft also has a location in Hampstead at 220 E. Main St.).
 
Best Pub
Best of the best: The Shaskeen, 909 Elm St., Manchester, 625-0246, theshaskeenpub.com
Best of Concord: The Barley House, 132 N. Main St., Concord, 228-6363, thebarleyhouse.com 
Best of Manchester: Wild Rover Pub, 21 Kosciuszko St., Manchester, 669-7722, wildroverpub.com 
Best of Nashua: The Peddler’s Daughter, 48 Main St., Nashua, 821-7535, thepeddlersdaughter.com
 
Best Sports Bar
Best of the best: Billy’s Sports Bar and Grill, 34 Tarrytown Road, Manchester, 622-3644, billyssportsbar.com 
Best of Concord: The Draft Sports Bar and Grill, 67 S. Main St., Concord, 227-1175, draftsportsbar.com
Best of Manchester: Thirsty Moose Taphouse, 795 Elm St., Manchester, 792-2337, thirstymoosetaphouse.com (Thirsty Moose Taphouse also has locations in Portsmouth at 21 Congress St., in Dover at 83 Washington St. and in Exeter at 72 Portsmouth Ave.). 
Best of Nashua: O’Brien’s Sports Bar, 118 Main St., Nashua, 718-8604, obrienssportsbar.com
 
Best Pub Trivia Night
Best of the best: Every Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. with Steve Erdody at The Pasta Loft, 241 Union Square, Milford, 672-2270, pastaloft.com
Best of Concord: Every Friday at 9 p.m. at Downtown Cheers Grille & Bar, 17 Depot St., Concord, 228-0181, cheersnh.com 
Best of Manchester: Every Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. The Farm Bar & Grille, 1181 Elm St., Manchester, 641-3276, farmbargrille.com 
Best of Nashua: Every Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. (arrive at 8 to get a spot) at The Peddler’s Daughter, 48 Main St., Nashua, 821-7535, thepeddlersdaughter.com 
 
Best Karaoke Night
Best of the best: Yee Dynasty Chinese Restaurant, 830 S. Willow St., Manchester, 625-5500, yeedynasty.com (karaoke is seven nights a week at 9:30 p.m.) 
Best of Concord: Beijing & Tokyo, 61 S. Main St., Concord, 228-0888, beijingtokyoconcordnh.com (karaoke is Friday and Saturday night at 9 p.m.)
Best of Manchester: McGarvey’s Saloon, 1097 Elm St., Manchester, 627-2721, mcgarveysnh.com (karaoke is every night at 9:30 p.m.)
Best of Nashua: Fody’s Great American Tavern, 9 Clinton St., Nashua, 577-9015, fodystavern.com (karaoke is on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 p.m.)
 
Best Comedy Night
Best: Wednesday nights at The Shaskeen, 909 Elm St., Manchester, 625-0246, theshaskeenpub.com 
Runner-up: Tupelo Music Hall, 10 A St., Derry, 437-5100, tupelomusichall.com. National acts, booked by comic Mike Smith, appear on the second Friday of the month. The next one’s April 13, starring Christine Hurley, Mitch Stinson and Brian Higginbottom.
Honorable mention: Thursday nights at 8:45 p.m. at Strange Brew, 88 Market St., Manchester, 666-4292, strangebrewtavern.net     
 
Best Date Place
Best of the best: Mint Bistro, 1105 Elm St., Manchester, 625-6468, mintbistronh.com 
Best of Concord: Angelina’s Ristorante Italiano, 11 Depot St., Concord, 228-3313, angelinasrestaurant.com
Best of Manchester: Bedford Village Inn & Restaurant, 2 Olde Bedford Way, Bedford, 472-2001, bedfordvillageinn.com
Best of Nashua: Bar One, 40 Nashua St., Milford, 249-5327, find them on Facebook.
 
Best Place to Go Dancing
Best: The Derryfield Restaurant, 625 Mammoth Road, Manchester, 623-2880, derryfieldrestaurant.com
Runner-up: Club Manchvegas Bar and Grill, 50 Old Granite St., Manchester, 222-1677, clubmanchvegas.com
Honorable mention: Whiskey’s 20, 20 Old Granite St., Manchester, 836-5251, whiskeys20.com
 
OUTDOORS
Best Local Hiking Trail
Best of the best: Mine Falls Park, Whipple Street, Nashua. The 325-acre park includes forest, wetlands and open fields. It’s bordered on the north side by the Nashua River. There are about eight miles of walking trails in the forest.
Best of Concord: Oak Hill Trails of Shaker Road, Concord. There are approximately seven miles of trails north of Turtle Pond.
Best of Manchester: Lake Massabesic, Route 101, Exit 2, Bypass 28, Manchester, 624-6444, manchesternh.gov. There are several marked trails that range in length from half a mile to over three miles.
Best of Nashua: Beaver Brook, 117 Ridge Road, Hollis, 465-7787, beaverbrook.org. It features 35 miles of trails along more than 2,000 acres of forest, wetlands and fields.
 
Best Farm for Pick-Your-Own
Best of the best: Lull Farm, 65 Broad St., Hollis, 465-7079, livefreeandfarm.com. They have apples and pumpkins available for picking, as well as strawberries.
Best of Concord: Carter Hill Orchard, 73 Carter Hill Road, Concord, 225-2625, carterhillapples.com. Visitors can pick apples, peaches, blueberries and raspberries.
Best of Manchester: Mack’s Apples, 230 Mammoth Road, Londonderry, 800-479-6225, macksapples.com. They have pumpkins and apples available for picking.
Best of Nashua: Brookdale Fruit Farm, 41 Broad St., Hollis, 465-2240, brookdalefruitfarm.com. Visitors can pick apples, pumpkins, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, cherries and strawberries.
 
Best City Park
Best of the best: White Park, 1 White St., Concord. In the winter, the 20-acre park offers a sledding hill and skating rink. In the summer, visitors come for its baseball field, basketball court, picnic shelter, playground, pool, soccer field and walking trails.
Best of Concord: Rollins Park, 116 Broadway St., Concord, 225-8690, concordnh.gov (parking is at 33 Bow St., Concord). It features walking trails, a full-sized playground, baseball, softball and field hockey fields, and the city’s largest public pool, which is open during the summer. 
Best of Manchester: Livingston Park, Hooksett Road, Manchester. It offers a baseball diamond, playground, pool, soccer field, running track, picnic shelter and Dorrs Pond, where you can fish during the summer and skate during the winter. There’s also a 1-mile trail around the pond.
Best of Nashua: Greeley Park, 100 Concord St., Nashua, 589-3370, nashuanh.gov. A 125-acre park that extends from the Merrimack River to Manchester Street. Aside from hills for sledding, there are also sports fields for playing baseball, softball, as well as a tennis court and other features.
 
Best State Park
Best: Bear Brook State Park, 61 Deerfield Road, Allenstown, 485-9869, nhstateparks.org. The largest developed state park in New Hampshire, with more than 10,000 acres of land and 40 miles of trails. 
Runner-up: Pawtuckaway State Park, 128 Mammoth Road, Nottingham, 895-3031, nhstateparks.org. It features more than 5,000 acres of land and hiking trails.
Honorable mention: Wellington State Park, 614 W. Shore Road, Bristol, 744-2197, nhstateparks.org. It features volleyball and horseshoe courts, and a peninsula nature trail with picnic areas, fishing areas and more. 
 
Best Sledding Hill
Best of the best: Derryfield Country Club, 625 Mammoth Road in Manchester, (derryfieldgolf.com, 669-0235). A hill at the course off Mammoth Road is a popular sledding destination. (Note: Derryfield Park, not far away on Bridge Street in Manchester, also has a large hill with sledding potential.)
Best of Concord: White Park, 1 White St., Concord. In the winter, the 20-acre park offers a sledding hill and skating rink. In the summer, visitors come for its baseball field, basketball court, picnic shelter, playground, pool, soccer field and walking trails. A sledding hill is located in the park.
Best of Manchester: Mack’s Apples, 230 Mammoth Road, Londonderry, 800-479-6225, macksapples.com. Multiple hills around the property are available for sledding.
Best of Nashua: Roby Park, Spit Brook Road, Nashua, 589-3370, nashuanh.gov. A large hill behind the park is often used for sledding. 
 
Best Bike Trail/Spot for a Bike Ride
Best of the best: Mine Falls Park, Whipple Street, Nashua. The 325-acre park includes forest, wetlands and open fields. It’s bordered on the north side by the Nashua River. There are about eight miles of trails in the forest.
Best of Concord: WOW Trail, can be accessed behind the train station in downtown Laconia. WOW stands for Winnipesaukee, Opechee, Winnisquam, the three lakes connected by the paved 10-foot-wide rail trail.
Best of Manchester: Windham Rail Trail, accessed at the Windham Depot in Windham. This 4.1-mile trail is the anchor section of the Granite State Rail Trail. 
Best of Nashua: Nashua River Rail Trail, in Nashua. It connects the Gate City to Ayer, Massachusetts, with over 12 miles of paved rail trail.
 
Best Annual Footrace
Best of the best: The Payson Center for Cancer Care Rock‘N Race, a 5K starting at the Statehouse Plaza on Main Street, Concord. The race is on Thursday, May 17, this year. Proceeds benefit the Concord Hospital Trust. Visit giveto.concordhospital.org.
Best of Concord: Wicked FIT 5K Runs in Concord and Wolfeboro. The races benefit Families in Transition. The Concord race is on Saturday, Oct. 27, at 9:30 a.m. at Rollins Park. The Wolfeboro race is on Saturday, Sept. 29, at 10:30 a.m. at the Abenaki Ski Area.
Best of Manchester: The 26th Annual Cigna/Elliot Corporate Road Race in downtown Manchester. Scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 9, this 5K race along Elm and Canal streets is the largest 5K in the state, with more than 6,000 registrants each year. Visit elliothospital.org/website/cigna.
Best of Nashua: The 13th Annual Hollis Fast 5K in Hollis. The race is at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 14, at Hollis Brookline Middle School, 25 Main St., Hollis. The proceeds help fund local educational scholarships. Visit hollisfast5k.com.
 
LIFE IN NH
Best Community Service Non-Profit
Best: Families In Transition, 122 Market St., Manchester, 641-9441, fitnh.org. It provides safe, affordable housing and social services to individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, enabling them on a path of self-sufficiency. 
Runner-up: SHARE Outreach, 1 Columbus Ave., Milford, 673-9898, sharenh.org. It provides emergency and ongoing support in the form of food, clothing, financial assistance and local resources to individuals and families in need in Milford, Amherst, Brookline and Mont Vernon. 
Honorable mention: Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of New Hampshire, 138 Coolidge Ave., Manchester, 626-4600, casanh.org. It recruits, trains and supervises volunteers who serve as advocates for abused and neglected children in the state court system, helping the children find safe and permanent homes. 
 
Best Historical Site or Museum
Best of the best: Currier Museum of Art, 150 Ash St., Manchester, 669-6144, currier.org. The internationally renowned art museum was founded in 1929 and features American and European paintings, sculptures, photographs and more by notable artists. 
Best of Manchester: Millyard Museum, 200 Bedford St., Manchester, 622-7531, manchesterhistoric.org/millyard-museum. This museum, operated by the Manchester Historic Association, features permanent and rotating exhibits pertaining to Manchester history. 
Best of Concord: New Hampshire Historical Society, 30 Park St., Concord, 228-6688, nhhistory.org. The museum features an extensive collection of archives and objects related to New Hampshire history. 
Best of Nashua: Monson Center, Federal Hill Road, Milford, 224-9945, forestsociety.org/property/monson-center. The historical site features preserved remnants of a colonial settlement that existed from 1737 to 1770. 
 
Coolest-looking Building
Best of the best: New Hampshire Statehouse, 107 N. Main St., Concord, nh.gov. The building is distinguished by its iconic golden dome. 
Best of Concord: Gasholder House, South Main Street, Concord, concordnh.gov. The round brick building used from 1888 to 1952 to store gas is one of the last structures of its kind in the country. 
Best of Manchester: Black Widow Customs, 51 Kosciuszko St., Manchester, 624-0400, blackwidowcustoms.com. The brick building which houses the automotive shop features the back of a car jutting out from above the garage door entry. 
Best of Nashua: Hunt Memorial Building, 6 Main St., Nashua, nashuanh.gov. The Gothic style building, formerly used as a library, was built in 1903 by New Hampshire architect Ralph Adams Cram.
 
Best thing about living in NH
Best: Our seasons! All of them, even winter (though winter by itself did not get so many votes; perhaps winter was what the person was thinking of when they voted “seasons, even if the worst is the longest.”) Fall got the most votes of any individual season. 
Runner-up: The state’s landscape and natural beauty. Readers sang the praises of our beaches, mountains, forests, hiking trails and lakes. “The most beautiful sites in the world,” is how one voter put it.
Honorable mention: The people and community. As one voter said “They are passionate about sports and politics, love the outdoors, and they will always lend a hand to their neighbor. Live free or die!” 
 





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