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    Readers’ Choice Awards:

    TV Morning Host:
    1st   Barry Bernson (WDRB)
    2nd     Carrie Weil (WAVE)
    3rd    Candyce Clifft (WDRB)
    4th     Joe Arnold (WHAS)

    Local Chef:
    1st   Joe Castro
    2nd     Anoosh Shariat
    3rd(tie)    Kathy Cary
    3rd(tie)    Jim Gerhardt
    5th    Dean Corbett

    1st   Lynn’s Paradise Cafe
    2nd     North End Cafe
    3rd     Cracker Barrel
    4th    Sweet ’n Savory Cafe

    Fish Sandwich:
    1st   Stan’s Fish Sandwich
    2nd (tie)    Moby Dick
    2nd (tie)    Fishery
    4th    Cunningham’s
    5th       Mike Linnig’s

    1st       Sapporo

    2nd      Sakura Blue
    3rd       Shogun

    4th       Maido 
    5th       Fuji

    Tasting Menu:
    1st       La Bodega

    2nd      Oakroom
    3rd       (tie) Asiatique
    3rd       (tie) Le Relais
    4th       Limestone

    1st       Bristol Bar & Grille

    2nd      Seviche
    3rd       Asiatique
    4th       Avalon
    5th       Uptown Cafe

    Bar Food:
    1st       Molly Malone’s

    2nd      Jack’s
    3rd       Cumberland Brews
    4th       Baxter Station
    5th       (tie) Cahoots
    5th       (tie) Dundee Tavern

    Day Spa:
    1st       Z Salon

    2nd      Foxhollow
    3rd       Light Touch
    4th       Joseph’s

    Women’s Clothing Boutique:
    1st       Clodhoppers
    2nd      She
    3rd       Circe   

    4th       Dot Fox
    5th       Karen Of Course

    1st        Homemade Ice Cream & Pie Kitchen
    2nd      Thornberry Pie Shop
    3rd       Cheesecake Factory
    4th       (tie) Cheddar Box
    4th       (tie) Sweet Surrender

    Carry-Out Food:
    1st       Outback Steakhouse  
    2nd      (tie) Cheddar Box
    2nd      (tie) August Moon
    4th       (tie) La Peche
    4th       (tie) Stevens & Stevens

    1st       Maker’s Mark Lounge

    2nd      Jack Fry’s
    3rd       Brown Hotel Lobby Bar
    4th       (tie) Avalon
    4th       (tie) Red Lounge

    Ice Cream:
    1st       Graeter’s     
    2nd      Homemade Ice Cream &
                Pie Kitchen  

    3rd       Cold Stone Creamery  
    4th       Baskin-Robbins           
    5th       Polly’s Freeze  

    Business Lunch:
    1st       Bristol Bar & Grille   
    2nd      Jack Fry’s
    3rd       Vincenzo’s
    4th       KT’s
    5th       Azalea

    Restaurant Decor:
    1st       Proof on Main

    2nd      Lynn’s Paradise Cafe
    3rd       Napa River Grill          

    4th       Vincenzo’s
    5th       Buck’s

    Middle Eastern Restaurant:
    1st       Saffron’s

    2nd      Grape Leaf
    3rd       Ramsi’s
    4th       Pita Delites

    Favorite Restaurant:
    1st       Jack Fry’s
    2nd      (tie) Vincenzo’s           

    2nd      (tie) Seviche
    4th       Lilly’s
    5th       Morton’s

    Cosmetic Surgeon:
    1st       Dr. Gerald Verdi

    2nd      Dr. Marc Salzman
    3rd       Dr. Bradley Calobrace
    4th       Dr. Gerald O’Daniel          

    5th       Dr. Julene Samuels

    Men’s Casual Clothing:
    1st       Dillard’s

    2nd      Rodes
    3rd       (tie) Gap
    3rd       (tie) Macy’s
    5th       Quest Outdoors

    Children’s Clothing:
    1st       Animal Crackers   
    2nd      GapKids
    3rd       jb and me
    4th       The Nest
    5th       Target

    1st       Carmichael’s  
    2nd      Borders           
    3rd       Barnes & Noble          
    4th       Books-A-Million         
    5th       Destinations

    Gift Store:
    1st       Edenside Gallery  
    2nd      (tie) Celebrations
    2nd      (tie) A Taste of Kentucky
    4th       Etcetera
    5th       Dolfinger’s

    Interior Design Shop:
    1st       Bittners
    2nd      Dwellings
    3rd       Tassels
    4th       (tie) Interior Motives
    4th       (tie) Hubbuch & Co.

    Wine Shop:
    1st       Old Town

    2nd      Gemelli
    3rd       Top Hat
    4th       Wine Rack
    5th       World Market

    Gallery Hop Stop:
    1st       Red Tree

    2nd      Glassworks
    3rd       Zephyr Gallery             

    4th       (tie) Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft
    4th       (tie) Scout

    New Restaurant:
    1st       Seviche

    2nd      Proof on Main 

    3rd       Primo
    4th       Cheesecake Factory
    5th       P.F. Chang’s

    Health Food Store:
    1st       Whole Foods Market              

    2nd      Rainbow Blossom        
    3rd       Wild Oats
    4th       Amazing Grace

    Yoga Classes:
    1st       Yoga East

    2nd      Baptist East/Milestone
    3rd       (tie) Infinite Bliss
    3rd       (tie) YMCA
    5th       Full Moon

    Local Website:

    4th       (tie)
    4th       (tie)

    Place to Bowl:
    1st       Lucky Strike Lanes      

    2nd      Ten Pin Lanes  
    3rd       King Pin Lanes
    4th       Rose Bowl      
    5th       Executive Bowl

    “Girls’ Night Out” Bar:
    1st       Azalea

    2nd      Maker’s Mark Lounge
    3rd       O’Malley’s
    4th       Sully’s
    5th       (tie) Howl at the Moon
    5th       (tie) Phoenix Hill

    Building (Architecture):
    1st       Humana Building

    2nd      Aegon
    3rd       Muhammad Ali Center
    4th       Preston Pointe 

    5th       21C Museum Hotel

    Workout Facilities:
    1st       Baptist East/Milestone

    2nd      YMCA
    3rd       Louisville Athletic Club
    4th       Gold’s Gym
    5th       Curves

    Live Music:
    1st     Headliners

    2nd     Palace
    3rd     Fourth Street Live
    4th (tie)    Stevie Ray's
    4th (tie)    Jazz Factory
    Male Athlete:   
    1st  Taquan Dean (U of L)   
    2nd    Michael Bush (U of L)
    3rd    Brian Brohm (U of L)
    4th    Pat Day (tie)
    4th    Rajon Rondo (UK) (tie)
    Female Athlete:  
    1st Jazz Covington (U of L) 
    2nd Tori Murden-McClure
    3rd Rachel Komisarz
    4th Jessica Javelet (U of L)
    5th Sue Jacobi
    Radio DJ:  
    1st Laura Shine (WFPK)
    2nd Lambert & Lindsey (WXMA)
    3rd Peter B. (WDJX)
    4th Bobby Jack (WAMZ) 
    Local Author:  
    1st Sue Grafton 
    2nd Bob Hill 
    3rd Liz Curtis Higgs
    4th Sena Naslund 
    5th Wendell Berry 
    Male TV Personality:
    1st Barry Bernson (WDRB)
    2nd Scott Reynolds (WAVE)
    3rd Gary Roedemeier (WHAS)
    4th Doug Proffitt (WHAS)
    5th John Belski (WAVE)
    Female TV Personality:
    1st Dawne Gee (WAVE)

    2nd Jackie Hayes (WAVE) 
    3rd Jean West (WHAS) 
    4th Rachel Platt (WHAS)
    5th Melissa Swan (WHAS)
    TV Weathercaster:
    1st John Belski (WAVE)

    2nd Ken Schulz (WHAS)
    3rd Tom Wills (WAVE)
    4th Jay Cardosi (WLKY)
    5th Marc Weinberg (WDRB)
    TV Sports Anchor:  
    1st  Fred Cowgill  (WLKY)
    2nd Bob Domine (WAVE)
    3rd Gary Montgomery (WDRB)
    4th Kent Taylor (WAVE)
    5th Kyle Draper (WHAS)
    Critics’ Choice Winners:

    Best Bison Dish: Proof on Main
    Looks like the rest of the world has finally discovered something Louisvillians already knew: Bison tastes good. According to the Colorado-based National Bison Association, bison meat consumption increased more than 20 percent and reached record-level production in processing in 2005.

    Bison is no stranger to Louisville menus and appears in many delectable incarnations. But to really taste bison in all its glory, head to Proof on Main (702 W. Main St. in the 21c Museum Hotel). This is no ordinary meat-and-potato fare. Chef Michael Paley’s bone-in bison tenderloin sits perched atop a pile of buttered leeks and roasted fingerling potatoes. Thick, succulent and seasoned with just a touch of smoked sea salt and rosemary, this steak delivers bison’s signature sweet, yet rich, taste. It’s a carnivore’s delight: tender texture, hearty flavor, and way less fat than its beef counterpart. It makes even the wary become bison believers.

    Honorable Mentions:
    Danielle’s, 2206 Frankfort Ave
    .: Danielle’s Kentucky bison short ribs with whipped rutabaga blends together sweet, bitter and salty flavors with ease. The fork-tender ribs practically melt in your mouth, and the finger-lickin’-good tamarind barbecue sauce adds pizzazz.

    Zap’s Gourmet Hot Dogs, 423 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd.: Zap’s presents its Kentucky Bison Co. hot dog the way a dog should be presented: plump, charred on the outside, and juicy and tender on the inside. Served on a grilled bun and custom-topped with ingredients ranging from the traditional sauerkraut and diced onions to the more avant-garde pine apple or coleslaw, this dog will make you reconsider Vienna Beef or Hebrew National. Plus, it’s an eminently affordable indulgence.

    Austin’s, 4950 US Highway 42: Austin’s buffalo burger satisfies any burger craving. Consistently thick, juicy and flavor-packed, the patty comes on a grilled bun with leafy greens, tomato and onion. Add blue cheese for an even more mouth-watering combo.

    • • •

    Critics’ Choice Winner
    Best Public Golf Course: Nevel Meade

    There are golfers, and there are beer drinkers. Combining the two jacks up revenues, but on a public-access course, a few cold ones can also put a chill on the pace of play. Located just across the Oldham County line off Covered Bridge Road, “dry” Nevel Meade never suffers from this alcohol-induced handicap. It attracts players with a sober appreciation of the game and encourages speedy play on its undulating, links-style layout.

    The course, opened in 1991, can be walked with very little trouble, while those who choose to ride gain extra insight with an in-cart GPS system that tracks exact distances to the greens from anywhere on a given hole. The player-friendly design — it’s open and rarely punitive — yields a lot of birdies and gives golfers a shot at a personal-record round. However, challenges from the wind (its treeless 18 plays several shots tougher in a strong breeze), strategic bunkering and many unlevel lies can turn Nevel Meade into a bit of a meanie.

    The greens won’t all putt at the same speed and the lack of shade might get you steamed on a hot day, but for $20 on weekdays ($35 to ride) and $30 Fridays through Sundays ($45 to ride), this is the best all-comers course in the metro area.

    Covered Bridge Golf Club, Sellersburg, Ind
    .: The affable spirit of Fuzzy Zoeller extends to his accommodating design and the private-club-like amenities.

    Quail Chase Golf Club, 7000 Cooper Chapel Road: With 27 holes — and a particularly interesting East Nine — this south-county course is one to play, if you get on when it’s not too crowded.

    Seneca Golf Course, 2300 Pee Wee Reese Road: Challenging layout and incredible municipal rates — only $14 ($28 with a cart) on weekends. Rounds, however, can run five-plus hours.

    • • •

    Critics’ Choice Winner
    Best Women’s Boutique CSR: Jennifer Cobb, Blink

    As Louisville women wander through local boutiques looking for that ‘special something’ to wear, they are exposed to a variety of types of customer service. While a good customer service representative might do everything properly (smile and greet within two minutes, ask if the customer is shopping for an occasion, ask if she needs assistance with sizes), it takes a certain type of attitude to really connect with the customer.

    Jennifer Cobb has this attitude. She’s warm and helpful, with a no-pressure approach and a keen eye for finding just what you need. She not only lets you know what’s popular and fashionable, but also what would work best for your body type and the occasion you are dressing for. If she’s conscious of maximizing sales, it doesn’t show. You can be sure she won’t tell you, “You look gorgeous in that!!!!” if you don’t. Cobb expresses genuine, non-confrontational opinions, followed by suggestions on how you might make an outfit complete. This is a woman who performs her job with absolute style.

    Honorable Mentions:
    Pharris Eggleton, BCBG
    : In a nice departure from department-store atmosphere, she shows not a moment of impatience, giving each customer all the time she needs.

    Jo Scheid, Rodes: Scheid assesses the customer’s personal style and works within a discussed budget to find the right, up-to-date clothes for that style.

    • • •

    Critics’ Choice Winner
    Best Cheese Course: 610 Magnolia

    Years ago, mentioning American cheese conjured up an image of something oily, processed, bland and artificially colored. Thankfully, times have changed. Today, an array of domestic cheeses illustrate fine, flavorful craftsmanship — and can hold their own against some of the best European varieties.

    Chef/owner Edward Lee has made American artisanal cheeses a mainstay of his 610 Magnolia menu. (The cheese course is a dessert option or extra course.) Beautifully plated, with accouterments ranging from walnuts and honey jelly to pineapple/kumquat gelee and crusty bread, Lee showcases cheeses of varying age, texture, flavor nuance and milk source. You’ll feel a distinct kind of patriotic pride after indulging in selections such as Sweet Grass Dairy’s (Georgia) runny and buttery Lumiere goat cheese and its nutty, smooth, aged cow’s-milk cheese Myrtlewood; Gabriel, a creamy mild cow’s-milk cheese from Bittersweet Plantation Dairy (Louisiana); and the salty sheep’s-milk cheese Pure Piedmont from Everona Farm (Virginia).

    Le Relais, 2817 Taylorsville Road:
    Bringing a bit of Lyon to Louisville, Le Relais displays, literally, some of the finest European and Canadian cheeses available. They’re not even on the menu, yet it’s an unspoken tradition that dining at Le Relais must include cheese. Servers wheel out the cheese cart right before dessert, describe each of the six to eight available cheeses, and slice and serve them with crusty bread. It’s hard to resist the buttery and silky Fromage de Clarines triple creme or the firm and nutty Petite Basque. Its first-class service combined with first-class cheese.

    Palermo Viejo, 1359 Bardstown Road: Both cheese aficionados and novices will enjoy the simple and filling Quesos Con Amor, which pairs Reggianito, Cheddar, Port-Salut, Havarti and Gorgonzola crumbles with grapes, olives and bread. Approachable and affordable, this cheese course is easy to share — especially with someone you love, as the course suggests. 

    • • •

    Critics’ Choice Winner
    Best Late-Night Bites: Cumberland Brews

    With selections as eclectic as the crowd it serves, this Bardstown Road brewpub’s menu keeps patrons coming back for more. You’re liable to run into loyal Highlands residents, college kids or people pushing retirement – and nobody’s out of place. The interior is very small but comfy, as a neighborhood bar should be, and on warm nights the assemblage spills out onto the sidewalk, which makes it great for people-watching on the most diverse street in Louisville.

    If you stop by late for one of CB’s popular porters, malts or ales and start to get the munchies, the kitchen stays open until 1 a.m. with a menu that surpasses the usual wing and burger choices (though both are, of course, available). Appetizers include porter-marinated mushrooms and roasted red-pepper hummus, and salads are sized just right and topped with fresh veggies. Sandwich choices run the gamut from a classic and delicious BLT, to a more innovative bison burger, to a fried bologna that might even top mom’s. A few vegetarian entrees make an appearance, as well as tasty nightly specials — or, if you’re craving something sweeter, check out the chocolate malt cup on the dessert menu, made from Homemade ice cream and house malt.

    Honorable Mentions
    Asiatique’s Lounge A, 1767 Bardstown Road
    : Chef Peng Looi’s ultra-sleek restaurant is best saved for a special night out when you’re draped in your choicest clothes – the decor and patrons are decidedly cosmopolitan. Small plates from the inventive Pacific Rim menu are served in the downstairs lounge until 2 a.m. on weekends.

    Spinelli’s Pizzeria, 614 Baxter Ave.: When the bars let out, people flock to this spot for thin-crusted, hugely sliced, New York-style pizza, available as one big pie or by the slice. With a week/files/storyimages/closing time of 5 a.m., Spinelli’s keeps the truly late-night set well satisfied.

    • • •

    Critics’ Choice Winner
    Best Car Wash: Thomas Automatic Car Wash

    America’s love affair with the automobile may be on shaky ground this summer as fuel prices rise. But there is no better way to rekindle the flame with your ride than sending it through the car wash. Stepping inside a clean shiny automobile might just make you forget how much it costs to fill up its gas tank.

    To bring back that loving feeling, head to Thomas Automatic Car Wash (108 Chenoweth Lane) for the best vacuum and wash in town. In business since 1972, these folks pay attention to detail and base their success on a core group of employees (two of whom have been polishing the chrome there for more than 10 years). After handing your wheels over to the clean team, Thomas has a nice selection of car gadgets, air fresheners and even greeting cards to peruse. Another nice touch includes a bench outside with a front-row view of the “toweling-off process” and passing trains.

    Classie Car Wash, 510 E. Broadway
    : This downtown destination is dependable for a good sweep and wash and offers one great perk — the adjacent Classie Express Lube. You can have a clean car and an oil change.

    Sparkle Brite Car Wash, 4971 Shelbyville Road: If you can relate to the episode of Seinfeld entitled “The Smelly Car,” proceed to Sparkle Brite. This car wash will apply cherry, spice and an array of other scents while they vacuum.

    • • •

    Critics’ Choice Winner
    Best Wedding Photographer: Shannon Wells

    Shannon Wells, 36, opened Leigh Photography ( in 1994 after moving to Louisville from Atlanta, where she earned a degree at the Art Institute of Atlanta and worked for six years in a variety of photographic fields — architecture, children’s portraits and fashion — before settling on weddings as her photographic priority. She has shot approximately 500 weddings, averaging 45-55 per year.

    “I do a mix of traditional and photo-journalistic styles — you can’t cover a wedding without both approaches,” says Wells, who always works with an assistant so they can highlight the posed and the candid moments of the ceremony and the reception. Her wedding photo packages run from $1,100 to $3,600.

    She attributes her quick-fire ability to capture the fleeting and personal moments of the day to scouting the wedding location beforehand and to having a good sense of timing to capture small details at precise moments. It’s her enthusiasm, however, that keeps her dedicated to wedding photography. “It appeals to the girl in me — the flowers, the dress, the entire event. It’s something different every weekend, but it’s always a party,” Wells says.

    Craig Paul Studio
    ( A household name in the region for both his wedding photography and portraiture, Paul’s technique is recognizable for his use of light and ability to capture the personality of his photo subjects.

    Todd Pellowe Wedding Photography ( Pellowe’s photo-journalistic style conveys the romance and excitement of the wedding day, whether shooting a bride walking down the aisle or freeze-framing a clandestine kiss.

    Darwin’s Photography ( Darwin’s exhibits a traditional approach to wedding photos, but don’t mistake traditional with unexceptional — remarkably vivid shots are trademarks of this well-established photographer.

    • • •

    Critics’ Choice Winner
    Best Pool Hall: Bank Shot Billiards

    If you want a place to play pool while you check out hot chicks in short skirts or guys who sp/files/storyimages/too much money on clothes, check out Felt at Fourth Street Live! If you want to hang out with the indie/slacker, wannabe-rock-star crowd — and find some decent shooters — head to the tables at Cahoots in the Highlands or the Mag Bar (Magnolia Bar & Grill) in Old Louisville. But if you really want to shoot pool for the sake of shooting pool, there’s really only one place to go: Bank Shot Billiards, 403 E. Market St. Housed in a classic former bank building — making for both a clever play on words and a quiet, eminently solid place to rack ’em up — the Bank Shot features 15 full-size tournament-caliber (4?-by-9-foot) Diamond billiard tables, 10 on the first floor and five downstairs, as well as a regulation snooker table. You can buy used and new cues in the bank’s old vault. The crowd on any given night at the Bank Shot is a mix of young and old, men and women, youngsters out on dates and crusty old men playing serious games of nine-ball. You’re not going to play for 50 cents a game here — tables rent by the hour — and you’re not going to get much in the way of fancy food or drinks here either — they do sell deli sandwiches and a few kinds of beer — but you will find an oasis for billiards in a most unlikely spot.

    Honorable Mentions:
    Billiard Club of Louisville, 5404 Bardstown Road
    : With a bit more of a sports-bar feel, this Fern Creek hall is a strong second. The 17 tables just barely outnumber the TVs on the walls, but the lucrative league play makes it a shooter’s haven.

    Barret Bar, 1012 Barret Ave.: The Barret is a venerable neighborhood bar that still feels welcoming to strangers, and it also accommodates eight regulation-size tables and one tournament-size table.

    • • •

    Critics’ Choice Winner
    Best Protein Shake: Wild Oats

    First of all, let’s not mistake a protein shake for one of those fun, sugary drinks loaded with carbs and calories and topped with a teaspoon of protein powder. When dealing with protein we talk in grams, not teaspoons. Most people who drink protein shakes will forfeit taste when considering the nutritional benefit in their beverage. Lucky for the gym junkies and muscle maniacs of our city, Wild Oats has created a delicious, yet healthful, concoction.

    Its protein-shake success comes down to two crucial components, top ingredients and a magical method. The ingredients are all fresh and organic, mixed with 20 grams of whey protein powder. There are no set menus on fruit juice and fruit mixtures, only suggestions on what may work best. When it comes to ‘method,’ Wild Oats’ employees are experts on working the blender. They know exactly how long and at what speed to bl/files/storyimages/so that the fruit is not too chunky and the shake is not too foamy. Great taste, great consistency, with no compromise in nutrition.

    Honorable Mentions:
    GreatLife Cafe and Nutrition Center, 9565 Taylorsville Road
    : Maintaining a high focus on taste and consistency, GreatLife uses a mixture of fruits and calorie-conscious (sucrose) syrups, making the shakes full of flavor.

    Baptist East/Milestone Wellness Center Cafe: While there is a set menu, the staff at Baptist East/Milestone will tailor their shakes to your nutritional needs. Real fruits, no-calorie syrups and four types of protein powder are offered.

    • • •

    Critics’ Choice Winner
    Best Gallery Owner: Chuck Swanson, Swanson Reed Contemporary

    Chuck Swanson recalls overhearing a remark made by Ivan Karp, owner of O.K. Harris gallery in Manhattan, about the moneymaking potential of running a gallery: “The surest way to wind up with a million dollars in the art business,” Karp had said, “is to start with two million.”

    “It’s kind of a labor of love,” says Swanson, 55, a working artist who with partner Susan Reed owns retail-oriented Swanson Reed Gallery on Bardstown Road, which she manages, and the exhibit gallery Swanson Reed Contemporary, at 638 E. Market St., which he operates. Known as an experimental-art risktaker — he devotes his downtown gallery’s basement to a wide range of performance art — Swanson has played a major hand in democratizing the city’s art scene while representing such local heavyweights as Shane Hull and Rodney Hatfield and talented newcomers like Thea Lura.

    Among his best qualities: After 24 years running galleries he is as down-to-earth and accessible as he was when he started. During gallery hours, Wednesday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-6 p.m., he’s a fixture there, only occasionally asking his wife Karolle  to “gallery-sit so I can get some things done.”

    Honorable Mentions:
    Paul Paletti, Paul Paletti Gallery, 713 E. Market St.
    He’s so passionate, and eminently knowledgeable, about photography that you can interrupt his work at the law firm of Sturm, Paletti & Wilson and he’ll pop out of his office to answer your question.

    Brenda Deemer, B. Deemer Gallery, 2650 Frankfort Ave. Her 55-artist stable includes colorists Martin Rollins, Marjorie Guyon and Ellen Glasgow, brightening up the Crescent Hill neighborhood.

    Billy Hertz, Galerie Hertz, 632 E. Market St. Yes, the gallery — the best viewing space in the city — is closed as its affable artist-owner recuperates from major surgery, but you’ve just gotta believe the shutdown will be short.

    • • •

    Readers’ Choice Winner
    Best Male TV Personality and Best TV Morning Host: Barry Bernson, WDRB

    He would be ever so pleased to be called Louisville’s Charles Kuralt, the late CBS news correspondent turned human-interest specialist who took his On the Road series across America, and in many ways Barry Bernson’s career has paralleled his idol’s. Both began as print journalists and worked as TV news reporters. Both anchored morning news programs — Kuralt’s CBS News Sunday Morning and Bernson’s Good Morning, Kentuckiana (for old boss WHAS) and current four-hour Fox in the Morning. And, echoing Kuralt, Bernson can say without a second thought that “what still is my greatest pleasure is going out and finding delightful people and doing stories about them.” Which explains, in the midst of his morning anchoring duties, his weekly “Bernson’s Corner” segment.

    “That’s my joy in life,” he says. “If I couldn’t report I would just die.”

    Born and raised in Pompton Lakes, N.J., the 60-year-old Bernson was hired by WAVE (radio) in 1969 fresh out of University of Iowa journalism school. Eighteen months later he moved to WAVE-TV, where he developed his first human-interest segment, called “WAVE Country,” before being lured to Chicago’s WMAQ-TV for an 8?-year stint reporting on “Barry’s People.” He returned to Louisville in 1985 to work two decades for WHAS; in 2003 he became WDRB’s morning anchor, even though, he says, “I’m not a classic anchor face, for heaven’s sake.”

    Describing his style as “pleasant, personable,” Bernson says his job on Fox in the Morning is “kind of like having a restaurant — you open your doors every day at 5 o’clock and people come in and try what you have on the menu. If they like it, they come back tomorrow.”

    • • •

    Readers’ Choice Winner
    Best Live Music: Headliners Music Hall

    In the often-dicey live-music business, it can pay to keep things simple — at least that’s how managing partner Mike Pollard views the modus operandi at Headliners. His club is best known for staging performers who are on their way up or en route through Louisville to venues in other cities, and Pollard attracts them with an uncomplicated booking strategy: Charge a reasonable price to rent the 700-capacity hall, keep the bar revenue and give the band whatever is generated by tickets sales.

    Headliners also makes itself an affordable venue for local bands, who can schedule concerts or CD-release parties for $600 or so a night — and still have a little cash left over to promote their appearances. Pollard’s father opened the Lexington Avenue facility, originally a meeting hall serving the adjacent Distillery Commons, in 1998 and his mother now owns the property. The couple instilled a music-first attitude in their son. “My parents were hippies when they were younger, and I’m trying to live like that,” says the 28-year-old club manager. “I’m not a greedy person.”

    Fans of indie rock, jam bands, alt country, heavy metal and even hip-hop find an intimate listening experience and often high-energy shows from musicians who catch the Headliners vibe. Pollard’s favorite night in his three years as manager came Derby Week 2005, when the club advertised a concert by Mr. Crowes Garden. Insiders knew that as the original name of the Black Crowes and snapped up the $25 tickets to hear the blues-rockers jam through the roof, rubbing shoulders with the likes of John Mellencamp and actress Kate Hudson.

    Those tickets could have gone for $50 or more and a sellout still would’ve been likely. But Headliners kept it real. Says Pollard, “If you try to cash in, you’ll cash out — especially in Louisville.”

    • • •

    Readers’ Choice Winner
    Best Cosmetic Surgeon:
    Dr. Gerald Verdi

    Cosmetic surgery has come a long way during Dr. Gerald Verdi’s 33 years as a practicing surgeon. In fact, back when he was first starting out, he had a lab at home for grinding, smoothing and sterilizing cheek and chin implants for his patients.

    After starting in dental school (he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dentistry), Verdi became drawn to the mechanics of the face, which led him to study oral and maxillofacial surgery. Along this path of extra training and internships at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York, he found his final niche, plastic and reconstructive surgery, in 1973.  

    Out of the many innovations to his field, the introduction of liposuction in 1982 has had the most impact on his career, he says. “It’s one of the things that led me more toward cosmetics — you can do a lot to actually improve a body’s form and shape,” says Verdi. Smoothing and contouring a body brings Verdi a sense of satisfaction and enjoyment.

    His success is not only based on experience and skill, but also on his reputation as an honest and caring surgeon. “ I strive to listen to patients and make sure their goals are realistic,” says Verdi. “If I can’t achieve everything, I tell them.” Being considerate and forming a bond with his patients, he believes, is imperative in his line of work.

    When asked what his plans are for the future, the longtime Louisville resident replies, “I plan on staying right here — I love it and I am going to practice as long as my health holds out.” Then, with a little more reflection, he adds, “I would like to play a little more golf too.”

    • • •

    Readers’ Choice Winner:
    Best New Restaurant: Seviche

    There are diners in this town who would follow Anthony Lamas no matter where he went. Some might even be called Lamas stalkers. His food is that outstanding and inventive. After a split with his business partner that caused Jicama Grill to close down last year, Lamas gave the place a facelift and reopened under a new name, Seviche (1538 Bardstown Road). But the food, blessedly, is the same, only there’s more of it. Those broken-hearted souls who pined after his signature macadamia-nut-encrusted sea bass, his fejoida or his Churrascos de Argentina (pork tenderloin glazed with mango and chile) have been able to breathe great sighs of Nuevo Latino relief.

    Seviche not only wins the Best New Restaurant category but also ranks high among this magazine’s readers as a favorite restaurant in town. The above-mentioned dishes are winners, but so are the mahi-mahi tacos, the wild mushroom and goat cheese empanadas, and the tortilla soup. Each and every appetizer on the menu is a force to be reckoned with. You don’t even want to witness people arguing about which of the six salads is the best.

    Still, the reason some diners could eat at Seviche every night of the week is the dish the restaurant is named after. When Lamas opened Jicama, he had six seviche dishes on the menu. His new restaurant now boasts over a dozen. The most problematic thing about eating at Seviche is deciding which seviche to have. Do you want the one you had last time, which was the best you’ve ever eaten, or do you want one of the new ones that sounds as if it might even surpass it? Do you want the Florida red snapper with hearts of palm, orange and chives? Do you want the yellowtail hamachi with red chile, sesame and soy sauce? Or do you want them all?

    • • •

    Readers’ Choice Winner
    Best Women’s Clothing Boutique: Clodhoppers

    Life as a fashionista is exhausting. Just when you grasp one trend, another sashays along to depose it. This is exactly where boutiques come in handy — they provide lifelines to the haute couture world. To stay informed you must frequent a boutique that catches the latest tr/files/storyimages/before it becomes a fad. Jean shorts back in style? Who knew? Clodhoppers did.

    The locally owned boutique opened in the Highlands in 1993, followed by a Prospect sister location in 2003. This past November both locations closed and reopened as one at 3745 Lexington Road in the Vogue Center. Loyalists didn’t seem to mind, as our voting results verify.

    Once inside, you’ll find a brick wall displaying premium denims such as Chip & Pepper, Rock & Republic, 7 For All Mankind and Citizens of Humanity. Then walk through the candy-colored maze of Juicy Couture’s comfy and stylish terry-cloth pieces. Ceiling track lights spotlight an amalgam of dresses in varying fabrics and styles. It’s hard to resist that flirty Ella Moss cotton sundress, the ornate detail of a Helen Wang cocktail dress or the contemporary lines of a Cynthia Steffe strapless. A Charlotte Tarantola floral sweater waves from the butter-colored walls, while a billowy blouse by Trina Trunk Los Angeles tempts you. Need something to tie it all together? Surely the funky Hobo bag will suffice. The search doesn’t /files/storyimages/when you head back to the dressing rooms. Lining the walls are more dresses, tops and shoes, as well as sale items.

    Louisville may not host an Oak Street like Chicago or a Melrose Avenue like Los Angeles, but don’t tell Clodhoppers that. From independent designers to large labels, this one-stop shop puts Louisville on the map for all things fashionable.

    But we guess you already knew that.

    • • •

    Readers’ Choice Winner
    Best Building (Architecture): Humana

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