Ithaca Times

Best of Ithaca 2011

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Posted: Thursday, September 29, 2011 10:59 am

When you say something is the best, it’s very clear the opinion that’s being stated. Heck, the definition of best – “of the highest quality, excellence, or standing” – leaves very little to the imagination in its meaning.

Each year we gather a long list of ideas about what we can ask our readers to weigh in on the best of what Ithaca has to offer its residents and just those passing through. The process is not a simple one, probably as it should be when trying to figure out the best categories to use in our annual Best of Ithaca poll.

This year was no exception to that – neither was the response we got from Ithaca Times readers offering their two cents about everything from the best place to start and argument to the best place to end one.

What follows over the next few pages is the result of the effort given by you, the readers, to determine what the Best of Ithaca is in 2011.


Best Place To Get Away From It All:

Middle of Cayuga Lake

The longest of the Finger Lakes (just shy of 40 miles long), Cayuga Lake also boasts second place finishes in surface area and volume among them. So it makes sense that the middle of the vast body of water perched on the edge of our city would be the best place to get away from it all. Despite earning a mention in the alma maters of both Cornell University and Ithaca College, Cayuga is not terribly busy with aquatic traffic, the calm in the center of the lake comes from the lapping of the waves and the breeze through the air.

This category was a close one as Cornell Plantations, with acre upon acre of natural beauty to wander around and get lost in, finishing second in the voting.

Best Place To Start An Argument:

The Commons

The two major centers of pedestrian congregation in the City of Ithaca are Collegetown and the Commons, so it comes as no surprise that a lot of action takes place in both areas. The Commons, however, with a diverse mix of occupants, lends itself more easily to confrontation. That’s why readers overwhelmingly picked the two-block pedestrian mall (along with its offshoots — Bank Alley and Home Dairy Alley) as the best place to start an argument in this year’s poll. Having witnessed many incidents there over the years, it’s a selection that has little argument from us.

Best Place To End An Argument:

Any bar on the Commons

It makes sense to wrap those arguments up quickly, right? Our readers must have thought so, as the top choice was actually the response, “any bar on the Commons.” Most of the Commons bars got individual votes, too, making this another runaway category based on our readers’ votes.

Best Place Downtown To Have A Cigarette:


With the City of Ithaca’s Common Council passing and then retooling a smoking ban ordinance over the last year and a half, downtown smokers have had a state of flux in where they can and cannot light up. First a portion of the Commons was eliminated, then the whole thing and now some of the bordering streets also have been designated smoke-free. Such changes prompted this question, thinking that those who puff away might like to know where the good spots are for a quick smoke break. The resounding consensus? There is no best place to have a cigarette downtown.

Best Place For A Run:

South Hill Recreation Way, Waterfront Trail (tie)

South Hill Recreation Way and the Waterfront Trail are two of the more popular walking paths in the City of Ithaca, and the two wound up in a tie as the best place to lace ‘em up and go for a run. The Waterfront Trail’s paved walkway features easily visible signage along its path, and nice views of the Cayuga Lake inlet where crew and dragonboat teams often can be spotted gliding through the water. The South Hill Recreation Way’s packed gravel trail provides sure footing for runners (and a clear path for cross country skiers in the winter), with beautiful scenery that makes the 3.3 miles fly by like they were nothing.

Best Neighborhood For Garage Sales:

Fall Creek

Cayuga Heights put up a valiant effort, but Fall Creek cruised down the homestretch to earn the honors from our readers as the best neighborhood for garage sales. We’ve perused a few sales there ourselves and found an eclectic mix of items up for grabs, which is what gives this neighborhood the edge.

Best Overlooked Tourist Spot:

Upper Treman State Park

There are lots of tourist spots in Ithaca, that’s for sure, so it’s hard to imagine any could be overlooked. But Upper Treman State Park certainly fits the bill. Since it’s not the main entrance to the park, it wouldn’t be a stretch if tourists didn’t get to the upper portion of Treman. But once they do, tourists will be greeted with the wondrous sights Upper Treman has to offer. A two-mile trail along Treman Gorge, which exposes high walls of shale and sandstone that are cut through by Enfield Creek, culminating in the lower portion of the park with the 115-foot-tall Lucifer Falls. Try Upper Treman, you won’t regret the visit.

Best Place To Volunteer:

SPCA of Tompkins County

The SPCA of Tompkins County, like many local organizations, is reliant on volunteer support to maintain its operations. And it’s easy to see why it would be a great place to do so, since cats and dogs can provide some serious warm feelings in one’s heart.

“The volunteers here at the SPCA of Tompkins County have, and continue to be, the backbone of our organization,” said SPCA Executive Director Jim Bouderau. “Their commitment to our mission and the animals we care for are truly an inspiration.  We could not be more excited to be named the Best Place to Volunteer by the Ithaca Times readers.”


Best Person To Be Ithaca’s Next Mayor:

Svante Myrick

Myrick, who recently earned the Democratic nomination in the race to become Ithaca’s next mayor, was pleased when he got the call he’d been chosen by the Times readers as the person they think is the best person to replace outgoing Mayor Carolyn Peterson at the end of the year.

“I’m thankful to everybody who voted,” said Myrick. “I’m going to keep working to meet everyone and keep talking about the city.

“I’m humbled by this,” he added, “and thankful to everyone who voted.”

Myrick, who said he always votes in the annual Best of Ithaca poll, said he actually did not take part this year.

“I didn’t vote and I feel badly I didn’t,” he said. “I do vote every year and like to see who’s got the best.

“This year, I was a bit busy with the run-up to the primary, so I didn’t vote,” he added.

Myrick faces off against Republican Janis Kelly, and independent candidates J.R. Clairborne (whom Myrick defeated in the Democratic primary), Christopher Kuzsnir and Wade Wykstra in the general election, scheduled for Nov. 8.

Best Advocate For The People:

Cal Walker

The Village at Ithaca has been doing good work in working to create a more equitable educational environment for youth in the City of Ithaca and a big reason for that is Executive Director Cal Walker. Our readers thought so too, selected him as the best advocate for the people.

“I am always trying to make a positive difference in the community, so I am really pleased that your readers value the things that I do,” Walker said. “There’s a Chinese proverb that says ‘It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness,’ and to the extent that I have the opportunity to do, that’s what I try to do, light a candle.

“There are a lot, I believe, of effective advocates in this community, people I have grown to love and respect and labor,” he added. “This is a highly activist community that propels people into working with their passion to make this all that we have the capacity to be. That is what I try to do always; the fact that some of your readers find value in it — I am honored and I am pleased.”

Best Local School Teacher:

Marilyn Mayer

Ithaca City School District’s Northeast Elementary School has been in the news of late as it has been honored as a Blue Ribbon school. It’s safe to say that 5th grade teacher Marilyn Mayer is part of the reason why. Mayer, who has taught in the district since 1986 (including stops at DeWitt Middle School, Ithaca High School and Cayuga Heights Elementary School — sandwiched between her first job in the district and her current one, both of which were at Northeast), brings a blend of compassion and rigor to the classroom each day. It’s as simple as her starting and ending each day with her students with a handshake, a way of her being able to check in with each and every one of them and show them her support.

“I’m humbled, I’m deeply honored,” Mayer said when told the news the Times readers had picked her as the best local school teacher. “I’m just grateful.”

Asked why she thought the readers chose her, Mayer wasn’t sure, but offered up her philosophy for educating students.

“I guess, for me, the first thing to be a really successful teacher — and obviously it can’t be the only thing — you just have to love kids,” she said. “Whether they are high school students, middle school students, elementary students, they have to feel like you really care about them.

“You have to balance that, though, you have to have academic rigor and make the students feel they are really being challenged,” Mayer added. “If you have both of those, then you have a classroom where students are energized socially, because they know the teacher truly care about them, and a classroom where they are academically challenged. I try to have a good combination of both of those.”

Best Developer:

Frost and Mack Travis

Being a developer in Ithaca is no easy task. Navigating the seemingly constantly-in-flux state of zoning for various part of the city, combined with the amount of emphasis placed on sustainability, environmentally-friendly practices and potential for historic complications – not to mention public outcry over change – can be quite the challenge. Frost and Mack Travis of Travis and Travis Development appear to have met that challenge, as they were overwhelmingly selected as the best developers in Ithaca.

“I’m honored,” said Frost Travis upon hearing the news of the choice. “It’s nice to know we have an agreeable public profile. Certainly we take a lot of pride maintaining good relationships in the community, and we’re glad to be recognized for that.”

Asked why he thought voter chose his firm, Travis said he felt it was because of their commitment to downtown Ithaca.

“People have recognized our efforts to help turn around the Clinton House and State Theatre,” he said, “and, of course, we’re very proud of the Gateway Commons, showing what is possible for green housing.”

Best Local Author:

Diane Ackerman

An author, poet and naturalist, Ackerman, most widely known for her best-selling work, “A Natural History of the Senses,” has published more than 20 titles in her career, taught a several universities — including Cornell University — and her work regularly appears in well-known and well-regarded journals.

Given her areas of interest, Ithaca is a perfect place for Ackerman.

“How wonderful! I’m delighted and honored,” she said. “I love Ithaca in every season--both the green landscape and the human landscape.”

Best Visual Artist:

Bill Benson, Ryan Curtis (tie)

Bill Benson, a Cornell grad, works with portraiture, with his paintings having been shown throughout New York state and have been added to numerous private collections.

“Wow, that’s great! What a total surprise,” Benson said. “I can’t imagine how those that voted for me would know about my body of work, especially my new work which is primarily being shown in Cazenovia at the Gallery of Central New York. I had a fun show in Fine Line Bistro last year and I have those murals in town (Madelines and ZaZas) … oh, and a bunch of charcoal drawings of my black cat in the Ithaca Bakery up at Triphammer . . . other than that I have been keeping a fairly low profile.

“So, yeah, a great surprise. I am honored,” he added. “Many thanks to everyone out there that voted for me.”

His co-winner is Ryan B. Curtis, whose artistic endeavors include music, mixed media and writing.

“I am truly honored to have been voted by the readers of the Ithaca Times to this spot,” he said. “Wow! Thank you! And props especially to all of the other awesome visionary ARTISTS of Ithaca. The musicians, philosophers and dancers — the shamans, healers and the painters — the poets and the knowers — the organic seed growers — All sacred life holders... You inspire me, light a fire in me... Conspire to take it even higher with me!

“Even beyond the natural beauty of this place — it is the art of our hearts that gives Ithaca her face,” Curtis added. “Keep it coming and we will lead this sustainable revolution. Ithaca is home cause Ithaca has heArt.  I love you Ithaca ! I’ll keep rising to meet you.Thank you so much !!!  For more outpouring of my gratitude and art please check out —

Best Customer Service:


Chosen last year, Wegmans topped the list by readers again this year as offering the best customer service.

“I excited about that,” said store manager Gary Woloszyn. “We really strive to make a difference when our customers shop, that’s what we have as one of our core beliefs. We have instilled that in each department and with our new people, it’s part of our orientation.

“I think it’s just part of what we call our ‘Who We Are’ statement,” he added. “Many companies have mission statements, we really look at ‘Who We Are’ statements. We try to understand ourselves and how our employees are part of the larger picture.”

Best Ithaca Politician:

Mayor Carolyn Peterson

With nearly 20 years of serving the City of Ithaca — either on Common Council or as the mayor — Mayor Carolyn Peterson will be ending that at the end of the year, deciding against running for re-election. Our readers certainly think highly of the job she has done, choosing Peterson as the best politician.

“I am very honored with  this designation,” Peterson said. “After 10 years on City Council representing  the fifth ward for eight years and the fourth ward for two years, and the last eight years as mayor, I will say that I have done so because of love for our community and public service.

“For me, politics has never been a position for power, but one of service,” she added. “The work is challenging, demanding, rewarding, and worthwhile. I thank the community for this opportunity.”

Best Citizen Journalist:

Charley Githler

A New York Press Association award-winning columnist for the Ithaca Times, Charley Githler’s take on Ithaca presents a satirical criticism that’s hard to match. His columns often tackle local news items — the City of Ithaca and Ithaca City School District are frequent targets — in a humorous way that also shine a light on absurd situations. Our readers must think so too, selecting Githler as the best citizen journalist.

“It’s humbling to be honored by readers like this,” Githler said. “I’m glad people are enjoying the column! I feel guilty now about stealing all my column ideas from my wife.”

Best Supporter Of The Arts:

Tompkins Trust Company

Tompkins Trust Company is a big supporter of community organizations and events, so it’s no surprise that they’ve been selected as the best supporter of the arts. Working with the Family Reading Partnership, Tompkins Trust sponsors its Books at Birth initiative, sending every newborn home with the book “The Very Hungry Catepillar,” and takes that a step further by backing the production of the “The Very Hungry Catepillar” at the State Theatre. In addition, Tompkins Trust has offered its support to numerous arts initiaives throughout the city and continues to be a strong backer of the local arts community.

Best Person Not Running For Office But Should:

Dan Cogan

A decade of serving on the Common Council has been enough for Alderman Dan Cogan, who decided not to run for re-election when his term expires at the end of the year. But our readers think he should reconsider, selecting him as the best person not running for office that should. With a five-year stint as the acting mayor (serving in the mayor’s absence), chairmanship of two city working groups, and service on the boards of the Tompkins County IDA and TCAT, Cogan’s experience would continue to be a real asset to the City of Ithaca.

“I am quite surprised and flattered,” Cogan said when learning the news of his being chosen, “and I really appreciate Ithaca Times readers have chosen me for that honor.”


Best Place To Get An Egg Roll:

Ling Ling

We are especially partial to egg rolls, so we were watching the results of this category very closely. Ling Ling had some competition from Capital Corner, but at the end of the day our readers chose their offerings as the best the city has to offer.

Best Place For Fresh Produce:

Ithaca Farmers Market

The fact that it’s a farmer’s market gives it an edge, but the variety of fresh produce offerings at the Ithaca Farmers Market makes it clear there is no better place to get your veggies. What really sets the Farmers Market apart, though, is the ability to talk to the growers in person, getting their advice on the best way to use their produce and explaining exactly what it means when something has been grown “veganically.”

Best Place To Eat For Under $10:

Viva Taqueria

The value at Viva is one thing that gets us in the door, the food that they serve up keeps us coming back with high anticipation for the fresh Mexican food they offer up. If you throw in a margarita, you’ll top the $10 mark, but just about everything else on their menu can be had for a great price.

Best American Restaurant:

Ithaca Ale House

The Ithaca Ale House is known for its beer on tap, but that doesn’t get in the way of the great food shining through. Our readers have had their taste buds tempted and chose the Ale House as having the best American cuisine in Ithaca.

“I think it’s a wonderful honor,” said owner John O’Leary. “I think it’s a great honor to stand out among so many great restaurants on Restaurant Row. We thank the readers for choosing us.

“I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by really good hard-working people who have been here a long time,” he added, “and I think that really makes a difference.”

Best Asian Restaurant:

Taste of Thai, Taste of Thai Express (tie)

If you’re heading into a restaurant bearing the name Taste of Thai, you’re going to be in for some good Asian cuisine. Taste of Thai, located on the Commons, and Taste of Thai Express, open on Route 13, finished in a dead heat when voting by our readers was complete.

Best Wings:

Wings Over Ithaca

With a name like that — Wings Over Ithaca — it’s good bet they’ve got some tasty wings. Our readers think so too, choosing the purveyor of the spicy and tangy wings as the best in Ithaca.

Best Outdoor Dining:

Just A Taste

Just A Taste, the wine and tapas bar on downtown’s Restaurant Row, has something the others don’t — a tucked away outdoor patio that allows customers to dine outside, but not have to deal with any of the foot and vehicle traffic that flows along the street.

“Thanks, that’s really nice,” said Jen Irwin, who owns the restaurant with Stan Walton, adding their unique outdoor setup is likely why readers picked their establishment. “Maybe because we’re not on the street, because we’re kind of hidden.”

Best Restaurant Décor:

Zaza’s Cucina

Authentic Italian food may be what brings the customers in the door at Zaza’s Cucina, but the interior offers plenty that is easy on the eyes. With a large dining room for bigger groups, seating near the restaurant’s fireplace or a dimly lit table in the corner, there is a place for everyone to feel comfortable at ZaZa’s.

Best Farm-To-Table Restaurant:

Moosewood, Northstar (tie)

The renowned Moosewood offers vegetarian fare and their offerings reflect the use of fresh vegetables and other ingredients to liven up the palate. All one needs to do is look at one of the restaurant’s numerous cookbooks to see why they were selected as one of the best farm-to-table restaurants in Ithaca. Northstar, which strives to be a true neighborhood establishment, has a fresh menu that changes as the seasonal offerings change. The restaurant uses local, organic produce and its mission is to keep its offerings sourced from within a 100-mile radius to ensure what it is serving is the healthiest and most sustainable food around.

Best Downtown Restaurant:

Just A Taste

Not only did our readers think Just A Taste offered the best outdoor dining option, but they selected the restaurant as the best one in downtown Ithaca.

“That’s pretty big, there are a lot of really good restaurants downtown too,” said Irwin. “That’s really nice. I feel really flattered, and it’s nice for my crew, because it’s them that makes this restaurant what it is.”

Best Fish Fry:

Glenwood Pines

In the past, Glenwood Pines has nearly been a lock to win when we’ve offered Best Burger as a category. But, they also know how to fry a fish, according to our readers, who narrowly selected the restaurant as the best in this category. The Pines got some stiff competition, though, with Doug’s, Wegmans and Maxie’s Supper Club tight on their heels in second place.

Best Cocktails:

Felicia’s Atomic Lounge

It was a good summer for Felicia’s, especially with farmers growing produce for use in their cocktails. You never know what sort of cocktail special you’ll encounter when you walk in — it all depends on the produce and herbs they’ve gotten in that day. The creativity that comes with trying to figure out how to work plum into a drink or what to mix with a lemon-basil mixture is what makes Felicia’s shine in this category each time we’ve had it.

“Thanks to our bartenders who work their butts off, the patrons who enjoy our drinks, and our farmers at Tree Gate Farm,” said Felicia’s Amelia Sauter. “We are lucky to live in an area where within a 15-mile radius we can source the many fresh ingredients that keep our locally-inspired cocktails creative.”

Best Coffee House:

Gimme! Coffee

Gimme my Gimme! is what Ithaca Times readers resoundingly said in this year’s poll, choosing the local business above all others when it comes to coffee houses. With three locations in downtown Ithaca — they are on Green, State and Cayuga streets (there are also a few in New York City), Ithacans have options when it comes to stopping in for their favorite caffeinated concoctions.


Best Street Performer:

Hilby the Skinny German Juggling Boy

Long as the name might be, Hilby’s title leaves little to wonder about what you’ll get when seeing him perform. A staple at Ithaca events, Hilby is part of the city’s uniquely-woven fabric.

“Thank you for the delivering the good news to me,” Hilby said in an e-mail. “This finds me as I’m performing at the Big Eastern Exposition and I would lie if I did not say that this made my day and put a big smile on my face. Excellent and astonishing, considering that it has been a while since I last did a Streeshow in Ithaca.

“I will make sure to be there at Ithaca Festival 2012 to confirm Ithaca’s great taste and support of the arts. There will also be a brand new show that will be performed at the State Theatre on November the 6th that will feature many new zany characters portrayed by the whole family as well as the magnificent David Moreland,” he added. “All the proceeds go to local school PTA’s to help pay for their programming. Yes that was a plug and here is more info. I promise that I have not peaked yet and that their will be many more sightings of The Skinny German Juggle Boy in Ithaca.”

Best Local Live Music Club:


“We’re excited about it,” said Eliot Rich, the talent booker at Castaways, when told our readers had picked Castaways as the best when it comes to offering local live music.

He focused on the community when asked why he thought the Times readers picked Castaways for the top spot in this category.

“I think it’s a combination of being a community meeting place and providing a place for local musicians to perform,” Rich said. “We’re blessed to be in Ithaca with so much talent; it’s very easy for us to host a lot of great music throughout the year. I think it’s really the community that gives us the opportunity.”

Best Annual Event:

Ithaca Festival

The long-running Ithaca Festival has had some bumps in its journey, but the leadership provided by Director Jes Seaver and her team, including Katie Pangburn and Patty Clark, not to mention a strong Board of Directors and strong community support — through volunteers and attendees, has righted the ship and brought the festival back. With four days of fun, including the unique parade, two days on the Commons and the final day at Stewart Park, the Ithaca Festival engages the whole community and shows off the best of what Ithaca has to offer.

Best Theatre Company:

Kitchen Theatre

Last year, the Kitchen Theatre celebrated its first season in its new digs — on West State/MLK Jr. Street. The theater’s move from its former Clinton House space to a main thoroughfare in Ithaca gave the company greater exposure, which surely helped our readers find out what wonderful offerings the Kitchen has in its season.

“That’s great,” said the Kitchen’s Managing Director Stephen Nunley. “I think starting out our 21st season and our second in our new building, to find out we’ve received this award is like the icing on the cake for this last year.”

Best Cheap Entertainment:

The Commons

The Commons is back with another win. With seemingly endless numbers of street performers, the summer downtown concert series, the numerous festivals that take place — not to mention the arguments and other shenanigans that can be heard and seen — the Commons does offer the best price when it comes to entertainment — FREE!

Best Keeper Of The Jazz Flame:

Ithaca College Jazz Department, Djug Django (tie)

Best Public Radio Station:


Last year, Ithaca College’s WICB (91.7 on the FM dial) was chosen as the best local radio station. This year the category was slightly altered — public radio — and the station earned top honors yet again.

“We are thrilled,” said general manager Chris Wheatley. “Obvisouly, without a terrific staff of students and community volunteers, it would not be possible.

“We are grateful to the Ithaca Times readers for once again voting us as best radio station,” he added.

Best Hiking:

Treman State Park

Whether it’s the upper or lower portion, Treman State Park offers some of the best hiking in the area. The Treman Gorge trail offers breathtaking — and imposing — views, not to mention a workout for its hikers.


Best Renovation:

Hangar Theatre

To say the Hangar Theatre has undergone a tremendous transformation in the past couple of years is a serious understatement. An ambitious renovation project paid off for the theater, offering it the opportunity to schedule programming all year long, as opposed to sticking only to the warmer summer months — and our readers have noticed the difference in the past and present states of the Hangar.

 “Like the voters, I think the Hangar renovation is one of my favorite renovations in Ithaca as well,” said Hangar Executive Director Lisa Bushlow. “The work that Holt Architects did to turn this cinder block airplane hangar from the 1930s into a safe and sustainabile professional theater was extraordinaty and they deserve the credit.

“I think, also, the only way in which a renovation like this could happen is if the entire community rallies around and sort of galvanizes the effort. I’ve worked at the Hangar for, this will be my 24th season, and most of those season were in a facility where the art was good, but the foundation was unstable, every pun intended,” she added. “If feels really, really wonderful to be able to open up the doors even wider to the community, to be able to have programming happening in the winter as well as in the summer. I give a standing ovation to Holt Architects, they really went above and beyond to make this renovation everything it is. It feels good to have a facility commensurate with the art that’s in the facility.”

Best Yoga:

Mighty Yoga, Sunrise Yoga (tie)

Ithacans take their yoga very seriously, so this category featured stiff competition. In the end, it was Mighty Yoga — on West State/MLK Jr. Street — and Sunrise Yoga — on South Cayuga Street — emerging victorious.

Best Pet Services:

Cornell University Hospital for Animals, The Grooming Room (tie)

Nancy Cusamano opened The Grooming Room a little more than three years ago and was pleased that her efforts have not gone unnoticed by her customers.

“I’m thrilled; it just vindicates everything I’ve been working for,” she said.

Her individualized approach, she said, is what Cusamano thinks compelled voters to choose her business for the honor.

“I do one dog at a time and I’m the sole groomer, I do everything myself,” she said. “I really give them a very personal, hands-on, one-on-one treatment and I think people appreciate that.”

“Thanks to all my customers for their great support,” Cusamano added, noting people can find out more about her business at

The Cornell University Hospital for Animals also was chosen as tops in pet services by our readers, an honor that nobody involved with the hospital can remember ever before being bestowed upon them.

“This is a very special honor that means as much to us as our No. 1 ranking as a veterinary college,” said Dr. William Horne, in his third year as the hospital’s director. “We take great pride in our service to the people of the community and the many veterinary hospitals with which we are partnered.  For us it’s not just about providing the best medical care available....we recognize that there is a very special and unique bond between people and their pets.

“They are members of our family. Our main mission is to care for and prolong this family relationship to the very best of our abilities,” he added. “On behalf of the all the dedicated faculty, students, and staff that work here at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals, I really want to thank your readers for expressing their confidence in us.”

Best Locally-Owned Store:

Ithaca Bakery

The Ithaca Bakery has been around for a century now, making them one of the oldest locally-owned establishments. Their myriad of offerings — from bagels to bread, delectable desserts and mouth-watering sandwiches — makes it easy to see why our readers chose them as the best locally-owned store in Ithaca.

Best Booth At The Farmers Market:

Khmer Angkor Cambodian, Macro Mama’s (tie)

It would figure the best booth, or booths, at the Farmers Market would be the ones serving up tasty morsels. Our readers selected Macro Mama’s and Khmer Angkor as the best at the market, a spot Macro Mama’s has been before.

“I think that’s a great group to share with,” said kitchen manager Adria Lee. “We’re pleased as punch.”

Lee was quick to mention that the honors are due to a real team effort that includes owner Peggy Aker, Cody Currier, Siobhan Whalen, Amy Pennington, Sasha Kellner-Rogers and Flora Klein (who handles the desserts), all “integral parts of the kitchen.”

Best Local Non-Profit Organization:

SPCA of Tompkins County

Not only is it the best place to volunteer, but the SPCA of Tompkins County has been chosen as the best local non-profit in Ithaca.

“WOW! What else can I say,” said Bouderau. “We couldn’t be happier to have been chosen by Ithaca Times readers as the best local non-profit organization.

“This is even more significant as we kick off celebrating ten years of being the first open admission, no kill shelter in the country,” he added. “We could have never gotten there, or have been able to continue that mission, without the support of this community!”