From bourbon to burgers, fair trade stores to home remodelers, Northern Kentucky is full of fantastic people, places and food. It’s because of this that we hold the Best of NKY party every year. Our readers nominate their favorites and then we host an event for people to vote for the best. This year, 900 people sampled tasty treats, visited booths and learned about some of the great places in NKY while voting for their faves in more than 60 categories. NKY Magazine partnered with the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce to host this event, and Northern Kentucky University, Citi, St. Elizabeth Healthcare, Gold Star Chili, Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau, and WNKU sponsored the event. Camp Ernst was selected as this year’s nonprofit beneficiary. Thanks to our partners, sponsors and attendees, it’s now time to explore the best of the best in Northern Kentucky.


Best Barbecue
City Barbeque
Florence – 8026 Burlington Pike • 859-818-0003
Highland Heights – 2760 Alexandria Pike • 859-415-4544 •

Why We Won: “City Barbeque values our fans’ opinion and we hope they truly feel that we serve delicious food! We are simply a down-to-Earth joint, with friendly staff, serving authentic barbecue. Our fans should always expect us to prove competition-quality ‘que and offer true backyard hospitality,” says Leda Isenhour, regional marketing manager.

Best Burger
Flipdaddy’s Burgers and Beers
8863 U.S. Route 42, Union
859-371-2337 •

Why We Won: “We have our very own awesome proprietary blend of premium quality cuts of brisket, short rib, and chuck. Flipdaddy’s blend is fresh, never frozen.  We use a local supplier for our beef—Davis Creek Meats in Walton, Ky.,” says founder Bob Dames.

Best Catering
McHale’s Events and Catering
1622 Dixie Highway, Park Hills
859-442-7776 •

Why We Won: President Chuck McHale says, “From sumptuous passed hors d’oeuvres, buffets and plated meals, our chefs, led by two-time Best of NKY winner Chef Chris Weist, cook with the desire to impress and make your event unforgettable. Our strong reputation is based on delicious food, creative menus, expert planning and guidance, elegant presentations and outstanding service.”

Best Chinese Cuisine
Casual Chinese
88 Carothers Road, Newport
859-431-2900 •

Best Cupcakes
Gigi’s Cupcakes
7753 Mall Road, Florence
859-746-9200 •

Why we Won: Owner Beth Farrer says, “We insist on baking and decorating our cupcakes fresh daily with love and attention. And providing great customer service to top off the experience!”

Best Farmers Market
Boone County Farmers Market
1968 Burlington Pike, Burlington
859-586-6101 •

Why we Won: “We won because of our customers. They voted for us and without their continued support of the market, local farms and agriculture, we could not do what we do. Thank you to those folks!” says Agriculture Technician and Farmers Market Manager Coy Wilson.

Best Fresh Catch (Seafood)
Knotty Pine on the Bayou
6302 Licking Pike, Cold Spring
859-781-2200 •

Best Fried Chicken
Colonial Cottage
3140 Dixie Highway, Erlanger
859-341-4498 •

Why we Won: Owner Matt Grimes says, “We are grateful that the people of Northern Kentucky recognize the heart and soul that goes into the comfort food in which we specialize, and there isn’t anything more comforting than good fried chicken.”

Best Frozen Yogurt
Kocanut Joe’s Frozen Yogurt
2479 Dixie Highway, Ft. Mitchell
859-331-5656 •

Why we Won: “We are always looking for ways to provide a superior product. Our creativity gives us the ability to make our own waffle cones, toppings and other items to give us an edge over franchises,” says General Manager Bryan Bauer.

Best Hot Brown
The Greyhound Tavern
2500 Dixie Highway, Ft. Mitchell
859-331-3767 •

Best Independent Coffeehouse
Newberry Bros. Coffee
530 Washington Ave., Newport
859-261-9463 •

Why we Won: “This one-of-a-kind cafe and bistro in Newport, Ky., is the only place you will find organic coffee beans roasted on site, the finest croissants and other handmade pastries outside of Paris, the largest selection of bourbon and rye whiskeys found anywhere in the world and more than 70 craft beers, and over 50 wines by the glass. Stop in and see why Newberry Bros. Coffee was voted Best of NKY,” says owner Kim Newberry.

Best Italian Cuisine
Pompilio’s Restaurant
600 Washington Ave., Newport
859-581-3065 •

Why we Won: According to partner Mike Mazzei, it’s the 80 years of traditional Italian and American fare casual dining that makes this restaurant a winner. Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, the restaurant offers catering, outdoor dining, two full-length bocce courts and an historic bar featuring all local taps and a wide selection of bourbons.

Best Mexican Cuisine
Montoyas Mexican Restaurant
2507 Chelsea Dr., Ft. Mitchell

Why we Won: Manager Aurelia Vivero says, “For over 29 years, our family-friendly atmosphere has made you feel at home. Our food is fresh, simple and reasonably priced.”

Best Patio Dining
2642 Dixie Highway, Lakeside Park
859-331-6633 •

Best Pizza
Strong’s Brick Oven Pizzeria
336 Monmouth St., Newport
859-291-6836 •

Why we Won: “We make an authentic Old World Italian brick oven pizza. Everything is made by hand in house daily. And above all, we take pride in making a delicious and unique style pizza,” says Owner Christian Strong.

Best Sandwich Shop
1965 Highland Pike, Ft. Wright
859-331-4999 •

Why we Won: “Since 1901, Izzy’s has been dedicated to serving the best sandwiches we can possibly make. It’s this dedication that has kept us going for over a century now and the reason we believe we will continue to please the people into coming back for more,” says Marketing Officer Eric Geisen.

Best Sports Bar
Dickmann’s Café
479 Orphanage Road, Ft. Wright
859-331-8076 •

Best Steak
Blinkers Tavern
318 Greenup St., Covington
859-360-0840 •

Why we Won: “We believe in using the highest grade of beef and the freshest ingredients. The key to any great dish is passion and at Blinkers Tavern, we are very passionate about our food,” said Owners and Operators Gary Ginn and Sandy Meyer.

Best Sunday Brunch
Keystone Bar & Grill
313 Greenup St., Covington
859-261-6777 •

Best View From a Restaurant
The Metropolitan Club
50 E. RiverCenter Blvd., Suite 1900, Covington
859-491-2400 •

Why we Won: President and CEO Kelli K. Gilbert says, “Literally and figuratively, the Metropolitan Club has a 360-degree view of the community. But beyond the amazing views, delicious food and welcoming environment, it is our members who make the Metropolitan Club the premier private business club in the Midwest region.”

Best Wings
5468 Taylor Mill Road, Taylor Mill
859-261-9464 •

Why we Won: Owner Kevin Novesl says, “We feel we were voted ‘Best of’ in the wings category simply because we do have the best wings anywhere. We offer 11 flavors, most of them homemade, and six heats. We also have every flavor in every heat, and you can get multiple flavors on the same set of wings! That is thousands of combinations. Our wings are large and meaty and we use a jumbo wing. They are cooked with a perfect crispness that holds up to all of our sauces.”


Best Car Wash
Johnny’s Car Wash
3152 Dixie Highway, Erlanger
859-341-6800 •

Why we Won: “We offer service with our car washes, thanks to our professional staff. We have been caring for our customers’ cars since 1958!” says President Jeff Simpson.

Best Dry Cleaner
Braxton’s Cleaners
2030 Northside Dr., Hebron
859-689-4575 •

Best Florist
Fassler Florist & Event Designers
1892 Ashwood Dr., Ft. Mitchell
859-331-7673 •

Best Garden Center
Jackson’s Florist & Garden Center
3124 Madison Ave., Covington
859-331-0222 •

Best Home Remodeler
A New Rooftime
1620 Burlington Pike, Florence
859-341-8463 •

Best Landscaper
Scott Good Landscaping
Serves Northern Kentucky
859-907-1444 •

Best Manicure/Pedicure
Sableux Salon and Spa
2808 Turkeyfoot Road, Crestview Hills
859-341-1656 •

Best Nursing Facility
Rosedale Green
4250 Glenn Ave., Covington
859-431-2244 •

Best Place to Have a Wedding
Newport Aquarium
1 Aquarium Way, Newport
859-815-1427 •

Why we Won: “The Newport Aquarium is the most unique venue in NKY to host a wedding. You can either have your wedding in our Riverside Room, which is glass from floor to ceiling, overlooking Cincinnati, or in our breathtaking Shark Ray Bay theater in front of our vast shark tank!” says Senior Sales Manager Margaret Bedilion.

Best Place to Pamper Your Pet
Spa 4 Paws
8408 U.S. route 42, Florence
859-525-7297 •

Best Place for a Spa Day
Mi Salon Spa
7535 Burlington Pike, Florence
859-647-2566 •

Why we Won: “We feel as through we won because of our dedication to education and our kind, caring staff. We have a team of individuals who work with us, who feel like family to us and their passion shows in the work they do,” says Melissa Graus, general manager.


Best Beer Selection
Beer Sellar
301 Riverboat Row, Newport
859-431-6969 •

Why we Won: Stephannie Mejzlik, general manager, says, “Beer Sellar was chosen for best beer selection because of our distinctive, rotating wall of 63 taps and over 120 bottles, as well as our staff’s paramount knowledge on craft beer and peak customer service. Not to mention we have the greatest view on the river!”

Best Bourbon Selection
Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar
629 Main St., Covington

Best Festival
Glier’s Goettafest
859-292-1613 •

Best Live Music
The Southgate House Revival
111 E. 6th St., Newport
859-431-2201 •

Why we Won: General Manager and Talent Buyer Morrella Raleigh says, “The Southgate House Revival always strives to bring a diverse line-up of independent national and local music to our venue’s three stages, and we’re very appreciative of the support of music fans throughout the Tristate.”

Best Wine Store/Tasting
Elk Creek Winery
150 Highway 330, Owenton
505-404-0005 •

Why we Won: “Elk Creek has the passion to make excellent wine. We use quality oak barrels for our dry wines and allow the time all the wines need to be amazing. Our winery and vineyard are a beautiful destination and the whole experience will rival a trip to Napa,” says Off Site Event Coordinator Debbie Wilson.

Best Happy Hour
Grandview Tavern & Grille
2220 Grandview Dr., Ft. Mitchell
859-341-8439 •

Why we Won: Grandview Proprietor Colleen Haws says, “Grandview is known for our great pours, selection of craft beer and a fabulous atmosphere whether indoors or out. We have an outstanding staff that welcomes you with a smile and makes you feel at home. We are a Cheers kind of restaurant and bar.”


Best Bike Shop
Velocity Bike & Bean
7560 Burlington Pike, Florence
859-937-8356 •

Why we Won: “Mark Ball has the earned the reputation of being one of the best bicycle mechanics in the area, if not the Midwest. What we lack in fancy displays, square footage and large inventory, we make up for with unparalleled expertise, honest and fair pricing, and the best customer service we possibly can,” say co-owners Mark and Lisa Ball.

Best Bookstore
Joseph Beth Booksellers
2785 Dixie Highway, Crestview Hills
859-912-7860 •

Why we Won: “We’re honored to be named Best Bookstore of Northern Kentucky. We are proud to be part of the cultural fabric of the community with great authors and events for adults—plus kids story times and entertaining children’s activities. Our selection of 55,000 book titles, thousands of gifts and hundreds of local products means there is something for everyone in Northern Kentucky,” says Assistant General and Marketing Manager Cori Smith.

Best Bridal Shop
Donna Salyers’ Fabulous-Furs Bridal
601 Madison Ave., Covington
859-291-9222 •

Best Consignment Shop
Strut Resale Boutique
7733 Mall Road, Florence
859-372-4688 •

Why we Won: “We have a staff with years of passion and experience along with a drive to succeed with the utmost appreciation for our customer service!” says Owner Lisa Trusty.

Best Gift Shop
It’s Only Fair!
610 Main St., Mainstrasse Village, Covington
859-443-1079 •

Why we Won: Owner Reegan Hill says, “I think the fact that we won shows how much people really care about making a difference in the world. We really want to make the world a better place; it’s just not always easy to know how. Shopping at It’s Only Fair! enables someone to connect to a real person on the other side of the planet, and to become a part of their story of freedom, change and hope for a better future! Together, we are changing the world!”

Best Jeweler
Herzog Jewelers
2510 Dixie Highway, Ft. Mitchell
859-331-4653 •

Why we Won: “We can do anything, from changing your watch battery to creating the most important piece of jewelry that will fulfill your dreams and those for whom you love. What makes us different is our customer service, our willingness to exceed our customers’ expectations, our 92 years of quality and integrity, and finally, our design, style and craftsmanship of our jewelry,” says Owner Ted Koester.

Best Mall/Shopping Center
Crestview Hills Town Center
2791 Town Center Blvd., Crestview Hills
859-341-4353 •

Best Place for Home Accessories/Antiquing
Florence Antique Mall
8145 Mall Road, Florence
859-371-0600 •

Why we Won: “The Florence Antique Mall is made up of over 150 individual small business owners, each providing a wide variety of antiques, collectibles, vintage items and furniture at great prices. We’re all about reuse, recycle and repurpose, and love seeing the smiles on our customers’ faces when they find the perfect item or gift. It’s a shopping experience like no other in Northern Kentucky, and we think that’s why we won,” say Owners Mike and Coleen Detzel.


Best Charitable Race
Kentucky Dragon Boat Festival Paddling for the Pink
859-391-7020 •

Why we Won: Coach Priscilla Elgersma says, “We won because of the Kentucky Thorough-Breasts ‘Surviving in Sync’ team spirit. Dragon boat racing is an all-inclusive sport that embraces those in recovery and gives them hope through working with and for each other.”

Best Fitness Center
Town & Country Sports & Health Club
1018 Town Dr., Wilder
859-442-5800 •

Why we Won: “Town & Country is a unique fitness center in that it offers programs and amenities that meet the needs of everyone, no matter your age or ability. We credit our friendly staff, dedicated members and convenient location for our continued success as ‘Best Fitness Center’ three years running,” says Marketing Director Kelly Meyer.

Best Fitness Trail
Boone County Arboretum
9190 Camp Ernst Road, Union
859-384-4999 •

Why we Won: Director Kristopher Stone says, “We offer an outstanding local destination that offers a beautiful location for walking, jogging and other outdoor activities. Being Northern Kentucky’s only arboretum, and one of only a handful in the Greater Cincinnati area, makes us stand out.”

Best Health Food Store
Healthy Alternative
7570 Burlington Pike, Florence
859-282-5888 •

Best Yoga Studio
Modo Yoga
2428 High St., Crescent Springs
859-344-9642 •

Why we Won: Communications Director Caroline Millers says, “We are so thankful to our dedicated students and friends for voting us Best Yoga Studio in NKY once again. We continue to be inspired by the amazing community that has been built and continues to grow daily in our space.”


Best Place for a Birthday Party
Lazer Kraze
1335 Donaldson Highway, Erlanger
859-371-5729 •

Why we Won: “We work very hard every day to provide the best party and best customer experience possible for every adult and child that walks in the door. We hope this is why we were voted best!” says Facility Manager Lori Haliburton.

Best Dance/Theater Instruction
Studio Dee
3420 Valley Plaza Parkway, Ft. Wright
859-261-3337 •

Why we Won: Owner and Artistic Director Dee Reusch says, “I believe we won the honor of Best of NKY in dance/theater instruction because of our philosophy that dance enriches the lives of those who walk through our doors. While we take great pride in the fact that our students receive quality dance education that may take them into college classes (or more), our goal is to make a difference in the next generation: to help establish poise, confidence and self-worth in each of our students.”

Best Cheerleading/Gymnastics Center
Top Flight Gymnastics
721 Centre View Blvd., Crestview Hills
859-344-1010 •

Best Music Instruction
NKU Music Preparatory
1 Nunn Dr., Highland Heights
859-572-7737 •

Why we Won: Dr. Holly Attar, director of NKU Music Preparatory, says, “NKU Music Preparatory is changing lives through music, and changing music for life. We pride ourselves on welcoming the community into NKU with not only the highest quality of music instruction, but also a personal commitment to engaging them every time they walk through our doors.”

Best Park
Devou Park
859-292-2151 •

Best Preschool
Skidaddles, Inc.
8660 Bankers St., Florence
859-647-7529 •

Why we Won: Office Manager Stacey Alexander says, “I believe that we won because we are a new concept in childcare, we believe in exceptional quality and we have the best employees around!”

Best Toy Store
Stoney’s Gift & Toy Shoppe
323 W. 6th St., Covington
859-655-9571 •

Why we Won: “Offering educational, interactive and unique gifts, many of which are heirloom quality, makes this shop a winner! From the purple porch to the glitter floors to the Secret Garden where birthday parties are held, it’s all a magical treasure!” says Owner Sandi Stonebraker.


Best Chef
Travis Faris
Be Creative Catering
1928 Petersburg Road, Hebron
859-586-4201 •

Why He Won: Says Faris, “I think that I won Best Chef 2014 because we prepare dishes that everyone knows and enjoys, really well. Our menus are customizable to cater to any vision a client may have.”

Best Fitness Class Instructor
Melody Hoppius
Melody’s Boot Camp & Lifestyle Fitness
859-393-0157 •

Best Master Stylist
Jennifer (JJ) Campbell
Cloud 9 Salon and Spa
393 Mt. Zion Road, Florence
859-371-1999 •

Why She Won: She says, “My clients have allowed me to make them look and feel beautiful over my 21-year career as a stylist and 7 years as an owner. I have constantly challenged myself and my staff at Cloud 9 to stay educated on the most current trends and techniques, traveling to advanced haircutting and color classes in much of the U.S. and in Italy. I feel blessed...I love what I do!” Thanks to the success of the salon and spa, Campbell and her husband are starting an exciting endeavor: expanding it another 2,300 square feet.

Best Personal Trainer
Mike Nie, certified personal trainer
Solid Body Personal Training
2465 Dixie Highway, Ft. Mitchell

Why He Won: “I’m the owner and the trainer at Solid Body Personal Training, so I’m personally invested in each client, regardless of fitness level. We create attainable goals, celebrate success, then set our sights on the next achievement. I think my clients enjoy working out with a trainer who is also a friend,” says Nie.