Best Cup of Joe? 'Joe Powers'

Columnist Steve Lange looks back on some of the weirdest answers in 24 years of Rochester Magazine's annual Best Restaurants ballot.

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Starting today, and through Nov. 30, you can go to and thoughtfully and carefully consider the categories in Rochester Magazine’s 24th annual Best Restaurants contest.

Or, in the category of Best Cup of Joe, you can write in "Joe Powers."

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(Joe Powers, incidentally, owns and runs Powers Ventures and the Canadian Honker, among other things.)

We have run that category maybe a dozen times through the years, and someone has written that in every single time.

Either way.


Because every year, for the past 24 years, roughly 99% of the 2,000 or so voters earnestly contemplate the "Best Italian Dish" category.

But, every year, more than one of you write in "Sophia Loren." Or "Fabio." Or "Valerie Bertinelli."

It's time for our annual look back at some of the most interesting — read: weirdest — answers we've received during the last 24 years of our Best Restaurants Ballot. And there's still a month left to vote in this one.

Best New Restaurant: "We don't go out to eat. My wife is making me fill this out for the chance to win the $50 gift card."

Joe Powers.jpg
Joe Powers.

Best Place For A Post-Work Happy Hour: "I hate my co-workers, and they never invite me out after work. One time I walked into Chester's by myself, and they were all there at 5:01 on a Friday."

Best Place For Wings: "On the sides of the chicken."

Coolest Vibe: "The one with Beyoncé on the cover." (Then we realized they meant Vibe magazine.). "The 2008 model, in silver." (Then we realized they meant the Pontiac Vibe.)

Best Bartender: "Isaac from 'The Love Boat.'" "That octopus from 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?'" "Guinan.” (That was the Whoopi Goldberg character on “Star Trek: The Next Generation”).


Best Place For Cocktails: “My in-laws’ house when we have to visit my in-laws. My father-in-law really dislikes me.”

Best Bar: “MSBA.” (We had to look this up. It stands for Minnesota State Bar Assoc. That’s four minutes we’ll never get back.) “Candy.” “Space bar. It’s probably the key I use the most.”

Best Sandwich: “Callaway Chrome Mack Daddy 4.” (We had to look this up, and discovered it is a golf club. A sand wedge. That’s four minutes we’ll never get back.)

Best Brunch: "I ate with Mayor Brede once, and my husband kept calling it the Brede Brunch. He still calls it that years later."

Best Dessert: "I can't choose just one. I love all tracts of arid land with less than 10 inches of annual rainfall."

Best Restaurant More Than 30 Minutes Away: "This is a dumb question. People drive at different speeds."

Best Bar Service: "I never get served when I go up to the bar. I think I'm probably really boring looking and the bartenders don't even see me."

Best Sushi: "B. Anthony." (Can this possibly be "Susie"? For Susan B. Anthony? We honestly don't know anymore.)


Best Barista: "I don't know, but I do know he or she is esoterically sarcastic."

Best Place To Eat With Kids: "Do you mean YOUNG kids? Because someone can still be your kid and be a grown adult."

Best Place To Eat Outside: “No! My husband always wanted to eat outside and it drove me crazy! It’s always SO windy! God rest his soul.”

Also, one of our greatest answers came from the voting results themselves. In 2003, our One Restaurant Rochester Needs Immediately category ended with a tie.

Between Chuck E. Cheese and Hooters.

Which, as far as we can tell, is the only time those two restaurants tied in any category, ever.

Steve Lange is the editor of Rochester Magazine. His column appears every Tuesday.

Opinion by Steve Lange
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