2005 Gay Favorites Announced

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With more than 1,000 votes cast, all across Middle and East Tennessee “Out & About Newspaper” readers have voted and let their voices be heard. From Nashville and Knoxville’s best gay bars, to their favorite TV personalities, “O&AN” readers have crowned more than 35 different areas as their “gay favorite.”

It took more than two months of voting and produced some surprising results. While some winners weren’t so surprising (i.e., Favorite Drag Queen – Bianca Paige took the honor for the second year in a row), some were.

The Middle and East Tennessee gay communities love their gay bars and bartenders, with almost all of the ballots cast including a vote for at least one of these two categories.

The Gay Favorites readers poll was headed up by “O&AN” volunteer staffer A.J. Buse´. It took the entire “O&AN” staff to compile  profiles on the winners, and list the top two runner’s up.

Middle Tennessee winners were honored at a reception at Play on Oct. 3 and East Tennessee winners were honored at a reception at Bar XYZ on Oct. 7.

“Many of the votes were close,” Buse said. “The poll created tremendous interest among our readers. We had a terrific response. The new online voting proved very popular.”

And while some of the recipients were taken a bit off guard when told of their new title as one of the Gay Favorites, they expressed gratitude for the GLBT community.
You, our readers, have voted and these are your favorites. And so without further ado, we’re proud to present the results of our second annual Gay Favorites reader’s poll.

Gay Nashvillian of the Year – Christopher Sanders

O&AN Readers have voted Christopher Sanders as their choice for Nashvillian of The Year. The choice came as no surprise to our writers and editors. Sanders, director of development for the Vanderbilt University Divinity School, has worked tirelessly for the GLBT community. He has helped to build not only a strong structure for the business community through Nashville’s GLBT Chamber of Commerce (NAPP) but also for rights for all GLBT Tennesseans through his work with the Tennessee Equality Project. Smart, respected by straights and gays, and the ability to build bridges, has earned Sanders the respect of all.  

Two other notable Nashvillians received an equal number of votes including Mark Middleton (a.k.a. Bianca Paige) and Todd Roman, co-owner of Play Dance Club.

Best Gay Businessman – David Taylor

He and his business partners have helped transform Church Street into Nashville’s growing gay district and our readers have taken notice. David Taylor, co-owner of Tribe Video Bar and Red Restaurant, has been selected by our readers as Nashville’s Favorite Gay Businessman. Taylor and business partner Keith Blaydes opened Tribe three years ago to give people a place to hang out and have a cocktail in an upscale setting. Taylor is also active in the Human Rights Campaign and has earned Tribe/Red a spot in the corporate circle with the Tennessee Equality Project.

Todd Roman and Joey Brown were runner-ups in this category. Roman and Brown, who co-own Play Dance Club along with Taylor and Blaydes, have a packed crowd dancing to their tunes on any given Friday and Saturday night. With about 10,000 square feet of pulsing dance beats and shirtless men where else can one want to be? They recently opened a men’s clothing store just down the street called Joe’s.

Best Lesbian Businesswoman – Abby Rubenfeld

Abby Rubenfeld, attorney-at-law; community activist; mother and astute business woman. One often wonders how she finds the time and energy to do what she does. Our readers have voted her Nashville’s Favorite Lesbian Businesswoman and with good reason. Rubenfeld runs her law practice and finds time to fight for equal rights for the GLBT community.  Nashville is fortunate to have her call it home.

Runner-ups in this category included Lipstick Lounge owners and twins Jonda Valentine and Ronda Landers (who own the bar along with Co-owner and general manager Christa Suppan). Maria Salas, a bankruptcy attorney, and Sheila D. Barnard, a realtor, tied for third place in this category.

Favorite Gay Bar, Favorite Place to People Watch, & Favorite Place to go for a Drink – Tribe

Unlike the dance clubs in town, Tribe is geared towards conversation with friends. Boasting a large rectangular bar as its centerpiece, several large video monitors, a second level filled with plush couches and cocktail tables, and an upscale restaurant, is it any wonder that Tribe is a favorite for multiple categories for multiple years in a row?

Tribe hosts several events throughout the week including its ever popular Sunday Brunch, TribeTV, HRC Post Office parties and Martini Thursdays. With all these activities, you’re bound to find what you’re looking for at Tribe! Tribe is located in Nashville’s midtown at 1517 Church Street.

Runner-ups: Gay Bar – The Chute, The Silver Stirrup; People Watch – Play, Nashville Airport; Place for a Drink – The Chute, The Silver Stirrup

Favorite Lesbian Bar – Lipstick Lounge

The Lipstick Lounge has been voted favorite Lesbian Bar for the past two years. The truth is that the Lounge is MUCH more than just a lesbian bar. It is an excellent venue for live music, with two of the owners themselves performing every Friday night. The bar is owned by Christa Suppan, Ronda Landers, and Jonda Valentine. Twin sisters Jonda Valentine and Ronda Landers and their partners Christa Suppan and Traci Oliver have worked tirelessly to make the Lipstick Lounge a home and haven for the entire Nashville community.

Originally, Lipstick was a lesbian bar, but it now sports a clientele that is as varied and diverse as the East Nashville neighborhood itself. On any given night, the crowd is male and female, straight and gay, old and young, of all races, from every corner of the area, and transcending distinctions of class or social status.

Runner-ups: Tribe, Cabaret II

Favorite Straight Bar – Bar Twenty3

Winning such honors as “one of the 30 hottest bars in the world” by Conde Nest Travel Magazine and one of the top 100 clubs in the nation by Nightclub&Bar, Bar Twenty3 is no stranger to the Nashville nightlife or to the Favorite Straight Bar category. With its second win in this category, Bar Twenty3 has proven that its 3,500 sq. ft., two level converted warehouse is here to stay. Bar Twenty3 is located in Nashville’s booming urban Gulch neighborhood at 503 12th Ave. S.

Runner-ups: Beyond the Edge, BAR Nashville

Favorite Place to Dance – Play

Since it’s opening in the Fall of 2004, Play has quickly become Nashville’s hottest dance club. With its sleek, New York feel, VIP lounge, and Play Mates female impersonators, Play is proud to be an “everybody friendly” establishment and attracts a broad, diverse clientele. Located in the up-and-coming “Gay District” at 1519 Church Street, Play is definitely the hippest place in town to “get your groove on!”

Runner-ups: The Chute, Kiss

Favorite Place for Lunch – Calypso Café

One of the most unique casual restaurants in Nashville, Calypso offers colorful Caribbean fare such as Jamaican Curried Chicken, Lucayan Salad, and the Island Burger. The food is healthy and affordable, and the range of side dishes served with most entrees gives every dish the spice of variety. With a new location opening in Murfreesboro, under the slightly more colorful name of “Couva Calypso,” this flavorful café will continue to delight diners across Middle Tennessee.

Runner-ups:  Logan’s Roadhouse, Germantown Café

Favorite Place for Casual Dinner – Red Restaurant

With a varied menu and a rich atmosphere, Red Restaurant, located inside Tribe, is the gay community’s go-to meeting place for both business and pleasure. Although the decadent red décor is slowly being phased out as Red Restaurant prepares to move to its new location next door, we’re all anxiously waiting to catch a glimpse of the new Red.

Runner-ups: Demos’, Germantown Café, P.F. Chang’s

Favorite Place for Elegant Dinner – Melting Pot

Dining at the Melting Pot, located among the bustle of Downtown’s 2nd Ave., is not just a fine meal, it’s an experience. Begin by dipping an assortment of breads and veggies into a luscious pot of cheese fondue, then choose from lobster, filet, chicken, fish, or vegetarian fondue entrees; but don’t forget to save room for a rich, creamy pot of melted chocolate to top off your indulgent evening.

Runner-ups: Red Restaurant, Margot Café

Favorite Place for Coffee – Starbucks on 21st Ave.

An especially popular spot with the Vandy crowd, the Starbucks on 21st Ave has one of the hippest and most spacious interiors around. There are lots of young, pretty faces to look at while sipping your java, and the fun and friendly counter crew only adds to the pleasant atmosphere.

Runner-ups: Fido, Bongo Java

Favorite Bookstore & Favorite Gift Shop – Outloud!

Once again this year Outloud! takes first place in two categories. As was promised last year they have expanded their space, with espresso and wireless coming soon. We will at last have our own Gaybucks with gay books where gay bucks can be spent.

For over ten years Outloud! has been the only exclusively GLBT bookseller in Nashville; a pioneering achievement. The community continues to show its appreciation and can now find even more of a home where they can hold hands and coffee mugs with abandon. Becoming a nearly one-stop-shop, one can browse through the gift section with its great greeting card selection, candles and more, movies galore, myriad magazines, beau coup books and of course fun fetish items for everyone. Outloud! is all that and a cup of java. Who knows, maybe next year they will be a triple threat entering the coffee house category.

Runner-ups: Bookstore – Borders, Davis-Kidd Booksellers; Gift Shop – Boomerang Finer Thrift, Hustler Hollywood

Favorite Place to Buy Casual Clothes – Smack

The first store of club gear, Smack was around long before other trendy stores began popping up. Those in the know about clothes that are hot and fun have been getting their fashion forward threads there for the last few years. The owner, Ron Weye, also owns Pieces a couple of blocks away, with a selection of the hottest vintage clothing around.

Runner-ups: The Gap, Boomerang Finer Thrift

Favorite Place to Buy Formal Clothes – Hecht’s

With several locations across Nashville, Hecht’s is one of the best places to purchase formalwear. A friendly, knowledgeable staff is always there to help you find just the right outfit for the occasion, and the variety is second-to-none. Free of hassle and with affordability that is hard to top, Hecht’s is the place to go for your next formal outing.   

Runner-ups: Dillard’s, Levy’s

Favorite Local Art Gallery & Favorite Place to Get Culture – Frist Center for the Visual Arts

Housed in a space built as a post office in 1934, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts has transformed the building into an elegant museum without losing the feel of its original architecture. The museum hosts local, national, and international art exhibits, as well as the ArtQuest, a great hands-on place to teach kids about art, and the Frist Gift Shop, a gorgeous shop full of vivid and unique art objects.

Runner-ups: Local Art Gallery – Hanging Around, Zeitgeist; Place to Get Culture – TPAC, Cheekwood

Favorite Special Event – Pride Fest

This year’s Pride Fest was huge, with numbers tallying close to 13,000. With booths and entertainment, this outdoor event has the feeling of a huge family picnic. The theme of this year was, “Proud to be…with people from all walks describing who they are and why they are proud of it. Showing that gays and lesbians are everywhere, we are your next door neighbors….and proud to be who we are.” The Pride Committee, with the help of many volunteers, worked tirelessly throughout the year to put this event on. Proud to be on the Pride Committee?

Runner-ups: Artrageous, AIDS Walk

Favorite Spiritual Place – Tie: Church of the Living Water and St. Ann’s Episcopal Church

The Church of the Living Water is now located in Goodlettsville at 731 Dickerson Pike. The church is non-denominational and, although the congregation is primarily GLBT, is open to “anyone whose goal is love and healing,” says pastor Tony Sirten. The church can be reached at 851-2345.

St. Ann’s Episcopal in East Nashville, at the corner of 5th and Woodland Ave., rose from the ashes a few years ago after a tornado blew away the historic sanctuary. According to Jim Hughson, member since 1997, “St. Ann’s is a very caring, open congregation that includes gay, straight, different nationalities as well as homeless.” Their mission statement reads: Diverse, open community of faith, seeking and serving Christ and all persons. Lisa Hunt is pastor of St. Ann’s; for more information call 254-3534.

Runner-ups: Covenant of the Cross, Holy Trinity

Favorite Place for Home Accessories – Pier 1 Imports

Nashville homes can be decorated and accessorized with beauty and style at Pier 1 Imports. Modern yet earthy, good quality yet affordable, Pier 1 Imports has a large selection of items for every part of the house – everything from beds and couches to dinnerware and candles. Unlike many other home accessories stores, most Pier 1 Imports pieces come preassembled, and there are many locations around town making it easy to locate that certain color throw pillow or style of martini glass.

Runner-ups: Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware

Favorite Radio Station – 96.3 Jack FM

Nothing quite like it had ever hit the Nashville airwaves until Jack came along. The motto “playing what we want” perfectly captures the irreverence and diversity of this radio station, born as an online experiment in 2000 and spreading across the country ever since. Playing lots of gay standards like Madonna, Cher, and Elton John, as well as everything from Van Halen, to Stevie Wonder, to Maroon 5, there’s very little that you won’t hear on Jack – except for, that is, the same top 40 song over and over and over…

Runner-ups: 107.5 The River, 102.5 The Party

Favorite Newspaper (Other than O&AN) – The Nashville Scene

In a city with many choices for free daily and weekly papers, the Nashville Scene stands out as a hip, informative, and often humorously snide news and entertainment source in Nashville. Alongside news about music happenings, film showings, restaurants, books, art, and theater, the Nashville Scene also has their share of reporting on gay topics. From the sensational cover story “Policing Gays” chronicling the horror of a gay man unjustly accused of selling drugs to cops who lure homosexuals under false pretenses, to an annual college survival guide covering Nashville’s gay scene written by Out and About’s own Joey Hood, the Nashville Scene presents a well rounded view of the city, gay and straight.

Runner-ups: the Tennessean, the City Paper

Favorite Bartender – Timmy Harkum at The Chute

It’s Saturday night in Nashville, and in a small bar – connected to a larger club, almost invisible from the main road – there is a crowd of men, women, drag queens, and several stragglers from the leather convention just wrapping up next door. It is the Silver Stirrup, and one man behind the bar is the center of it all. With a smile on his face and a martini shaker in his hand, Timmy Harkum deftly trades witty remarks with his audience while mixing up perfect Martinis, Manhattans, and even an impromptu Pina Colada. Stop by this cozy piano bar, and Timmy will be more than happy to welcome you.

Runner-ups: Oscar Rodriguez at Tribe, Sean Van Order at Tribe

Favorite Drag Queen – Bianca Paige

Heeeeey!! One of the most recognizable voices in Nashville (and that’s saying something in this town), Bianca Paige is bar none the top of the game when it comes to female impersonation. An acerbic wit, an incomparable style and a down-to-earth attitude have kept Bianca and her alter ego Mark Middleton in the hearts and minds of Nashville’s club-going public for many years. If there is a cause to be championed and funds to be raised look for Bianca to be there raking in the donations.

Runner-ups: Austria Andrews, Nicole Ellington Dupree

Favorite Hairstylist – Will Griffin at Gordon & Co.

For 13 years, Will Griffin has been attracting customers who want something different out of their hairstylist. From the Music Row salon Gordon & Co., he aims to please his “outgoing, upscale, and cutting-edge” clientele while expressing his own interests and personality. As winner two years in a row for favorite hairdresser, Griffin has proven that his choice to study at Memphis’ Midsouth Beauty College and devote his career to hairstyling was the right one.

Runner-ups: Betsy Ragland at Heaven’s to Betsy, Steve Truitt @ Truitt’s
  
Favorite Massage Therapist – Jimmy Smith

Massage Therapist Jimmy Smith works out of “Rare Energy” on 1900 Eastland Ave. along with Damon Padilla. He runs his massage business during the early afternoon and evenings and tends bar at both Tribe and Play at night. Jimmy offers an experience in massage and bodywork that is built around your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. He is also trained in advanced Swedish integrated massage, acupressure, stretching/passive range of motion techniques, and reiki energy work. Jimmy can be reached @ [email protected] or (615) 512-6587

Runner-ups: Brian Johnson at Classic Touch, Carter Witt at The Rub

Favorite Real Estate Agent – Shelia D. Barnard at Kelly Can Realty

Shelia D. Barnard has lived in the area for 30 years. She knows what it means to own a home, and has no trouble relating to that feeling. Shelia vows to get you the most for your hard earned dollar, and her years of experience will certainly come in handy when your are hunting for that perfect dream home.
“My mother raised me with this belief: do unto others as you want done unto yourself!” exclaims Shelia’s Web site. “I give you my word in that statement.”
Shelia services the entire state of Tennessee and beyond. If she can get to the location by car, she’ll be there!

If you are thinking of buying or selling your home, be sure to give Shelia a call at 615.641.2442 or email her at [email protected].

Runner-ups: Dean Hammonds, John Anderson

Favorite Car Dealer – Jim Reed Chevrolet

For over eighty years, Jim Reed has been serving the needs of the auto consumer in Nashville, Tennessee. It was 1930 when the Jim Reed Chevrolet Company was granted a charter of incorporation by the state of Tennessee, and Jim Reed has been serving the transportation needs of Middle Tennessee ever since. Occupying almost 600,000 sq. ft. along Broadway, 15th Ave., 16th Ave. and Hays St., Jim Reed Chevrolet Company represents a family tradition that has lived for three generations and plans to continue to serve Tennesseans for generations to come.

Runner-ups:  CarMax, Beaman Automotive Group

Favorite Florist – The Blooming Boutique

The Blooming Boutique has been proudly serving Nashville for over ten years. They are family owned and operated and are committed to offering only the finest floral arrangements and gifts, backed by service that is friendly and prompt. Because all of their customers are important to them, their professional staff is dedicated to making your experience a pleasant one. That is why they always go the extra mile to make your floral gift perfect for every occasion.

The Blooming Boutique is always here to serve you and make your flower-sending experience a pleasure. Give them a shout at 800.392.8207 or e-mail them at [email protected].

Runner-ups: Flowers Express, Emma’s Flowers

Favorite Local Politician – Phil Bredesen

Phil Bredesen, the 48th governor of Tennessee, took office January 18, 2003, with a promise to “focus energy on real results by leaving behind predictable and stale political debates.”

During his first year in office, Bredesen brought a new level of candor, openness and accountability to state government. Years two and three brought more progress. Bredesen pushed measures to improve education, including raising teacher pay above the Southeastern average.

Bredesen and his wife, First Lady Andrea Conte, are active members of the community, locally and statewide. He is a founding member of Nashville’s Table, a nonprofit group that collects discarded food from local restaurants and distributes it to the city’s homeless population. He also founded the Land Trust for Tennessee, a nonprofit organization that works statewide to preserve open space and traditional family farms.

Bredesen grew up in rural Shortsville, N.Y., and moved to Nashville in 1975. He earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Harvard University. He is an avid hunter and outdoorsman, a licensed pilot and enjoys painting as a hobby. He and Conte have one son, Ben.

Runner-ups: Adam Dread, Chris Ferrell

Favorite Radio DJ – DJ Ron at WRVU

Like many in the gay community, DJ Ron divides his time between his day job and his passion. During the day you might find him at work creating software for local governments; but if you’re looking for him at night, you’ll have to follow your ears. DJ Ron has found his niche spinning trance, house, and rave style music in clubs such as Tribe and Excess, and on Vanderbilt’s radio station, WRVU. He keeps his listeners coming back for the relaxing, revitalizing, and energizing sounds that keep us going.

Runner-ups: Gerry House at 98 WSIX, Connie Darnell at 92Q

Favorite Local Musician –   Good Lord to the Devil

Good Lord to the Devil, composed of singer songwriters Ryan Breegle and Jon Freeman, is two guys with very different styles coming together as one band. When asked to describe their music, Jon says, “It’s country music that runs the gamut from hysterical to manic.” They have been creating quite a stir among the Nashville music scene since their arrival. Not to mention the gay scene – after all, who ever heard of “gay country music”?

Runner-ups: Tony Tanner, Sam Sampson

Favorite Local News Anchor – Demetria Kalodimos

One of the longest running news reporters in Nashville history, WSMV Channel 4’s Demetria Kalodimos is the very definition of staying power. While other perkier-than-thou pretenders to the throne have come and gone, Kalodimos has remained the queen of the newscast with her trademark bob hair and rumored diva-like tendencies. A revered mainstay in the Nashville broadcasting industry, Kalodimos’ is a face we’ll be seeing for some time to come.

Runner-ups: Neil Orne, Chris Clark

Favorite Local News Reporter – Darian Trotter

Delivering a one-two punch of style and sophistication coupled with downright sex appeal, how could one not adore WSMV Channel 4’s Darian Trotter? His hard-nosed crime-scene reporting has made Trotter a well-known face – almost as much as his deep beautiful brown eyes and a voice that makes the listener swoon while begging for more.

Runner-ups: Brent Frazier, Dennis Farrier

Favorite Local Weather Reporter – Kevin Skarupa

WKRN Channel 2’s resident meteorologist Kevin Skarupa is the eager beaver of weather forecasting. With a charming attitude and a killer smile Skarupa reports on the news with a flair that attracts and know-how that lends him credibility. With a well-groomed style and relaxed attitude in front of the camera, Skarupa has come to be a trusted voice on the nightly weather forecasts.

Runner-ups: Charlie Neese, Lelan Statom

Forgotten Favorites:

  • Favorite Artist: Trevor Mikula
  • Favorite Club DJ: Lenny B at Play
  • Favorite Liquor Store: Mr. Whiskers

 

Knoxville Favorites

  • Best Gay Businessman –    Will Pappas

    The soft-spoken owner of the New Rainbow Club West is an East Tennessee native and a very well-known figure in Knoxville. His smile and gracious manner are among the assets that have made him a favorite among favorites for 2005. He is Knoxville’s choice for the Gay Businessman of the Year.  

    Runner-ups: Jason McClure, Kristopher Kendrick

    Best Lesbian Businesswoman – Beth Boline

    Located at 157 North Peters Road, the high-end used clothing shop known as Planet X-Change is a favorite with everyone from high schoolers to businesswomen. The proud owner of that establishment is Beth Boline. Her business acumen has served her well and is the reason for the store’s continuing popularity. It’s just a really great store!

    Runner-ups: Dale Walker, Katherine Weeks

    Gay Knoxvillian of the Year – Jeff Simmons

    As an enthusiastic member of Knoxville Cares, Jeff Simmons is a household name in the GLBT community. “Thank you to everyone who voted for me.  I hope to continue to fulfill your expectations.  For more information call (865) 523-2620 or visit www.knoxvillecares.org.”

    Runner-ups: Beth Maples-Bays, The Lady Geneva

    Favorite Gay Bar, Favorite Dance Bar, & Favorite Place to go for a Drink – Rainbow Club West

    Rainbow Club West has something for everyone. The main room’s neighborhood pub atmosphere offers pool tables, big screen TVs, and seating for your order from the Rainbow Café. The back room’s dance floor with state of the art lights and lasers also serves as a stage area on show nights. Grab a front row seat for the best drag show in Knoxville!

    Runner-ups: Gay Bar – Kurt’s, Club XYZ; Place to Dance – Carousel, Club XYZ; Place for a Drink – Kurt’s, Sapphire

    Favorite Lesbian Bar – Kurt’s

    One of Knoxville’s most popular spots for GLBT gatherings is Kurt’s Bar. Located in Homberg Place off Kingston Pike in the Bearden area, the Thursday night karaoke draws lesbians like flies on honey. It’s a sure hit with many local dykes who enjoy the neighborhood “Cheers” type atmosphere afforded by the friendly staff. Whether you’re out on the patio or shooting pool inside, Kurt’s draws good people for good times. Check them out online at www.kurtsbar.com.

    Runner-ups: Rainbow Club West, Carousel

    Favorite Straight Bar – Cotton Eyed Joe

    It doesn’t matter if your dancing style is the Two-Step or freestyle; Cotton Eyed Joe has the musical selections for all. Entertainment includes pool, darts, video games, an in-house roping ring, and – for anybody looking for a wild ride – a rambunctious Mechanical Bull. They also offer drink specials at four different bars. Come on down to Cotton Eyed Joe, ‘cause there is always a party at the Joe!

    Runner-ups: Michael’s, Roxy

    Favorite Place to People Watch – West Towne Mall

    Located at 7600 Kingston Pike, West Town Mall strives to satisfy the needs and desires of any and all customers. Numerous hair and nail salons and cosmetic studios allow customers to escape from life’s stressful situations. West Town’s nine-screen stadium seating theatre features state-of-the-art Dolby digital sound and displays Hollywood’s latest releases in style. Add to that some wonderful restaurants, and it is a target destination for people watching.

    Runner-ups: Rainbow Club West, Dollywood

    Favorite Place for Lunch – Panera

    Panera Bread is committed to showing its appreciation for customers not only through its bakery-cafes, but also by sponsoring special events in the community. Panera not only provides a convenient lunch destination but also participates in charitable events through Operation Dough-Nation® and the Scrip fundraising program. Locations in Knoxville include Mercedes Place, Cumberland Avenue, and North Peters Road. For more information visit www.penerabread.com online, or by calling 865-450-1002.

    Runner-ups:  O’Charley’s, Tomato Head

    Favorite Place for Casual Dinner – Tomo

    Unlike many Asian-cuisine chain restaurants, Tomo Japanese Restaurant is a comfortable and homey spot for a delicious meal. With experienced chefs who ship in the freshest and most exotic fish possible, Tomo provides a delightful assortment of dishes and prides itself on the authenticity of its cuisine. Call (865) 588-1161 for more information.

    Runner-ups: O’Charley’s, Calhoun’s

    Favorite Place for Elegant Dinner – Regas

    Regas. A Knoxville icon. Honored as the most award-winning restaurant in Knoxville, Regas has represented excellence in dining since 1919. From hearty lunches to elegant dinners, Regas exemplifies the very best of Knoxville’s notable restaurant heritage. Come celebrate with Regas.

    Runner-ups: Orangery, Melting Pot

    Favorite Place for Coffee – Starbucks

    Founded in 1971 in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, Starbucks goal was to establish their business as the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world. Starbucks purchases and roasts high-quality whole bean coffees and sells them along with fresh, rich-brewed, Italian style espresso beverages, a variety of pastries and confections, and coffee-related accessories and equipment. Starbucks also supports diversity by offering domestic partner benefits and supporting local HIV/AIDS organizations.

    Runner-ups: Borders, Java

    Favorite Bookstore – Borders

    Headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Borders Group, Inc., is a publicly held Fortune 500 company.  More than 34,000 employees worldwide provide Borders customers with books, music, movies, and other entertainment items they love in a relaxing, enjoyable atmosphere. Borders is committed to their people, to diversity, to their customers, and to their communities. Borders is located at 202 Morrell Road in Knoxville.

    Runner-ups: McKay’s, Books-a-Million

    Favorite Gift Shop – Hallmark

    “When you care enough to send the very best.” Hallmark shops are popular these days for more than the lovely greeting cards that made them famous. Holidays are coming up, and Hallmark tree ornaments are always in demand. Whether you collect for yourself or give them as presents, Hallmark’s gifts make a wonderful addition to your holiday cheer. Visit Amy’s Hallmark at 7600 Kingston Pike for that special gift.

    Runner-ups: From Earth to Old City, Green Earth Emporium

    Favorite Place to Buy Casual Clothes – Old Navy

    The first Old Navy store opened in Colma, California in 1994. The chain has taken off since then and now boasts more than 800 stores. Their lines of casual clothing are ever popular, and some fashion trends, including cargo pants and fleece, are credited to Old Navy. Visit their store in Knoxville Center to indulge your shopping therapy habit.

    Runner-ups: Planet Exchange, The Gap

    Favorite Place to Buy Formal Clothes – Proffit’s

    Proffitt’s and McRae’s stores are now a part of Belk Department stores, a family owned and operated department store headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. Belk has a long southern family history – in fact, Belk is celebrating its 117th anniversary this year. “We cherish this history and strive every day to treat our customers fairly. We look forward to serving you and making your shopping experience an enjoyable one.”

    Runner-ups: Banana Republic, Cache

    Favorite Local Art Gallery & Favorite Place to Get Culture – Knoxville Museum of Art

    “Thank you to Out & About readers for recognizing the Knoxville Museum of Art. We at the KMA appreciate the LGBTQ community’s involvement and support. Your participation is important to our success,” expressed Del Baker-Robertson, KMA Marketing & Communications Director. On Friday, Oct. 7, 2005, KMA will host Artscapes, their annual art auction and dinner. KMA is located at 1050 Worlds Fair Park Drive. For more information visit www.knoxart.org, or call 865-525-6101.

    Runner-ups: Local Art Gallery – Chocolate Factory, Variation by Victoria; Place to Get Culture – Market Square, Knoxville Symphony

    Favorite Special Event – Boomsday

    Boomsday is Knoxville’s ultimate Labor Day weekend spectacular. To say that it is a fireworks display is to greatly understate the entertainment provided at this event. Coordinated with music to fit the occasion and synchronized with the almost unreal pyrotechnics, Boomsday is the nation’s largest fireworks display. This year’s celebration included a “fun zone” that offered live music, exhibits, and food vendors for an additional $10 fee. Proceeds were earmarked for East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. Check the City of Knoxville’s website next August for updates on next year’s fun.

    Runner-ups: Pride, Heritage Night

    Favorite Spiritual Place – Metropolitan Community Church Knoxville

    MCC struggles to be a place of love and acceptance to show the embrace of God.  During its 28 years in Knoxville, it has a long standing history of providing food and assistance to those in need.  For schedules and directions to the church from the West Town Mall area please call (865) 531-2539 or visit www.mccknoxville.org.