Welcome back to Revue's annual reader poll: Best of the West.
Now in its 8th year, we continue to change and evolve the experience, taking reader feedback on what categories to include and how we approach voting. This year, we once again had not one, but two rounds of voting this year! In the first round of voting, you could nominate literally whoever you want, as long as they fit the category and were local. In the second round of voting, readers had three finalists to choose from.
We tend to see quite a few more voters in the second round than the first, likely because it’s much easier to vote from three choices than to pull a business from your memories—especially with over 100 categories. We also have seen some things change up with this new approach, like the fact Founders lost Best Brewery for the first time in Best of the West history.
This year, we’ve also decided to do away with 2nd and 3rd places, because even when you’re competing against dozens or hundreds of other businesses, something about “third place” doesn’t feel great. Instead, there’s the first place winner, and then two finalists, which are listed in alphabetical order here.
The second round means more participation than ever before. This year, across both rounds combined, we had over 10,000 voters participate, casting a total of roughly 275,000 votes. So to even be a finalist means you beat out a whole lot of competition.
While we’re putting a pause on Best of the West Live this year—turns out, it’s hard to schedule an event when most participants are in the service industry and have their businesses to run—we’re excited to reimagine it and come back with a stellar community celebration.
This year, we also brought back the Golden Certificate, awarded to the nominee who won the Most Votes Overall across multiple categories. So, congratulations once again to returning champion and winner of this year’s Golden Certificate award: Long Road Distillers! Clearly, you’re a hometown hero.
Whether you’re a winner, a finalist, a voter or a Staff Pick, as long as you’re part of West Michigan, Best of the West is for you. We want to celebrate all of our readers’ favorite people and places around town so that even more people can check them out and give them the love they deserve. Cheers!
HERE ARE YOUR WINNERS FOR BEST OF THE WEST 2023: