A Look Back: Focus on some of 2020’s Best of Toledo winners

Each year, Toledo City Paper readers determine the Best of Toledo — the best places to eat, the best stores, the best doctors, the best events that define our city and many other categories.  With 2021 nominations beginning in September, here is a look back at some 2020 winners, representing the best of our community!


2103 N. Reynolds Rd.

While the menu items aren’t fancy, a visit to Schmucker’s delivers a comfort-food hug. The diner has been filling Toledoans’ hearts (and stomachs) for over 70 years. “It is humbling to have the support of the greater Toledo community and have them recognize us in this way,” said owner Douglas Schmucker. “We so appreciate all those that join us time and time again.”

Bridal Shop

Atlas Bridal Shop
4895 Monroe St., #101

Things change. When Atlas first opened in the 1920s, it was a book and music store. Today, however, the store is trusted with helping provide a bride’s dream day. The stylists at Atlas work directly with clients to create and alter their look for their wedding.

Cigar Shop

The Cigar Affair
323 Conant St., Maumee

There are few places in the Toledo area that rival the classy atmosphere of The Cigar Affair. Featuring over 1000 open boxes of product in a walk-in humidor, the Affair is also a great place to visit and unwind, whether in the beautiful cigar lounge or on the outdoor patio. It’s no wonder that the Affair has been voted “Best of Toledo” consistently for the past nine years.

Day Spa

EVOLV Plastic Surgery & Medical Aesthetics
2000 Regency Ct. #204

Rejuvenation and expert care are a constant with Dr. Frank Barone and his staff at EVOLV. Patients visiting EVOLV’s medical spa experience the latest in skin care with a variety of procedures available, from chemical peels and facial treatments to permanent makeup.

DJ, Wedding DJ & Best Dressed Man


For over 16 years, DJ T.O. has carved out a reputation for being a top-notch, versatile DJ for all needs, from private parties to school events and weddings. With clients and fans noticing how incredibly fly he looks at all his gigs, T.O. cleaned up in the voting with three different Best of Toledo Awards— Best DJ, Best Wedding DJ and Best Dressed Man!

Dry Cleaner

Lasalle Cleaners
Various locations

Generations of Toledo customers have had their garments cared for by Lasalle, operated by generations of the Resnick family. Company president Gary Resnick and his wife Rachael are third generation dry cleaners, and their son Nate and his wife Rachael will follow in their footsteps. With those family ties come a commitment to customer service that is second to none.

Gaming/Comic Store

3816 W. Alexis Rd., 419-720-4359
1855 S. Reynolds Rd., 419-720-5814
“Replay of Toledo” on Facebook.

Looking for a bargain on a hard-to-find video game? Both of Replay’s Toledo locations offer a remarkable selection of used titles.  Also, search for classic comics at Replay, which offers a robust selection of graphic novels, as well.


BMJ Enterprises (Blair Johnson)
P.O. Box 153

Blair Johnson has nearly two decades of maintenance experience under his toolbelt, but his customers will tell you it’s not just his expertise that makes him a favorite. His company’s commitment to quality work and personal service are what truly make BMJ Enterprises special.

Italian Restaurant

Rosie’s Italian Grille
606 N. McCord Rd.

Rosie’s Italian Grille has served authentic Italian cuisine to Toledoans for over 30 years. Based on recipes created by Rosie Barone in her own kitchen, the restaurant that bears her name has charmed and enriched Toledo diners over the decades. For an exquisite evening of flavors from The Boot, look no further.

New Store

Avocado and Cheese

Alisa Gafeney loves food, and loves making food for others. You can tell that just by looking at the fresh, made-to-order charcuterie boards she creates for her new business, which started in May of 2020. “Over the past year, with COVID, we all needed something to bring us back together after the quarantine. My grazes help do just that, which brings me such joy,” Gafeney explained.

Junk Removal Service

Jeff’s Hauling and Cleanup
“Jeff’s Hauling & Cleanup” on Facebook.

Do you have a garage full of junk you’re never going to use but can’t find the time to dispose of yourself? What about a storage unit that is costing you way too much? Maybe you need to clean up after a storm? The experts at Jeff’s Hauling and Cleanup have seen it all, and they are ready to help you get rid of anything or everything.

New Bar

Bellwether at Toledo Spirits
1301 N Summit St.

Although Toledo Spirits has been creating delicious and innovative craft spirits since 2013, the company’s opening of Bellwether cocktail bar grabbed Toledoans’ attention (and taste buds). “We’re excited to receive such great reviews and positive feedback about the cocktails and spaces here at Toledo Spirits,” said Dan Phillips, Bellwether’s beverage director. “We wanted to create something special and unique, and we’re so glad that our guests are enjoying their experiences here!”


HLS Orthodontics
Various locations

The professionals at HLS Orthodontics offer a wide variety of procedures to correct misaligned teeth, from traditional braces to Invisalign clear plastic aligners. The friendly and gentle staff at HLS, coupled with the upbeat atmosphere, make HLS a destination that even the most anxious patients will embrace. Dr. Jennifer Ludwig boasts that the smile team at HLS will “continue to follow our mantra ‘to treat every patient as we would our own child,’ plus keep up on the advances in our field to keep our care the best.”

Pet Daycare/Boarding

Karnik Pet Lodge
2921 Fairbanks Ave.

If you want to give your fur babies the closest thing to an at-home experience even when they’re not at home, Karnik is the answer. For boarding, doggy daycare or grooming, the Karnik experts will treat your pets like family. “To retain our award in 2021 for the Best of Toledo,” said Jen Bondie, Karnik’s Marketing and Event Coordinator, “we will continue to provide the best possible care for the pets while they stay with us here at Karnik!”

Place to Buy a Car

Various locations

It’s as reliable as clockwork. For 21 years, City Paper readers have consistently voted Yark Automotive as the Best Place to Buy a Car. And it’s no wonder, as at any of their ten showrooms, Yark has just what Northwest Ohioans are looking for…and Yark is now celebrating their 40 year anniversary! Congrats!

Place to Meet Singles & Burger Joint

Bar 145
5305 Monroe St.

Bar 145 sports a slogan that covers the essentials: “Burgers, Bands, Bourbon.”  Since opening ten years ago, the restaurant has been on the leading edge of Toledo’s gastropub scene. With a welcoming atmosphere, Bar 145 offers an engaging dining experience at a reasonable price point, whether you’re looking to meet a special someone or just looking for a mouth-watering burger.

Plastic Surgeon

Arrowhead Plastic Surgeons
1360 Arrowhead, Maumee

When northwest Ohioans are considering plastic surgery, they want to trust professionals with that delicate work. That’s why so many of them go to Arrowhead, whose trio of expert surgeons— Dr. Laurence Baibak, Dr. Thomas Dalagiannis and Dr. C. Jeff Kesler— have decades of experience.

Yoga Studio

Essence Mind Body Studio
725 Ford St. B, Maumee

(Diana Spiess also won for Yoga Teacher)

“It means so much to be recognized for the hard work and quality of care we offer at Essence,” explains Diana Spiess. “My ‘job’ is my passion. I have spent 30 years studying and practicing all I teach in wellness care and it is an honor to be voted The Best by the clients I care for. The instructors, trainers, and staff at Essence are all so very grateful and we truly appreciate the recognition.”

Sexy Business

Lindsay Nicole Studio
1 S. St. Clair St. #1b

Clients of Lindsay Nicole will often feel a bit scared about having sexy photos taken of themselves. But Nicole’s remarkable eye and talent for images give clients beautiful boudoir photos along with a renewed self-confidence in their bodies and their sense of personal sensuality.

Sports Bar

Sidelines Sports Eatery & Pub
Various locations

Everything on Sidelines’ menu is delicious. From their famous chicken Fowl Balls, to pizzas and soups, ribs and steak burgers, to their customizable bowls of mac and cheese. Sidelines offers great food and atmosphere for sports fans.

Mall/Shopping Area

The Town Center at Levis Commons
Levis Commons Blvd., Perrysburg.

An outdoor mall that feels like Main Street, USA— that’s a big part of the appeal of shopping at Levis Commons. With an arresting array of stores from both national and regional chains, a wonderful assortment of dining options, a 12-screen movie theater and more, the Town Center offers a shopping experience that’s both sophisticated and welcoming.

Candy Store

Boyd’s Retro Candy Store
954 Phillips Ave., 419-720-7387.

No adult has ever really lost their love of candy— and we’ve never lost our love of Boyd’s. Whether you’re looking for some nostalgic confections from your childhood or some unique sweets— many sold in gift packs, by-the-pound or in bulk— Boyd’s offers a trip to sweet toothed paradise. If life’s getting you down, head to Boyd’s and remember how good the past can taste.

Place for Curbside Groceries, Local Grocery

Walt Churchill’s Market
3320 Briarfield Blvd., Maumee.
26625 N. Dixie Hwy., Perrysburg.

There are grocery stores, and then there is this local family-owned institution. For over a century the Churchill name has been synonymous with quality food products from local farmers and distributors. At either of the two Walt Churchill’s Market locations in northwest Ohio, you get more than just good eats— you get a true taste of our community.

Men’s Barber Shop

House of Him
5646 Summit St., Sylvania.

If you want to feel like a new man, or a newly confident one, House of Him is the perfect destination. From a classic cut to a touch up or complete change of your hair’s color, the experts at the House have made customers look their best for over a decade. You don’t need to only get your hair taken care of while you’re there— massages, shoe shines and more are available, in the House!

Holistic Health Center

Serenity Health and Wellness Center
1685 Lance Pointe Rd., Maumee.

Serenity is more than just a name for Dr. Deitra Hickey’s wellness center. For over a decade, Dr. Hickey has worked to educate her clients on the power of holistic health. “We bring a full scale of holistic health in a spa setting,” Hickey said. “So there isn’t another facility in Toledo that is quite like ours.”

Record Store

Culture Clash
912 Monroe St., 419-536-5683.

Not even a pandemic could stop the music, though the music has moved. It’s been roughly a year since owner Tim Friedman relocated the iconic Toledo record store to its new location in the former home of the Paula Brown Shop. Though the roof covered in actual vinyl records may be gone, visitors will be happy to know that the choice selection of vinyl inside the store is still intact.

Indian Restaurant

WINNER: Tandoor
2247 S. Reynolds Rd., 419-385-7467.

Quality Indian cuisine is a family affair at Tandoor, with signature dishes like Tikka Masala, Naan breads or Mango pudding on offer. Tandoor is that rare combination of exotic and comforting, offering authentic Indian fare with a presentation that makes diners of any culture feel right at home.

Mexican Restaurant

Cocina De Carlos
205 Farnsworth Rd., Waterville. 419-878-0261. 27072 Carronade Dr., Perrysburg. 419-872-0200. cocinadecarlos.com

Chef Carlos Mendez believes in quality. You can see that with every item on Cocina De Carlos’ expansive menu. For 15 years, he has been steadily building an expansive local clientele for his unique vision of traditional Mexican cuisine. No ingredient is ever frozen, nothing comes from a can. All as fresh as possible to give his diners a one-of-a-kind eating experience.

LGBTQ+ Bar, Karaoke Night

1205 Adams St., 419-842-4477.
Search “Georgjz419” on Facebook

There are few places in the Toledo area that bring more joy to an evening than Georgjz. With specials every single day of the week, delicious food like their pizzas and quesadillas, drinks, entertainment, and a fab patio bar, who could turn down an evening full of what Georgjz always promises just below their name— fun, food and spirits?

Independent Gallery

FireNation Glass Studio and Gallery
7166 Front St., Holland. 419-866-6288.

If Toledo is the Glass City, then what medium is more central to our community than glass? FireNation recently celebrated its 19th anniversary, and glassblowing has been a passion of Matt Paskiet for decades. At his studio and gallery, the artist creates works of stunning beauty, from artistic pieces to custom awards and even memorials.

Institution We’re Proud of, Best Place to Show Off Toledo to Out-of-Towners

Toledo Zoo

2 Hippo Way, 419-385-4040. toledozoo.org

Our voters love zooing it, and taking their friends to see what all the fuss is about. The numbers back this up, as the Toledo Zoo has over 50,000 members and welcomes over one million visitors every year. Add in trademark events like the summer concerts at the Amphitheatre and the Lights Before Christmas, and it’s clear why the Zoo holds an eternal place in the hearts of our community.


Mancy’s Steakhouse
952 Phillips Ave., 419-476-4154.

When Gus Mancy founded his famous steak restaurant in 1921, he had no idea that his family name would become synonymous with quality food and top notch service in Toledo. Yet a century later Mancy’s Steakhouse remains a crowd favorite at the top of the Toledo restaurant scene. Happy 100th anniversary to Mancy’s!