There’s so much to love about the region surrounding Sunday River that we want to give everyone a gold star. But we also like a little drama now and then, so instead we pit each restaurant, shop, and bartender against one another for a battle of epic proportions. Okay, maybe not quite epic. Here are the results of the Best of Bethel Awards for 2016—voted by you, counted by us. You’re welcome.
Best Breakfast: The Hitching Post Diner
Despite its rookie status, the Hitching Post Diner came out on top. Located on Route 2, this quiet diner boasts homemade pastries, an Eggs Benny and French Toast that are the stuff dreams are made of, and daily, inexpensive breakfast specials.
Best Cup o’ Joe: Dicocoa’s
This win surprised…well…no one. Dicocoa’s has been the reigning champ for about as long as we can remember, sporting delicious, healthy eats to go with that fresh-brewed goodness. Dunkin Donuts, you put up a good fight, but the specialty coffees of Dicocoa’s bested Double D once again.
Best Lunch Spot: Sliders
A slopeside gastropub. What could be better? At Sliders, you can enjoy gourmet touches on your favorite bar classics like burgers and wings, but the poutine is our personal favorite. You can’t go wrong with fries, cheese, and gravy.
Best Bar – Apres-Ski: Matterhorn Ski Bar
From its boisterous Mug Club to the light acoustic sets, the ‘Horn is a favorite for locals and weekend warriors alike. Snack on some Garlic Knots, order a pint of Switchback, and relax. The Matterhorn offers the best atmosphere for refueling after a long day on the slopes.
Best Bar – Late-Night: The Funky Red Barn
For the night owls among us, the Funky Red Barn is the place to be. DJ Peter G is a staple to every late-night dance party, and the bartenders are attentive and ready to serve. Not-so-insider tip: get there early on a Thursday night for $10 prime rib before you get rowdy. You can thank us in the morning.
Best Beer Selection: Suds Pub
If decision-making isn’t your strong suit, you may want to pick a different spot for your hoppy libation fix. When you sit down at the bar at Suds, you’ll see tap after tap, after tap, from the largest selection of local brews to big name classics. It’s a beer drinker’s paradise.
Best Bloody Mary: Peak Lodge
Your knowledge of the best Bloody Mary is akin to knowing where the best stashes are on the slopes, and we’re not the only ones who are shouting the Peak Lodge’s praises from the mountain top. Take it easy on the bread bowls and sticky buns before ordering one of these. It’s stacked with bacon and cheese and is practically lunch on its own. You’ve been warned.
Best Specialty Cocktails: 22 Broad Street
This year, we went in a different direction with our booziest category. Instead of Best Wine List and Best Martini, we wanted to know your favorite place for a specialty cocktail, and interestingly enough, 22 Broad Street still takes home the W. An expansive list of creative concoctions is the best pairing for hearty Italian food, and our voters recommend the Midnight Kiss, the Hot-N-Dirty Martini, and the Watermelon Martini.
Best Bar Menu: Rooster’s Roadhouse
For the second year in a row, people prefer sauntering upstairs to the cozy bar at Rooster’s Roadhouse. This is the kind of menu where anything goes, from traditional pub fare to steaks, salads, pastas, and of course, seafood. Duh.
Best Pizza: Suds Pub and Matterhorn Ski Bar
When all is said and done, it’s all about the pizza night. Both Suds and MSB offer pizza specials on Tuesday nights; $5 one-topping, and half-priced pizzas, respectively. And if you’re in town any other time, we would highly recommend these delicacies at full price, too. We’re big fans of the Greek at Suds, and the Weisshorn at the ‘Horn.
Best Wings: Suds Pub
Apparently, Suds’ wings are “world famous,” and they’re also gigantic. You can pick your poison with plain, BBQ, house, hot, or volcanic wings, which sounds both delicious and terrifying. Lucky for you, there’s more than enough beer selection in this place to wash down that extra spice.
Best Nachos: Foggy Goggle
If there’s one thing we know for certain, it’s that Foggy’s Famous Nachos bring your nacho-munching appreciation up to dangerously high levels. And it’s not just the cheddar, tomatoes, scallions, black olives, red onion, salsa, and sour cream that get us salivating—it’s the braised chicken or chili topping. Please excuse the drool.
Best Burger: Sunday River Brewing Company
Sure, you can find a build-your-own burger just about anywhere in a ski town, but it’s the Specialty Brew Burgers—triple deckers, mind you—that bring home the prize for the Brew Pub. You really can’t go wrong, but the Sin & Grin is what we crave, with ½ pound patties piled up with pulled pork or chicken.
Best Place to Splurge on a Meal: 22 Broad Street
Calamari Fritti. Crispy Eggplant Lasagna. Beef Braciole. It’s nearly impossible to decide what to get from 22 Broad Street’s delectable Italian menu, but we do our darndest not to order literally everything. The atmosphere of the restaurant itself is cozy and the food makes you feel like Sunday at Nona’s house. Treat yo’self!
Best Cheap Eats: Rooster’s Roadhouse
Remember that stellar bar menu we told you about? Rooster’s reappears as everyone’s favorite for an inexpensive, yet satisfying meal. They have everything from Chicken Teriyaki to the Country Meatloaf—on the cheap!
Best Food on the Go: The Good Food Store
Hey, guys? Just change your name to the Best Food Store already. This category has been dominated by the Good Food Store year after year simply because they offer interesting eats on the run. From the usual coffee, tea, and sandwiches, to heat-and-eat meals like Moroccan chicken and burritos, their selection is fast, easy, mostly healthy (barring the chocolate chip cookies), and entirely delicious.
Best Bartender: Joe Moran and Kevin O’Leary at the Peak Lodge
Never have we seen so many votes for a drink-slinging duo as we did with Joe Moran and Kevin O’Leary of the Peak Lodge this year. Is it their devilishly good looks? Their conversational skills? Or maybe, just maybe, they make a really great drink. Whatever it is, we’ll be sure to swing in to do our detective work on this one.
Best Waiter/Waitress: Sheila Holland at 22 Broad Street
There are many things that make up a good waitress and Sheila Holland packs personality and great service into every meal, making her a downright awesome representation of 22 Broad Street. You’ll be lucky to have her as your waitress when you’re sucking down those #1 cocktails or splurging on a night out.
Best Local Shop: Nabos
Owned by former Best Waitress Winner Amanda Moran, Nabos is repeatedly named the best of the best when it comes to local shops. It’s the kind of place you’ll find everything you could want—and more that you didn’t even know you needed—like jewelry, toys, clothing, and more.
Best First Run of the Day: Right Stuff
Shall we make a joke about Right Stuff having the right stuff first thing in the morning? Nope. We won’t go there. But we will say that it’s a favorite of Sunday River’s snow cat operators too, so you know the cord is going to be primo.
Best Bump Run: Shockwave
The wild sister of White Heat and Obsession, Shockwave embodies steep and deep. But this mogul-monster didn’t win by a long shot. In a close three-way tie for second was 3D, Agony, and Downdraft, and a fair amount of you said “no thank you,” to bumps in general, which we can respect.
Best Glade: Blind Ambition
Ah, Blind Ambition. We can totally get behind this one, seeing as it is Sunday River’s longest glade. And since it follows the bend around Lollapalooza, it’s the perfect place for explorers to get their tree skiing fix while their laid-back counterparts cruise down Lolla’s winding slopes.
Best (Most Favorite) Peak: Jordan Bowl
The people have spoken and Jordan Bowl reigns victorious in this year’s newest category. We know that for some of you, it’s the easy access to Sliders and Northern Lights, and for others, it’s Jordan’s long, winding trails. Whether you’re shredding cord or powder, your thighs will be burning and your smile will be a mile wide.
Best Winter Hike: Mount Will
While we certainly agreed with all who voted for the walk from the Barker parking lot to the slopes, the ayes had it for Mount Will. It may only be a three-ish mile hike, but the steep pitch and all of that snow mean it’s a worthy reason to strap into some snowshoes and get to trekking.
Best Spring Deck Scene: Barker Bar
There’s nothing we love more than a goggle tan and a beer after a long day of shredding corn snow, and the Barker Deck offers that low-key vibe. Just be sure to slather on the sunscreen, because Barker Bar makes springtime hot, hot, hot. (You know, besides all of that cold snow. It’s here ‘til May, folks).
Pick up your free hard copy of the Best of Bethel results in the base lodges and hotels at Sunday River, and various locations around town.