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Breeze Newspapers lauds Best of the Islands winners

By Staff | Sep 14, 2011

Seated from left are Francis Bailey, Richard and Mead Johnson. Standing are Zach VanZandt and J.T. Thomas.

Last week, Breeze Newspapers handed out their prestigious Best of the Islands Awards, as voted on by readers of the Island Reporter and Sanibel-Captiva Islander, during a festive luncheon gala staged at The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club.

During the month of August, readers of both newspapers filled out ballots nominating their favorite island businesses, attractions and service providers in 84 individual categories. More than 1,300 validated ballots were submitted during the voting period.

While every winner should rightfully be congratulated for the honor, the biggest winner of the 2011 Best of the Islands Awards was Traders Store & Cafe, which took top honors for Best Dinner as well as Best Bartender (Bobby Dunn), Best Server (Leslie) and Best Chef (Mike Patnode).

Receiving three category wins each was Bailey’s General Store (Best Bakery, Best Deli and Best Grocery), The Sanibel Grill & Raw Bar (Best Bar, Best Happy Hour and Best Place To Watch The Game) and Bank of the Islands (Best Bank, Best Financial Services and Best Mortgage Broker/Agency).

“We are very excited that the community thinks so much of us that they would bestow these awards on us,” said Richard Johnson, general manager of Bailey’s General Store. “A giant thank you to everybody!”

Dick Muench, Tony Lapi and Mick Denham.

Mark Blust of The Sanibel Grill & Raw Bar credits his restaurant’s consistency with the reason they’ve been successful.

“There have been three other restaurants to open up in the last year, and that does chip away at the market share,” he explained, “but it’s nice that the public does recognize our product and excellence.”

In addition, Francis Bailey was lauded as Humanitarian of the Year.

“I feel very humbled by this,” said Bailey. “I don’t know what I did to deserve this honor, but I am very thankful for it.”

Other winners (listed by category) included:

Pictured at last week's Best of the Islands awards luncheon are, from left, Jim Konig, John Grey, Victor Brust and Scott Blonde.

Best Museum – Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum

Best Place For Dancing – The Jacaranda

Best Place For Entertainment – The Jacaranda

Best Family Dining – The Island Cow

Best Lunch – The Island Cow

Best Fine Dining – The Sanibel Steakhouse

Best Steak – The Sanibel Steakhouse

Best Ice Cream – Pinocchio’s Original Italian Ice Cream

Best Local Entertainer – Danny Morgan

Best Pizza – Island Pizza Company LLC

Best Golf Course – The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club

Best Tennis Courts – The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club

Best Breakfast – Over Easy Cafe

Best Burger – The Lazy Flamingo

Best Dessert – The Bubble Room

Best Seafood – Timbers Restaurant & Fish Market

Best To Go/Fast Food – Schnapper’s Hots

Best Wine Selection – The Grog Shop

Best Fishing Equipment – The Bait Box

Best Fishing Guide – Captain Joey Burnsed

Best Island Event – Fourth of July Parade (Lisa Newmayer-Cochrane and Trish Phillips)

Best Place for Family Fun – Billy’s Bike Shop

Best Watersports – YOLO Watersports, Inc.

Best Art Gallery – Watson MacRae Gallery

Best Book Store – Sanibel Island Bookshop

Best Children’s Clothing – Giggles

Best Craft Shop – Three Crafty Ladies Inc.

Best Florist – Floral Artistry of Sanibel Inc.

Best Furniture – Sanibel Home Furnishings

Best Gift Shop – Sanybel’s Finest

Best Home Interior – Decorating Den Interiors

Best Jewelry – Lily & Co.

Best Shell Shop – She Sells Sea Shells

Best Swimwear – Winds

Best Women’s Clothing – Chico’s

Best Chiropractor – Dr. Michael Tolisano

Best Day Spa – Sanibel Day Spa

Best Dentist – Dr. Lyle Hotchkiss

Best Family Practitioner – Dr. Edward LaMotta

Best Hair Salon/Barber – Sanibel Beauty Salon

Best Manicure/Pedicure – Head to Toes by Tina

Best Massage Therapist – Charlene Black

Best Medical Center – San-Cap Medical Center

Best Optometrist – Snead Cataract

Best Pharmacy – Island Pharmacy

Best Attorney – Jason R. Maughan P.A.

Best Auto Service – Sanibel Shell

Best Builder – Sandcastle Construction Co.

Best Electrician – Molnar Electric Inc.

Best Heating & Air Conditioning – Sanibel Air Conditioning

Best Hotel/Inn – ‘Tween Waters Inn

Best Home Improvement Contractor – Dan Hahn Custom Builders Inc.

Best Insurance Agency – Heidrick & Co. Insurance and Risk Management Services

Best Landscape Contractor – R.S. Walsh Landscaping Inc.

Best Lawn Service – Mon Reve Landscape Design & Maintenance Inc.

Best Marina – Sanibel Marina

Best Painting – John Grey Painting

Best Plumber – Nave Plumbing Inc.

Best Pool Service – Island Condo Maintenance Inc.

Best Printer – Big Red Q Quickprints Center

Best Taxi/Limo Service – Sanibel Taxi

Best Trust Company – Sanibel Captiva Trust Co.

Best Property/Vacation Management. – Royal Shell Vacations Inc.

Best Real Estate Agent – Karen Bell

Best Real Estate Agency – Re/Max of the Islands

Best Real Estate Team – Burns Family Team

Best Title Company – Barrier Island Title Services Inc.

Best Fireman – Rob Doerr

Best Police Officer – Kurt Schulte

Best Service Organization/Club – CROW