WASHINGTON — As 2022 wraps up, we've polled our viewers once again to see which local spots deserve to win a title in our annual Best of Western Washington contest. Below is the final list of winners. Congratulations to all!
This Kitsap County shop serves up authentic poke with a side of ohana
Steven Ono and Leilani Mickelsen have a piece of paradise in Kitsap County.
It's called Ono Poke Too, a smaller version of the authentic Hawaiian poke restaurant Ono has run in Edmonds since 2017.
Mickelsen started as a customer.
"My sister and I were the first ones parked in the parking lot," Mickelsen said.
"Everyone was mad at them because they bought so much," Ono laughed.
When she later applied at the Kingston location for a part-time retirement job, they formed an instant connection.
This Stanwood coffee stand serves up colorful drinks and a good sense of humor
Well, our very own Jose Cedeno hit the road to visit another winner of our Best of Western Washington contest. When he went, it was early, cold, and rainy — the perfect situation for a coffee drink.
Luckily, Bean and Brew on 532 in Stanwood, Washington has the goods.
"This is my heart and soul," Shay Bennett said. "Even though we're little, we're bright."
Bennett has been a barista for 15 years.
"The taste has to be there. It has to be consistent every single time," Bennett said. "When you see a delicious, beautiful drink and someone took the time to make it look as awesome as possible for you, it makes you feel special and want to keep coming back."
The sky's the limit for your favorite museum
The Museum of Flight is a western Washington icon with humble roots.
"It started in 1965 as more or less a storefront at the Seattle Center," said museum spokesperson Ted Huetter.
With more than 150 aircraft and thousands of artifacts, it's grown to be one of the largest aviation museums in the world and includes the most complete collection of Seattle's own aircraft legacy.
"We do have the Boeing story. It's not the Boeing museum, but we do have more Boeing than anybody else," Huetter said. "You don't have to be an 'av' geek or space geek or have that special interest or engineering bent. It's just the kind of subject matter that appeals to you once you see it all around you. It's spectacular."
The barbershop in Capitol Hill that is forming relationships with their clients
The Keep is a barbershop located on Madison Street on Capitol Hill and regulars call it their favorite barbershop.
A place where many hairstyles are cut, conversations are had, and sometimes, even a song is sung. The Keep has a very welcoming and relaxing atmosphere that makes you feel like you are visiting a group of friends.
Owner Jared Brown is a third-generation barber. He vividly remembers watching his father cut hair and quickly learned that it was more than just a fresh cut; it was about making a difference in someone’s day or mood. The value of relationships with customers is what makes a true business.
“I think that the clients is what makes it unique. Everyone can open a business if it's something that they are passionate about,” Brown said.
Toshi's Teriyaki wins Best Teriyaki in 2022 Best of Western Washington contest
You can find Toshi's Teriyaki shops throughout Puget Sound, but Mill Creek is the only place where you'll find Toshi Kasahara, who some call the godfather of Seattle teriyaki.
It was 1976 when Kasahara moved here from Japan and introduced Seattle to teriyaki, inadvertently starting a teriyaki craze.
"I always wanted to have my own business and I knew how to cook teriyaki," Kasahara said.
Colorful drinks and community spirit make Bobalust viewers' favorite place to get boba
Bubble tea, or boba, may have originated in Taiwan in the 1980s, but it has seen a surge in popularity in western Washington over the past five years. Riding that wave is Bobalust, adding about two new locations every year since three friends started the business together in 2017.
"We're best friends," said Maxine Cheng, who along with Victor Pham and Niko Huynh, crafted all their signature recipes through trial and error in each other's kitchens.
"We can't even count the amount of hours and nights that we spent figuring out combinations before we were ready to bring our drinks to the market," Huynh said.
Farrelli's Pizza is a family affair
You might guess the secret to Farrelli's Pizza's success is the wood stone ovens, but the secret may have less to do with the flame and more to do with the people.
Just about every Farrelli's Pizza employee has been around for many years.
“I myself started in the dish pit when I was 16,” said the company’s marketing director Clayton Krueger. “My story is not unique with this company.”
They're all part of what has become the Farrelli’s family.
“We would go to the ends of the earth for each other,” Krueger said. “That is really what sets our company apart so much. We care about each other. The Farrelli's family. Once you're in, you're always in.”
Western Washington's favorite toy store defies the odds in a digital age
With six locations around Puget Sound, Snapdoodle is a kid's paradise.
"This year I got an 18-foot pterodactyl," explained Greenwood store manager Roland Peekel, firing up a screeching prehistoric model hanging from the ceiling.
The carefully curated collection features toys and games that make you smile and think. After all, owner Rob Pickering used to work in education.
"I don't know exactly what happened," he said. "I was a high school teacher. Now I own toy stores."
Kitsap Humane Society has been helping people and pets since 1908
It may be November at the Kitsap Humane Society, but the shelter is overflowing with kittens
"Kitten season, which usually runs from May to October, is running a little bit late this year, so we are still seeing kittens coming in needing our help," said spokesperson Victoria Gingrey.
And not just kittens.
There are dogs, of course. We met Alphonso, a shih tzu mix. We also saw rabbits, pigs and outside a woman dropped off nearly a dozen ducks. A duck named Cobweb is especially fond of cuddling.
"They're all very sweet ducks," Gingrey said.
Pups and pints make this Columbia City place a winner
Growlerz is a combination dog day care, pay-to-play off leash park and bar in Columbia City that's well loved by both two legged — and four legged — fans.
When asked what makes this place special, owner Karl Johnson said, "Probably the people and the dogs. Concept's a little unique. I guess we didn't reinvent the wheel with it. There are plenty of places where you can go and get a drink with your dog."
But Growlerz is unique, because dogs can safely run off leash in the fully enclosed play area, and get some exercise while their owners relax and socialize over a beer, wine or cider.
The small Seattle store that's making a big difference
The prices are thrifty but the merchandise is nifty at Assistance League of Seattle's thrift store.
The all-volunteer staff provides carefully curated women's and men's fashions, household items and seasonal specialties.
"We want the best items," store team manager Julia Marconi said. "We make sure it's clean. We make sure it's in good condition. We are very picky."
They're picky about keeping their prices down, too.
"We make sure we beat any other thrift store in our pricing," Marconi said.
Made in Washington has been showcasing locally made products for nearly 40 years
It's a store for both tourists and locals alike.
"We are at Made in Washington in the Pike Place Market," said store manager Carla Walton. "We have been around here since 1984, almost 40 years, and we've been curating the best of the best makers here in Washington since then."
"There are so many locals who just love to come to the market for the reason we've got all sorts of local makers here and so it's like a one-stop shop."
From handmade glass to uniquely Seattle souvenirs, gift-givers can't get enough of products produced in Washington’s own backyard. Of Made in Washington's wares, Walton recommended SeaBear's smoked salmon, Seattle Chocolate's variety packs and candles from different makers around Washington.
"Everyone takes a piece of Washington with them," Walton said.
Best Taco winner is a Northwest classic
This Northwest company has been around since 1962 when Frank Tonkin Senior opened his first Taco Time in White Center.
But 2022 is the first time Taco Time Northwest has been given a certificate declaring them the winner in the Best of Western Washington for Best Taco — and they weren’t expecting the reward at all.
"Are you serious? I didn't know that's what we were doing today — thanks for the warning!” said Co-President Robby Tonkin when Evening’s Jim Dever surprised him and Co-President Chris Tonkin with the award.
The Sammamish brewpub where everybody makes you feel like family
“We have a lot of car memorabilia here,” Jess Julum said.
That's the first thing you notice when you walk into Big Block Brewing. The car stuff. There's the Best of Western Washington certificate for winning in 2019. But mostly car stuff.
"We have different pieces of art that we've gotten from different places," Julum said as she showed Evening host Saint Bryan around. "We do have a front end of a Chevy up there."
Great food, cheap drinks and GIANT piranhas at Maple Valley's Pla-Mor Bar & Grill
The Pla-Mor Bar and Grill is a family-owned neighborhood bar that's been open since 1966. This dive bar is mainly popular in the area for food. It's definitely not the kind of menu you'd expect at a dive bar, and they even have yummy specials every day of the week.
But we kind of love the fact they also have a fish tank full of 18-pound piranhas. We're still trying to figure out what they feed those puppies.
“Can’t beat the price, can’t beat the taste of it when it comes to my burgers," said Pla-Mor Chef Todd Gillespie. "They're the best of the Northwest.”
If you're not sold with good food, drinks, and giant fish, come for the entertainment. Pla-Mor has a pool table, two golden tee arcade games, and a jukebox for you to pick your favorite music for free.
Cup and Crepe wins Best New Restaurant in 2022's Best of Western Washington contest
Cup and Crepe in Everett is a place full of surprises and good vibes.
Owner Teresa Godfrey believes in radical welcomes to her customers and wants her European-style street crepes to be accessible to everyone, regardless of their dietary restrictions.
Her batter does not contain eggs and she offers a gluten-free option. As a vegetarian and former vegan, she understands how complicated it can be to find good food options.
"It was so hard to find anything that doesn't have egg or butter in it. This is inclusive for everybody, meat eaters, vegetarians, vegans," Godfrey shared.
Longtime Seattle icon wins Best Outdoor Dining
What began in 1945 as a boat rental, bait stop, and coffee house is now Seattle's best known waterfront restaurant. Ray's Boathouse is perched on a pier at the spot where boats turn into the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. Salt water, the Olympic Mountains, massive ships, and small pleasure boats are all visible from the expansive outdoor deck that's open weather permitting. Gigantic outdoor heaters keep the outdoor dining cozy this time of year and executive chef Kevin Murray's creations do this one-of-a-kind location justice.
Full List of Winners
- Best Poke Bowl Ono Poke
- Best Unique Coffee Drink Bean N Brew on 532
- Best Instagrammable Restaurant POP Culture Champagne Bar
- Best Museum Museum of Flight
- Best New Business (or Startup) The Keep Barbershop
- Best Teriyaki Toshi’s Teriyaki
- Best Boba Bobalust
- Best Kid-Friendly Restaurant Farelli’s
- Best Kid’s Store Snapdoodle Toys
- Best Antique Store Snohomish
- Best Uniquely Northwest Fashion Item Flannel
- Best Place to Play Tourist Pike Place Market
- Best Local Band Altered 90s Cover Band
- Best Place to Adopt a Furry Friend Kitsap Humane Society
- Best Donut Top Pot
- Best Pet-Friendly Restaurant or Bar Growlerz
- Best Thrifting Assistance League of Seattle
- Best Local Grocery Metropolitan Market
- Best Family Farm Maris Farms
- Best Live Theater Venue Paramount Theater
- Best Record Store Easy Street Records
- Best Farmers Market Vendor Yakima Fruit Stand
- Best Northwest Gift Store Made in Washington
- Best Local Bookstore Third Place Books
- Best Taco Taco Time
- Best Vegetarian Café Flora
- Best Pizza Farrelli’s
- Best Burger Dick’s
- Best Food Truck Ryan’s REZ-ipes
- Best Breakfast Maltby Café
- Best Bakery Bakery Nouveau
- Best Brew Pub Big Block Brewing
- Best Dive Bar Pla-Mor Bar and Grill
- Best New Restaurant Cup & Crepe
- Best Outdoor Dining Ray’s Boathouse