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Best of York 2014

Announcing York's blue ribbon businesses, plus a few of Our Favorite Things.

Reader Favorites:

York’s Best Photographer: The Susquehanna Photographic

Love has played a huge part in The Susquehanna Photographic’s success. Once you realize that the creative team is made of a husband and wife duo, you start to understand why. Then add the fact that Philip and Allison Given primarily photograph weddings, 42 in the last year and over 230 to date (Allison says they have never shot a wedding without each other since the business’ beginning in 2008). Love even permeates into their choice to keep their photography business in York and to use the city as a backdrop for many of their sessions. “York is in the process of revitalization,” says Allison. “We love the texture it provides, with the combination of old buildings and new.” The Givens are major supporters of York’s renaissance, spearheading movements that encourage pride in the downtown community, like I Love York City. And there’s no question that the city loves them back. -H.W.

The Susquehanna Photographic | www.tspweddings.com | 717-746-8620

 

York’s Best Florist: Butera the Florist

Floral arrangement is more than simply placing flowers in a vase; it is an art form that is constantly changing and that derives influences from all facets of life. This is the beauty that Vince Butera has pursued since the age of fifteen when he first started working as a floral assistant in the 1970s, and it has led to the flourishing of his own floral shop, Butera the Florist. The florist and his wife moved to their new location in downtown York this January, returning Butera to his roots in wedding and event planning. The florist’s style is innovative, accompanied by the slogan “Internationally inspired. Locally designed.” Butera interprets the current trends through the elements and principles of art in his arrangements, using local flowers when he can, such as gerbera daisies and lilies that are sourced from Pennsylvania. Recently, the shop has seen a revival of past trends, such as the Gatsby, Downton Abbey, vintage and industrial impressions. Butera takes these past trends and recreates them in a fresh new way.
Regardless of the occasion, these arrangements are certainly worthy of your admiration. -M.M.

Butera the Florist | 313 E. Market St., York | www.buteratheflorist.com | 717-846-4283

 

York's Best Barber Shop: Didi & Smiling John's

When you walk through the doors of Devon and John Shilling’s South George Street storefront, it feels like you’re entering another era: The black and white checkered floors, the vintage knickknacks, the antique barber’s chair stationed in the back corner. “This one was made in 1922; it spent 70 years in storage in Carlisle before I got it,” says John of the chair where he gives hot lather, straight razor shaves, which he calls a lost art. “They teach you how to do it, but no one does outside of school,” he says. His wife, Devon a.k.a. DiDi, says that much about what makes their barbershop special is their commitment to the tried and true methods of the past. “The traditional barbershop is lost,” she explains. “The modern American barbershop is not as wholesome as it once was. It was a family atmosphere, then. We’re trying to bring back that tradition.” She also says that their reason for the retro decor is not just a nod to their rockabilly lifestyle; it’s an invitation into their family. “Everyone can relate to something in here. We want our customers to feel very at home, very comfortable.” And the Shillings' commitment to the customer is really what keeps them going, says Devon. “It’s not about dollar signs; it’s about families to us.” Keep an eye open for Didi & Smiling John's upcoming move to Royal Square this fall. -H.W.

DiDi & Smiling John’s | 330 S. George St., York | www.didiandsmilingjohns.com | 717-858-7428

York’s Best food truck: Baron Von Schwein

You might recognize Baron Von Schwein from the big bad wolf on the side of their truck, but after one taste of their memorable barbecue, you’ll be following these little piggies all the way home. Named after owner Jordan Pfautz’s first smoker, humbly crafted out of propane tanks and humorously dubbed “Baron Von Schwein,” this food truck has come a long way from its roots as  a smoking hobby. The Baron’s most popular item, their pork bun or cha siu Bao (a twist on the traditional dim sum item, inspired by Pfautz’s many trips to Philadelphia’s Chinatown), is recognized throughout the region. And it’s no wonder; you can’t find anything like these semi-sweet pulled pork-stuffed buns almost anywhere else in Central Pennsylvania. The Style staff recommends the spicy variety for a little extra kick. Other favorites include the baked corn, a quintessential comfort food based on a family recipe, as well as homemade mac and cheese. Find Baron Von Schwein in York every Tuesday at the Holy Hound Taproom for dinner, or check their website for updates on this week’s lunch locations. -H.W.

Baron Von Schwein | www.baronvonschwein.com | 717-371-5113

 

York's Best Ice Cream Shop: Mack’s Homemade Ice Cream

Summer is practically synonymous with ice cream, and in York, so is Mack’s. Boasting 24 flavor-filled varieties, Mack’s Homemade Ice Cream has been churning out the best ice cream in the county since 1935. The key to the ice cream’s success? Consistency, says Nick Bahammou, owner of the original South Queen Street location. The recipe developed almost 80 years ago is the same one Bahammou uses to handcraft his fresh gallons of ice cream every morning. And his favorite flavor? Strawberry. Getting its unbeatable taste from wholesome ingredients like milk, cream and, of course, fresh strawberries, it’s a simple but stellar option. That’s not all; at Mack’s Homemade Ice Cream you can try other hand-dipped flavors like coconut, caramel and chocolate peanut butter in your choice of a cone, sundae, milkshake and more. And, as always, the scoops are served up with a smile. -H.W.

Mack’s Homemade Ice Cream | 2695 S. Queen St., York | www.macksicecream.com | 717-741-2027

 

Staff Picks: Our Favorite Things

Roosevelt Tavern Burger

Can you think of a situation where fresh isn’t best? We can’t either. In fact, it’s the fresh-from-the-farm ingredients that have the Style staff craving Roosevelt Tavern’s signature burger. This summertime staple is sourced with care by chef and owner Byron Kehr Jr., who went through a rigorous search for local cattle farmers before selecting Skyblu Farms in nearby Felton. The dealmaker, according to Kehr, was the fact that Skyblu Farms won the prestigious Outstanding Farm Family Award. “It shows that they have as much pride in their line of work as we have in cooking their product,” says Kehr. The burger, starring 9 ounces of dry aged beef, is so good it can be served no-frills on a brioche bun with just lettuce, tomato and onion. If you’re prone to customize, however, you can certainly add on your choice of toppings like bacon, cheese or sautéed mushrooms and onions. Just take care not to drown the flavor of the super fresh sirloin and chuck blend. Here’s another insider secret: The burger is only served in the lounge, but every Thursday they run a special for a $3 discount off all pub menu items, including this delectable dish. -H.W.

Roosevelt Tavern | 50 N. Penn St., York | www.roosevelttavern.com | 717-854-7725

 

Pho Bistro Coconut Curry Wings

It’s no secret that the Style girls are big Vietnamese cuisine fans, so when we heard of a local eatery serving up coconut curry chicken wings along with their bowls of pho, we just had to taste it to believe it. Trung “Lee” Huynh says when he first opened Pho Bistro five years ago, it was the first and only authentic Vietnamese restaurant in York, which made developing a fan base a difficult task. “People would walk by for years before coming in,” says Huynh. “Now they come three times a week.” Once he hooked locals with the fresh and flavorful traditional dishes (all his wife’s family recipes from Vietnam), he started experimenting with new additions to the menu. He explains that in Vietnamese cooking, tamarind-flavored chicken wings are common, making his coconut curry wings a departure from the norm. To prepare them, Huynh brines the wings overnight to make the meat tender, then flours and fries them. Veggies like broccoli, carrots and mushrooms are coated, along with the wings, in a sauce featuring coconut milk and curry powder, and then all are given one last hit in the wok for crispness. The result is an appetizer with irresistible Asian flavor. Our recommendation: Order them spicy and pair with coconut juice to beat the heat. -H.W.

Pho Bistro | 887 E. Market St., York | www.yorkphobistro.com | 717-848-2700

 

York Little Theatre

Since the 1930s, York Little Theatre has provided the York community with a creative outlet for anyone passionate about the arts. Founded during the Great Depression as a means to take people’s minds off the difficult times, it has now been open for 81 consecutive seasons, an accomplishment unmatched by any other theater in the area. The organization enthusiastically welcomes any and all community involvement, from participation in one of its twelve plays produced each year to volunteering in set design, guest directing and various musical capacities. The beauty of this place is in the thousands of lives it has touched over the years; in fact, many professional actors began their careers here, most notably Cameron Mitchell, David Masenheimer, Bobby Spenser and Neil Dodson. Additionally, the theater has a new education component called the Belmont Academy, which offers classes and summer camps taught by professional teachers in the acting and theater business. The theater has truly embraced the idea of community, drawing talent from all over Central Pennsylvania to create a place where award-winning plays are performed and enjoyed by all. -M.M.

York Little Theatre | 27 S. Belmont St., York | www.ylt.org | 717-854-3894

 

Harley-Davidson Vehicle Operations

For those who want to go behind the scenes to see what goes into making a ride on the wild side, the Harley-Davidson Vehicle Operations facility in York offers factory tours to do just that. Take a free one-hour tour, or opt for the Steel Toe Tour for an up-close peek at the manufacturing process, taking you through “employees only” areas. Through your safety goggles, you’ll see the creation of fuel tanks, fenders and frames, as well as the painting and polishing process. Finish off your visit by sitting on a current production motorcycle, imagining a joy ride on one of these beauties. The tours are a perfect family activity, as little ones under age 12 can visit the Kids Corner and have their own Harley experience. Know before you go: the Steel Toe Tour is offered Monday through Friday at 9:30 a.m. and noon, and reservations are $30 for Harley-Davidson Museum members and $35 for non-members. -M.M.

Harley-Davidson Vehicle Operations | 1425 Eden Road, York | www.harley-davidson.com | 877-883-1450

 

Epic Pickles

You wouldn’t normally think to call pickles “epic,” but Epic Pickles proudly proclaims the merit of its delightful dills. The company produces more than your ordinary pickle, with flavors such as Chesapeakles (“like steamed crabs in the summer,” they say) and Killa Dillas, which are available in late summer and get their kick from ghost peppers. The company also offers other products such as pickled cauliflower, carrots, green beans, asparagus and okra, so if cucumbers aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other veggies to choose. The spicy versions will give you an appetizing and unique tang that you won’t find anywhere else. Like the name says, they’re epic, and the company’s enthusiasm is validated by the fantastic flavors of its pickles. -M.M.

Epic Pickles | www.epicpickles.com | 717-487-1323

“Best of York” 2014 Winners:

Food and Drink

Best Asian Restaurant: Esaan Thai Restaurant
Best Bar Food: White Rose Bar & Grill
Best Brewery: Liquid Hero Brewery
Best Brunch: White Rose Bar & Grill
Best Burger: White Rose Bar & Grill
Best Business Lunch Spot: White Rose Bar & Grill
Best Candy Shop: Fitzkee’s Candies
Best Casual Date Spot: White Rose Bar & Grill
Best Caterer: GingerBabies
Best Cheesesteak: Pepper’s Grille at Central Market
Best Cocktails: The Left Bank Restaurant & Bar
Best Coffee Shop: The Green Bean Roasting Co.
Best Craft Beer Spot: Holy Hound Taproom
Best Cupcake Shop: Just Cupcakes
Best Diner: Lyndon Diner
Best Dive Bar You Hate to Love: First Capital Dispensing Company
Best Doughnuts: Maple Donuts
Best Farmers’ Market: Central Market York
Best Fine Dining Restaurant: The Left Bank Restaurant & Bar
Best Food Truck: Baron Von Schwein
Best Frozen Yogurt: Calypso Frozen Yogurt
Best Grocery Store: Giant Food Stores
Best Happy Hour Spot: White Rose Bar & Grill
Best Hometown Barbecue Joint: Mission BBQ
Best Ice Cream Shop: Mack’s Homemade Ice Cream
Best Italian Restaurant: Victor’s Italian Restaurant
Best Mexican Restaurant: El Serrano Restaurante York
Best Neighborhood Bar: Holy Hound Taproom
Best Outdoor Bar: Knickers Pub
Best Outdoor Dining Spot: Knickers Pub
Best Pizza: Marcello’s Pizza
Best Specialty Cake Bakery: Providence Divine Cakes & Pastries
Best Sushi: Mitsuru-Ya Chinese & Japanese Restaurant
Best Winery: Allegro Winery and Vineyards
Best Wings: Wings To Go

Family Health

Best Cancer Treatment Center: WellSpan Apple Hill Medical Center
Best Cosmetic Dentistry Office: Bowser Dental Arts
Best Cosmetic Enhancement Center: Lebo Skin Care Center
Best Fitness Center: Gruver Fitness
Best Hospital: WellSpan York Hospital
Best Pediatric Practice: Pediatric Care of York
Best Place to Have a Baby: WellSpan York Hospital
Best Veterinary Clinic: Shiloh Veterinary Hospital
Best Yoga Studio: Lotus Moon Yoga

Home and Garden

Best Appliance Dealer: Romberger’s Appliances
Best Audio/Video Expert: Audio Video Contractors of York
Best Carpeting and Flooring Expert: Wecker’s Flooring Center
Best Furniture Store: Pieces
Best Heating and Cooling Specialist: Haller Enterprises, Inc.
Best Home Remodeler: Jeffrey L. Henry, Inc.
Best Interior Designer: Interiors Furniture and Design
Best Kitchen and Bath Designer: Keener Kitchen
Best Landscape Designer: Hively Landscapes
Best Lighting Store: Yale Lighting Concepts & Design
Best New Home Builder: Jeffrey L. Henry, Inc.
Best Outdoor Furniture Store: Stauffers of Kissel Hill
Best Painting and Wallpaper Professionals: York Wallcovering
Best Place to Buy Plants: Stauffers of Kissel Hill
Best Plumber: Haller Enterprises, Inc.
Best Pool and Spa Experts: Yorktown Pools & Spas
Best senior living Community: Lutheran Social Services of South Central PA

Professional Services

Best Banking Institution: Metro Bank
Best Car Dealership: Apple Automotive Family
Best Credit Union: First Capital Federal Credit Union
Best Law Firm: Barley Snyder
Best Realtor: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

Entertainment

Best Art Gallery: YorkArts
Best Charity Event: A Taste of York City
Best DJ: Blondie’s Bridal Salon, Bakery and Planning
Best Fair or Festival: York Fair
Best Family Fun Destination: Hersheypark
Best Golf Course: Heritage Hills Resort
Best Local TV Station: WGAL 8
Best Local TV Personality: Ron Martin, WGAL 8
Best Movie Theater: Frank Theatres
Best Performing Arts Center: Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center
Best Party Planner: Party Belles
Best Radio Station: WXPN
Best Venue for a Big Bash: Valencia Ballroom

Fashion

Best Bridal Boutique: Renaissance Bridals Fashion
Best Children's Clothing Boutique: Collage Shop
Best Consignment Shop: My Girlfriend’s Wardrobe
Best Shopping Outlets: Tanger Outlets, Lancaster
Best Tailor: Linda Poff Bridal Services
Best Women’s Clothing Boutique: Arthur & Daughters

Little Luxuries

Best B&B/Inn for a Romantic Getaway: Grace Manor Bed and Breakfast
Best Barbershop: DiDi & Smiling John’s
Best Florist: Butera the Florist
Best Gift Shop: Kimmans
Best Hotel: The Yorktowne Hotel
Best Jeweler: The Watchmaker’s Daughter
Best Makeup Artist: Maggie King
Best Photographer: The Susquehanna Photographic
Best Salon: Iridescence Salon & Spa
Best Spa: Serenity Spa & Salon

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