Thousands of ballots have been cast, the results tabulated, and now we present the winners of the 2017 Merrimack Valley Magazine Awards ( MVMA ). This spring, the top picks in all categories were chosen by our readers via our online voting platform. Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote and congratulations to all the winners!
Cobblestones of Lowell
Cobblestones has brought creative American dining to downtown Lowell since 1994. While their dinner and lunch menus feature an unrivaled selection of craft brews and oysters, don’t overlook their legendary Sunday brunch offerings. A fried chicken and bacon waffle with maple honey butter? Cookie butter-stuffed French toast? Zucchini and goat cheese strata? What are you waiting for?
91 Dutton St.
Tokyo Steakhouse is an area go-to for Japanese cuisine. Diners at hibachi tables can watch chefs prepare their meals from start to finish, while other visitors can indulge in the extensive sushi menu. Not a sushi fan? Tokyo Steakhouse offers a variety of salads, soups, and meat and noodle dishes.
291 South Broadway (RT 28)
Pastry Shops / Bakery
It all started with Italian breads and pastries. Now renowned for beach pizza as well, they remain the standard bearer for traditional Italian cookies and cannoli as well as offering specialty cakes and their signature fresh breads. Their cannoli is filled to order at all locations with their signature ricotta filling.
Lawrence, North Andover, Methuen, Salisbury, Mass.; Seabrook, N.H.
Brew’d Awakening Coffeehaus
With free WiFi, compostable cups, outdoor seating and custom-roasted beans, what more could you ask for in a local coffee shop? Find all this and more at Brew’d Awakening Coffeehaus. Offering Equal Exchange fair trade coffees and three in-house roasts, Brew’d Awakening is a great place to do some work, chat with friends or just sit and sip.
61 Market St.
Inspired by owner Joe Faro’s travels throughout Italy, Tuscan Kitchen’s authentic regional Italian cuisine makes you feel as though you’ve stepped right into the boot. Tuck into a Fichi pizza with figs, rosemary, burrata and prosciutto, or go for the traditional rigatoni alla Bolognese. Want something lighter? They also offer delicious salads and meat dishes.
Burlington, Mass.; Salem & Portsmouth N.H.
Ready for some authentic Mexican food? Look no further than Café Azteca. The restaurant’s owners, the Guerrero family, draw inspiration from their annual trips to visit family in Mexico, bringing back new recipes and colorful Mexican decor. Enjoy their delicious selection of margaritas while awaiting your tamales and tostadas and relaxing in the newly renovated dining room.
180 Common St.
The Phoenician offers traditional Lebanese cuisine along with American favorites such as seafood and steaks. The Geha family, who worked for decades at the legendary Bishop’s Restaurant in Lawrence, continue in that storied tradition. Their hand-cut fries, lamb chops and baba ghannouj draw aficionados of Lebanese cuisine from all parts of the valley and beyond.
12 Alpha St.
Stop by next week for the winners in the second half of our ‘Wine & Dine’ category.
The 2017 MVMAs are sponsored by: