Thousands of ballots have been cast, the results tabulated, and now we present the winners of the 2018 Merrimack Valley Magazine Awards. 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!
Burtons Grill & Bar
Burtons Grill is the place to go for cuisine from the traditional to the innovative. Perfect for power lunches, after work socializing and fine wine, Burtons offers paleo, vegetarian and gluten-free options as well as classic American cuisine. Takeout is always available and several locations feature seasonal outdoor patios.
North Andover, Peabody, Burlington, Westford and Hingham, Mass.; Nashua, N.H.
With fun and unusual sushi offerings such as the Red Sox Maki roll (scallop tempura, spicy mayo, tuna and avocado) and the lobster tempura roll, Feng Shui’s extensive menu offers a playful spin on Chinese and Japanese cuisine. The chefs who work the hibachi grills put on a great show with their onion volcanos and knife wizardry.
Chelmsford, Cohasset, Tyngsborough and Waltham Mass.
Pastry Shops / Bakery
Piro’s Bakery & Pizzeria
Third-generation bakers the Piro brothers opened Piro’s Bakery in 1985 and soon made a name for themselves with their family-recipe baked goods. Their creamy cannoli, lobster tails, and butter cookies are much-beloved, and those in the know say their strawberry shortcake is the region’s best.
300 Merrimack St.
This family friendly cafe is relatively new to the Merrimack Valley scene. The pleasant staff and tasty food and coffee have earned Frobie’s a loyal following since it opened in 2014.
101 Broadway Road
Inspired by owner Joe Faro’s travels throughout Italy, Tuscan Kitchen’s authentic 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.
Boston and Burlington, Mass.; Portsmouth and Salem, N.H.
In 2006, the first Casa Blanca opened in North Andover. Its authentic Mexican food appealed to locals, and soon the Vargas family opened more locations throughout the Merrimack Valley. The atmosphere is inviting, the food is fresh, and the margaritas may be the best in the region. The tamales de pollo alone make Casa Blanca worth a visit, and with five MV locations, one shouldn’t be far away.
Andover, Haverhill, Methuen, North Andover and North Billerica, Mass.
Jocelyn’s Mediterranean Restaurant & Lounge
The lamb, kafta and kibbee dishes make this Salem eatery a carnivore’s paradise. But fear not, herbivores — the vegetarian combo appetizer plate is so packed with freshness and flavor that you’ll forget it’s healthy. Jocelyn’s offers Lebanese and American food, a full-service bar and a martini lounge.
355 South Broadway
It all started with Italian breads and pastries. Luckily for us, in 1944 the Zappala family started making pizza, and one of the best pizzerias around was born.
Now you can enjoy old-style beach pizza and pick up some traditional Italian cookies and cannoli for later. Tripoli also offers specialty cakes and their signature fresh breads.
Lawrence, North Andover, Methuen, Salisbury, Mass.; Seabrook, N.H.
Butcher Boy Market
Break out the grill and grab an apron. Butcher Boy Market’s 60-foot meat counter has all the poultry, beef, lamb, veal, pork and homemade sausages you need. Not sure what you want? Their experienced butchers are happy to help you decide. Pick up some fresh fruit and beer for the perfect summer spread.
1077 Osgood St.
North Andover, Mass.
Seaglass Restaurant and Lounge
The panoramic ocean views at this casual upscale restaurant make it an ideal destination for a simple night out or a big celebration. Seaglass offers a wide selection of surf and turf entrees and local seasonal specials. Stop by Sundays for Seaglass’s Brunch by the Sea and enjoy a bloody mary with your water view.
4 Oceanfront North
Stop by next week for the winners in the second half of our ‘Good Eats’ category.
The 2018 MVMAs are sponsored by: