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!
Westford Wine & Spirits
The variety of soju alone should clue you in that Westford Wine & Spirits is not your average liquor store. With a tasting bar, massive craft beer selection, impressive array of hard-to-find artisanal and small batch offerings and knowledgeable owner, it’s easy to see why this store is so popular. Bonus points go to the laid-back and friendly staff.
9 Cornerstone Sq.
Cobblestones of Lowell’s younger sister, moonstones delivers on variety with their globally-inspired menu. Stop in for brunch, lunch or dinner or enjoy Turkish mezze, a croque madame or Korean pork belly with a few of their signature cocktails. For less adventurous diners, there are American options. Need to translate a foreign word? Check out the global glossary at the bottom of their menu.
185 Chelmsford St.
Tom Boucher’s Copper Door restaurants are known for their classic design and New American cuisine. The new Salem location’s seasonal menu centers on steak and seafood, with a few surprises. The locally sourced food impresses, and the fireside ambiance makes it the perfect place to kick back with a glass of single malt Scotch whisky from their extensive beer, wine and cocktail menu.
41 South Broadway
Breakfast at this historic diner is guaranteed to start your day off right. Old favorites are given new life in Owl’s savory steak and eggs, homemade corned beef hash and creamed chipped beef on toast. Soups, salads and sandwiches make up the lunch menu. Wake up and fuel up at the Owl Diner.
244 Appleton St.
Kimball Farm has been making ice cream for more than 75 years. With a variety of sherbet, sorbet and frozen yogurt, in addition to more than 50 flavors of ice cream, there’s something for everyone. Vanilla ice cream is a traditional crowd favorite, particularly in hot fudge sundaes, banana splits and the Kimball Special — three softball-size scoops of ice cream, three toppings, marshmallow, whipped cream and nuts.
Carlisle, Lancaster and Westford, Mass.; Jaffrey, N.H.
Grazie Italian Restaurant at Four Oaks Country Club
Prominently situated at the Four Oaks Country Club, an 18-hole championship golf course, you can’t miss Grazie unless the incredible views distract you. Their wood-burning oven was imported from Naples, Italy — it produces pizzas with a fire-kissed crust. Traditional Italian appetizers such as calamari fritti and prosciutto di Parma and entrees such as pappardelle with braised boar and porcini mushroom ragu are perfect for outdoor dining.
You may have heard of their famous baked chicken pot pie or maybe even the zucchini bread, the virtues of which are extolled even by those who otherwise hate zucchini bread. The wedding packages are a Merrimack Valley institution and, suitably, the establishment looks out over the region’s namesake river.
810 Merrimack Ave.
Joe Fish Seafood Restaurant and Bar
With fun, funky decor and a reputation for freshness, Joe Fish has been hooking the locals for years. It’s casual enough for a night out with the kids, but has plenty of grown-up choices including clam chowder, raw oysters, pan roasted mussels and garlic shrimp. Burgers, steaks and an assortment of vegetarian entrees round out the menu. Portions are plentiful, and there’s a handful of tasty desserts to cap off your meal.
1120 Osgood St.
North Andover, Mass.
Since 1957, this family-owned house of confectionary is old-fashioned in the best way. With handmade chocolates, mints and fudge, there’s always something there to satisfy your sweet tooth. Stop by and discover again why nothing beats a chocolate-covered pretzel.
143 Plaistow Road
This small store hosts a wide assortment of candies and treats. On the hottest summer days, their signature chocolates might threaten a meltdown, but there are candied apples and even ice cream as an alternative. Better yet, crank up your air-conditioning and go for the creative, clever treats that give Chocolate Moose its reputation.
184 North Broadway
Stop by next week for the winners in the ‘Health & Beauty’ category.
The 2018 MVMAs are sponsored by: