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June 2019, The Harbor's Hottest Awards

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The Editor | A Letter from Liz Green

Dear Readers:

Ladies and gentlemen, the results are in.

Every year we ask our readers to name their favorite businesses and establishments in our HARBOR’S HOTTEST Readers’ Choice Awards. And believe me when I say, these awards are determined 100 percent by our readers. We may come up with the categories, but YOU tell us who the winners are. You tell us who you think are the best of the best.

And let me tell you, you all have a lot of opinions as to who the best of the best should be.

Take, for example, the categories in our Food & Drink division. There are 51 individual businesses that were recognized by our readers as the winners and finalists across our 20 Food & Drink categories. These 51 businesses were the ones that stood out from the hundreds of choices you submitted. And I do mean hundreds. In just one category alone, readers voted for more than 170 different restaurants – in just one category.

Talk about tough competition!

This was the first year I actually had a direct hand in tallying the results, and it was eye-opening, to say the least. I’ve always enjoyed putting together the editorial package for the results. I look forward to seeing which new businesses stand out each year and which long-standing businesses continue to impress year after year. But actually going through each individual category this year and seeing the sheer magnitude of businesses represented was fascinating. It also made me a little sad.


As we were going through all your thousands of votes, it quickly became very obvious that we have so many incredible – and incredibly loved – businesses here along the Suncoast. But in the end, we can only name four winners in each category. And I guess I just felt bad for all the other businesses that received so many votes but just not enough to end up in the top four. I want everyone to know how much our readers love them, but realistically we can’t do that. And it kind of would defeat the point of the awards if we did.

But you can. You can let them know how much you love them.

And so I have a favor to ask of you. Whether your favorite business won or not, let them know they’re your favorite. Thank them for their service. Let them know you appreciate what they do. All too often businesses hear way too much of the negative feedback and not enough of the positive, especially on social media.

And you know what? Extend that request beyond just those you voted for in our HARBOR’S HOTTEST survey. If you appreciate a business or an individual for any reason at all, let them know. Don’t wait for various media organizations to hand them a plaque that says they’re the best. Tell them they are. A little compliment goes a long way. You might just make someone’s day.

Enjoy the issue, and thank you for voting.


Liz Green

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