Best of the Eastside 2011- Winners!

This is it!  The wait is over to find out your favorites in the Best of the Eastside 2011!  This year we got even more votes that last year- over 600 of you let us know what you think.  We were amazed!  So now, without further ado, here are the category winners!

Favorite Kid-Friendly Coffee Shop:
In this popular category, The Village Bean in Bothell and Tot Spot Cafe in Woodinville have both been the strongest each year, which isn’t surprising since they each have great play areas for kids while you get your coffee.  This year, though, they were challenged by category-newbie Panera Bread. The other nominees also did really well, with Cupcake Royale in Bellevue making a strong push near the end.  But when all the votes were tallied, it was a squeaker!  The winner pulled ahead by only 2 votes, but that is enough to call it.  Congratulations to:

Winner: Tot Spot Cafe in Woodinville

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Other nominees:

The Village Bean in Bothell
Panera Bread
Issaquah Coffee Company
Cupcake Royale in Bellevue
Victor’s Coffee in Redmond
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Favorite Birthday Party Spot
Birthday parties are a lot of fun, but also a lot of work, so lots of people want ideas of where to do them.  This year we had lots of great suggestions during the nomination process, and seven qualified for the ballot.  But this category also had more write-in votes than any other, with the largest set going to Dizzy’s Bus Stop in Bellevue.  KidsQuest Children’s Museum in Bellevue also got a huge chunk of the votes, but the real competition was between Great Play in Redmond and Pump It Up in Kirkland.  Great Play, which has won this category for the last two years, started strong and stayed strong, but when all the votes were in, the prize for 2011 goes to:

Winner:  Pump It Up in Kirkland

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Other nominees:
Great Play in Redmond
Orange Blossom Society in Redmond
Studio3Music in Redmond
KidsQuest Children’s Museum in Bellevue
Kelsey Creek Farm in Bellevue
Fox Hollow Farm in Issaquah

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Favorite Place to Jump
This category is new this year, by popular demand.  Among the nominees, there were four locations with inflatable bouncy houses and one with giant trampolines.  The vote in this category was the most evenly divided among all the nominees, which suggests people like to jump locally.  To find the winner of the 2011 Best of the Eastside badge, get on I-90 and go east to:

Winner:  KidzBounce in Preston

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Other nominees:
Pump It up in Kirkland
Jump Planet in Bothell
3-2-1 Bounce in Bellevue
Sky High Trampoline Gym in Bellevue

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Favorite Indoor Play Space
With all the rain we have been having lately, it is no shock that this was one of the most popular categories in the survey.  And I can say from personal experience that all the nominees are super places for kids to get some exercise and fun hanging out.  One nominee was a vote-getting powerhouse this year, and for good reason.  With lots of space and great interactive exhibits, the winner of Best Indoor Play Space is:

Winner:  KidsQuest Children’s Museum in Bellevue

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Other nominees:
Orange Blossom Society in Redmond
Dizzy’s Bus Stop in Bellevue
Adventure Kids Playcare in Issaquah
KidsCove at Bellevue Square
Great Play in Redmond
Nest in Woodinville

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Favorite Children’s Store or Service
No other category had as many nominees as this one, because there are lots of great stores and services for families on the Eastside.  All told, it was the consignment stores that dominated the category, with Cruzin’ Kids in Woodinville, Tree House Consignment in Redmond, and Little Quadoo Consignment in Renton, joining together to get half the votes.  But of those three, the one that got the most votes is:

Winner:  Tree House Consignment in Redmond

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Other nominees:
Cruzin’ Kids in Woodinville
Merry Go Round in Bellevue
Common Folk Kids in Bellevue
Lullaby Organics in Kirkland
BirthdayKitsForKids.com in Kenmore
Abacus West in Redmond and Sammamish
Adventure Kids Playcare in Issaquah
Little Quadoo Consignment in Renton

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Favorite Family-Friendly Restaurant
When it comes to eating out, we seem to like kid basics in a casual (kind of noisy) setting.  All the nominees this year serve pizza, pasta, or burgers (or all three), and not one requires a tie.  The competition this year was between Ruby’s Diner in Redmond, Zeek’s Pizza in Issaquah, Bellevue, and Kirkland, and Red Robin in… everywhere.  The favorite this year received just over half the votes (wow!).  So if you are looking for some place to take your kids where no one will look at you funny, look no further than:

Winner:  Red Robin

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Other nominees:
Old Spaghetti Factory in Tukwila
Zeek’s Pizza in Issaquah, Bellevue, and Kirkland
Whistle Stop Ale House in Renton
Cucina, Cucina in Issaquah
Ruby’s Diner in Redmond

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Favorite Place to See a Show with Kids
This is my favorite of all the categories- I have seen shows with my daughter at every single one of the nominees (I get around).  You can trust me when I say they are all great!  This year, the top vote getters were all live theater offering great shows specifically for families:  Village Theatre in Issaquah (with their cry room for babies), last year’s winner SecondStory Repertory in Redmond, and StoryBook Theater performing in Kirkland and Renton.  They are all offer top-notch, high-quality productions, and I recommend each one.  But there can be only one winner, and this year it is:

Winner:  StoryBook Theater in Kirkland and Renton
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Other nominees:
Second Story Repertory in Redmond
Mother’s Day Thursday at Lincoln Square Cinemas in Bellevue
Thistle Puppet Theatre in Bellevue
Youth Theatre Northwest on Mercer Island
Village Theatre in Issaquah
Mommy Matinee at North Bend Theatre in North Bend

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Favorite Children’s Salon
I finally gave up cutting my daughter’s hair when I made her look like a Vulcan from Star Trek.  Although they have interesting bangs, I really wanted her to look human.  So now I go to a kid’s salon.  It seems lots of you do, too, because you had lots of opinions.  In addition to quite a few write-in votes, the main nominees had lots of support.  Although all the nominees are a cut above the rest (ha!), the two in the lead were Dooz in Bellevue and Mercer Island, and The Salon at CF Kids in Bellevue.  The salon that won by a hair is:

Winner:  Salon at CF Kids in Bellevue

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Other nominees:

Enchanted Cuts in Attraction Salons in Redmond
Dooz in Bellevue and Mercer Island
Bella and Max in Bothell
Brat Pack Salon in Redmond

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Favorite Place for Outdoor Fun
Even though it rains a lot here, we like to get outside when we can, which is probably why this was one of the more popular categories. And the Eastside has lots of great places to get into the great outdoors:  beaches, mountains, farms, parks, you name it.  This year, the contest was between Remlinger Farms in Carnation and last year’s Best Park winner Grasslawn Park in Redmond.  These are two very different places:  Remlinger offers carnival rides like a mini-ferris wheel along side a good, ol’ fashioned hay jump, while Grasslawn Park offers a spray play area, complicated climbing structures, and lots of fields.  Together they got over 50% of the votes cast.  The winner in another super close race is:

Winner:  Remlinger Farms in Carnation

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Other nominees:
Farrel-McWhirter Farm in Redmond
Crossroads International Spray Park in Bellevue
Idylwood Beach in Redmond
Skiing and Tubing at the Summit in Snoqualmie
Rainbow Run Mini-Golf at Willows Run in Redmond
Marymoor Park in Redmond
Grasslawn Park in Redmond

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Favorite Special Event
On the Eastside, we know how to come together as a community and celebrate all year long.  The nominees this year cover almost every season.  For summer, we have Strawberry Festival in Bellevue, Derby Days in Redmond, and River Days in Renton.  For autumn, you nominated Salmon Days in Issaquah and Remlinger Farms Harvest Festival in Carnation.  For winter, there is Garden d’Lights at Bellevue Botanical Gardens and Snowflake Lane in Bellevue.  It turns out, though, that most of you like your days merry and bright, because the winner of this category is:

Winner:  Snowflake Lane in Bellevue
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Other nominees:
Strawberry Festival in Bellevue
Salmon Days in Issaquah
Derby Days in Redmond
Garden d’Lights at Bellevue Botanical Gardens
Remlinger Farms Harvest Festival in Carnation
River Days in Renton

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Favorite Toy Store
This is another new category this year, and it seems that most of you like smaller toy stores that sell more than just TV-inspired toys.  In fact, Toys R Us didn’t even make the cut!  All five of the nominees got a good share of the votes and it was fairly close in the end, which tells me we have lots of great, well-loved toy stores on the Eastside.  And though it should be all fun and games with toy stores, we do have to have a winner, and this year, that is:

Winner:  Learning Quest Toys in Redmond and Bellevue

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Other nominees:
Snapdoodle Toys in Kenmore
White Horse Toys in Issaquah
Tree Top Toys in Redmond
The Toy Place at Bellevue Art and Frame in Bellevue

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Favorite Storytime
It should be no surprise that the winner of Favorite Storytime is the one with a location in every single city and town on the Eastside and the one with super helpful librarians, and is just downright awesome.  The other nominees are all great places to see storytime, trust me.  But the winner in this category, hands-down is:

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Winner:  King County Library System
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Other nominees:
Borders in Redmond
KidsQuest Children’s Museum in Bellevue
The Toy Place at Bellevue Art and Frame in Bellevue

Best Family-Friendly Mall

This vote was pretty evenly divided, which makes sense, considering the great malls we have on the Eastside.  Crossroads Mall has great food, entertainment, and quarter rides for kids.  Redmond Town Center has great stores, a playground, splash fountains, and lots of Kids Eat Free restaurants.  Bothell Country Village has a beautiful play area, train rides, and chickens walking around everywhere.  But the final choice of voters this year went to the mall with lots of shopping, plenty of cupcakes to buy, and a third floor play area known as the Kids Cove.  That’s right, the winner of Best Family-Friendly Mall is:

Winner: Bellevue Square in Bellevue

Other Nominees:

Crossroads Mall in Bellevue
Country Village in Bothell
Redmond Town Center in Redmond

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