Originally published by seacoastonline.com
By: Karen Dandurant
Published August 25th, 2017 at 2:00AM
PORTSMOUTH — In the first of what will become an annual event, business owners of all types gathered at the Portsmouth Harbor Events and Conference Center Thursday night to find out if readers voted them the 2017 Best of the Seacoast.
John Tabor, publisher of Seacoast Media Group, said a record 156,000 readers cast votes in support of their favorite businesses. All types of businesses vied in categories that included arts and culture, beauty, drink places, education, entertainment and recreation, food and dining, health and merchants and retailers.
The top three vote getters in every category were invited to attend and 150 first-place awards were handed out. All who attended were the best of the best in their fields, as chosen by SMG readers.
“All these businesses are the best of the best,” said Tabor. “It is difficult for small business owners, who have to hire and train employees. They pay their taxes. What they all have is the true entrepreneurial spirit and that’s what we are celebrating tonight.”
Miss New Hampshire Lauren Percy announced the winners. In September she will compete for the title of Miss America.
It was probably not a big surprise that The Music Hall of Portsmouth won in two categories, as best movie theater and best place to see a concert.
“We are thrilled once again to be recognized by our Seacoast patrons,” said Kate Smith, content marketing manager at the Music Hall. “This is so special to us, coming as we enter our 30th season as a nonprofit.”
The best place to see a theatrical production was awarded to the Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine. Bradford Kenney, artistic director for the historic venue, said they are also getting the accolade during its 85th anniversary season.
“We are thrilled to be part of this and to be recognized,” said Kenney. “We are overwhelmed. I am happy we are standing here alongside the Music Hall as we have been spending our holidays with them for several years now. We collaborate on the Christmas show there and we love it.”
The Seacoast is home to many local craft brewers, and many of those beers can be found at the Revolution Taproom and Grill in Rochester, voted as having the best beer selection on the Seacoast.
“I want to thanks all of our local vendors, farms and brewers,” said owner Mark Marchionni. “Without them, this could not happen.”
Mark Bowen, who has owned Dover Bowl for 30 years, said he thinks people voted for his business as best place to bowl because he offers something for everyone, for all ages.
“We have bowling, of course,” said Bowen. “We also have indoor bumper cars, laser tag, a big arcade, and a full bar. Last year we added charity bingo.”
Country View Restaurant in Greenland won for best diner. Manager Joseph Smith said they appreciate their customers and it is nice to be appreciated by them.
Liberty Lane Catering of Hampton has been in business for 20 years. Owner Kevin Sullivan said they appreciate and thank the people who voted for them.
“We will keep up the hard work,” said Sullivan. “We want our customers to be happy with our services.”
Village Veterinary Clinic of Rollinsford won in the category of best vet on the Seacoast. Before they knew of the award, Tammy Poole, a longtime worker there, said she felt her boss, Dr. Michael Narzemetz, deserved to win.
“We are the best,” said Poole. “My boss is the best vet around in our opinion. He is very caring and very passionate about his work.”
Before the announcements, Emily Loscocco and Ilya Burov, new owners of the Portsmouth School of Ballet, said they were thrilled by the nomination. They didn’t win, but both said just to be at the event was amazing to them as both are new to the city.
“We have danced all over the world,” said Burov. “We have been in Europe, Russia, Alaska and many more places. It has been our dream to own our own studio. We are so happy to be making Portsmouth our home.”
Win or lose, Loscocco said they feel the past few weeks have been magical. “We are meant to be here,” she said.
Best of the Seacoast winners will receive a special logo from SMG, one they can incorporate into their own business advertising.
See all the winners at http://promotions.seacoastonline.com/l/Seacoast-Media-Groups-Best-of-2017.