As another marker on the Tri-Valley's continued path toward normalcy, the Pleasanton Weekly is proud to unveil this year's Readers' Choice winners, welcoming the popular community contest back after taking a one-year hiatus due to pandemic impacts in 2020.
Honoring the best of the best that Pleasanton has to offer, the 2021 Readers' Choice competition received tens of thousands of votes from people across the Tri-Valley -- and even a few former residents as far away as New York and Canada -- in online balloting this spring as Weekly readers revealed which local businesses, professionals and places were their favorites in commercial and lifestyles categories that run the gamut.
"We didn't feel it was appropriate to have the contest last year with the onset of the pandemic," said Gina Channell Wilcox, Pleasanton Weekly publisher and Readers' Choice coordinator. "I can tell by the number of votes and voters this year that our readers missed the competition."
"We had to put a couple categories on hiatus in the year's contest," Wilcox said. "Best Place for Live Music, Best Place to People Watch and Best Public Event just weren't going to work this year. However, since families have been stay-cationing in their backyard, and updating and upgrading their homes and yards, we added a few categories for home improvement, like Best Pool Maintenance and Best Home Improvement Contractor. Those new categories received quite a few votes."
"We hope to keep the new categories and bring back others in next year's contest," she added.
The 2021 winners are located all over the city (and a few just beyond). Many are open on Main Street or around downtown, while others are sprinkled across shopping centers or commercial areas across Pleasanton. Some are well-recognized names with long ties to the Tri-Valley, but still some others managed to build burgeoning brands in spite of the coronavirus pandemic.
This year's group of Readers' Choice Hall of Fame members are Primrose Bakery (Best Bakery/Dessert), Pleasanton Family Dentist (Best Dental Office), Pleasanton Ridge (Best Kept Secret Treasure of Pleasanton), Outer Visions Landscape Design (Best Landscaping Service), Western Garden Nursery (Best Nursery/Garden Center), Jue's Taekwon-Do (Best Martial Arts Studio), Schlicher Orthodontics (Best Orthodontist), Fabulous Properties (Best Real Estate Team), Nonni's Bistro (Best Sunday Brunch), Blossom Vegan Restaurant (Best Vegetarian Cuisine) and Pleasanton Veterinary Hospital (Best Veterinarian).
They were honored for their previous record of five consecutive victories, and of course we didn't count the 2020 hiatus against their streaks. As new Hall of Famers, they were ineligible to compete in their categories this year.
Four businesses earned their fifth straight win in this year's contest. So the 2022-23 Hall of Fame elite will be Bob's Giant Burgers (Best Burger), Cosmo's Barbershop (Best Barbershop), Lokanta (Best Mediterranean Restaurant) and Savior Plumbing (Best Plumber).
Other intriguing highlights from the 2021 results included a rare tie, with Forest Chiropractic Office and Spinal Health Chiropractic receiving the exact same number of votes for Best Chiropractic Office.
The most votes cast were in the Food and Drink categories of Best Pizza, Best American Food, Best Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt and Best Burger. Best Local Winery also garnered a significant number of votes.
The full list of new categories introduced this year consisted of Best Granite & Tile Supplier, Best Home Improvement Contractor, Best House Painter, Best Pool Construction & Remodeling, Best Pool Maintenance, Best Preschool/Daycare, Best Private School and Best Residential Concrete Contractor.
To learn more about those new awards, and all of our winners and Hall of Famers, sit back and enjoy our 2021 Readers' Choice section.