11th Hour Reader’s Choice Award Winners
Best Annual Event
Macon’s annual Summer music festival will return July 29, 2017. The event raises money for the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail and other local causes in the memory of brothers Brax and Tate Bragg. Past artists who’ve played this Jason Isbell, Blind Boys of Alabama, Moon Taxi, Drew Holcombe, Zac Brown and Shakey Graves.
The Big House
Best Tourist Attraction
2321 Vineville Ave
The Big House was the home of Berry Oakley, his wife Linda and their daughter Brittany, as well as Duane and Gregg Allman, during The Allman Brothers Band’s time in Macon recording at Capricorn Studios. Today, The Big House houses the historic memorabilia of The Allman Brothers and remains popular among travelers who are passing through Macon.
The Dirt Farmers
Best Local Farm
The Dirt Farmers provide our community with chemical free, fresh produce straight from the community we reside. Catch their indoor farmer’s market on Saturday’s from 10-2 to find the freshest meats, fruits and vegetables from all around the state.
Best Local Photographer
Ashah Smith has been photographing weddings since she was 19, and describes her style as candid, bold, timeless and authentic. Smith enjoys capturing the love and chemistry of the couples she photographs instead of relying on props and filters.
Best Local Artist
With sculptures displayed publicly around the world, AnT enjoys changing the way people interact with art through their brick pieces. The team of Alexis and Tanner have been working together for five years and treasure the challenge of improving the spaces in which we live.
522 Cherry Street
From Airbnb loft rentals, to cooking classes and local artist galleries, Travis Jean is truly the most unique storefront on Cherry Street. Travis Jean is the epitome of the local storefront, featuring all sorts of Georgia made gifts and goods suitable for any occasion.
Karats and Keepsakes
Best Local Boutique
4524 Forsyth Road
Julie Evans founded Karats and Keepsakes in 1987 and it has been a North Macon mainstay for the last 30 years. The mission of Karats and Keepsakes is to bring the women of Macon the trendy and affordable styles of every season. Karats and Keepsakes also carries jewelry, accessories like hats and phone cases, and gifts.
Best Hair Salon
1520 Bass Road- 478-474-4856
551 Cherry Street- 478-812-8351
Signature Salon was opened in October 2008 by Nichole Mitchell Brewer. Brewer’s dream when opening Signature was “giving Macon a comprehensive and unique salon experience, creating a salon that gave back to the community, and offering hope for stylists who wanted to achieve a successful career on a proven career path.” Signature Salon now has two locations, Cherry Street and Bass Road and offers other services including spray tanning, nail technicians and hair extension services.
Favorite Local Citizen
Karla Redding-Andrews is the Executive Director of the Otis Redding Foundation, which strives for ‘Progress through Education, Enlightenment through Music.’ Redding-Andrews, the daughter of legendary soul singer Otis Redding, manages the day-to-day operations of the Otis Redding Foundation, in addition to fundraising, programming, and collaborations and exclusive merchandising of the Otis Redding Mini-Museum.
Emily Dodds, The Hummingbird Stage & Taproom
Best Local Bartender
The bubbly and energetic personality of Emily Dodds can brighten up The Bird on even the darkest and smokiest of nights. Dodds is quick with the bottle and her wit, simultaneously pouring a round of tequila shots and carrying on a conversation with three different customers at the bar. Four days a week you can find Dodds working Happy Hour (Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday) and the porch late night on the weekends for all your beverage needs.
Ingleside Village Pizza
2396 Ingleside Avenue
Ingleside Village Pizza boasts that it’s “handtossed New York style pizza is made with the freshest ingredients available, and our dough is made on the premises daily.” IVP also has Macon’s largest selection of imported beer. With a menu consisting of salads, sandwiches, and pizzas, it’s no wonder that this eatery has been a mainstay on Ingleside Avenue for years.
Wild Wing Café
5080 Riverside Drive
Located in The Shoppes at River Crossing, Wild Wing Café serves up fresh, hormone and steroid free wings with over 33 made from scratch sauces. Not only does Wild Wing have the best wings in Macon, but also some of the best daily food and drink specials in town. Don’t forget to drop for 2fer Tuesday’s featuring half priced wings!
3947 Houston Avenue
Fincher’s has been a Middle Georgia institution for over 80 years with four locations on Houston Avenue, Houston Road, Grey Highway and North Davis Drive. Their award winning food and top notch catering has been beloved by the community since Fincher’s opened its doors in 1935. Their barbeque, sandwiches and sides are prepared fresh on site and ship their products worldwide daily.
Harp and Bowl
Best Healthy Choice
520 Mulberry Street
Charlotte Etheridge, General Manager of Harp and Bowl LA Bistro, always greets her customers with a big smile and a “Howdy!” From her selection of kefirs (fermented grains), smoothies and nutritious sandwiches. Everything on the menu is local and seasonal, the meats are natural range and hormone and steroid free. So come by and say “Howdy” to Charlotte today!
Biscuits, Burgers, and More
Best Under the Radar Restaurant
101 GA Hwy 49
Open for breakfast and lunch, Biscuits, Burgers, and More serves some of the best, well you know… biscuits, burgers, and more! With giant platters of eggs and pancakes and French toast for breakfast, and burgers and dogs for lunch. The best part about Biscuits, Burgers, and More is that you can have a hearty breakfast for less than $5 and a filling lunch for under $10.
Best Soul Food
807 Forsyth Street
‘Mama’ Inez Hill and ‘Mama’ Louise Hudson started the H&H in 1959 and was the favorite restaurant of The Allman Brothers Band when they moved to Macon ten years later. Mama Inez and Mama Louise fed the band whenever they were low on money, and the rest is history. Moonhanger Group took over the operation in 2014 and continue to serve up the best soul food in Macon.
Best Fine Dining
543 Cherry Street
Loacted above the iconic Rookery, Dovetail has become one of the most praised restaurants in Macon. From the delicious hand-crafted cocktails to the delectable rabbit risotto, Dovetail’s seasonal rotating menu always impresses. The restaurant has been featured in Southern Living Magazine, and has received OpenTable’s Diner’s Choice Award for American Cuisine.
Best Mexican Restaurant
With four locations, Margaritas Mexican Grill has been serving the Middle Georgia area for over 20 years. The cuisine is inspired by what is typically found in the towns of Tequila and Guadalajara in the central state of Jalisco. The locations at Bowman Road, Presidential Parkway and Zebulon Road make some of the best Mexican Food you’ll ever try, and bar at the Mercer Village location carries one of the best beer selections in town and is always perfect to watch a live streaming of Mercer sports events on the big screen.
Best New Restaurant, Best New Business
484 2nd Street
Burgers and beer is what this downtown eatery does best. Ocmulgee Brewpub not only hand grounds their own meat for their perfect burgers, but Doug the Brewmaster makes all the delicious beers in house. Most importantly, don’t forget the fries! Ocmulgee Brewpub serves heaping amounts of fresh cut fries and has eight different dipping sauces from which to choose.
Best Façade Upgrade, Hottest Wait staff, Best Restaurant With a Bar Scene
468 2nd Street
Bearfoot Tavern is Middle Georgia’s only gastropub and blends together a European and American pub atmosphere. Owned by Middle Georgia’s HotPlates Restaurant Group, Bearfoot has a wide selection of Georgia craft beers and a friendly and courteous wait staff. Bearfoot also has a wide selection of delicious burgers, named after Mercer University Presidents past and present, wings and brick oven pizzas.
Best Burger, Best Spot for Lunch, Best Waitstaff
543 Cherry Street
The Rookery is a Cherry Street staple. Serving up some of the best burgers you will ever put in your mouth, named after Macon and Georgia legends, ridiculously amazing milkshakes, and daily specials that always impress. It’s no wonder that when you are passing through town and look up restaurants in Macon on Yelp!, The Rookery is always at the top of the list.
Best Happy Hour
488 1st Street
With locations in Macon and Warner Robins, Just Tap’d is the place to go to discover your new favorite craft beer. The pizza’s served in the basement of the 1st Street location in Macon are some of the best in town, and their 60+ tap selection always has something new and interesting available. Come by for Brain Blast Trivia on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s, and take home a growler of your new favorite beer at the end of the night.
The Crazy Bull
Best Dance Club
473 2nd Street
With three floors of music venues, The Crazy Bull is always packed for its first-rate shows. With multiple bars and a giant dance floor, there is always a good time happening at The Bull. Located across from Bearfoot on 2nd Street, The Crazy Bull is the place to go for a rocking country show on Friday and Saturday nights.
Back Porch Lounge
Best Dive Bar
2400 Riverside Drive
The Back Porch Lounge is the hotel bar at The Best Western Hotel on Riverside Drive, and its always a place where you can meet a new friend. The customers are all regulars who have been coming in for years and they are always happy to regale you with stories of crazy nights of years passed. Local blues sensation Robert Lee Coleman plays Back Porch every Monday night and Open Mic Night takes place on Tuesday. Be sure to stop into Macon’s best dive bar for a cold one!
The Hummingbird Stage & Taproom
Best College Bar, Best Overall Bar, Best Local Music Venue
430 Cherry Street
With local and national touring bands highlighted every weekend, it’s no wonder that The Hummingbird Stage & Taproom was voted Best Local Music Venue. Featured as a venue at the annual Bragg Jam Music Festival, The Bird also throws its own music festival every year called The Big Bird Bash which features many local bands as well as a headliner. Some of the bands that have played The Bird include Unknown Hinson, Old 97’s, American Aquarium and Jason Isbell. The friendly and hardworking staff always have their hands on a bottle or a tap, ready to get you your next drink quickly.
Best Local Cover Band
This three-piece cover trio plays classic and current artists. They are known for their energy in their live performances, always bringing down the house at whatever venue they play. If you see this quirky bunch is playing, you need to make sure you’re present!
Best New Band
The Bearcats love to get loud and it’s a joy to watch. Led by TJ Wayt, The Bearcats can be found playing at music venues all around Macon, and appear regularly at The Hummingbird Stage & Taproom. The band also consists of Will Davis on bass, Cliff Cranford on guitar and Dustin McDearmid on drums. Whether they’re playing their originals or just messing around with some covers, The Bearcats always put on a hell of a loud show, as witnessed at this year’s Big Bird Bash in which they were joined on stage by local singer-songwriter Lauren Tuttle.
Best Hip Hop Artist
Growing up with the sounds of Michael Jackson, Nat King Cole, and Stevie Wonder in his grandparents’ East Macon home is what shaped the style of Bob Lennon. Those sounds shaped the style of Lennon today. When he’s not performing, Lennon enjoys studying the craft of his major influences, which also include Andre 3000, T.I. and Tupac.
The Matt Brantley Band
Best Local Band
The Matt Brantley Band has quickly become one of Georgia’s favorite bands and show no signs of slowing down. After finishing as the Runner-up in the Milledgeville Idol competition, Matt Brantley decided to make a go of music and got a band together. With guitarist Rowdy Hood, bassist Jesse Perkins, and drummer Brayden Long, The Matt Brantley Band was named Georgia Country Music Artist of the Year in 2016.
Best Local Album
Red Hot is the 2016 album by Paul Hornsby, music producer for Wet Willie, The Marshall Tucker Band and Charlie Daniels Band. The cover album features the songs of Ray Charles, Fats Domino, and Huey Smith among others. Some of the hits that Hornsby has produced over the years include “The South’s Gonna Do It Again,” “Long Haired Country Boy,” “Heard It In A Love Song,” and “Fire On The Mountain.” The album also features former keyboardist for the Rolling Stones and Allman Brothers Band Chuck Leavell on the Hammond B3 on the track “I’m Ready.”
DJ B3 has been a mainstay in Macon, spinning at some of the most fun events that take place downtown. B3 plays regularly at The Bird, Roasted, and the former Mill. B3 describes his performance style as “mixing, arranging, orchestrating music that plays in my head for your ears.” B3 sites One Bad Catholic, Ployd, Mayhem and Mantis as some of his biggest influences.
Best Singer Songwriter
Maggie Renfroe started singing and playing guitar at age seven, and, now 17, has garnered up quite a resume for someone so young. She has played opener for Chuck Leavell (Allman Brothers Band, Rolling Stones) and released a recent EP How Did I Get Here, available on iTunes and Spotify. Maggie is currently training with Mama Jan at Jan Smith Studios in Atlanta, where artists like Justin Bieber and Usher have trained in the past.
African Americana won Best Experimental Band in 2016 and is made up of Tommy $uperior, Alex & Her Wrath, Cody Kurth and Kam Johnson. The two-time winners have a simple formula for creating their music, “If it sounds cool, we should do it.” Their sound is beyond unique, but its catchy, so you have to check them out whenever they’re playing around town.
Cox Capitol Theatre
Best Place for Live Music
If there’s a big musical act coming to town, you can be sure it will be playing at the historic Cox Capitol Theatre. The Capitol is owned by the Moonhanger Group, and has hosted the likes of Reverend Horton Heat, The Drive-By Truckers and blues/ funk legend Bobby Rush (returning to the Capitol on April 20!) over the past few months. Even if you don’t know the performer playing that night, you can be sure that you’ll enjoy the show, so grab a taco (The Capitol shares a kitchen with El Camino) a cold drink, and grab a seat in the balcony in one of the best music venues you’ll ever visit.