The Overcast’s Best of Newfoundland & Labrador 2018 People’s Choice Awards

Your votes are in for the best of everything local 2018.

Back in November, we asked the public to help us recognize your go-to restaurants, praise your favourite places, and acknowledge your favourite faces, from the best brunch spot in town to the best new band in Newfoundland. Below are the results for 2018. 

Best of Local Food 2018

Best Restaurant in NL

Winner: Mallard Cottage
Runner-up: Adelaide Oyster House

Best New Restaurant 2018

Winner: Boca Tapas’ Bar
Runner-up: Saucy Mouth Food Truck

Best Brunch Spot

Winner: Mallard Cottage
Runner-up: Merchant Tavern

Best Food Spot Outside of Downtown St. John’s

Winner: Bonavista Social Club
Runner-up: The Grounds

Best Restaurant to Take a Date

Winner: Mallard Cottage
Runner-up: Boca Tapas’ Bar

Most Delicious Dish in NL

Winner: Butter Chicken @ India Gate
Runner-up: “The Stephanie” @ Piatto

Best Bakery

Winner: Georgestown Bakery
Runner-up: Rocket Bakery

Best Food Spot on Skip the Dishes

Winner: Sushi Nami Royale
Runner-up: Soul Azteka

Best Locally Made Food Product

Winner: Condiments by Steve Curtis
Runner-up: Chinched’s Cured Meats

Best Pizza

Winner: Piatto
Runner-up: Kilbride Pizza

Best Sushi

Winner: Sushi Nami Royale
Runner-up: Sun Sushi

Best Pub Grub

Winner: Bernard Stanley’s Gastropub
Runner-up: Yellowbelly

Best Vegetarian Haven

Winner: The Peaceful Loft
Runner-up: The Sprout/Poyo

Best Restaurant Special

Winner: Piatto’s Lunch Special
Runner-up: Evoo 2-for-1 Pizzas (5-6pm)

Best Restaurant Atmosphere

Winner: Mallard Cottage
Runner-up: Merchant Tavern

Best Chinese

Winner: Magic Wok
Runner-up: The Peaceful Loft

Best Fish’n’Chips

Winner: The Duke
Runner-up: Chafe’s Landing

Best Guilty Pleasure Greasy Spoon

Winner: Ziggy Peelgoods
Runner-up: Ches’s Fish & Chips

Best Food Vendor at the St. John’s Farmer’s Market

Winner: Fatima’s Indian Food
Runner-up: Curry Delight

Best Grocery Store

Winner: Coleman’s (Newfoundland Dr.)
Runner-up: Belbin’s

Mallard Cottage Launching A Market-style Deli in 2019

Sounds like you can’t get enough of Mallard Cottage. Good news, there’ll soon be a whole new reason to love them. They’ve acquired the Healey’s Pharmacy property on Water Street West to launch a market-style deli in the spring. “The business will be a market of sorts with a focus on butchery, fresh pasta, baked goods, and condiments, but will also have a coffee bar and a small seating area for dining in,” says Stephen Lee. “We will be teasing this at our New Year’s event this month – an early evening with classic cocktails, live music, and beautiful wines alongside a butcher-driven menu.

Best of Local Music 2018

Best Band in the Province

Winner: The Once
Runner-up: Soap Opera

Best Solo Artist/Duo in the Province

Winner: Rube & Rake
Runner-up: Fortunate Ones

Best in New Band/Artist 2018

Winner: John
Runner-up: Banana Vacuum

Best Band/Artist to See Live

Winner: The Kubasonics
Runner-up: The Catalina Reapers

Best Local Song of 2018

Winner: “Stop the Trains” by Sherry Ryan
Runner-up: “Play Doh” by Dormitories

Best Rock/Pop Band

Winner: Soap Opera
Runner-up: Mark Bragg & the Butchers

Best Folk/Country Band

Winner: Rube & Rake
Runner-up: Sherry Ryan

Best Loud/Heavy Band

Winner: Banana Vacuum
Runner-up: Conditioner

Best Trad Band/Artist

Winner: Rum Ragged
Runner-up: Shanneyganock

Best Hip Hop/Electronic Act

Winner: ChessClub
Runner-up: Van Buren Boys

Best Blues/Jazz Band

Winner: Earle & Coffin
Runner-up: Denis Parker

Best Singer in the Province

Winner: Steve Maloney
Runner-up: Janet Cull

Most Talented Musician

Winner: Tim Baker
Runner-up: Steve Maloney

Best RPM Album of 2018

Winner: Banana Vacuum’s Never Mind the Minions
Runner-up: Belle Trackies’ Running with Wolfgang

Best Music Festival/Event of 2018

Winner: Lawnya Vawnya
Runner-up: Iceberg Alley

Best Music Venue

Winner: The Ship
Runner-up: The Black Sheep

Your Favourite Song of the Year is About An Amazing Local

The winds in Wreckhouse, NL regularly reach gusts exceeding 200 km/hour. They're so fierce because of the lay of the land – Wreckhouse is a flat, barren strip running between the Long Range Mountains. It’s a true wind tunnel.

Way back when trains ran through this plane of land, it was a hard go for train conductors because those wild winds could blow a train clear off its tracks.

Back when Sherry Ryan’s father worked with the NL Railway, there was a trapper named Lauchie MacDougall who claimed he could “smell the wind” on a particularly bad day. He became known as the human wind gauge, and was given $20 a month and a telephone to warn trains about windy southeasterlies ahead.

While Lauchie’s duties these days would have been replaced by modern technology, this literal lifesaver will live on in history, and thanks to Sherry Ryan’s "Stop the Trains," off her album Wreckhouse, his legend will live on in song as well.

Best of Local People & Culture 2018

Best Thing to Happen in 2018

Winner: New St. John’s Farmer’s Market
Runner-up: Legalization of Marijuana

Near Winners:
Gender neutral passports/birth certificates
The new city council

Whose Job Would You Least Like to Have?

Winner: Dwight Ball
Runner-up: Tweed employee telling people we’re sold out

Best Place to Take a Date

Winner: Mochanopoly
Runner-up: Skating at The Loop

Most Undersung Community Hero

Winner: Hasan Hai
Runner-up: “My Mother”

Best Local Radio Station

Winner: CBC Radio
Runner-up: VOWR

Best Local Radio Show

Winner: CBC On the Go w/ Ted Blades
Runner-up: VOCM Open Line w/ Paddy Daly

Best Baycation Destination

Winner: Fogo
Runner-up: Port Rexton / Trinity

What You’d Miss Most if it Vanished

Winner: Georgestown Bagels
Runner-up: India Gate Butter Chicken

Best Local News Website

Winner: VOCM
Runner-up: CBC-NL

Best Local Newspaper/Mag 

Winner: The Overcast
Runner-up: The Telegram

Worst Thing to Happen in 2018

Winner: Dale Kirby/Eddie Joyce’s poor behaviour as elected officials / grown men
Runner-up: The Springdale Pride Crosswalk Incident

Near Winners:
Dwight Ball’s Carbon Pricing Plan
The Destruction of Western Brook Pond Trail

Best Politician

Winner: Maggie Burton
Runner-up: Sherry Gambin Walsh

Best Local Journalist

Winner: David Maher
Runner-up: Chad Bennett

Best Local Podcast/Video Series

Winner: The Outhouse
Runner-up: Consent: Walk the Walk App

Everyone’s Favourite Local Celebrity

Winner: Mark Critch
Runner-up: Alan Doyle

Most Vital Activist

Winner: Gemma Hickey
Runner-up: Blair Curtis

Best Local Social Media Handle to Follow

Winner: Townie memes
Runner-up: The Newfoundland Turnip

Best Night Out Besides a Bar or the Movies

Winner: Jack Axes
Runner-up: Events/Series at The Rooms

Best Public Space/Park in the Province

Winner: Bannerman Park
Runner-up: Gros Morne National Park

Frequent Overcast People’s Choice Award winner Hasan Hai is probably best known for the Merby’s Calendar initiative he launched that needs no introduction. This Christmas Season he’s raising money for Bridges to Hope through his “Dark Elf on a Shelf” Pun-stunt. Read all about it here

Best of Local Drink 2018

Best Brewery in the Province

Winner: Port Rexton
Runner-up: Quidi Vidi

Best New Brewery That Opened in 2018

Winner: Dildo Brewery & Museum
Runner-up: “The Re-Birth of Quidi Vidi”

Best Local Craft Beer, Specifically, By Name

Winner: Port Rexton Blue Steel Kettle Sour
Runner-up:  Quidi Vidi Calm Tom IPA

Best Locally Brewed Cider

Winner: NL Cider Company’s Forager
Runner-up: Newfoundland Cider Company’s Scrumpy

Best Cafe

Winner: Fixed Coffee and Baking
Runner-up: Rocket Bakery

Best Spot to Buy Coffee by the Bag

Winner: Fixed Coffee and Baking
Runner-up: Jumping Bean

Best Pub in the Province

Winner: The Ship
Runner-up: The Duke of Duckworth

Best Bar in the Province

Winner: Merchant Tavern
Runner-up: The Underbelly

Best Bar Staff

Winner: The Ship
Runner-up: Quidi Vidi Brewery

Best Spot to Grab a Drink with a Date or Friend

Winner: Yellowbelly / The Underbelly
Runner-up: Quidi Vidi Brewery

Who is Serving the Best cocktails around?

Winner: Merchant Tavern
Runner-up:  Adelaide Oyster House

Best Bottle of Red Wine at the NLC under $25

Winner: Campo Viejo Reserva Rioja (Spain)
Runner-up: Mark West Pinot Noir (US)

Best Bottle of White Wine at the NLC under $25

Winner: Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand)
Runner-up: Smoking Loon Pinot Griggio (US)

Best Bottle of Gin Available at the NLC

Winner: NL Distillery Co.’s Seaweed Gin
Runner-up: Hendrick’s

Best Bottle of Vodka Available at the NLC

Winner: NL Distillery Co.’s Rhubarb Vodka
Runner-up: Grey Goose

Best Bottle of Rum Available at the NLC

Winner: NL Distillery Co.’s Gunpowder Rose
Runner-up: El Dorado

Best Bottle of Whiskey Available at the NLC

Winner: Jameson’s
Runner-up: Tullamore Dew

Best Bottle of Scotch Available at the NLC

Winner: Auchentoshen
Runner-up:  Aberfeldy

Best Bottle of Tequila Available at the NLC

Winner: Patron Silver
Runner-up:  Hornitos (Black Barrel)

Best Beer in the Province, Blue Steel Kettle Sour:

Port Rexton says your favourite local craft beer “uses Lactobacillus and orange peel to create a bright beer with light lemonade-y tartness, zesty orange character, and a refreshing finish. At 4.7% this beer is well-balanced and ridiculously good looking (yes, the title is a Zoolander reference).”

Best of The Arts 2018

Best Thing to Happen in 2018

Winner: The inclusive nature of Paul Power’s play, Crippled
Runner-up: Book by local author in Canada Reads (Sharon Bala, The Boat People)

Best Local Book Published in 2018

Winner: Something for Everyone (Lisa Moore)
Runner-up: The Boat People (Sharon Bala)

Best Local Author

Winner: Lisa Moore
Runner-up: Michael Crummey

Best Local Play or Film, 2018

Winner: Between Breaths (Play)
Runner-up: An Audience of Chairs (Film)

Best Comic / Funny Person

Winner: Vicky Mulalley
Runner-up: Matt Wright

Best Local Comedy Event

Winner: Jokes at John’s (Thursdays at Trapper John’s)
Runner-up: Almost Baymous (by HalfHandsome Productions)

Film Scene Superstar 

Winner: St. John’s International Women’s Film Fest
Runner-up: Shawn Doyle

Theatre Scene Superstar

Winner: Robert Chafe
Runner-up: Ruth Lawrence

Dance Scene Superstar

Winner: Lynn Panting
Runner-up: Louise Moyes / Heidi Dowden

Worst Thing to Happen in 2018

Winner: Non-competitive appointment to key position at The Rooms
Runner-up: The Passing of Mary Pratt

Best Actor/Actress

Winner: Greg Malone
Runner-up: Gordon Pinsent

Best Arts Festival or Event (Not Music-Centric)

Winner: St. John’s international Women’s Film Festival
Runner-up: Writers at Woody Point

Best Visual Artist in NL

Winner: Mike Feehan
Runner-up: Will Gill

Best Art Gallery in the Province

Winner: The Rooms
Runner-up: Eastern Edge

Visual Arts MVP in NL

Winner: Mireille Eagan
Runner-up: Eastern Edge

Best Photographer in NL

Winner: Tom Cochrane
Runner-up: Dave Howells

Best Graphic Designer in NL

Winner: Jud Haynes
Runner-up: Mike Feehan

Best Craftsperson Selling Their Stuff at Stores & Fairs

Winner: Megan Jackman (Ragmaw Handbangs)
Runner-up: Erin Callahan St. John (Saucy Pots Pottery)

We would have written an article about “Worst Thing to Happen in 2018” being the non-competitive hiring at The Rooms, but staff are on gag orders while government is offering no further comment on their vague rationale, and acting like that wasn’t dodgy at all. Foote is likely qualified for the job, but the shoe-in has tainted the hire.

Best of Retail 2018

Best Locally Made Product, Period

Winner: Newfoundland Distillery Co. Seaweed Gin
Runner-up: St. John’s Soap Works Shag Off Bug Repellent

Best New Business That Opened in 2018

Winner: Scout / Night Market
Runner-up: Tweed

Best Retail Store, Period

Winner: Posie Row
Runner-up: The Bee’s Knees

Best Night Out That Isn’t a Bar

Winner: Escape Quest
Runner-up: Jack Axes

Best Local Company or Brand

Winner: Port Rexton Brewing
Runner-up: Ragmaw Handbags

Best Spot to Buy Male Clothing & Accessories

Winner: Civic Duty
Runner-up: RW & Co

Best Spot to Buy Female Clothing & Accessories

Winner: Ethereal Boutique
Runner-up: Johnny Ruth

Best Spot to Buy Shoes/Boots

Winner: Twisted Sisters
Runner-up: First Western Boutique

Best Spot to Buy Furniture / Home Décor

Winner: Sam Design
Runner-up: Hayward Interiors

Best Barber Shop

Winner: Fogtown Barber Shop
Runner-up: Top Notch Barber Shop

Best Salon

Winner: Sound Salon
Runner-up: Seahorse Salon

Best Spot to buy Jewelry

Winner: Whink
Runner-up: Posie Row

Best Way to Blow Your New Paycheque

Winner: St. John’s Farmer’s Market
Runner-up: Variations on “Paying Electricity Bill”

Best Local Artist or Craftsperson Selling Stuff Through Stores & Fairs

Winner: Ragmaw (Megan Jackman)
Runner-up: East Coast Glow Soap

Scout Launched a Travelling Clothing Truck & Night Market in 2018

Scout Street Style is a mobile clothing truck; you hop aboard to browse and buy an ever-changing selection of clothing. It’s the brainchild of local entrepreneur Aryn Ballett.

Ballett also launched the quickly popular monthly Night Markets that have been bringing dozens of food, clothing, and craft vendors together at night. Catch the next one on Dec. 16th, 4-8, 102 Bonaventure Road.

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2 Comments

  • Congratulations are in order to all category winners!! I will say “Best night out besides a bar or the movies” and “Best night out that isn’t a bar” are the same category. Winner/runner-up Jack Axes’ Tag line is “Axes-Beer-Community” and claim “Axe throwing and Beer is a match made in heaven”. Totally not a bar though…

  • Best place to buy furniture, Sam designs? I get it, gorgeous stuff but really who realistically can afford a 8,000 bed frame?

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