EDITOR’S LETTER: My very own ‘HOT!’ list

hot_list-winners-0814Thanks to all who voted in our annual Hot List competition. We are thrilled thousands of votes were cast and plenty of deserving people were recognized.

Now, it’s my turn.

• Nicest eyes, nicest smile, nicest hair, nicest niceness: Gwen Corsair (Forgive me, but I’m not sleeping on the couch).

• Friendliest man on the planet: John Brandeburg.

• Best bookstore: Diddley-Squat’s, Webster.

• Best restaurant: Cotillion Southern Café, Wildwood. Chicken and waffles, barbecue pork nachos, one-of-a-kind homemade salad dressing and incredible cakes. Each time I go, I expect to see Elvis at a corner table.

• Best Café: Fruitland Park Café. Everything is wonderful.

• Best Italian Restaurant: Tony’s Pizza, Eustis.

• Best Mexican restaurant: Mexican Grill, Colony Cottage Shopping Center, The Villages. For Mexican on the go, you can’t beat Elmer’s Wagon in the Big Dog Saloon parking lot.

• Best Japanese steakhouse: Fuji in Summerfield or Kiku in Tavares. Flip a sushi roll to decide.

• Best wings: Ramshackle’s, Leesburg.

• Best fried chicken: Get the rest of the bird at Maryland Fried Chicken in Leesburg.

• Best burger: Blue Plate Deli. Forget that it is a Shell station (on County Road 466A just west of Fruitland Park). Don uses only ground chuck and Lori makes everyone feel like family.

• Best barbecue: C&K Country Kitchen, Oxford for sandwiches. For ribs, you can’t go wrong with Jack’s Barbecue, Minneola or Oakwood in Fruitland Park.

• Best donuts: Donut King, Minneola. Incredible variety, but my order is always the same: I want whatever just came out of the fryer.

• Best pizza: Mom and Dad’s, Lady Lake. No foo-foo toppings, just great crust and a sauce I can’t get enough of.

• Best server: Juan, Mexican Grill, The Villages. Little man delivers big service.

• Best barber/stylist: Alicia D at Studio Styles. She’s a hair artist!

• Best mechanic: Oren Meredith, Meredith Auto Clinic, County Road 25 between Lady Lake and Weirsdale. Small shop, but skilled and honest. What a concept.

• Best tire store: Tire Round-Up, Lady Lake or Leesburg. Honest, caring and qualified.

• Best automobile air conditioning service: Reynolds Air Conditioning, Leesburg. Super honest and super skilled.

• Best irrigation dude: Landscaping by Jerome.

• Best car wash: BP Auto Clinic, Leesburg.

• Best Nursery: Fairfield Farms, Highway 301, north of Oxford. Brenda Carroll has everything, including instructional classes and giveaways one Saturday a month.

• Best performers: Sugar Bear Band. They primarily play in The Villages and mainly play covers, but not note-for-note.

• Best food shopping: Landphair Meats and Seafood, Leesburg. Awesome Danish baby back ribs, steaks and seafood at great prices.

• Best meat: The meat department at Jackie’s Market in Webster. The steaks and ribs are special and the homemade sausage is worthy of filling your freezer with.

So that’s my Hot List. Let me know if I missed anyone or anything that’s absolutely sizzling.


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