Best of Virginia 2023



Each year, as we gear up for the annual Best of Virginia (BoV) issue, our statewide guide brimming with reader favorites—from restaurants to inns, music venues, breweries, and much, much more—our editorial team wades through mountains of category suggestions and reader feedback to fine-tune the survey for tens of thousands of voters.


But for our 2023 BoV survey, we switched gears. In our quest to improve the voter experience, we found a tech startup—SceneThink—that introduced us to their Best Of voting platform. And the cherry on top? It’s based in Virginia. The results tell us it paid off: a record number of users cast nearly a half million total votes. 


I hope you’ll join us in welcoming the winners of our seven new or renamed categories. One to note—Best Record Store—comes directly from a slew of reader suggestions, and is inspired by our recent feature story on a new generation of record pressers in Virginia (“The Vinyl Revolution,” Dec. ’22). Because, have you heard? Vinyl sales ran circles around CDs last year, and there are more than 50 shops keeping the trend alive statewide. 


Just as our beloved Virginia is constantly evolving, so too is our process for showcasing the best in the Commonwealth for food and drink; living and recreation; services; and shopping. Have category suggestions, questions about the issue, or just want to shout out your favorite winner? We’d love to hear from you. Best of Virginia is all about championing the small businesses, the local haunts, and the mom and pop shops. Without you, the reader and voter, this special issue—now in its 12th year of celebrating the state—wouldn’t be the go-to reference that it is today.


A huge thanks to our crackerjack VL team: Angela Shapiro, office manager and spreadsheet guru extraordinaire; our editorial staff, Constance Costas, Madeline Mayhood, Konstantin Rega, and Shayé Powell; and our art department, headed by Ryan Rich with his able sidekick Cecilia Fellinger. This issue is truly a team effort each year, and we’re proud to share it with you.

Best of Virginia 2023 Stories