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letters from the editors Hello! As the end of the semester begins to hit hard with deadlines and limited hours in the day to do everything necessary, life can be overwhelming. Seniors are still looking for jobs, and those who have already received offers are impatiently awaiting graduation. Underclassmen are also trying to crank out projects and papers amidst tests and other obligations, with summer just around the corner. The Vidette always tries to be there for its readers. Part of our mission as a newspaper is to get the news out to you, our audience. And another part of it is to provide information that might not be hardhitting news but is still important you know. That is where this guide comes in. From late February to late March, Illinois State students had the ability to vote for their favorite businesses around the Bloomington-Normal area in various categories. Now, the top three winners of each category are featured in this guide. Some of winners are places I have never been to or even heard of. Some of the winners are new businesses to the area. But whatever the case, these businesses and groups that won deserved to win. Not only do some of them put out a product that must be great, they also treat their customers with the respect and dignity they deserve. What more could you ask for? While I personally can attest to the long hours that the newspaper industry brings, I can also say that it’s worth it. And this guide is no exception. This guide is essentially by the students and is definitely for the students. With the stress piling up, now is the time to eat, play, live and shop in BloNo. Wishing you all a good rest of the year, Grace V. Johnson Hello ISU! I want to thank each and every one of you who helped The Vidette in voting for the categories within the Best of Guide. I especially want to give a big shout out to Dan Ferrell, art director at The Vidette, in helping me piece this together because without his help in the few short days we had post-holiday weekend, we would not have this guide published. This being said, I hope each of you take the time to read over the winners of each category in this year’s Best of Guide. Some of these places are new and some are old, but regardless, everyone should experience each of these places at least one time. As the end of the year nears and the weather warms up, more people start coming out and enjoying the outdoors. A fantastic way to spend time with others or even individually is by taking a walk and passing by some of these places and recognizing them for their excellence. As a graduating senior, I encourage for everyone to stop by some of these places and experience every one of the Best Of’s. For those of you who are seniors, really take the time to acknowledge this campus to the best of your ability. Do not let your final month slip by without truly taking in all you could. For those of you who will continue at ISU, truly think about stopping by these places as well. While you do still have at least one more semester here, appreciating these places is what makes them the best and what will keep them at best annually. Our time in college is short and needs to be experienced to the fullest. You never know what you may be missing in your life; so read up, you Redbirds and see if there are any places that may broaden your horizons. Good luck to you all. All the best, Jennifer Novoseletsky

Best of blono 01

keep up with everything uptown by liking us on facebook

Coffee, Jewelry, Brownies, Chocolates... What else do you need ? Check us out on Facebook

ISU Redbird Macaroni Monday’s: 

Open 7 days a  week and  Free Wifi


per scoop with I.D. 

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02 Eat

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4 Best bang for your buck 5 Best breakfast food


17 Best large apartment customer service 18 Best medium apartment customer service

6 best burrito

19 best small apartment customer service

6 Best asian cuisine

21 Best place to live

7 Best date restaurant

21 Best hotel

7 Best wings

22 Best place to work out

8 Best drunk food

23 Best place to study

8 Best frozen dessert

24 Best social sorority

9 Best local coffee shop

25 Best social fraternity

9 Best sandwich 10 Best pizza 11 Best burger


27 Best specialty store 27 Best resale shop 28 best tanning salon


12 Best uptown bar

29 Best hair salon

12 best sports bar

29 Best tattoo/piercing place

12 best drinking game

30 Best local book buys/returns

13 Best downtown bar

30 Best theatre

13 Best place to bust a move

31 Best organic grocery store

13 Best place to find a hookup

31 Best grocery store

13 Best drink special

32 Best “i’m sorry� store

13 Best live music

32 Best auto care

13 best place to hook up 13 best sex position 14 best liquor store 15 Best late night transportation 15 Best live entertainment venue

Best bang for your buck 2nd place Prime time pizza 3rd Place circle k polar pop

brewe-ha’s $2 burger basket

Olivia Gilbertsen staff writer

Zack Applehans / Photographer

The infamous $2 burger basket from Brewe-Ha’s that won Best Bang for your Buck includes any single burger with fries and a non-alcoholic drink. The deal is available 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and all day Sunday. This burger basket is well loved not only for its college student friendly price, but also because the food is worth more than what it is sold for, said Brewe-Ha’s manager Melissa Moorman. “We are hoping that winning this award with The Vidette will give Brewe-Ha’s a better name with the University,” she said. “Students tend to think we are just a townie bar, but we are more than that. Our goal is to get more students interested in stopping by.” Aside from students, residents living around the Bloomington-Normal area drop by Brewe-Ha’s regularly and have good things to say. “I like coming to Brewe-Ha’s because of the atmosphere. It’s esthetically pleasing and I have a good time when I come,” Rob Stacks, BreweHa’s regular and philanthropist, said in the midst of the packed bar. The owner of Brewe-Ha’s is an Illinois State alumnus, so that is a large part as to why the burger basket is so affordable; he is trying to accommodate the students, Moorman said. She added that customers can order the burger as a double and still receive the fries and non-alcoholic drink for $3.50, another bang-foryour-buck deal. The bar and grill also has many other weekly deals available with drink specials including $3 Vegas bombs and $1.50 Bud Light family drafts. For more specifics on weekly specials see the restaurant’s Facebook page. Brewe-Ha’s is located at 102 S. Linden in Uptown Normal. For more information, call (309) 452-7393.


Thank you for voting for us! Burger Baskets: $2.00 Single Basket $3.50 Double Basket Mon-Fri 5pm - 9pm Sunday 12pm - 6pm

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04 Eat

best breakfast food 2nd place wild berries 3rd Place mcDonald’s

Jennifer Novoseletsky


supplement editor

Time and time again, many people hear how breakfast is the most important meal of the day and the most popular place to find breakfast on the ISU campus is Einstein Bros. Bagels. While the bagel shop has won two awards this year, it is not the first time since opening they have received awards for the “Best of Guide.” “Einstein Bros. Bagels won second place in the best of breakfast category in 2011,” Tracy Widergren, marketing coordinator of Campus Dining Center, said. “The location opened in 2010, so the 2011 best of would have been the first time the location would have been eligible to win. Einstein Bros. Bagels won first place in Best of breakfast in 2012.” The best breakfast item is typically a bagel and cream cheese or a bacon egg and cheddar sandwich, Widergren explained. Being located in the Bone Student Center, students make it routine to stop by Einstein’s for a quick, filling and enjoyable breakfast. One student comments on how while he enjoys a bagel with cream cheese, breakfast sandwich’s stand out in flavor as well. “The asiago with cream cheese is truly my favorite,” Arty Hernandez, junior interactive media major, said. “The turkey-sausage and cheddar breakfast sandwich is also pretty good.” Aside from bagels, different cream cheese spreads and breakfast sandwiches, Einstein’s also offers other breakfast foods students may enjoy. Fresh fruit, yogurt parfait and on-the-go desserts such as muffins, cookies and coffee cakes are also among some breakfast favorites. Anyone who is looking to find a quick morning energizer can turn to Einstein Bros. Bagels.

Ashley Koenig / Photographer

Best of blono 05

Best burrito 2nd place los potrillos 3rd Place moe’s


Kellie Flaherty news editor

Ashley Koenig / Photographer

ISU students crowned Chipotle Mexican Grill as the restaurant with the best burrito in the 2013 Best of Blo-No survey. Chipotle ran the race for best burrito in the area against Los Potrillos and Moe’s Southwest Grill. The surveys results included Los Potrillos in second place while Moe’s came in third. Chipotle is located directly under the Lofts on Main Street. This is a relatively new location that was built in 2010 and opened for the 2011 school year. Meatheads and student apartments were also a part of this development. “The difference with us is all of our meats are naturally raised animals, so that’s one of the main things,” Alex Garcia, Normal’s Chipotle manager, said. Garcia said Chipotle’s staff has high standards for cooking their meats. “Chipotle’s burritos are always fresh, quick and easy,” Katie Gulino, freshman nursing major explained. “There’s so many different flavors that you can add to it, which makes it fulfilling with what you want to eat.” Chipotle makes a conscious effect to please their customers as well, Garcia added. “Although Chipotle is a very popular restaurant on campus, the staff always prepares their burritos fresh and delicious,” Ally Palhegyi, sophomore biological sciences major, said. Stephanie Curilla, senior elementary education major, said she enjoys the portion sizes that Chipotle offers to its customers. “I always like walking away feeling like I ate enough for an entire family,” Curilla added. Aside from burritos, Chipotle’s menu includes burrito bowls, hard shell and soft shell tacos, salads, and chips and guacamole.

Best asian cuisine 2nd place kobe 3rd Place imperial buffet

great wall Open 7 days/week from 11 AM to 10 PM 201 Landmark Drive, Normal 309. 862. 0824 $1.50 off a $10 purchase!

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$3 off a $20 purchase!

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Downtown Normal 129 East Beaufort 309.452.2243

Half of Burritos on Mondays! Not valid with any other offers. Good only at participating locations.

Expires: 5/1/2013

Open late after the bars close!

06 Eat

Ariana M. Taylor features editor

With all the tasty ethnic food restaurants available in Bloomington-Normal, it may be difficult to choose which one will best satisfy your hunger. Nonetheless, Great Wall, voted Best Asian Cuisine, has little competition when it comes to offering the finest chow to the ISU community. Whether it’s chicken fried rice, shrimp and broccoli, or their delicious General Tso’s chicken, Great Wall offers various food options to customers. Along with their special diet menu, they have lunch specials between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. as well as dinner combinations. Reonna Taylor, junior community health education major, explains that although Chinese food isn’t necessarily the healthiest option, the food offered at Great Wall is satisfying. Customers are able to choose whether they want to dine in, get delivery or take out, or even catering for any occasion. According to its website, Great Wall takes pride in delivering the “quickest, freshest, most delicious Chinese food in the Bloomington-Normal area.” The restaurant has been in business for over 12 years and continues to flourish as a company. Jamere Walton, senior English studies major, has had great experiences with ordering from Great Wall. He adds that their prices are reasonable and it is beneficial that they deliver on ISU’s campus. Lakeisha Price, senior broadcast journalism and political science major, agrees with Walton. “I love Great Wall’s crab ragoon. Their prices are very reasonable and they deliver your food quickly,” Price said. Great Wall is located at 1520 East College Ave.

Best date restaurant 2nd place biaggi’s 3rd Place flat top

medici Allie Maher copy editor

If you want to impress a date, you don’t have to go far. In fact, you can probably leave your car at home. The best date restaurant, according to fellow Redbirds, is Medici in Uptown Normal. Located at 120 North St. — a short two blocks from campus — Medici is known for the tree that goes through the center of the restaurant. The restaurant has atrium-style ceiling, lots of woodwork and an ambience that is both eccentric and sophisticated. Tamar Lange, junior publishing studies major, has gone on a few dates at the restaurant and likes the environment Medici has to offer. “The aesthetics of a place make a big difference to me,” Lange added. The variety of menu options makes a difference too. “It’s always been really good because the menu items are unique — it’s not stuff you can get anywhere else,” Lange said. The menu is vast and features items for all tastes including vegetarian, vegan, and gleuten-free. Of course there are plenty of dishes that incorporate meat, which draws some of the college crowd, according to Joe Slane, manager. “Our gouda mac and cheese is probably one of our most popular items with the students. We offer a lot of burgers and pizzas which are very popular with students too,” Slane said. The prices for dinner entrees range from $7 for a personal pizza to $23 for a Cajun Coffee Ribeye. Lange calls the prices reasonable for the quality of food served. However, various discounts are also available every day of the week. Mondays are Redbird Mondays, where a Redbird student I.D. can get customers 10 percent off of a purchase.

Antonio Vargas / Photographer

Best wings 2nd place hooters 3rd Place mugsy’s pub

Buffalo Wild Wings Holly Petrovich staff writer

Buffalo Wild Wings, located on 3220 East Empire St. in Bloomington, was voted to have the “Best Wings” by ISU students. Manager Casey Vogelsang was very excited to hear the news. “I think it’s fantastic! We always appreciate being recognized by ISU students,” Vogelsang said. However, this was not the first time Buffalo Wild Wings won this award. In fact, Vogelsang mentioned the restaurant has won the honor every year since its opening in 2005. Buffalo Wild Wings has several different types of wings; from hot to spicy, boneless or not, everyone will find something they like. There are quite a few specials offered, and one which seems to be a hit with the customers is the 60 cent boneless wing days. This occurs every Monday and Thursday all day long. In fact, Vogelsang stated Thursdays are the busiest day for the company, because everyone takes advantage of the cheap food. “Most people don’t know we have this special on Mondays too, because it is not very advertised or corporately known,” he explained. “However, we are happy to offer this to people twice a week rather than just on Thursdays.” There is also a special offered every Tuesday, where all traditional wings are discounted. In order to continue to be “the best,” Vogelsang said they would like to start advertising their specials more, especially around campus to students. Buffalo Wild Wings also has a great, relaxing environment where students can come in, enjoy their food and watch games on the TVs.

Archive Photo

Best of blono 07

best drunk food 2nd place prime time 3rd Place jimmy john’s

d.p. dough

Holly Petrovich staff writer

Andrew S. Avitt / Photographer


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08 Eat

As students prepare to leave the bars at last call, nothing sounds better than the infamous D.P Dough. The reigning champ continues its streak of winning “Best Drunk Food” for the fifth consecutive year. D.P Dough was opened by owner Ryan Fiala in Uptown five years ago on St. Patrick’s Day. “This is the job I was suited to do in life,” Fiala said. Fiala was an ISU student for seven years before opening D.P Dough. Since its opening, they restaurant has expanded, can be found online and have found their way into many students’ contacts. The majority of the employees at D.P Dough are ISU students, but anyone is welcome to work there. Everyone enjoys their work environment and gets along well. “This is not the kind of job you dread going to,” Fiala said. This is in part because of the entertainment that comes along with the customers coming in at the end of a night at the bars. D.P Dough has had a few entertaining fights break out, catching them on camera and often watching them in person. The business also does fun things such as dying everything green on St. Patrick’s Day, and for April Fool’s Day they convinced customers they were coming out with calzone-smelling fragrances. What draws the ISU community to D.P Dough? It is their incredible calzones of course, especially the Reggiezones. Now D.P Dough has “hot and reggie”, with pre-made Reggiezones. “We learn more as we go, our ideas come from the customers,” Fiala said. The business expanded about two years ago, adding more seating and are constantly promoting their deals. “I always wanted to be that place where you don’t have to be drunk to enjoy it,” Fiala said.

Best frozen dessert 2nd place chill out 3rd Place emack & Bolio’s

Cherry berry Holly Petrovich staff writer

The new frozen yogurt place on campus, Cherry Berry, was nominated “Best Frozen Dessert” by the students at ISU. Britney House, manager of Cherry Berry, expressed her excitement for the entire staff for their success. “I am overjoyed to hear this news and very excited,” House explained. “I am happy we were selected and we hope people keep coming in to enjoy it.” Cherry Berry just opened this past winter, and clearly students are enjoying it every chance they get. The restaurant offers six different yogurt machines with interchanging flavors. Dozens of toppings are available including fruit, candy, syrups and more. A main goal of the Cherry Berry employees is to always keep the flavors and toppings fresh and new, she said. They also make sure to rotate the flavors frequently to have more of a variety. The staff is very outgoing with the customers, recognizing faces all the time. They try and learn the names of familiar faces to make the guests feel more comfortable. The store itself is painted in bright green and pink colors, which makes the environment very inviting, she added. Every Wednesday, a student may receive 15 percent off their entire order by merely showing their Redbird ID. This special is popular. Other specials include “Logo Days” and becoming a rewards member allows guests to accumulate points and eventually get money off or a free dessert. House encourages students to like their Facebook page to get first access to deals and specials.

best coffee shop 2nd place coffee hound 3rd Place fusion brew

Jennifer Novoseletsky


supplement editor

Coffee is one of America’s favorite morning, afternoon or evening drinks to help energize people for their day or night. This year’s best local coffee shop is Einstein Bros. Bagels. Part of the appeal of the bagel shop is the convenience of being located in the Bone Student Center. “The reason I go to Einstein’s so often is because it’s right here on campus,” Arty Hernandez, junior interactive media major, said. “It’s on my way to everything, like the library, group meetings or class. I really love their vanilla hazelnut coffee for a quick pick-me-up right before a study session.” According to Tracy Widergren, marketing coordinator of Campus Dining Services, the most popular coffee is a caramel macchiato. Abby Keszei, employee of Einstein Bros. Bagels, said she sees several hundred customers per day and it is constantly busy. She also loves the coffee at Einstein’s. Her favorite is the iced white chocolate mocha. “I’m a coffee addict,” she said. “I drink coffee every day so I can relate to every person that comes in and needs coffee. Plus I love the smell and the atmosphere of a coffee house.” “I have a major sweet tooth and it tastes great,” she added. “It also goes perfectly with a bagel, muffin or breakfast sandwich.” Frequent customers can be found not only buying coffee here, but also studying in the cozy environment. People can also sip on hot drinks and study right outside of the bagel shop. “The environment including the fireplace, windows, booths and furniture, the long hours and the large selection of menu items: we are a deli, bagel shop, and coffee house all rolled into one,” Widergren said.

Archive Photo

best sandwich 2nd place mcalisters 3rd Place potbelly

jimmy john’s Caitlin Perry

night editor

Jimmy John’s is not only freaky fast, but it’s also the best place to get a sandwich in the Bloomington-Normal area as voted on by students for another consecutive year. With more than 17 sandwiches to choose from that include both vegetarian and meat-lover options, Jimmy John’s can fulfill any hungry customer. And for those who do not have the time or money to stop in for a bite to eat can always enjoy Jimmy John’s advertised “free smells.” Two locations in Normal keep ISU students satisfied, as dedicated employees craft delicious sandwiches and offer delivery and carry out until 2 a.m. Students appreciate the late-night hours and speedy delivery service of Jimmy John’s. Dayna Schlenker, sophomore early childhood education major at Heartland Community College, says she cannot get enough of Jimmy John’s sandwiches. “Last summer, I ate Jimmy John’s practically every day, and I still didn’t get sick of it,” Schlenker said. Jimmy John’s menu caters to picky eaters with their Plain Slims such as ham and cheese with no vegetables or sauce, and to the hungriest of eaters with Giant Club Sandwiches that have twice the meat or cheese. Sandwiches are made to order and completely customizable. Meat is also freshly sliced in store every day. Jimmy John’s can be found at 207 W. North St. and 305 S. Main St. in Normal. Both locations are open daily, 10:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. For more information or to place an order, visit

Andrew S. Avitt / Photographer

Best of blono 09

The Vidette


Best pizza 2nd place prime time pizza 3rd Place Papa john’s pizza


Dan Fox

Antonio Vargas / Photographer

senior staff

BloNo residents and ISU students looking for a great place for drinks, pizza and entertainment need look no further — Firehouse Pizza and Pub in Uptown Normal offers customers an array of options to satisfy their cravings. Patrons of Firehouse can accompany their thin and crispy, New York style hand-tossed, deep dish or gluten free pizzas with pasta, salads, “jumbo” hot wings, and appetizers including the popular “bosco sticks” — breadsticks filled with cheese. The pizza-pub uses only the freshest meats and vegetables, and makes its dough from scratch every day in its store. Nick Paccoti, ISU student and junior mass media major, said his favorite aspect of Firehouse is either its sweet sauce or the cheesy bread that is “really good.” “They have the ‘cheesy bread’ where they just have the cheese on the top and that’s really good – really greasy – but you know that’s not always a bad thing,” he added. If he has the money Paccoti said he eats at Firehouse every week or two. The restaurant continually receive positive feedback for its food quality and service, Chad Young, co-owner of Firehouse in Normal, said. Firehouse always has the mind-set to continually improve in order to remain successful. He opened the store in February, 2010, because a couple of his friends started the Firehouse in Peoria, and he thought BloomingtonNormal would be a good fit for the pizza-pub, Young said. “The Uptown development was attractive, as it seemed to be positioned nicely for future growth,” he added. In addition to the great food, Firehouse offers nightlife options too. It has a full service bar with a large variety of domestic brews and craft beers. And it hosts a variety of events that range from comedy open-mic nights to local bands. “I go to a lot of the shows,” Paccoti said. “They bring in a good crowd, and they also bring in some good music too.”

10 Eat

Best burger 2nd place pub II 3rd Place brewe-ha’s



Caitlin Perry

Ashley Koenig / Photographer

night editor

Delicious food and fresh ingredients have put Meatheads in the top spot again this year as students have voted the Meatheads burger the best burger in the Bloomington-Normal area. With 100 percent Certified Angus Beef burgers, more than 17 toppings, 10 sauces and five types of cheese to choose from, you can create the burger that you’re craving. Joe Sanders, the marketing and press contact for Meatheads, said high-quality ingredients and community involvement is the key to being successful. “We have the best burgers. We serve fresh, all natural food,” Sanders said. According to its website, “Meatheads starts with the good stuff — fresh, all-natural, made-to-order food. Nothing ever frozen (except ice cream for our hand-dipped shakes).” Meatheads currently has two locations in the Bloomington-Normal area. Its first location at 305 N. Veterans Parkway in Bloomington opened in 2007. “We’re in a neighborhood spot. We grew up in Bloomington and are part of the community. We’re really committed to caring for everyone who comes into our restaurant, and we support the community as best we can,” Sanders added. In 2011, Meatheads opened another restaurant at 701 S. Main St. in Normal. Both locations have been popular among ISU students and other community members. Katie Line, a senior health information management major at ISU, was not surprised to hear that Meatheads was voted as having the best burger in the area again. “I think students chose Meatheads for the best burger because they make a delicious burger for a reasonable price,” Line said. If you’re feeling hungry, in addition to burgers, Meatheads also offers grilled chicken sandwiches; plain, Cajun or chili cheese fries; hot dogs and chili cheese dogs; milkshakes; and other options.

Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Every day Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Best of blono 11

best uptown bar 2nd place maggie’s 3rd Place brewe-ha’s

pub ii

Andrew S. Avitt / Photographer

Nellie Romanowski senior staff

Craving that delicious hangover food that is one of a kind? Possibly a large tray of cheese balls for a Friday night out with friends? Every ISU student’s first choice came through in this year’s survey when it came to best sports bar, voting in the Pub II as the best in the town of Normal. Since its original opening in 1974, the Pub II has been serving college students and town members with great times, delicious food, and a whole lot of sweet music. Not only does it offer a unique hang out that is packed with ISU memorabilia but also promotes student workers and a friendly environment. Store owner Terry Stralow is thankful to still be serving students for as many years as they have been opened. “We have about 80 percent of our staff that is ISU students and since they know a lot of friends we always have students coming in,” Stalow

best sports bar 2nd place Buffalo Wild Wings 3rd Place elroy’s

Pub II

best drinking game 2nd place Beer Pong 3rd Place Slap Cup & Circle of death

Flippy Cup

said. Pub II bouncer Tim Michels loves working for the bar and enjoys the atmosphere. “I like working here because of the people; I work for a greater employer and my co-workers are a lot of fun,” Michels said. Michels recognizes the importance of creating a unique atmosphere that is inviting for both sports lovers and regular customers alike. The Pub II offers a more unique sports bar environment in how they focus on big game days through promotional events or activities hosted by the bar. “Since we are on campus and a little bit bigger and have more room, game days make the atmosphere really electric,” Gary said. The Pub II offers a variety of drink specials and opportunities for fun whenever a big game rolls around. ISU students are always coming out for games with their friends and enjoying the atmosphere and food, along with enjoying the company of others.

The Best of

Pub II

Thanks for 39 Years!

$4.00 Pitchers $4.00 Vodka Red Bull $4.00 Bombs

12 Play

Lunch Special from 11-2

Pork Tenderloin

Best downtown bar 2nd place six strings 3rd Place elroy’s


Archive Photo

Tim Rosenberger reporter

Chasers, a downtown bar in Bloomington aims to give people a good, safe time and has won this year’s best downtown Bloomington bar and best place to bust a move. Chasers has been located in downtown Bloomington on W. Washington Street for seven years. It has good prices and has the biggest dance floor of any bar in the city, Ron Nurceski, Chasers owner, said. Customer service is also a big part of Chasers, Nurceski said. It is one of its best aspects and it is one of the things that helps Chasers standout from other businesses in the area. “We know each and every one of our customers that walks through the door, we try to take care of them, we’re friendly people, [and] we have fun with them and stuff,” he added. “I think people keep coming back because they can go to a place [where] they know somebody and they don’t feel out of place,” he said.

best place to bust a move 2nd place daddios 3rd Place drifters


Best Sex position 2nd place girl on top 3rd Place missionary

doggie style

Best drink special 2nd place Drifters $0.75 Well Drinks 3rd Place Elroy’s $3 pitchers on Fridays Best live music 2nd place Brushfire 3rd Place 16 candles

Chasers $2 U Call It

best place to find a hook up 2nd place Milner Basement 3rd Place the bowl by stevenson

The quad

The dance bar is open from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Thursdays and 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. One reason they are open at those times is to cater to the college crowd, who Nurceski thinks makes up 100 percent of Chasers’s business. It is common for them to reach full capacity, 500 people, during the weekend. While you may find 30 to 40 people in line waiting to get into Chasers on any given night, the line moves pretty fast, Nurceski said. The dance floor is open all three days of Chasers’ business week and live DJs are always present to provide music, usually remixes and dance music. Big name DJs have been brought in from the Chicago B96 radio station. Upcoming DJs include Topher Jones and DJ Flipside from the Jump Smokers. Beyond having a spacious dance floor, the downtown business has two bars in order to deal with large crowds. One of their most popular drinks among college students is Vodka Red Bulls.

Mike & Joe

Best place find a hook-up 2nd place Party bus ride home 3rd Place Pub II


Best of blono 13

best liquor store 2nd place university Liquors 3rd Place binny’s

707 liquors

Kristi Demonbreun sports editor

Andrew S. Avitt / Photographer

14 Play

With over 20,000 undergraduates attending Illinois State University, about 2,000 attending Illinois Wesleyan University and over 5,000 attending Heartland Community College it is not uncommon to see lots of students on a Friday night around Beaufort and Main Street in Normal. These two streets specifically are populated with students because of 707 Liquors. 707 Liquors, shortened to just 707 by most shoppers, was voted this year’s best liquor store by Illinois State students. The honor came with no surprise from Surgit Sing, owner of 707 Liquors. “It’s the biggest store on campus. The most selection with all kinds of beers — imported beers, hard liquors and wine. People love to come here shopping,” Sing said. One ISU student and frequent 707 customer was happy to hear the business was voted as best liquor store because she has always been happy with the business’ convenience. “It’s convenient because it’s close to campus and I’ve been there multiple times because everyone goes there, so I know exactly where everything is,” Kate O’Connor, junior nursing major, said. Sing owned 707 since 2006, opening the Beaufort St. store first followed by the Main St. store. The 707 Liquors FaceBook page is the newest addition to the business, amassing 869 likes and 134 check-ins. The page includes several pictures of customers in Halloween costumes, featured alcohol like ‘Adult Chocolate Milk’ and drink promos. The page also informs customers of deals and taste testing’s going on. The 2013 best liquor store is open Monday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.

Best late night transportation 2nd place checker cab 3rd Place Bob’s Blue Night Limo

magic bus Cade Boland reporter

The people have spoken and The Vidette’s Best of BloNo survey has again named Magic Bus as the best late night transportation, followed by Checker Cab in second and Bob’s Blue Nite Limo in third. Hearing about the Magic Bus makes it easy to understand why they have come in first place for the second year running. Magic Bus is known for having music and lights to keep a festive feeling going on while still transporting its passengers to Chasers, Elroy’s or wherever they are looking to get in downtown Bloomington. “The Magic Bus was the transportation my friends and I used for my 22nd birthday this past year. They were very accommodating to the times we needed to be picked up, dropped off and returned home safely,” Jordan Bradley, senior technology and engineering education major, said. “It’s always a fun ride to wherever when you choose the Magic Bus,” he added. Checker Cab is also a local favorite by students in the town, which offers service from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. and also provides service for house parties and other events in the local area. “I used Checker Cab a couple times, it’s cool for when you have a smaller group where a bus wouldn’t be worth it,” Chris Faxel, sophomore physical education major, said. “The prices are pretty standard for any taxi service, but the taxi’s are cleaner and safer than the ones you will find in a lot of other places,” he continued. To book the Magic Bus for your weekend, call (309) 838-4933, (309) 828-0123 for the Checker Cab or 309-663-0373 for Bob’s Blue Nite Limo.


You voted us #2 -BUT YOU’RE #1 WITH US!

Best live entertainment venue 2nd place Castle Theatre 3rd Place Laugh Comedy Club

Tim Rosenberger

US Cellular Coliseum

senior staff

The U.S. Cellular Coliseum — home to sporting events, musical concerts, stand-up comedy acts and more — has won this year’s best place for live entertainment venue. The Coliseum, located at 101 S. Madison St. in Bloomington has been around since April 2006 and is capable of holding 5,600 people for a sporting event and 8,000 for a concert. While the Coliseum holds year-round events of all genres, country music tends to be a big hit and those concerts sell out pretty quickly, Jenna Fecht, the Coliseum’s marketing manager, said. Shows have sold out many times at the Coliseum. In some cases, second shows have even been added to accommodate everyone. While student attendance can be high, how many students go to the Coliseum depends on the show, Fecht said. “We have had Bassnectar [a free form electric music producer and DJ] in our building a few times which draws a lot of students,” Fecht said. “Both times Bassnectar has been in the building it has been a sold out show,” she added. Fecht could not say whether or not students could afford most shows or not since prices fluctuate according to the event. A variety of concessions are available during events. The food and drinks range from hot dogs, pretzels, popcorn, nachos, soda and beer. Cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches and popcorn chicken are also served. There is also the Smokehouse restaurant located in the Coliseum, which is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday. Archive Photo

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"From the moment I walked in the door, the leasing agents were extremely  helpful and friendly. I immediately knew that I didn't want to live anywhere  other than Young America."   - Beth K.

Best in Customer Service 5 years running


311 s. Main st. | 309.454.2338 | 16 Live

Best large apartment customer service 2nd place sami 3rd Place redbird PROPERTY MANAGEMENT

Grace Johnson

young america

editor in chief

With Bloomington-Normal being a college town, there is no shortage of apartment realty companies in the area. One of the most daunting tasks as someone looks into finding an apartment is determining which company to use. Young America is a name that almost everyone on Illinois State’s campus recognizes. They advertise heavily through various avenues and it pays off. But just having name recognition isn’t enough to keep customers returning. The service has to be good — and it obviously is. Jackie Gaytan, a junior fashion merchandising major, is a leasing agent for Young America. As someone who not only works for the realty company but also leases with it, Gaytan believes that the consistency in winning this award is attributed to how they deal with problems. “If our customers have problems, we make that our focus. We really try to care about the customers and so we have Tenant Appreciation Week and different offers,” Gaytan said. Gaytan went on to say that the environment is “professional but fun” and that makes Young America stand out from other realty companies. “I think a lot of that is because the leasing agents are in the same shoes as the tenants. We’re younger and we understand since we’re going through the same thing. We try to get to know our tenants and think about what we would like in order to help them figure it out,” Gaytan explained. With over 3,000 units, it’s difficult to imagine that their can be such personalized customer service, but Gayton insists that the tenants are always top priority, and winning this category multiple years is proof of that. Young America Realty’s office is located at 311 S. Main St. in Normal. For more information, visit

Andrew S. Avitt / Photographer



PLAN EARLY for 2014 leasing! Ask about our General Building Tours! Best of blono 17

Best medium apartment customer service 2nd place college station 3rd Place campus point

first site

Melanie Lowe reporter

First Site is an apartment-leasing company that provides on campus and off campus housing for students in the BloomingtonNormal area. Known for their customer service, First Site takes pride in offering quality locations with the upmost care. “We have a variety of different apartments that are very close to campus with different amenities and features. We are known as the property management company with the most communities, such as fitness centers and high tech security,” Ulises Napoles, leasing and marketing manager at First Site, said. In comparison to other leasing companies on campus, First Site offers a close-knitted community feel that students often desire. “We like to feature more of the community feel. We have a lot of new construction with new, fun features, and we offer locations that are near to campus. It’s very important to be close,” Napoles said. But above all other features lies First Site’s obligation to remain a company that specializes in quality customer service. First Site’s maintenance service is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. “Our maintenance service is very important to us. Student can contact maintenance for help and receive it within twenty-four hours,” Napoles said. According to Napoles, First Site is always looking to aid students in finding the right apartment for them. “Students can contact us at any time, or they can hop on our website and schedule an appointment online,” Napoles said. Antonio Vargas / Photographer


for Summer, Fall, Spring 2013/2014!


s nly Lease O r e m m u S able! Also Avail you think! than g soo ner It ’s comin

FLEXIBLE: cluded Utilities in ptions Payment o showings Apartment

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Best small apartment customer service 2nd place jsm 3rd Place class act

the edge

Brittany Tepper reporter

It is no secret that residents at The Edge apartments are living in style. With a 24-hour fitness center, computer lab, and a top-notch lounge with several flat screen televisions and a pool table residents are treated with VIP status. Not only do residents have access to these many amenities, but also the best customer service team in Normal. In addition to the many luxurious amenities, The Edge provides residents with numerous opportunities to stay connected to the complex’s customer service team. Students can interact with the Edge through social media, such as Facebook and Instagram. These sites keep residents up to date, showcase new tenants, and provide give away. Their most recent campaign not only showcased tenants as VIPs on their social media, but gave a $500 to sign. During the beginning of March, residents received free frozen yogurt from Normal’s newest hot spot, Cherry Berry. Maggie McLinden, junior public relations major, has lived at The Edge apartments for the past year. She stays connected to the Edge by liking their Facebook page. McLinden says that the best part of The Edge’s customer service is their maintenance team. She has had a few minor maintenance issues and the maintenance team had her problems fixed quickly and efficiently. “They are usually pretty fast. We have issues with the shades and the bathtub, and the maintenance team either came within a few hours or the next day. They are really good with these types of thing,” McLinden said. The Edge Apartments are located at 800 West Hovey St. For more information on the 2014 leasing period and the customer service team, visit the company’s website at

Antonio Vargas / Photographer


d by Bring in tthhis a n April 17 for a UPGRADE! ply.

*Restrcitions ap

CHOOSE FROM: Microwave Added to Your Kitchen Upgraded Utility Credit Waived Pet Rent $100 For Every Friend You Refer

& Best Student Living in Normal! 800 WEST HOVEY AVENUE, SUITE 100 NORMAL, IL 61761


Best of blono 19


ISU’s Premier Luxury Student Living Community! 79 L Luxurious i Units! Heated Pool Hot Tub Individual Bathrooms Clubhouse Fire pit & Grilling Area 

311 A. Main Street 309-454-2338 20 Live

Best place to live 2nd place willow trails 3rd Place lincoln townhomes

the lodge Nick Shulda reporter

Young America’s apartment community at The Lodge was honored with Best Place to Live, and with all of its outstanding features and services it is not hard to see why ISU students feel there is no better place to live while attending classes. Holding the title of being ISU’s first full-service apartment complex, The Lodge features 79 furnished units with both tile and wood flooring, complete with laundry, flat-screen TVs, walk-in closets, private bathrooms and queen-sized beds. Select apartments even contain a home theater, hot tub, and bistro kitchen making for the ultimate experience in college life. In addition to home amenities, The Lodge offers its inhabitants a luxurious community experience with a clubhouse, outdoor grilling center, and heated pool all within a short distance to campus. The close proximity to ISU’s campus is perhaps the main selling point of The Lodge, as this sets itself apart from other luxury apartment communities not owned by Young America in the Normal area. Young America’s Property Manager, Randy Paulissen, said that he and everyone else at Young America “take a lot of pride in knowing that The Lodge won Best Place to Live,” and how they want to “provide the best customer service to our residents and provide them with a great apartment” in order to make a better college experience for students. Young America has taken home the Best Place to Live award previously. Paulissen explained that both students and members of the Normal community have given numerous compliments regarding The Lodge’s unique design and how it helps beautify ISU’s campus and the Town of Normal.

Amanda Carlson / Photographer

Best hotel 2nd place The Chateau 3rd Place Holiday Inn

Caitlin Perry


night editor

Since opening its doors in 2009, the Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel and Conference Center has remained in the number one spot as the best hotel in the area. Located at 201 Broadway St. in Uptown Normal, the Marriott is in a prime location for family members, ISU alumni and other guests visiting ISU students. Visitors can stay a few short blocks from campus and are surrounded by shops and restaurants. Stephanie Morstatter, director of sales at the Bloomington-Normal Marriott, explained the hotel’s success, saying, “The Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel and Conference Center is conveniently located next to Illinois State University campus. We are the only Four Diamond hotel in central Illinois.” The Marriott offers nine floors of available rooms, in addition to 18 meeting rooms and a conference center. Guests can also enjoy complimentary or valet parking, high-speed Internet, continental breakfast, a fitness center, swimming pool and room service. “The Marriott Hotel is the largest hotel in the area with 228 guest rooms and 23,000 square feet of conference center space,” Morstatter added. Also on site, there is Jesse’s Grille, which offers American-style food from local vendors that is served for breakfast, lunch and dinner and Caffeina’s Café, which features Starbucks coffee. The Marriott has become a staple of the local community. In addition to many guest rooms, the town-owned conference center attached to the hotel, which was named after former mayor Carol Reitan, offers space for social gatherings, weddings, presentations and business meetings. For more information about the Marriott or to make a reservation, visit its website at

Andrew S. Avitt / Photographer

Best of blono 21

Best place to work out 2nd place gold’s gym 3rd Place Cardinal Fitness

Campus rec. Did you see who won Best Social Sorority?

Did you see who won Best Date Restaurant? Andrew S. Avitt / Photographer

Jenny Jackowski reporter


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The Campus Recreation Center has been open since spring 2011, making this year its two-year anniversary. The facility has seen over a million visitors and it has been named the best place to work out in Bloomington-Normal. Before the Student Fitness Center opened, students relied on the Horton Field House or dormitory fitness centers for a work out. But the University determined a new building was necessary. The demand has only grown as the Rec plans to add more lockers to accommodate its many guests. “It gets pretty crowded pretty quickly,” Eric Renner, facility manager for the Student Fitness Center, said. The SFC offers a variety of classes. Among the most popular are zumba and yoga. Schedule planners at the SFC pay attention to which classes fill up and at the beginning of the semester, they schedule the classes based on those numbers. Not only are there free classes, but also the Rec is constantly reviewing their equipment and adding new machines. The facility is in close contact with exercise product companies. Students and other members are given the opportunity to review the product. The Rec either keeps or discards equipment based on the feedback. “We want a place for people to feel comfortable enough to work out where they have good equipment to use,” Renner said. “So we want their opinion and feedback about everything.” Another way the Rec is different is they host several special events every year. Those events are generally planned around the busy times of year, such as homecoming and parents’ weekend. The facility is also available for rental. RSOs have rented out the SFC for overnight events where they stay in the gym. For the spring group fitness schedule, upcoming events and more, visit the SFC website at There are also paper version available at the front desk.

Best place to study on campus 2nd place Bone atrium lounge 3rd Place hall of business atrium

Milner library Caitlin Perry

night editor

When you think of studying on a college campus, the first place you think of is obvious: the library. Between assigned reading, writing papers and group projects, students at Illinois State University have spoken and voted Milner Library the best place to study on campus. Club Milner, as it’s fondly referred to by frequent visitors, is full of great resources for students and professors alike. With its selection of more than 1 million books, an online database of more than 38,000 journal articles and six floors of studying space, it’s no wonder that Milner Library has secured this title again. Jeremy Schultz, a student manager at Milner, wasn’t surprised that the library was voted the best place to study by students. Milner provides students the opportunity to find a space suitable to their needs, whether that is in a quiet cubicle or a group room. “I think students picked Milner as the best place to study on campus because of all the space and seating,” Schultz said. “The library has so many floors to choose from, with some floors being dedicated specifically to quiet study, so it’s a good place to go to get away from the loudness of a dorm or apartment.” Milner also has other features such as a computer lab with PCs, Macs, scanners and laser printing. Students are also allowed to check out devices such as laptops, iPads, iPods and calculators. Students needing help with researching a topic for class also have access to a librarian from the comfort of their dorm or apartment using Milner’s librarian chat feature on their website. If you can’t find what you are looking for within the library, Milner allows you to request materials through an interlibrary loan. Information regarding this and hours can be found at

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WorshipDirectory ClearView Church

Wesley United Methodist Church

Judson Fellowship

Harvest Family Church

1503 E College Ave. Normal, IL Across from Target (309) 451-8439 Service Time: 9:15 & 11:15 Need a ride to church? Contact “Rides for students by students”

502 E. Front St. Bloomington, IL Sunday Worship at 9:00am (Traditional) and 11:15am (Contemporary) Thursday at 7:00pm (Young Adults) Need a ride? Call us! (309) 827-8046

Campus Religious Center 210 W. Mulberry St. Normal, IL Sundays at 5:00pm, Free Dinner at 6:00pm (309) 750-7925

712 W. Locust St. Bloomington, IL You’re invited on Sundays at 10:00am Bible School on Wednesdays at 6:30pm (309) 827-7389

Jacob’s Well Community Church 304 Jersey Ave. Normal, IL Sunday Morning Service at 10:30am Wednesday Prayer Service at 7:00pm (309) 830-3795

If you would like to be featured in our Worship Directory, please contact Matt Bernard at (847) 826-1304

Best of blono 23

Best social Sorority 2nd place Gamma phi beta 3rd Place delta zeta

zeta tau alpha

Andrew S. Avitt / Photographer

Nellie Romanowski senior staff

Zeta Tau Alpha (ZTA) at ISU consists of many women that are committed to making a difference on both a state and national level and is this year’s winner of best social sorority on campus. Their dedication to sisterhood, philanthropy, service and scholarship is the winning combination that sets them ahead of many others. ZTA President Kayla Kaczmarek has recognized the value of excellence and leads all of the women in the chapter to further develop themselves. “The mission of ZTA is to make a difference in the lives of our members by developing the potential of each individual,” Kaczmarek said. ZTA senior psychology major, Christine Miller, has learned much more from being a part of the organization than she ever could have imagined and is thankful for everything her sisters have taught her. “Being a member of ZTA has enabled me to strive academically and socially and I truly believe that I have become a more grounded woman because of the leadership experience,” Miller said. “Not to mention, I have some of the best friends I could have ever asked for and I thank God every day that I have had the priviledge to meet them,” Miller said. Beyond sisterhood is the sole mission of ZTA that lies within the heart of the organization through their national philanthropy and dedication to breast cancer education and awareness. ZTA senior nursing major, Andrea Darimont, is able to pair her career goals alongside her philanthropic work to truly make a difference in the community. “Being a nursing major, I have really seen the impact that cancer can make in patients’ lives; breast cancer affects so many women and we do our best to advocate and raise money every year,” Darimont said. ZTA hosts an annual 5K run/walk in the fall and a Think Pink week in the spring in order to raise thousands of dollars to spread the word

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about breast cancer and to further help those in the community, Darimont said. The women of ZTA have stopped at nothing to help turn their dreams into a reality to help others in need. “Our members take pride in raising funds and awareness for this cause that hits home to many friends and family who are affected by this disease,” Kaczmarek said. ZTA’s 116 women play a pivotal role in raising awareness at ISU and have been nationally recognized in obtaining 11 awards, many of which include outstanding public relations, outstanding membership, best sisterhood, and outstanding community service. ZTA has come a long way over the past two years and Kaczmarek has confidence that the chapter will continue to succeed both on campus and on a national level. “We have very high expectations for the women in our chapter and for our continued success in the future,” Kaczmarek said.

Best social fraternity 2nd place Sigma phi epsilon 3rd Place pi kappa alpha

sigma chi

Andrew S. Avitt / Photographer

Nellie Romanowski senior staff

Sigma Chi at ISU brings a new and refreshing flair to Greek life in all that the fraternity does both on campus and at a national level. Sigma Chi philanthropic and community service chair Kyle Caldwell recognizes the diversity that each man in the fraternity brings to the organization and the ways in which those differences make them a unique chapter on campus. Rushing for Sigma Chi breaks the stereotypes and alleviates pressure to fit into a specific stereotype. “I decided to rush the spring semester of my freshman year because I felt like I needed to get more involved on campus and it made it easy to meet new people and make friends,” Caldwell said. Like Caldwell, Mac Spaulding was initially attracted to all that Sigma Chi had to offer new members. “Initially, I knew that Sigma Chi was highly ranked nationally, but after I looked more into it, I realized that it was more than only that,” Spaulding said. Sigma Chi strives to uphold three pillars that are centripetal to their organization that are laid out in three individual characteristics that define the way in which the men of the organization lead by example. “Sigma Chi was founded in 1855 and we follow the original three pillars of friendship, justice, and learning,” Caldwell said. These three pillars are what set them apart and make them this year’s winner for best social fraternity on campus. “Sigma Chi at ISU is different from other fraternities because we pride ourselves on diversity,” Caldwell said. “We don’t want to be put into the traditional stereotype of a fraternity guy.” Sigma Chi has men of all different talents and convictions and

strives to promote these unique traits both on and off campus. “We consist of different men that share common ideals on the path to leadership,” Spaulding said. Philanthropically, Sigma Chi plans Derby Days, which is held at the beginning of the fall semester, Caldwell said. The unspoken bond of the brotherhood plays a big role in the fraternity, Joe Fabiano, magister of Sigma Chi, said. Whenever a member is in need, a brother will always be there for support. “Being recognized as best fraternity means a great deal to every one of us,” Fabiano added. “Finally being recognized by the entire school and community makes all of us proud of the hard work and dedication over the past three years it took to rise to the top.” As Sigma Chi progresses and grows as a chapter, they plan to continue to professionally and personally develop as a cohesive leadership unit of men.

Best of blono 25

26 Shop

Best specialty store 2nd place Uptown Gifts and Accessories 3rd Place The Pod & Bedtime Boutique

apricot lane Nellie Romanowski reporter

When looking for a fun and exciting place to get new, fashionable, and affordable clothes, Apricot Lane was voted as the best specialty store in Bloomington-Normal. Many clothes, accessories, shoes, and jewelry that are sold throughout the store are a unique twist to all of the other stores that currently reside within Uptown Normal. Not only does it offer unbelievable clothes at a reasonable price but also a great location within walking distance of ISU and comfortably located within Uptown Normal. Apricot Lane store manager, Kim Rodriguez, strives to excel in customer service to bring all customers a great shopping experience. “You will find nothing but the best customer service since we cater to our customers’ needs — bring in a favorite top, and we’ll help you find the perfect accessories to match it!” Rodriguez said. Apricot Lane employee Markie Maloof initially wanted to work at Apricot Lane because of the great clothes, but soon found they had much more to offer shoppers. The store brings a new and exciting element to Uptown in hopes of drawing shoppers in with the newest and trendiest clothes in town. “It is a fun, easy-going environment where you get to help women of all ages look and feel beautiful,” she added. Many of the items for sale within the store are designed uniquely for Apricot Lane and are sold exclusively within the store and online. Apricot Lane is unique in the way that every store nation-wide has different owners and a different style. “Apricot Lane is a warm and welcoming environment that invites customers to shop until you drop!” Maloof said.

Ashley Koenig / Photographer

Best resale shop 2nd place plato’s closet 3rd Place bromenn thrift shop

goodwill Kelsey Stiegman reporter

Macklemore isn’t the only one who loves shopping at the “thrift shop down the road.” Goodwill was voted by ISU students to be the number one thrift shop in the BloNo area. Goodwill is a very well-known chain of second hand shops. Some may associate thrift stores with ratty used clothing, but the more informed shoppers know that it is the perfect place to find unique, sometimes vintage, pieces for cheap. Heather Marrs, senior apparel merchandising major, says that Goodwill is her go-to secondhand shop when she’s looking for a bargain. “I really love thrifting at Goodwill. I have always had really good luck at finding steals [there]! I have gotten multiple name brand things for under $3. I also look for things I can repurpose,” Marrs said. The store recently moved from its previous location, to a new and improved spot on Landmark Drive. This new location serves as a shopping area, clothing drop-off point, and career center. With over 2,000 new items being added every day to the mix of clothing, shoes, home décor, and furniture, anyone can find something special at Goodwill. That may be the reason many students love the store. “I’m really not surprised it was voted number one,” said Marrs. “I’ve noticed the clothing offered at Goodwill is a lot better quality than other stores.” The money spent at Goodwill stores goes towards helping provide job training and placement programs for people with disabilities and other disadvantages. Whether you’re shopping for a Halloween constume, a special vintage piece, or just looking to be surprised, the best place to go is Goodwill.

Archive Photo

Best of blono 27

best tanning salon 2nd place the ultimate tan 3rd Place xtreme tan

the sun room Kellie Flaherty news editor

The Sun Room Tanning took home first place in this year’s Best of BloNo survey as the best tanning salon in the area for the fourth consecutive year. “This makes the fourth year in a row now, so we are really pleased,” Amanda Garrelts, Normal location salon manager, said. There are two Sun Room locations in the area. The Bloomington location is on Veterans Parkway while the Normal one is on Hovey Avenue. Garrelts said the frequency that the salons change their bulbs sets them apart from other tanning places in Bloomington-Normal. “We always keep our bulbs fresh and you actually get color from our beds,” she added. Katherine Mullen, sophomore occupational therapy major, said the beds and prices are Sun Room’s best features. The entire staff is also friendly which is appealing to their customers, Garrelts said. “Sun Room has great customer service and always has great deals,” Hanah DeTaeye, junior marketing major, said. Some of Sun Room’s deals include half-price tans before 10 a.m. Monday through Saturday and all day on Sunday. Special offers are also given to customers who purchase tanning packages, such as half-price lotion. The Sun Room sells a variety of tanning lotions, including the brands Australian Gold, Swedish Beauty and Designer Skin. The Bloomington location has 28 rooms and eight different levels of beds. The Normal location has 41 rooms and nine levels of beds. Both locations feature the Mystic Spray tan.

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Best hair salon 2nd place Great Clips 3rd Place colorific

Jenny Jackowski

Paul mitchell

senior staff

When someone thinks hair styling, the name Paul Mitchell is bound to be brought up. But when someone thinks of a hair salon, a school is not always associated. This is a different case. Paul Mitchell the School has been named the best hair salon in BloNo. “When you first walk in, it’s open, it’s energetic and the environment, I think, is fun. People have that expectation that it is a salon when actually it’s the largest classroom we have in our school,” Ed Seib, director for Paul Mitchell the School in Normal, said. Patrons who come in have a variety of services to choose from at a fraction of the cost of a regular salon, as the students are the ones giving haircuts and styles. The school currently offers cutting, styling, coloring, perms, chemical relaxers and the wash house experience. As of May 1, Paul Mitchell the School will add nail services to that list. Around 500 guests visit per month with Saturday being the busiest day of the week. “If I listen to the Future Professionals, and I do listen to the future professionals, is culture. It’s a be nice or else. The Dean of our students is Wynn Clayball and he wrote the book ‘Be Nice or Else’. If you expose yourself to that book, it’s really...what we’re about,” Seib said. The school opened here in Normal in August of 2007. Since then it has found its place in the community through fundraising and charity. Currently, the school has a goal of raising $20,000 and is halfway there. Their list of charities includes Children’s Miracle Network, Andrew Gomez Foundation, Morris Foundation, Garry Sinise Foundation, Cancer Schmancer, Food for Africa, and more. “Giving back is the new black. It’s who we are,” Seib said.

Archive Photo

Best tattoo/piercing place 2nd place A+ 3rd Place Exquisite

Graphic Flesh Grace Johnson editor in chief

When students first go away to college, it’s hard to know what businesses are in the area and which ones are worth visiting. For this reason, name branding is very important — and effective, in the case of Graphic Flesh. Student receive a packet of coupons at the beginning of each semester, and junior kinesiology major Ashley Sison used that coupon book to determine which tattoo parlor to use. Sison has gotten one piercing and one tattoo from Graphic Flesh. Even though she admitted that was “probably not the best way to judge where to get a tattoo, it sounded like a deal when I was a freshman,” Sison also noted that she did not regret it. As someone who had received tattoos from various shops, she explained, “For [Graphic Flesh’s] location and target customers, it’s an acceptable environment.” Cleanliness and a welcome environment are both key components when considering where to get a tattoo or body piercing. The shop offers assistance to its customers even after the tattoo or piercing is complete. Customers experiencing problems with healing are welcome back to the shop. Before the piercing or tattoo process, they are given plenty of information regarding care. Customers can also receive a replacement ball for jewelry if it has been lost. This sort of customer service is why Graphic Flesh has received the Best Tattoo/Piercing Salon award before. The dedication that the employees have shows in their work. Graphic Flesh is located at 604 Dale St. in Normal.

Andrew S. Avitt / Photographer

Best of blono 29

best theater 2nd place Wehrenberg galaxy 3rd Place normal theater

starplex cinemas August Cassens

Best local book buys & returns

alamo II

2nd place Wehrenberg galaxy 3rd Place normal theater

30 Shop

night editor

Going out to a movie is one of America’s most-loved pastimes. In Bloomington-Normal, students and faculty of ISU have chosen Starplex Cinemas is the place to go for popcorn and a show. Voted as the best movie theatre in the area, Starplex Cinemas Normal Stadium 14offers many showings daily of the latest releases. They have been named best movie theatre continuously for the past several years. “[Our best feature for student is] location to campus. We also have the cheapest prices for both concessions and ticket prices,” Mike Fenske, Starplex Cinemas Normal Stadium 14 general manager, said. Starplex shows their appreciation for student business by giving a student-discounted price on tickets. A valid student ID will earn students a $2 discount for evening prices. Students agree that the discount makes it an affordable evening out. “The atmosphere is very friendly and hassle free. It’s so cheap too. The student discount and its accessibility are the best parts,” Megan Lawler, senior biological sciences major, said. Students also have the option to buy tickets online, which is a helpful feature when purchasing tickets for a midnight premiere or popular show. Starplex features stadium rocking chair seating in all its theatres, as well as two theatres with digital projection seating that offers 3D cinematography. “The seating is very comfortable, and it’s always fun to go with friends on the weekend. Starplex offers the perfect experience,” Lindsay Nicholson, junior English major, said.

Best organic grocery store 2nd place naturally yours 3rd Place common ground

fresh market

Caitlin Perry

night editor

Slightly dimmed lighting, hardwood floors, pleasant music and aisles upon aisles of delicious, organic food is what you will be greeted with as you walk into The Fresh Market. As college students are becoming concerned about their health and the quality of the food they purchase and consume, more students are visiting The Fresh Market for its selection of organic produce and freshly prepared foods. For another consecutive year, students have voted The Fresh Market as the best organic grocery store in the Bloomington-Normal area. The store is filled with both common and uncommon organic foods and products, ranging from fruits and vegetables, to lotions and exotic chocolates. Fresh meat, seafood, deli items, cheeses, breads and desserts are also offered. For a college student on the go, The Fresh Market offers tastier and healthier alternatives to the usual processed frozen dinner. There are take-out containers of handmade sushi, sandwiches, Oriental dishes, salads, ready-to-bake pizzas and pasta salads. If you have a sweet tooth but aren’t a fan of baking, The Fresh Market has any dessert you could crave such as cupcakes, cookies, pies, cookies, muffins, sweet breads and fancy pastries. The Fresh Market is also greatly involved in the Bloomington-Normal community. According to its website, the store “is committed to being an active part of the communities where we do business and our employees enthusiastically support local organizations that are important to the communities and our customers.” This includes regular donations to local food banks and fundraising events, such as the Charity Wine Gala April 18 that will benefit the Bloomington Public Library Foundation.

Andrew S. Avitt / Photographer

Best grocery store 2nd place jewel 3rd Place meijer

walmart Samantha Wolendowski S taff W riter

The Wal-Mart Supercenter in Bloomington attracts the most students when it comes to grocery shopping. It is open 24 hours a day, which is great for students who are busy the majority of their day. Wal-Mart is mostly popular for its insanely low prices that go hand-in-hand with college students trying to save money. Additionally, they have a wide variety of items to choose from when shopping. Elizabeth Rennwanz, sophomore music major and a frequent shopper at Wal-Mart, says Wal-Mart is her first choice when it comes to buying groceries because of the late hours and low prices. “Everything’s cheaper,” said Rennwanz. “They have Ramen Noodles and basically all the food that I eat, and I go there weekly because their stuff is always within my price range.” Wal-Mart also offers students so much more than low prices and 24hour service. There is also a pharmacy, a photo center that offers same day pickup, a vision center, a gas station and more. Co-manager of the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Bloomington, Denise Becker, said pricing is definitely what makes Wal-Mart so popular among students. “We are same day, every day low price,” Becker said. “Whereas some retailers will put something on sale then jack the prices up, we don’t do that. It’s our pricing that definitely makes us more competitive.” Becker said that it is wonderful to be voted the best grocery store among students. “We work very well around student schedules because their education is important to us,” Becker added

Best of blono 31

Best “i’m sorry” store 2nd place chocolatier 3rd Place gourmet popcorn

cookies by design

Grace Johnson editor in chief

Andrew S. Avitt / Photographer

Everyone knows the cliché “Actions speak louder than words,” but does that apply when talking about apologies? Per stereotypical romantic comedy fashion, many people give gifts when apologizing in real life too. And what better place to buy a gift than Cookies By Design? This isn’t the gourmet cookie chain’s first year winning; the company won this category two years ago in 2011. The various cookie designs and options offered present customers with the possibility of buying for apologies, birthdays, baby showers and every other celebration a person could think of. Aside from individual cookies, cookie bouquets are also sold. But why cookies? Manager Sarah Goyne said, “Flowers die, and I know that cookies don’t last forever, but I personally think that people would rather get cookies. You can at least snack on those. Flowers are pretty, but you can’t eat them.” Part of the beauty of Cookies By Design is not just the design itself; another major bonus to this shoppe is delivery option. Many college students do not have access to a car in order to pick up a bouquet, so having the ability to send the bouquet to a loved one for a small fee is beneficial. This capability also allows parents to send bouquets or cookie cakes to their kids attending universities away from home. Some of the classic “I’m Sorry” cookie bouquets offered at Cookies By Design are even decorated as flowers. Orders can be customized even more by changing the number of cookies in the bouquet, the container and adding extras like nuts or jelly beans. These personal touches are what make the apologies more heartfelt and compassionate.

Best auto care 2nd place meineke 3rd Place tuffy’s


Tim Rosenberger S enior S taff

Andrew S. Avitt / Photographer

32 Shop

Car-X Auto Service, which focuses on providing good service at reasonable prices, has been named as this year’s best auto center. The automotive repair shop is currently located on 108 S. Towanda Ave. in Normal and has been in town for about 20 years. “I get great reward in helping people out, and I think these guys [do] too; they like to be able to help people,” Alan Peterson, Car-X shop manager, said. The Normal shop is full-service, providing just about everything except for body and transmissions work. Peterson thinks service is what sets each repair shop in a town apart, and he says Car-X does a really good job with service. “We go the extra mile for somebody and we’re gonna make sure they’re safe to drive,” Peterson said. “If [something] can’t be fixed, we’re not going to tell them that it’s good or that it’s alright, but we’re going to do everything we can to try and get it within their budget and get as much fixed and make them as safe as possible,” he added. Peterson always tries to treat customers based off how he would like to be treated as one, and he does his best to put everything in layman’s terms. “Nobody likes to come to a repair shop,” Peterson said. “So, when they come here, easing the mind and making them understand is the best thing you can do, and we focus on those things.” A fair share of students go to Car-X, Peterson said. He says it is due to a lot of students coming from the Chicago area, where Car-X is prevalent and where the students have warranties.

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