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Picking Winners: How a 'Best of the City List' Comes Together

Desert Companion, the monthly magazine of Nevada Public Radio, has released its 2019 Best of the City — an annual selection of the most fun and interesting activities, places, and products in the Las Vegas Valley.  

People often ask how these Best of the City items are picked.

Desert Companion Editor Andrew Kiraly told KNPR's State of Nevada that the magazine's process is different.

“Probably the most fundamental difference is instead of a traditional readers' poll being the meat and potatoes, we actually rely on our own contributors and staff to pick the best because these people are the experts in their particular field of obsession,” he said.

The magazine still conducts a readers' poll, but it is more of a sidebar that alerts writers and editors to things that are on the public's radar.

One Best-of pick for this year is Marc's Trattoria. Food critic Jim Begley said the restaurant at Sahara and Durango is run by Chef Marc Sgrizzi who takes a very hands-on approach.

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"What is interesting about Chef Marc is that even though he's been here for two decades, he really flies under the radar," Begley said, "He's not exactly in the celebrity scene. He is kind of quiet spoken but he is in the restaurant all the time."

Begley highly recommends the tuna bolognese at Marc's Trattoria.

Another contributor to the Best Of list is local artist Jennifer Henry. She recommends the vintage clothing and decor shop Patina on Main Street as the best vintage shop.

The owners Kate Aldrich and Tim Shaffer moved to Las Vegas in 2010. They decided to open a vintage shop after overhearing that the store that was in their current location was moving. 

"Retro Vegas was in their smaller space on the east side of Main Street, and they were vacating their lease and moving across to a bigger space and Tim just happened to overhear this and had a eureka moment and thought, 'We should open our own shop,' and they did, and since then -- about three years ago -- they opened a larger space and now it has taken off," Henry said.

Two perpetual favorites made the list for family-friendly food and fun. Metro Pizza is best family dining destination, and Begley suggests going to the location in Centennial Hills to get a first taste of some of the newest concoctions from pizza guru Chris Decker.

"Chris Decker is doing some really, really interesting pizzas," he said, "He is toying around with a cheese griddled Detroit-style pizza... You get this charred crust and it is good!"

Another family favorite on the list is the Springs Preserve.

"Springs Preserve got a lot more love this year," Kiraly said, "They were the best educational family outing as well as best interactive hands-on attraction. I think one of the reasons it is a perennial favorite is it is this educational exhibit wrapped in almost an environmental theme park."

Besides going there just to see the exhibits, Kiraly suggests people walk the many trails and enjoy special events like the Day of the Dead celebration and Black History Month Festival. 

Guests

Andrew Kiraly, editor, Desert Companion; Jennifer Henry, local artist; Jim Begley, food critic 

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