How to Vote in the 2023 Best of Rhode Island Readers’ Poll
It's almost time to cast your vote!
You’ve been patiently waiting. And it’s almost here! Our Best of Rhode Island online readers’ poll, which runs April 1 to 30, goes live on Saturday, April 1.
The annual contest, now in its thirtieth year, touches every corner of the state and, more importantly, it gives the reins to the locals. Whether you love a tiny bakery in Burrillville or a new artsy gift shop in Providence, we’re asking you to shout it from the rooftops (or, er, thoughtfully type it into the voting form on RIMonthly.com, live on April 1).
As usual, we’ve assembled a beast of a ballot with scores of categories — restaurant, pub, salon, clam shack, fitness studio — in statewide and regional sections. We’re leaning on you, reader, to name the best of the best, but it needn’t be a big time commitment. You can scroll through and only fill in the categories that spark joy in your heart or your belly. For folks with opinions about everything: Welcome home. We can’t wait to see what you choose.
This year’s poll also includes fifteen! brand-new categories:
We are adding statewide categories for:
Comfort Food: Whether it’s southern soul food, fried chicken or slow-cooked barbecue, choose the top-notch restaurant or food truck that fills your belly with warm and comforting good eats.
Mocktail list: Not everyone wants boozy beverages; here’s the best spot or business that creates inventive zero-proof and spirit-free drinks.
Gluten-free-friendly restaurant: Whether it’s completely gluten-free or has a special menu for celiacs and the gluten-averse, this restaurant takes caring for guests seriously, especially those adhering to strict diets.
Locally made jewelry: Separate from the Rhody Maker category, this one is specifically geared toward local artisans who craft jewelry.
Fine jewelry shop: It could be a shop selling fancy diamond rings or custom necklaces made with precious gemstones, gold or silver, or even fancy designer watches for your love. This category is best suited to locally owned fine jewelry shops peddling luxury goods.
Small business that gives back: This category is for those businesses that hold special events with a charity component, raise funds for the community, provide meals to shelters or donate proceeds from sales to a local nonprofit.
Indoor recreation: It could be paint night, rock-climbing, indoor racing or an escape room; any type of indoor recreational activity qualifies.
Traffic reporter: We discontinued this category for several years, but due to unrelenting demand, we brought it back!
Photographer (non-wedding): Don’t get greedy wedding photographers, you have your own photography category under weddings! This category is reserved for fine art, landscape, portrait, family and fitness photographers.
Gym: We have had “fitness studio” under regional categories forever, but learned it wasn’t enough to cover all the fitness bases, so we added three new categories under statewide, including best gym, personal trainer and fitness class. This gives more specific fitness businesses a chance to compete.
Personal Trainer: This award will go to the best personal trainer or personal training business in the state.
Fitness Class: From cycling and boot camp to barre (or flying trapeze?!) any type of fitness class can qualify.
Cannabis dispensary: Since it’s legal now, we might as well play along. Pass the… just kidding.
Selfie spot: It could be a new pop-up spot, a selfie storefront or a wall in a restaurant, bar or venue that has shutterbugs flocking to snap pics.
Restaurant/bar bathroom: So much thought goes into the design of powder rooms and loos, from the selection of the mirrors, faucets, hardware and sink fixtures, to the wallpaper designs, paint colors, tile choices and the art on the walls. Tell us your pick for the perfect powder room.
Under Regional categories, we are changing Healthy Restaurant to Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurant, so that our vegetarian and vegan spots have a fighting chance.
We are also adding Specialty Food Shop to regional categories. To qualify, shops can specialize in cheese and artisan products from local makers, or they can also be a multicultural neighborhood food shop.
So give us a little of your time and we’ll hand back a big, juicy Best of Rhode Island issue in August. The team at Rhode Island Monthly, and the state’s small business owners, thank you for your votes.
The official ballot is now live on RIMonthly.com!
If you operate a local business and want to rally your fans for the vote, download our free voting widgets for your website or social channels. Plus, consult this tips sheet for answers to your most pressing Best of Rhode Island questions.